|Multitude of mistakes led to Cardinals' overtime loss to 49ers|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 26 November 2007 14:56|
They were the easiest culprits to spot in Sunday's 37-31 overtime defeat against San Francisco. Warner fumbled in the end zone and the 49ers recovered for the winning touchdown. Moments earlier, Rackers barely missed a 32-yard field goal that would have won it for Arizona.
But there were a multitude of other mistakes that, had any of them not been made, could have changed the outcome in the toughest loss of Ken Whisenhunt's brief time as Arizona coach.
``There are just so many you can't even talk about them,'' Warner said.
Warner, who already had a torn ligament in his non-throwing elbow, played the fourth quarter and overtime with a rib injury from a hit he got in the third quarter. He didn't know exactly what the injury was.
``They couldn't see anything definitive on the X-rays,'' he said, ``but they say the treatment's the same whether it's cartilage, a bruise or a break. It's kind of a pain thing at this point, and we'll go through the week and see how we handle it.''
Whisenhunt was betting that Warner would play next Sunday, when Arizona is home against the Cleveland Browns.
``I know he was in some pain,'' the coach said, ``but just based on my experience with Kurt and how tough he is and what a competitive type player he is, I don't have any reason to believe he wouldn't.''
One player on shaky ground is punter Mike Barr, who shanked a punt 17 yards during a critical point in the overtime. Barr, who won the job from longtime punter Scott Player in training camp, has been inconsistent all season.
``There's no guarantee that there's anybody out there that could come in and do a better job,'' Whisenhunt said, ``but certainly that's something, especially at this time of year when we do still have a chance, that we have to look at.''
The loss dropped Arizona to 5-6, but in the NFC, that's good enough to keep the Cardinals in the wild-card race. The New York Giants (7-4) and Detroit Lions (6-5) are the wild-card leaders. Six teams are 5-6.
``We're still in the race,'' Whisenhunt said. ``Realistically we're not where we want to be, and it's a tough road. The biggest thing that we approach with this team is we're doing things the right way. If we play better, if we don't have as many mistakes, we win that football game.''
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin didn't want to hear any postseason talk, though.
``Right now we can't be in here `rah-rahing' about making the playoffs when we're letting games slip away,'' he said.
Boldin said this one ranked ``right up there'' among the many painful losses he has experienced in his five seasons with the Cardinals.
``No matter how you feel,'' he said, ``the last five games are going to be played. So guys have got to make up in their minds whether they want to get it done or not.''
Rackers sat at his locker Monday and took the blame for the loss, regardless of whatever mistakes others had made.
``When the offense and defense give you the opportunity to win a ballgame, you've got to put the ball through,'' he said. ``That's our job.''
He said the kick went over the left upright.
``I guess I didn't talk to that official enough pregame,'' he said.
The Cardinals thought they had won the game a play earlier, when Rackers kicked a 27-yarder right through the middle. But a delay-of-game penalty nullified the field goal, and pushed Arizona back 5 yards.
``It was a weird series of events,'' Rackers said, ``but again it was a 33-yard (actually 32) field goal.''
Whisenhunt called it ``one of the most difficult losses I've been around.''
He acknowledged he made mistakes, too. He said he needs to call plays quicker and communicate better to try to preserve timeouts.
As hard as it is to do, Warner said the team needs to shrug off the loss and move on.
```No matter if it's a dropped pass or an interception, or a missed tackle, missed block, whatever it is, you line up and say, `Oh well, it happens,''' Warner said. ``Sometimes you make a mistake. This game isn't played perfect. I don't know anybody who's played a perfect game, so you line up and you go to battle again.''