Slumping Cards try to get back on track against Colts

Field Level Media

December 23, 2021 at 2:06 am.

The Arizona Cardinals will try to return to their winning ways Saturday at home against the Indianapolis Colts following last week’s loss at the Detroit Lions and posting a 3-4 record in their last seven games.

The Cardinals’ 7-0 start is a distant memory with how they have fared lately. That includes back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Rams and the Lions, who had the worst record in the NFL with only one win entering the game.

“I just felt like we all were pressing,” Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said about the 30-12 loss to Detroit. “Got behind and instead of taking it a play at a time, we were looking for that 17-point play. It starts with me as a play caller and everybody kind of fell in line. That’s not how you play.”

The Cardinals (10-4) have gone from having the best record in the NFL two weeks ago to dropping to the No. 4 playoff seed in the NFC.

Things won’t be easier for them vs. Indianapolis (8-6). The Colts have won five of their past six games.

Of major concern for Arizona is ranking No. 27 in the NFL in rushing yards per carry allowed with Indianapolis’ Jonathan Taylor coming to town. Taylor leads the league with 1,518 rushing yards. No other player is within 424 yards of him.

He rushed for 170 yards and one touchdown against the New England Patriots defense in a 27-17 victory in Week 15, which strengthened the Colts’ AFC wild-card chances.

The Colts have relied heavily on Taylor in recent games. Through the first 10 games of the season, Taylor averaged 16.1 carries per game. In the last four games, he has averaged 27.3 carries.

“I don’t have any concerns,” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said. “We’re constantly talking to him, and obviously, it’s not always going to be the way it’s been the last few games (vs. Buffalo Nov. 21, Tampa Bay Nov. 28 and New England). At this point, he’s showing no wear and tear.”

Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray is showing signs of frustration in the last three weeks since returning from an injury, including losses in the last two games, by throwing three interceptions with three touchdown passes against the Chicago Bears, Rams and Lions.

He was sacked seven times in those games. Against Detroit, he uncharacteristically rushed for just three yards on four attempts.

One of his favorite targets, DeAndre Hopkins, is out for at least the rest of the regular season with an MCL tear that required surgery. Hopkins did not play against Detroit.

When asked if he and the Cardinals can revert to how they played earlier in the season, Murray said, “I hope so. When you get beat like this (against Detroit) in the fashion that we did, it’s an ugly taste. I know the guys in there will rally behind each other and we’ll get it done.”

Arizona running back James Conner fought through an ankle injury against Detroit but was listed as a non-participant in the team’s injury report this week with a heel issue against the Colts.

Wide receiver Rondale Moore (ankle) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (knee) were also absent Wednesday at practice with their respective injuries.

Indianapolis had safety Andrew Sendejo (concussion), center Ryan Kelly (personal, infant daughter passed away) and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson (illness) listed as out on Wednesday.