Kingsbury’s Cardinals Fall Off the Proverbial ‘Kliff’ in Blowout Loss to Rams
The NFL's "Super Wild Card Weekend" ended with a thud Monday night in Los Angeles. The Rams dominated the Arizona Cardinals on all three sides of the ball as they won an NFC Wild Card Game, 34-11.
Los Angeles took a 21-0 lead headed into halftime, with the Rams' defense forcing four consecutive punts and two interceptions for the first six Cardinals offensive drives of the game. The Rams' lead was then extended to 28-0 after the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. After three quarters, their lead was 28-8.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (pictured above) was ineffective throughout the game, only passing for 137 yards on 19/34 passing and no touchdowns. Murray also threw two interceptions, including an ill-advised desperation pass from his own end zone in the second quarter. The wounded duck of a throw was easily grabbed by David Long at the Cardinals' 3 yard line, and he returned it for a touchdown.
Monday night's loss was the end to another weak end-of-the-season finish for Kingsbury's Cardinals. Arizona was in the driver's seat for the NFC West division crown for most of the regular season, but the Rams ended up winning the NFC West title as Arizona lost 4 out their last 5 regular season games, and ended the season overall losing 5 out of their last 6 games.
As The Action Network noted in the minutes following the Cardinals' loss, Kliff Kingsbury's teams have consistently faded at the end of the season.
During his tenure in the NFL, Kingsbury's end of the season performance included losing 7 out of his last 9 in 2019, losing 5 out of his last 7 in 2020, and, as already noted, losing 5 out of his last 6 games for the 2021 season. His Texas Tech teams performed similarly in his six seasons with the Red Raiders.
When Kingsbury jumped to the NFL, he signed a four-year contract with the Cardinals that expires after the 2022 season. The Cardinals hold an option-year for a fifth season with Kingsbury in 2023.
One would assume that the Cardinals would bring Kingsbury back for 2022, but he will have to improve not only his team's end-of-season performance, but their progression in the NFL playoffs.
With their Wild Card win on Monday, the Rams advanced to the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs. Their opponent next Sunday is Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.