The Arizona Cardinals lost yet again yesterday, coming up four points short against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome, and as an indication of how bad this season is going, Ryan Lindley was throwing footballs yesterday.
Yes, the rookie out of San Diego State actually had a helmet on, and was on the field throwing footballs in the general direction of Cardinals' receivers during the game.
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Lindley was only in because now-starting quarterback John Skelton couldn't throw his way out of a paper bag, as he completed two passes in seven attempts, for a grand total of six yards.
Skelton was pulled in the second quarter after missing some wide-open passes, including a sure TD to Larry Fitzgerald, who caught just one pass yesterday.
As for the Falcons, they sucked too, but apparently sucked just a bit less.
Quarterback Matt Ryan, leading a team that has lost just one game this year, threw three interceptions in the first quarter. Three...interceptions...first...quarter.
Rashad Johnson picked off the first one as receiver Roddy White bobbled the ball -- which was the game's first play from scrimmage -- then William Gay picked off Ryan a few drives later, on a pass that was tipped at the line by Darnell Dockett. On the drive after that, Dockett barely tipped another one, and Kerry Rhodes dove for the third interception.
One of those interceptions led to a field goal, while LaRod Stephens-Howling ran in one for a touchdown.
Stephens-Howling broke off a 40-yard run during another first-quarter drive, which led to a field goal, and at the end of the first quarter, the Cardinals led the Falcons 13-0.
The Falcons scored a field goal early in the second quarter, and Lindley was tossed into the game.
Lindley's first play was a deep pass to Andre Roberts that was just barely overthrown, and he handed off the ball to Stephens-Howling for a seven-yard gain on second down.
On third down, Lindley dropped back, and as defensive lineman John Abraham came after him, Lindley tried to unload the ball to Fitzgerald. The ball made it a few yards before dropping into the ground, well short of Fitzgerald.
Abraham then began screaming for someone to pick up the ball and start running, and Jonathan Babineaux did just that. After reviewing the play, sure enough, Lindley's hand was never actually coming forward, although the ball went forward a few yards. Touchdown Falcons.
After a negative run on the first play of the Cards' next drive, Lindley threw two incompletions before the Cards punted the ball away, and the Falcons tied the game at 13 on a field goal on the ensuing drive. Each team got a drive before the half, and each team knocked home a field goal to tie the game at 16 going into the half.
Late in the third quarter, Washington jumped White's short route, and picked off a pass from Ryan, marking Ryan's fourth interception for the game, and giving the Cardinals the ball 16 yards from the endzone.
If you think the Cardinals would score seven points after a first down from 16 yards away, you would be incorrect.
A 27-yard field goal from Jay Feely gave the Cardinals a 19-16 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Ryan would eventually throw the ball to his own players, including a drive with an 11-yard pass to Harry Douglas, a 26-yard pass to Douglas, an 18-yard pass to White, and a 9-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez. That pass to Gonzalez put the Falcons three feet away from the endzone, and running back Michael Turner took it in for the score, giving the Falcons a 23-19 lead.
With less than seven minutes left in the game, the Cardinals took the ball and did precisely nothing -- incomplete pass, rush for no gain, sack, punt.
On the Falcons second play on the next drive, linebacker Sam Acho picked off Ryan for Ryan's fifth and final interception.
On this fifth interception, the Cardinals had about four minutes left, down by four points, and started 32 yards from the endzone. The recurring theme here is that the drive ended with nothing.
Lindley threw an incompletion to start things off. Stephens-Howling took a second-down run eight yards -- he racked up 127 yards total -- but rushed for no gain on the third-and-2 call. On fourth down, Lindley threw a short pass to Fitzgerald, who apparently didn't control the ball after falling out of bounds. The Falcons were able to run out the clock at that point.
After winning their first four games, the Cardinals have now lost five straight.
We may actually be serious this time: does anyone have this man's phone number?
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