'We’re pretty much killing ourselves': Cardinals must look in mirror after 3 losses in row

Tyler Dragon
USA TODAY Sports+
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray looks on during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at State Farm Stadium.

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor ran through a lane as wide as Interstate 10 on his first carry of the game. Taylor’s 43-yard scamper foreshadowed a little.

The Arizona Cardinals chased the Colts throughout the game and came up short for a 22-16 loss on Christmas.

Arizona committed a season-high 11 penalties, while kicker Matt Prater missed two of three field goal attempts and an extra point. The Cardinals defense also gave up 108 rushing yards to Taylor.  

It was the third-straight loss for Arizona (10-5). After starting the season 7-0, the Cardinals have lost five of their last eight games and now are one game behind the division leader Los Angeles Rams (10-4) in the loss column.

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“We continue to find ways to lose. Critical situations, penalties and things of that nature. We’ve got to get a turnaround somewhere,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said postgame. “We’ve got to get back to work next week and be better.”

The Cardinals inexplicably lost four of five games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Cardinals did play Saturday night without running back James Conner (heel) and wide receiver Rondale Moore (ankle). Star wideout DeAndre Hopkins was also ruled out and is expected to miss at least the rest of the regular season with a knee injury. But there’s no excuse for the team’s late-season skid. Arizona has regressed in every phase of the game.

Arizona averaged 35 points entering Week 5. During the their three-game losing streak, the Cardinals scored just 17 points per contest. On defense, they’ve given up 30 points in two of the three losses. On special teams, Prater only made 33% of his field goal attempts on Christmas.

Arizona had the best record in the NFL at 7-0 in late October. At the end of December, they have slid down to possibly a wild-card team, No. 5 in the NFC and no longer look like a Super Bowl contender.

It's the second consecutive year the Cardinals have faltered during the back half of the season. They started 5-2 last year and finished 3-6 and out of the playoffs. This year, the Cardinals will presumably reach the postseason, however, they are limping to the finish line.

“The good thing about it is that we’re 10-5 still. All you have to do is get in, that’s all you have to do," Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said. "At the end of the day, we don’t want to get in playing the way we’re playing. We want to go in playing and feeling good about what we’re doing.

"The thing about it, is that it’s fixable. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and stop making these mistakes, because that game was very winnable, but like I said, good teams don’t do that. Right now, we’re not doing what we need to do.”

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It won’t get any easier for Arizona. Next week, the Cardinals travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Murray and the Cardinals are in danger of losing four in a row and backing their way into the playoffs.

“I think as a whole we all need to look at ourselves in the mirror and be better. Any level of football, you can’t do the things we’re doing,” Murray said. “Right now, we’re pretty much killing ourselves.”

Follow USA TODAY Sports+ NFL Insider Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.