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first_img Top Stories The Cardinals got a lot of breaks in this game, but they didn’t get the last one. Chip shot field goal by the Dolphins, and it was game, set, match.No need to scoreboard watch anymore. It doesn’t matter what the Giants, Redskins, Lions, Packers, Vikings, Bucs, Falcons or anyone else does. The Cardinals are no longer in the column that reads “In the Hunt”.Arizona will need to play hard against Seattle, because they are playing for something and you owe it to the teams that are chasing them for the No. 2-seed.There’s no need to go all out versus New Orleans or Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean you don’t play to win. However, it does mean you sit Tyrann Mathieu and anyone else who has a serious injury for the rest of the season, you limit some of the load from David Johnson, you play Drew Stanton some to take some of the hits off of Palmer, you experiment with a new punter and allow some of the rookie class to get some reps.Palmer has not been good this year. He has been hit way too many times. Give him all the credit in the world for hanging in there and playing tough, but he has made bad decisions all year long. Not just the turnovers, but on Sunday he took an unnecessary sack for a 10-yard loss on 3rd and 2 that led to Catanzaro’s miss from 41 yards. Too many times he has held onto the ball instead of playing smart and throwing it away. Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires We are left to figure out what went wrong, how it went wrong and why it went wrong. Plenty of blame to go around, including coaching. But let’s be honest: the 2016 Arizona Cardinals team was just not very good. You can say all day long that they had the talent, but plenty of teams have talent and don’t win. The Cardinals are now just another one of those teams.Obviously, the “un-special” teams was a disaster again Sunday. No play summed up the Cardinals season more than a bad snap, blocked extra point that was returned for two points by Miami after the Cardinals had closed within 21-15.Someone needs to lose their job over what is without a doubt the worst special teams unit in the National Football League. Heads need to roll. This is inexcusable and I don’t care how long Coach Bruce Arians has been with Amos Jones – his time is up.There was an extra point missed, a 41-yard field goal that was no good when it hit the upright, the blocked extra point returned for two points and, of course, the huge 20-yard punt return by Jarvis Landry that gave Miami the ball inside Cardinals territory with 1:30 left that set up the game-winning field goal.Miami tried to give the game away. The fact that the Cardinals had the ball and a chance to win with under two minutes left was a miracle. Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Sio Moore (54) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23), during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Dolphins defeated the Cardinals 26-23. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) This season was supposed to be special. Now, all we are left with is the possibility that this was the most disappointing season that any Arizona professional sports team has ever had. – / 31center_img It’s officially over; what a disappointment. It’s hard to believe that this Cardinals team that made it to the NFC Championship game last season and entered this year as a Super Bowl favorite, will not be playing meaningful games in the final three weeks of the season.Next week’s home game against New Orleans means nothing.The following week at division rival Seattle means nothing.The finale at the Rams? Wake me when that one is over. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Landry ran into his own player on a punt return to cough up the ball at midfield when the Dolphins were about to put the game away ahead 21-9, and getting great field position. Then, with Ryan Tannehill knocked out of the game and for the season after a low hit by Calais Campbell, the Dolphins got conservative with backup quarterback Matt Moore and had two consecutive three-and-outs. That was enough for Arizona to score two touchdowns and a two-point conversion to tie the score.After a third consecutive three-and-out with Moore behind center, Arizona had the ball at their own 25 with 1:55 left and a chance to steal one on the road to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. But on the first play, Carson Palmer fumbled the ball for the third time in the game for a loss of six-yards, putting the Cardinals in a huge hole that led to a three-and-out, giving Miami a final chance.With that final chance, Miami turned Moore loose on Justin Bethel — smart! Bethel may be a great special teams player, but he can’t cover anyone.Moore hit Stills for 12 yards with Bethel covering him and then hit Stills again for 29 yards with the same coverage.Still, Miami almost choked it away.They ran a play from the Cardinals three-yard line with 10 seconds remaining in which Moore fell down on the hand off to Damien Williams, who then used up about eight seconds going nowhere. Miami was fortunate to get a timeout with one second left. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img read more

Barkley has Gaffney gasping as Bath build head of steam towards title

first_imgPremiership … we have a small favour to ask. The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Bath 66-21 Saracens Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news Premiership Share via Email Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Matt Stevens of Bath feels the strain during their easy victory over Saracens. Photograph: P Harding/Action Shares00 Share on Facebook Bath’s stay at the head of the Guinness Premiership lasted less than a day but, according to Alan Gaffney, they are the form horses for the title. Asked who could beat them, the Saracens coach brushed aside Gloucester, whom Bath play on Saturday, probably to see who finishes the regular season in top spot. “Possibly Wasps … at Twickenham,” he said.The line-up for the final settled, the Australian, who moves to Ireland next season, said: “I don’t think I have been involved as a coach in any part of the world where I’ve had 66 points scored against me. It is going to take a very good defensive side to hold them out.”His Saracens failed to do the job on Saturday, conceding 45 points by half-time before eventually leaking nine tries and suffering their heaviest defeat of the season. Considering Saracens themselves scored 66 points in a league match two months ago and held Munster to a two-point victory in their Heineken Cup semi-final last Sunday puts Bath’s performance in perspective.Admittedly Saracens were still groggy from their 10-rounder against one of Europe’s heavyweights but, as Gaffney said: “Bath are the best team in the Premiership at offloading in the tackle.” Such was their domination that his side waited 30 minutes and were already three tries down before they had the ball in their hands long enough to string a few passes together. That attack, like endless others, ended with a crunching Bath tackle and a fumble – this time preceding Joe Maddock’s try in the right corner.”We allowed Bath to dominate and we let them play at a pace they wanted to and we couldn’t live with them,” said Gaffney. By the time Saracens trooped off at the interval Daniel Browne, Olly Barkley, Butch James and Matt Banahan – from 80 metres – had also crossed their line. Share via Email Share on Twitter Bath Since you’re here… Mike Averis at the Recreation Groundcenter_img Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Premiership 2007-08 First published on Sun 4 May 2008 20.55 EDT Topics Rugby union Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Saracens Read more Sun 4 May 2008 20.55 EDT Matt Stevens and Lee Mears, two Bath front-rows who should have had enough on their hands coping with one of the most formidable scrums in the Premiership, buzzed around making breaks, links and causing mayhem. Danny Grewcock behaved like a man who would not look out of place against the All Blacks this summer and Michael Lipman was extraordinary – spending the evening knocking seven bells out of anything in a black shirt. He and Barkley, who amassed 31 points with an unblemished kicking game, scored again in the second half.Their fans gave them a standing ovation, no doubt wondering whether this would be the last they had seen of some of them and Barkley, who is off to Gloucester, in particular. Word is that Bath are planning another big signing. Should that be, say, Jerry Collins – the All Black has West Country connections – the Bath back row would be a formidable unit, but it has been the creative hinge of James and Barkley that has transformed them this season.A Barkley partnership with Danny Cipriani in New Zealand next month might do the same for England. However, before then, if Gaffney is correct, the two will go head to head at Twickenham. Bath Abendanon (Berne, h-t); Maddock, Crockett, Barkley, Banahan (Higgins, 70); James, Claassens (Walshe, 62); Barnes (Bell, 27), Mears (Dixon, h-t), Stevens, Borthwick (capt), Grewcock, Faamatuainu (Feau’nati, 55), Lipman, Browne (Short, 62).Tries Browne, Barkley 2, Lipman 2, Maddock, James, Banahan, Higgins. Cons Barkley 9. Pen Barkley.Sin-bin Claassens 40, James 53.Saracens Scarbrough (Penny, 75); Leonelli, Sorrell (capt), Powell, Ratuvou; Jackson (Ross, 59), Rauluni (Dickens, 33); Yates, (Cairns, h-t), Ongaro, Johnson (Mercey, 72), Ryder, Fullarton (Seymour, h-t), Chesney, Barrell (Saull, 74), Gustard.Tries Powell, Yates, Ratuvou. Cons Jackson 2, Ross.Referee R Debney (Leicestershire). Attendance 10,600. Reuse this content Share on Messenger Barkley has Gaffney gasping as Bath build head of steam towards titlelast_img read more