The Cardinals locker room near their State Farm Stadium press conference room has sounded like an wild, fun party through the first three home games this season.
After their wins over the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans in Week 2, 5 and 7, the players blasted bass-heavy, subwoofer-rattling hip hop music that echoed through walls. It resonated even louder as Kliff Kingsbury and the select players opened the door and walked to the podium to address the media.
But Thursday night, entering the Halloween party weekend for many people, the locker room was eerily dead silent.
Kingsbury and the players visibly walked a bit slower to the podium as they shared an “I don’t know” reaction to the odd and shocking ending to their loss to the Green Bay Packers, 24-21.
Cardinals starting left tackle D.J. Humphries only took reporters’ questions for just over one minute before he swiftly left in visible frustration, including what the locker room sentiment was after the game.
“Like we lost, Humphries said.
He added when asked about the Cardinals’ final play, “I couldn’t really tell you. I don’t know.”
The rise and fall of the Red Sea, at least for one week, happened in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
Arizona showed why it’s the NFL’s best team at stopping opponents on fourth down when linebacker Devon Kennard caused Green Bay’s turnover on downs after he batted down Aaron Rodgers’ (22-of-37 passing, 184 yards, 2 TDs) pass targeted at wide receiver Randall Cobb (3 catches, 15 yards, 2 TDs) from the Cardinals 5.
The Cardinals’ faithful was ready to explode and wave their fan towels with joy as they drove downhill 94 yards to the Packers 5, down by 3.
They were poised for an epic comeback from down 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, and trailed Green Bay since the 6:28 minute mark in the second.
But with 15 seconds to play, Kyler Murray (22-of-33, 274 yards, zero TDs) threw the ball to A.J. Green who ran a go route but never turned his head toward Murray’s and the ball’s direction. The veteran WR Green (5 catches, 50 yards) looked confused as he slowed up, and spun around with his hands up wondering how his defender, cornerback Rasul Douglas, tipped and intercepted the pass to seal the Packers’ victory.
The Cardinals’ chance of going 8-0 for the first time in franchise history evaporated.
Arizona fans, stunned and disappointed, had to wonder how the team came so far, connecting with arguably the most talented wide receiver room in the league, to having a disconnection between quarterback and receiver when it mattered the most.
Kingsbury said he wanted that play, but it was a “miscommunication, obviously” and he didn’t know what happened between Murray and Green.
“I honestly don’t know. Just a miscommunication,” Murray said. “I couldn’t tell you, but we just gotta be better.”
Murray said that he didn’t talk to Green about the errant play after the game.
“I know he’s hot. Emotions running high,” Murray said. “Obviously, after the fact that it’s … we both know we weren’t on the same page and it cost us. But we’ll be better because of it.”
Kyler Murray looked sullen as he walked with his head down exiting the press conference.
Cardinals running back James Conner took the high road about the mishap.
“We’re not gonna put this on one guy. We’re not gonna do that,” Conner said. “We’re just gonna get back to it. Not much to say. When you lose, you just take it and bounce back and see what you can do to learn from it. You refocus, but not a lot of room for talking.”
It’s not ideal for how the Cardinals want to begin their four-day break before they return to practice on Tuesday.
They have much time to refocus on their Week 9 road game against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 7.
“I’ll enjoy these couple days, for sure,” Cardinals ILB Jordan Hicks said. “Playing two games in five days isn’t easy, not on anybody’s body. We’ll definitely enjoy it. Obviously we’ll wish we had a win going into that. But it’s an opportunity for us to get healthy. It’s an opportunity for us to settle down and learn from the mistakes we made this game, really refresh our mind and get back to work.”
The Cardinals’ reset over the next week is much needed as team has been marred by injuries and COVID-19.
Even though the way they lost on Thursday was baffling, but if they regroup and make the playoffs for the first time in six year, or win the tough NFC West division title, the Cardinals locker room will be partying harder in their locker room in January.
And that would be sweet music to every Cardinals fan’s ears.
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