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Cardinals Collapse, Part 3: The Bright Side

There are lots of people you can blame for the loss last night. Edgerrin James. Neil Rackers. The entire offensive line. The entire special teams' unit. But there are twelve people who can't be blamed. Matt Leinart and the Cards' defense.

In the end, really, the Cardinals coaching staff only has itself to blame. After the entire collapse, they had a chance to win the game with a field goal, and decided to run with James twice on 2nd & 2 and 3rd & 2 despite the fact that James has officially claimed Eddie George's "YPC" (as in, only 1 yard a carry) nickname. That gave the Cardinals a longer field goal with a minute left (even if they had made it) for the Bears to drive back down and get into field goal position themselves. What they would have been smart to do is let Leinart win the game for them in those final 54 seconds instead of playing it safe. Leinart, I must admit, looks like a legitimate pro already. His numbers were impressive enough (moreso considering the opponent), but the poise he showed in leading the Cardinals down the field on their final drive was remarkable. He took his time, went through all of his reads, and made the right plays.

He's already good enough to start for 13 teams in the NFL (Bills, Cowboys, Dolphins, Jets, Redskins, Ravens, Lions, Browns, Vikings, Texans, Bucs, Chiefs, and Raiders), and has a bright future. He's already proven he deserves to get the ball when the game's on the line. If for nothing else, because no one else on the Cardinals roster seems capable of taking it.

Plus, there's always the Raiders next week. That's the best possible salve.