The Arizona Cardinals were humiliated in their wild-card game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, and some people were puzzled by the explanation Kliff Kingsbury gave for the poor showing.
Following his team’s 34-11 loss, Kingsbury said a lack of playoff experience may have played a role in the Cardinals being beaten so badly.
“I think experience is a big part of it. There’s only one way to experience playoff football and that’s to go through it,” Kingsbury said, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. “And unfortunately, we didn’t play our best game and I thought L.A. played a great game, had a great plan and outplayed us and outcoached us. But I think you just got to go through these moments and learn from it and grow from it and use it as motivation.”
Kingsbury is right that the Cardinals were outplayed and outcoached. They gained 183 yards of total offense and trailed 21-0 at halftime. However, citing a lack of experience as a reason for an embarrassing loss is something best left to the media.
Somehow, a young team like the Cincinnati Bengals was far more prepared for their playoff game than the Cardinals were. As Patra notes, Bengals players entered the postseason wth a combined 57 games of playoff experience, which is the least in the NFL. They played well and defeated the Las Vegas Raiders. The Cardinals entered with 83 combined games of playoff experience, which was the fourth-fewest in the NFL. Perhaps the lack of experience and preparedness from Kingsbury was Arizona’s biggest problem.
The Cardinals also would have had a home playoff game if not for their collapse during the regular season. They lost four of their last five games, and one of the four was to the Detroit Lions.
J.J. Watt seemed to think the Cardinals had a chance to make a run, as evidenced by the way he reacted to the loss. Not having playoff experience might come into play late in a close game, but the blowout was a result of a great game plan by the Rams and numerous failures by Arizona.