Leinart Can’t Win Without the Ball

I don’t think enough can be written about Monday night’s game, so I hope Intrinsic Bent doesn’t mind a double post.

Last night’s game showed what is amazing about Chicago’s defense: they take the game right out from under you. Arizona definitely lost this game; but you certainly can’t say Arizona’s defense lost this game, you can’t exactly say Arizona’s offense lost this game . . . you could probably say that Arizona’s special teams lost this game, but that’s beside the point.

It started with a blindside blitz that forced Leinart to fumble; that’s one touchdown. Then we saw Urlacher rip the ball out of James’s grip like a schoolyard bully; that’s a second touchdown. Finally, a punt return touchdown against the worst punt coverage I’ve ever seen; that’s three.

Leinart’s probably ready to trade in his Cardinal teammates for his old USC squad right about now. This kid is already so far above all of this. He would have won this game outright in the last two minutes, except that the boneheads calling the shots decided that he should settle for a 40 yard field goal.

With one minute left, and the ball around the 25 yard line, Arizona’s coaching staff decided to start handing the ball off to James, who has been completely ineffective for four quarters; instead of keeping the ball in Leinart’s hands who had just rolled them 50 yards down the field like it was child’s play.

What makes this an even worse decision is that Chicago still had two timeouts, so running the ball didn’t even serve its purpose of taking the clock down to nil. No kicker is one hundred percent at or outside of 40 yards, Arizona should have let Leinart lead them home, and begin his legacy in the process. The outcome was inevitable: wide left. Dennis Green will be fired, if not now then at the season’s close, and he probably deserves it.

It just goes to show what was so odd about the game: you’ve got a quarterback showing he’s a future pro-bowler; how often do you see both the opposing defense and his coaches simultaneously take the ball out of his hands?


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