GLENDALE, Ariz. -- There were injuries, significant gaffes on special teams and a leak in an offense that set multiple franchise records just a year ago.
But when coach Bruce Arians reviewed all of what went wrong with his 2016 Arizona Cardinals, who finished a disappointing 7-8-1, he summed it all up by focusing on just one area. It was his team's record in games decided by one score.
And that turned out to be an ugly 2-5-1 mark.
"We just didn't play well enough in five ballgames, the last five minutes in those games, and that stopped us in playing in the rest of this tournament," Arians said Monday. "We will go back and research why we didn't play well in those five minutes that cost us games that took us out of the playoffs. Was it the personnel? Was it scheme? ... And we will evaluate every single situation and try to improve it."
The tone, Arians said, was set in the opening week against a Tom Brady-less New England team, where a low snap contributed to Chandler Catanzaro missing a 47-yard field goal with 41 seconds left. The Patriots won 23-21.
"I think a lot of it goes back to the New England game," Arians said. "Had we won the game like we should have, with the field goal, I think the whole season is different. Why we didn't finish the (Week 4) Ram win? Those first two losses at home set us way back for the season, because you had to fight from the back end of the hole the rest of the way."
Had the Cardinals won just those two games, they would have been a wild-card team. But the season-opening loss to the Patriots created doubt, Arians said. It started a tailspin Arizona couldn't stop.
Moving forward, Arians said there will be no foreseen changes to the coaching staff, but the roster will need a close examination. Everyone will be evaluated thoroughly, he vowed, especially those who led to the losses in close games.
"If you can put a finger on an individual, you replace him," he said. "If you can put a finger on something, you fix it right away. But this was different scenarios each week, and that's why this will be fun as a coaching staff to go back and review it all.
"Hopefully, it's things that we can correct."