Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals looks on during the second quarter of the game ...

Bickley: Cardinals loss to Seahawks adds proof culture change needed

The Cardinals aren’t just losing. The cardinals are lost.

The head coach looks as distraught as he is helpless. The $230 million quarterback is regressing before our eyes. The CEO has laid the foundation for quicksand. And the owner seems more interested in hosting a Super Bowl than winning a Super Bowl.

A 31-21 loss Sunday marked their second loss to the Seahawks in four weeks. Barring a miraculous turnaround, that likely dooms a return to the playoffs in 2022.

Losing is a contagion in the NFL. And our team is extremely sick.

“I believe in this team,” said head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

After the game, Kingsbury said all the same things he usually does until he was sick. But words are hollow and don’t matter at this point because the Cardinals are 7-13 in their last 20 games. They’ve been consistently bad for some time now.

The offense was once again helpless, presenting no threat or fear to the Seahawks defense. They scored a touchdown on the first drive, suggesting a corner could have been turned. And they quickly went into hibernation.

The Cardinals have totaled 15 first downs. After a half of intrigue and adjustments, they gained a meager 12 yards in the third quarter. They had successive false start penalties at home, which is absurd. They had even more trouble getting the ball from center to quarterback.

Collectively, the team finished with eight pre-snap penalties, representing a recurring and staggering lack of discipline.

“The self-inflicted stuff kills us,” Kingsbury said.

They made crucial mistakes. Kyler Murray lost a crucial fumble through negligence. The sideline featured another scene and a sign of commotion, this time a barking match between Murray and DeAndre Hopkins.

“I’m not going to go into details,” Murray said. “But miscommunication right there.”

Meanwhile, recently acquired Robbie Anderson was a liability. The return of James Conner did little to resurrect the racing game.

And the decimated offensive line gives Murray very little time to get comfortable.

Want answers? Good luck.

“I couldn’t tell you why or what,” Murray said. “I kept shooting us in the foot.”

The defense carried the offense for most of the game, just as it has for most of the season. But they dropped a pair of interceptions in the red zone, only to see the Seahawks score touchdowns on the very next play. And again, the heavy lifting took its toll.

When Zaven Collins recorded an interception return, it marked the fifth touchdown of the season for the Arizona defense. But the joy was temporary. The Seahawks replied with three touchdowns, converting 7 of 7 third downs of the last two.

The Cardinals don’t just lose games. They are losing fans. There is a growing cry for a new head coach from Monday. There is growing evidence that dramatic cultural change and overhaul is badly needed in Arizona. But Michael Bidwill created this mess with bizarre contract extensions for mediocre performers. Chances are he won’t take drastic action, swallowing both pride and cash when HBO’s “Hard Knocks” debuts Wednesday, revealing our dysfunctional football team to the rest of the country.

In contrast, just look at the Seahawks, who have Rookie of the Year candidates on both sides of football. They have a culture that has raised a journeyman quarterback. They swept the Cardinals in a year when Seattle seemed destined for last place.

Alas, the cardinals are back in the basement. And that won’t change until the owner brings a broom and cleans up the mess.

Loans that change lives

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