Wow, that game was a disaster last night.
How do you go from being up by 20 at the half, to losing?
This is a great article that ran in today's Arizona Republic:
Glendale gets spotlight; Cards get heartbreak
The Arizona Republic
Oct. 17, 2006 12:00 AM
This should be a terrible surprise.
This should be a high-voltage shock to the system, enough to make diehard fans swear off football forever.
Sadly, it is not.
It is not surprising at all, and really, that's the worst part.
This is merely the Cardinal Way. So the Bears leave bloodied yet unbeaten, with a 24-23 victory safely stowed in their carry-on luggage. The small army of transplanted Chicagoans left the stadium stunned and happy, even if they paid a king's ransom for their tickets. The rest of us ponder what this bumbling, stumbling franchise can do for an encore.
The Cardinals have played four regular-season games at their beautiful new stadium. Three have been lost in gut-wrenching fashion. A new era?
Yeah, but only if you're talking about a new era of pain and suffering.
"I've never been associated with a loss when it became clear the (Bears') offense couldn't score a touchdown," Cardinals head coach Dennis Green said.
Yep, it's true. For a while, our beleaguered franchise was actually kicking sand in the bully's face. The cool-hand rookie, Matt Leinart, was embracing the bright lights and carving up the vaunted Bears' defense. After the game, the Bears raved about the Cardinals' game plan in the first half.
But when it came time to bear down, man up and walk away with the girl, the Cardinals found a way to do what they do best: lose.
"The way things have turned out is just unreal," running back Edgerrin James said.
No doubt. Broadcaster Joe Theismann called this one "the most bizarre game I've seen in 31 years in pro football as a player and broadcaster." Green blew a gasket in a rambling, postgame diatribe, slamming the podium in anger.
Alas, already plagued with new tales of in-house fighting, the Green Regime might never recover from this one.
"I've never played so bad and won a game like that," Bears quarterback Rex Grossman said.
From the beginning, you sensed this one could be different. Grossman missed a wide-open receiver and a sure touchdown pass on the first play of the game.
Soon thereafter, Bertrand Berry got his first sack of the season, forcing a turnover in the process. Green actually won a coach's challenge, ending a streak of 10 consecutive failures. And an oft-ridiculed offensive line rallied around its new center, Nick Leckey, and actually punched holes in a vicious defense.
The Cardinals led 20-0 at halftime. The defense allowed no touchdowns in the second half. And by the time the clock expired, the visitors had pulled off a ridiculous comeback.
Yet few in the Valley are surprised this morning. If you're an exception, then you haven't been watching this team for long.
Against the Chiefs, the Cardinals allowed Larry Johnson to run a mile with a screen pass, thus setting up the winning score. Against the Bears, they allowed Devin Hester to return a punt for a game-winning touchdown.
To paraphrase Johnny Depp, the Cardinals love these little moments of fourth-quarter truth. They love to wave at them as they run toward the other end zone. And just when you thought that maybe they could escape their own weekly self-destruction, driving for a winning field goal to steal back the victory, Neil Rackers went bust once again.
Last year, he put together one of the greatest seasons a NFL kicker has ever enjoyed. This year, he's getting the karma slap. Thus, the ultimate paradox: A franchise renowned for its greed also is stunning in its on-field generosity. And now the rest of the nation knows our dirty little secret.
What a shame. What a joke. What a waste.
What a great franchise . . . for masochists.