The Arizona Cardinals got embarrassed in Kliff Kingsbury's first foray into the NFL's postseason, a 34-11 beatdown Monday night at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams that was a laugher at halftime.
By any metric, the Cards got bullied -- generating just 183 yards, allowing the Rams big play after big play, turning the ball over twice -- and outcoached like a JV squad.
Following the loss, Kingsbury cited the Cards' lack of experience as a reason for the letdown.
"I think experience is a big part of it," he said. "There's only one way to experience playoff football and that's to go through it. 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."
The Cincinnati Bengals would like a word on lack of postseason experience being a field-tilting determinant in playoff success. The Bengals entered Super Wild Card Weekend with the least postseason experience (57 combined games) and won. The Cards had 83 games of postseason experience on the roster -- tied for the fourth-fewest.
Arizona came out flat and got boat raced, never putting up much of a fight. The Cards were down 21-0 at halftime when Kingsbury seemed to wave the white flag, not attempting to get points before the break.
"You come out against a really good team and don't do anything right for the first two quarters, that's what's going to happen," the coach said of the blowout. "We got to give them credit. They played a great game and we didn't do much right coaching or playing the first half."
Perhaps the disappointment could have been brushed aside if it were a one-off. But the Cards have been cratering for a month. Monday night marked their fifth loss in six games, including a blowout at the lowly Lions, for Kingsbury's club.
Collapses have been a common theme in Kingsbury's coaching career.
Head coach at Texas Tech: lost 5 of last 6 games in 2013; lost 4 of last 6 in 2014; lost 4 of 6 in 2015; lost 6 of 8 in 2016; lost 6 of 8 in 2017; lost 5 of 5 in 2018.
Head coach in Arizona: lost 7 of final 9 games in 2019; lost 5 of 7 in 2020; lost 5 of 6 in 2021.
Kingsbury entered the 2021 season on the hot seat. It cooled with the 7-0 start to the season. But the latest flop could have him on the chopping block. The question for ownership is whether Monday's embarrassment is the final straw.
"(We've) got to use this as motivation and come back stronger from it because that's not indicative of who we want to be," Kingsbury said. "And unfortunately, that showed up tonight."