There is a silver lining to the Arizona Cardinals 27-24 overtime loss to Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings -- sure, for the second week in a row they blew a lead in the fourth quarter, but, for the first time all season, the man coach Ken Whisenhunt chose to play quarterback, Derek Anderson, wasn't terrible.
Anderson's throws are still off. The one interception he threw was called back and he still either overthrows his receivers or tries to force the ball to Larry Fitzgerald while he's in triple coverage. But the balls are becoming less overthrown and his forced throws to Fitzgerald went without consequence yesterday as the Vikings clawed their way back to win in overtime.
The comeback wasn't Anderson's fault. Arizona Republic sports columnist Dan Bickley said it best in his column this morning: after playing a near flawless game, "the Cardinals quit."
With about five minutes left in regulation, the Cards fell apart, allowing 17 points and a per usual Brett Favre comeback.
"[Favre] just needs to quit," Anderson joked after the game.
Favre, notorious for his improbable game-winning drives, added the Cardinals to his list of late-game victims, orchestrating two, big touchdown drives late in the fourth quarter and the final drive that led to the nail in the Cards' coffin, an overtime drive ending in a game-winning Ryan Longwell field goal.
Favre shouldn't get all the credit, though, much of it belongs to the Cards defense, which, as Bickley put it, quit, and gave up 17 points late in the game. The Cards' offensive line wasn't much help, either.
Anderson was decent for the majority of the game because the offensive line allowed him plenty of time to find receivers and throw the ball.
In total, the Vikings managed to sack Anderson six times. Four of those sacks came on the final six plays of the game.
The Cards defense, which held Favre and the Minnesota offense to 10 points in the first three quarters, gave up 17 points in the final five minutes of the game and overtime.
Not allowing your quarterback any time to throw the ball, combined with a defense that apparently just gave up, can be a recipe for disaster in the NFL, which it was. And when you throw Favre into the mix, it's a recipe for a huge disaster, which it also was.
"That's what [Favre's] been doing for it seems like forever now," Whisenhunt said after the game. "Especially here, they were a team that had their backs against the wall, and they played like it."
So, a tip of the cap to the Arizona Cardinals, who played 3 1/2 quarters of good football yesterday. Sadly, it often takes four quarters to win a game in the NFL -- something the team still needs to work on.
The Cards host their division rival Seattle Seahawks next weekend in Glendale. For more info click here.
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