Larry Fitzgerald: Mistakes haunting Cardinals are 'unexplainable'

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals have gone from NFC favorites to also-rans. Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald went to sleep Sunday night after the Arizona Cardinals' 30-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings thinking about why the Cards’ wide receivers are still making mistakes they didn’t make a year ago.

There were times during Sunday’s game when Arizona's receivers needed help lining up in various formations or didn't run routes all the way through.

He couldn't come up with a reason for why the unit is struggling.

"I really don’t know," Fitzgerald said. "I actually went to sleep thinking about that because it was kind of bothering me. This group has been together for a while and the things that are happening are pretty unexplainable, to be honest with you.

"It is disheartening, but ... there are things that we can do to fix those things."

It's not just Fitzgerald, who blamed himself for missing a signal from quarterback Carson Palmer on Sunday, or the other receivers, who are responsible for the increased number of mistakes haunting the Cardinals this season. Palmer has been culpable. The offensive line has been guilty, as has been the secondary. At one point or another this season, every position on the field has committed a mistake that has cost the Cardinals, either on an individual play or on a larger scale.

"Just taking turns making mistakes, and that’s frustrating," Fitzgerald said. "Six games left in the regular season at this point and we have no room for error moving forward. None.

"We are fighting and scratching right now and every week is pivotal."

With six games left, the Cardinals sit at 4-5-1 and are all but out of the playoff picture. According to ESPN's NFL Football Power Index, they have a 14 percent chance of making the playoffs. This comes after the Cardinals were a chic pick in the preseason to make Super Bowl 51, if not win it.

In some ways, the season has been an 180-degree turn from what was expected.

The Cardinals owned the No. 1 offense last season, returned every player who caught a pass from Palmer and every player who scored an offensive touchdown last season. But the offense, in its fourth season in coach Bruce Arians' scheme, looks like it's playing in Year 1 of his complex offense. Arizona is ranked ninth in yards per game, 22nd in yards per play and 23rd in passing yards per play -- all categories Arizona was ranked first in last season.

But Fitzgerald doesn't have any answers as to what has happened.

"It hasn't gone the way we wanted it to go by any stretch of the imagination," Fitzgerald said. "But it is all in front of us, in terms of it is all correctable mistakes. The things that we are doing to limit ourselves offensively, penalties and things of that nature, are things that are correctable, and we just haven't, to this point, done enough to make sure we come out with the wins -- score enough points, not turn the football over, not have wide receiver miscues and things of that nature.

"That is the thing that is most alarming is that we didn't have much of that last year."

There are solutions, Fitzgerald insisted. Communication needs to improve. The offense needs to be on the same page. Fitzgerald said he can't miss a signal from Palmer.

"I can't not see him give me a signal," Fitzgerald said. "That can't happen. We have to be on the same accord so things like that have to stop if we want to be the team that we know we can be offensively."