After forcing the high-powered Houston Texans offense into a three-and-out on their first possession, the Cardinals leaned heavily on RB Tim Hightower. Hightower touched the ball five times on the team's initial drive, compiling 32 yards and scoring the games first touchdown. 14 of Hightower's yards came on the ground while 18 came in the passing game. Despite the success he experienced early on, Hightower was seldom used from that point on. He accumulated just 17 yards rushing and 30 yards receiving for the game.
There's no denying the 21-0 lead the Cardinals raced out to on the legs of Fitzgerald and Hightower and how that lead evaporated with them out of the loop. Sure, QB Kurt Warner completed 26-of-38 passes for 302 yards and two scores but leaving two of the team's best playmakers out of the action in the second half is inexcusable. After all, the Cardinals needed an interception returned for a touchdown by CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a goal-line stand by the defense to secure the 28-21 win.
Arizona has clearly lacked organization and rhythm through the first quarter of the season, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. One would expect some loose ends to be tied up during the bye week but the same problems that hampered the Cardinals through their first three contests of the season continued in Week 5.
Arizona is right back in the thick of things in the NFC West race but the Cardinal faithful should be worried about the direction of their team. Inconsistent play calling and execution remain major question marks and if not corrected will plague Arizona's consistency all season long.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
or click here to access the AZRedReport.com message boards.