Every week it seems like the opening line of an Arizona Cardinals story begins with criticism of the offense and the defense getting tired of carrying the load.
Last Sunday against Seattle was no different. With the offense continuing to sputter, the defense collapsed and the team suffered a franchise-worst 58-0 loss to a division rival.
"Early on I thought we played well as a defense and kind of probably got a little frustrated with being on the field maybe longer than we wanted to," linebacker Daryl Washington said. "Guys were getting frustrated and we kind of got out of what we was doing as far as the defense and what we do defensively. It was just a tough game for us."
Before last week's loss to the Seahawks, the Cardinals' overall defense was ranked as high as fourth in the league and now they sit at 12th. Even possible pro-bowler Washington had a slow night, recording just four tackles and one solo tackle.
"It's been pretty tough," Washington said. "We take a lot of pride in what we do. We think that still no matter what, where we get the ball at on defense we have to be able to stop those guys, that's our job to do."
By no means has the Cardinals' defense been perfect this season, particularly the run defense, which allowed 284 yards on the ground with nearly seven yards per carry against the Seahawks. But the offense isn't even giving the defense a chance to catch their breath.
"I think it is frustrating to a sense where we want our offense to maybe move the ball and kind of sustain drives," reiterated Washington. "Not necessarily score every time they get the ball but kind of keep us off the field so we can get our rest and be able to come out and compete like we want to."
Through this nine game skid, the Cardinals' defense has remained composed, repeating the mantra that they can only control what they can control and reminding fans that they win and lose as a team. But at some point it's human nature to get frustrated with the current situation.
"You know it's tough, going through the whole game and maybe we're on the field longer than we need to or longer than the offense and our bodies are breaking down toward the end of the game," Washington said. "We're getting tired but defensively we have to go out there and continue to keep that same approach and stay positive."
The Cardinals have three remaining games on the schedule with the Lions, the Bears and the 49ers. Who knows at this point if their offense scores another point the rest of the season, so maybe Washington and the rest of the defense should continue to work on how to put points on the board when they're on the field. That may just be their only hope for a "W" as the weeks wind down.