Cards still reeling from OT loss - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Cards still reeling from OT loss

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Posted: Monday, November 24, 2003 11:13 pm | Updated: 1:08 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis didn’t make his players watch film as a group like he usually does on Mondays, instead choosing to have them watch it separately.

Grieving, in this case after a 30-27 overtime loss to St. Louis on Sunday, is a private thing.

“Usually, overnight, the pain subsides,” McGinnis said. “It hasn’t subsided on this one.”

It could have been a happy, pizza-after-a-win day at the team’s Tempe complex had someone stepped forward to make a play. That was at the center of McGinnis’ lament.

The offense could have helped out — blowing a chance to score on its final possession — but it is the defense that will bear the brunt of the spotlight after the Rams had a 16-play, 82-yard drive for the tying field goal.

“You’ve got to have a closer, either in coverage or in your rush,” McGinnis said. “That’s why we are sitting here today with this feeling in the pit of our stomachs.”

Between the final drive and overtime, the defense was on the field for 22 straight plays, not including the Rams’ pair of field goals. In the final 15 plays of regulation, the Cardinals tried six blitzes, four maximum coverages (three rushers, eight in coverage) and five “regular” coverages (four rushers, seven in either zone or man coverage). Rams quarterback Marc Bulger wasn’t great, completing 6-of-12 throws. But it was enough.

“We got pressure on the quarterback,” defensive tackle Marcus Bell said. “I don’t want to hear there was no pressure. We didn’t get (enough) pressure when we needed to late in the game, but throughout the game, we had the guy rattled.”

The Cards had a James Darling sack on the final drive to force a third-and-15, only to have Bulger convert the next play. A few downs later, he completed the crucial fourth-and-7 pass between three defenders to Torry Holt.

The Cards were hurt badly when cornerback Renaldo Hill missed the final six minutes because of an ankle injury. But McGinnis had to admit he couldn’t name a “closer” on the defense right now.

“They haven’t done it yet,” McGinnis said. “To be a closer you have to show up and close it.”

The Cardinals could use a closer in the goal-line offense too. In the second quarter, the Cards had a first-and-goal from the Rams 4. A run was stuffed for no gain and two passes fell incomplete, leading to a field goal. In the third quarter, the Cards had second-and-goal from the Rams 1, and were stuffed twice on runs before an incomplete pass on fourth down to tight end Freddie Jones.

McGinnis wouldn’t be specific on the breakdowns on the runs except to say, “We got beat twice at the end of the line of scrimmage,” which would seem to mean either a tight end or receiver blocking problem. On the pass, McGinnis said Jones’ right arm was held by a defender, preventing a catch.

“When the defense gives you the ball down there, you are supposed to capitalize on those,” guard Cameron Spikes said. “That’s what is different between a team with a killer instinct, the team we are trying to become.”

EXTRA POINTS: Running back Emmitt Smith will play against Chicago this week, McGinnis said, although Marcel Shipp will start.

“Marcel is banged and bruised again,” McGinnis said. “This is probably coming at a good time.”

Shipp, who had 95 yards rushing Sunday, said he felt fine physically following his 24-carry, two-reception performance.  . . .

Hill’s injury was the most serious coming out of the game. Noting that a similar injury kept Hill out a couple of weeks in the preseason, McGinnis said he isn’t sure how long Hill will be out. Linebackers LeVar Woods (hamstring) and Raynoch Thompson (neck) are day-to-day.  . . .

Never one to stump much for awards, McGinnis had no problem giving props to rookie receiver Anquan Boldin, who had another great day Sunday with 170 total yards and two touchdowns, including six catches for 123 yards.

“I will say anything I can about Anquan Boldin,” McGinnis said. “He is a stud with a capital S. He’s not the offensive rookie of the year, he is the rookie of the year.”

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