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LOS ANGELES — The surest way to prove something is not an aberration is to repeat it the next time you have an opportunity.
That’s the only thing the Cardinals were successful in doing Sunday at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
They were blown out for a second consecutive week, this time 34-0 by the Rams. That made it official: The Cardinals are a bad team, possibly the worst in the NFL.
There are innumerable ways to tell that story through numbers, but the most startling and important one is this: The Cardinals have been outscored 58-6 this season.
When he was hired last January, coach Steve Wilks called his new job a “retool” rather than a rebuild. Two weeks in, it looks more like a throwback to the post-Kurt Warner years, or the nearly two decades at Sun Devil Stadium.
“Lot of things we need to address moving forward,” Wilks said Sunday.
That’s an understatement. Wilks has more items to address than a wedding planner for the Kennedys.
The Cardinals gained five first downs, tied for the fewest in franchise history since 1950. Sam Bradford passed for 90 yards, fewest since Ryan Lindley lit the Jets up for 72 yards in 2012. The defense yielded more than 400 yards in both games.
The Cardinals trailed 19-0 at halftime and didn’t cross midfield until there were 30 seconds left in the game.
That’s not something a team can build upon.
This is: Start rookie Josh Rosen at quarterback. Things can’t possibly get worse.
This embarrassing start is not all Bradford’s fault. The Cardinals can’t run the ball. The protection is leaky. The play calling is as bland and undefinable as tofu.
Cardinals insiders Bob McManaman and Kent Somers talk about the Cardinals’ 34-0 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles.
Playing offense for the Cardinals is like being in an escape room without being provided any clues for escape.
“We’ve got to run the ball more efficiently, convert on third down, sustain drives,” said offensive coordinator Mike McCoy as he walked briskly up the ramp leading out of the stadium.
So how do the Cardinals convert more on third down? (They are 4 of 20 this season).
“I got to watch the film before I evaluate what we did in the game today,” McCoy said.
No one else seems to have answers, either.
Wilks wasn’t tempted to play Rosen on Sunday, he said, which was a wise decision since the situation wasn’t ripe for success. It was just ripe.
“I don’t even know where to start right now,” Wilks said when asked how the offense can improve.
Wilks didn’t rule out a change at quarterback, saying coaches have to evaluate all three phases.
“I’m not going to sit here and jump to conclusions right after the game,” he said.
I’m guessing Wilks’ conclusions don’t change after he watches video of Sunday’s loss.
Only two games into the season, it’s clear the Cardinals should be playing for the future, and Rosen is it. He might also help the present product a bit and give us a reason to continue watching.
Winners of the NFC West a year ago, the Rams showed the Cardinals just how far they have fallen from Bruce Arians’ halcyon days, and how far they have to go to just be competitive with the best the division has to offer.
The Cardinals will be better off in 2019 if Rosen plays now. Bradford is a fine fellow and a good teammate, but the Cardinals have scored six points in their first two games, the fewest in franchise history since 1945.
That team had an excuse. Most of its best players were involved in a far more important contest: World War II.
Changing quarterbacks shouldn’t let anyone else off the hook. Not McCoy, not Wilks, not General Manager Steve Keim, not defensive coordinator Al Holcomb, not team President Michael Bidwill.
Last week, Holcomb described his group as “salty” after Week 1. If that’s true, just imagine how bad things could have been Sunday if it had not been.
About the best things the Cardinals can say after Sunday is that the game took less than three hours to play and no one quit at halftime, as Bills defensive back Vontae Davis did midway through Buffalo’s loss.
But it’s impossible to look back at the Cardinals’ first two games and find reasons for hope, or even reasons to watch this team. The worst thing in sports is to be both bad and boring.
Playing Rosen solves at least one of those problems.