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Cardinals' offense and defense filled with misery

By The Sports Xchange
Cardinals' offense and defense filled with misery
Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald looks up at the scoreboard during a game against the Detroit Lions at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on December 9, 2018. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo

Arizona's lackluster 17-3 loss offensively against Detroit on Sunday included only one drive inside the Lions' 36-yard line.

Adding to the misery was a pick-6 by Detroit's Darius Slay off a pass from Arizona rookie quarterback Josh Rosen that outscored the Cardinals' production all day.

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"It's obviously going to be frustrating," defensive tackle Corey Peters said. "But we're working with a young quarterback who is going to make mistakes. I think we understand that. Whatever it takes to get the job done, we've got to do a better job on the defensive side of the ball."

Rosen has three more games to learn as much as he can heading into what will be a busy offseason for him to improve.

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It is not known yet if star receiver Larry Fitzgerald will return for Rosen's sophomore season. Fitzgerald found it hard to celebrate breaking the record Sunday for most receptions with one organization.

Fitzgerald's 14-yard catch with 5:48 left in the third quarter gave him 1,282 catches in his 15 seasons with the Cardinals.

"Now is not the time (to celebrate)," Fitzgerald said. "Being 3-10 is not a good feeling. I don't feel celebratory."

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Of his 15 years with the Cardinals, Fitzgerald said, "It is a two-way street in this business. You have to want to stick with a place, organization, or team and the coaches have to want you to be here. ... I call Arizona home and it means a lot to me."

On the defensive side, the Cardinals also had some terrible news. Defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche will go on injured reserve because he must undergo knee surgery.

"I'm not going to get into the details, he just hurt his knee and we're going to have to place him on IR," head coach Steve Wilks said Monday.

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Nkemdiche played only 22 snaps on defense (36.7 percent) against the Lions.

A 2016 first-round pick, he had his most productive season as a pro this year, playing in 10 games (six starts) with 4.5 sacks, 32 tackles, a pass defended and forced fumble.

"Last couple of a weeks, I thought he played well," Wilks said. "He had that lull when he was hurt, he was out for a while. I thought he came back and had a great game against the Chargers. Again, just inconsistent because he hasn't been on the field."

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Nkemdiche did not start in his first two years in the league. He had 12 tackles, no sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and a pass defensed in two seasons with 17 games played total.

Other options at defensive tackle include Corey Peters and Rodney Gunter. Olsen Pierre is already on injured reserve. Arizona's practice squad has defensive tackle Pasoni Tasini.

--PK Zane Gonzalez missed a 54-yarder against Detroit, his attempt bouncing off the left upright. The Cardinals remain the only team this season without a field goal of at least 50 yards.

--WR J.J. Nelson, with four catches for 21 yards coming into the game, had three for 43 on Sunday. He was open for a potential TD in the end zone deep, except Rosen overthrew him.

--QB Josh Rosen threw for 240 yards Sunday, his highest total since the 252 he had during the home win against San Francisco Oct. 28 and tied for the second-most in a game. For the season, Rosen has completed 55.4 percent of his passes, with 10 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a 68.3 passer rating in 11 games.

--WR Trent Sherfield, an undrafted rookie free agent, had five catches for a team-high 77 yards against Detroit. His 19-yard catch in the second quarter was the longest Cardinals' pass play of the day.

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--CB Patrick Peterson returned punts against Detroit with rookie Christian Kirk on injured reserve. He finished with five returns for 25 yards, an average of 5.2 yards per return. Peterson's longest return -- an 18-yarder in the first quarter -- was wiped away on a block in the back call against cornerback David Amerson.

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