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No silver lining in Arizona
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Arizona: the land of John McCain, the Grand Canyon and some of the worst football you've ever seen.

The Seattle Seahawks entered Sunday's game against Arizona as a 10-point favorite.

Maybe they should have been 60-point favorites.

What ensued Sunday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle was a classic case of adding insult to injury as the Pete Carroll-coached Seahawks walked away with a decisive (perhaps "merciless" is the better word) 58-0 victory over the reeling Cardinals.

So, yeah, I guess you could say the Seahawks covered the spread.

Welcome, everybody, to the sad mess that is the Arizona Cardinals.

Calling the Cardinals' nine-game losing streak a "slump" doesn't begin to describe how bad things have gotten in the Copper State.

The Cardinals are nails on a chalkboard bad right now. Heck, they might even be Nicolas Cage in "The Wicker Man" bad (But not quite Shaq in "Kazaam" bad. I have to draw the line somewhere.).

Last week, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett earned himself a "six figure" fine for spitting in another player's face. The player he spat at was teammate Kerry Rhodes.

Even Larry Fitzgerald has been affected by the streak. In past seasons, Fitzgerald has been a man among boys on the fantasy scene, using his elite athleticism to rack up five consecutive 1,000 yard seasons.

Fitzgerald will need to average at least 116 ypg the rest of the season to extend that streak. That seems unlikely given that Arizona has averaged 102.5 passing ypg in its past two defeats.

And here lies the problem in Arizona (well one problem, at least). The Cardinals' passing game is in utter shambles. Not one of Arizona's three quarterbacks is capable of leading an offense.

Sunday in Seattle, we got to take a look at two of these inept signal-callers. John Skelton, who's been given as many second chances as Chris Brown with Rihanna, started the game by completing 11-of-22 passes for 74 yards.

After beginning the third quarter with yet another interception (his fourth of the afternoon), head coach Ken Wisenhunt had finally seen enough. Rookie Ryan Lindley finished out the contest with eight completions on 17 attempts.

Kevin Kolb, the third Arizona quarterback, was inactive for Sunday's beatdown because of a rib injury. He's been out since Week 6 and there's no guarantee that he'll be back for the end of the season.

To put into perspective just how poorly Skelton and Lindley have played, consider their combined stats from the past two games. In those two outings, Skelton and Lindley have thrown for 205 yards on 29-of-70 passing (41.4 percent) with no touchdowns and five interceptions. That's a combined QB rating of 19.3.

Fitzgerald's fantasy owners might be the biggest victims of Arizona's quarterbacking catastrophe. The former Pitt Panther was picked 12th overall in both of my fantasy drafts this season. In each league, he was the second wide receiver selected. Today, Fitzgerald ranks 39th among wideouts in fantasy points, including the goose egg he put up Sunday in the Emerald City.

These past four weeks have been particularly harsh for Fitz owners as the six- time Pro Bowler has hauled in just 67 yards over that time frame. That's an average of 16.8 ypg. Prior to this season, Fitzgerald had averaged 77.5 ypg in 124 career games.

During this disastrous four-game stretch, Fitzgerald has been targeted 37 times with just six catches (16.2 percent success rate). For the season, he's caught just 43.5 percent of the balls thrown in his direction while collecting only eight grabs of 20 yards or more. Both are career-lows.

Maybe Fitzgerald has lost a step. But with Lindley and Skelton battling each other for the honor of worst starting quarterback in the NFL, how can we realistically expect Fitz to enjoy any level of fantasy success? Even Calvin Johnson would have a hard time cracking 1,000 yards in this offense.

The truth is, things just haven't been the same in Arizona since Kurt Warner left after the 2009 season. During his tenure as Cardinals quarterback from 2005 to 2009 (with a couple sporadic Matt Leinart appearances sprinkled in), Arizona ranked in the top ten in passing yards four times. Three times the Cardinals were in the top five including 2005 when they led the league with a mouth-watering 277.7 ypg.

With Warner under center and Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston lining up at wide receiver, Arizona's passing game was among the game's best. Since then, they've been as shaky as Andrew Bynum's knees. From 2010 to present, the Cardinals' quarterback tandem of Derek Anderson, Kolb, Lindley and Skelton has thrown for 222.8 ypg with 41 TDs and 59 interceptions.

That's a far cry from the Warner years when Cardinals QBs threw for 274.4 ypg with an 85.8 quarterback rating (66 QB rating for Skelton and company). Warner's Cards completed 63 percent of their passes compared to just 53.7 percent for the current group.

It's time for fantasy owners to swallow a pill of reality. Kurt Warner isn't walking through the doors at University of Phoenix Stadium again any time soon.

With Skelton and Lindley running the show in 'Zona, nobody on the Cardinals' roster stands a chance in fantasy. Sorry, Fitz.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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