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Arizona Cardinal Fans Living on the Edge

December 21st, 2011 at 7:00 AM
By Chuck Chapman

Being a fan of the Arizona Cardinals in 2011 hasn't been good for the heart. The Cardinals have made a habit of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Having won six of their last seven games after starting the season 1-6, they're hoping they can somehow pull off a playoff berth before it's all done.

The Cardinals went out and made a big move before the season, acquiring quarterback Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles. That move was designed to put the Cardinals over the top in an NFC West that most saw as anyone's race. Without any off season to get acclimated, Kolb and the Cardinals struggled out of the gate. After an opening win at home against Carolina, the Cardinals lost six straight. Their sixth loss was to the Baltimore Ravens where, after getting out to a 24-3 halftime lead on the road, Arizona imploded in the second half and lost 30-27. Kevin Kolb suffered a toe injury in Baltimore, however, and John Skelton came in to quarterback the next week against the Rams. That started the winning streak.

Skelton hasn't necessarily been a better passer than Kolb, but he has proven more elusive. His ability to escape the pass rush has kept plays alive and reduced the sack numbers. Additionally, Ken Whisenhunt tweaked the offense to allow for his new quarterback, putting the ball in the hands of former Ohio State standout Beanie Wells more often. Wells has responded by averaging 4.3 yards per carry and rushing for ten touchdowns.

The Cardinals haven't done it the easy way though. Three of the six wins during the streak have come in overtime, including last week over the Cleveland Browns. They've trailed in the second half of every one of their victories.

In that way, they mirror the Cincinnati Bengals. Something will have to give Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Beanie Wells, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, NFL

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