It was a failed offensive effort in the fourth quarter that resulted in a late Chargers’ comeback.
In total, the Cardinals’ offense recorded 28 yards throughout three drives.
While the offense stalled, Arizona’s defense also forced three straight three-and-outs. However, this eventually gave way, and Justin Herbert took advantage of a tired secondary with time running out in the fourth quarter.
A 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter seemed to send this game into overtime. But instead, the Chargers elected to go for two, which paid off big time, giving them a 25-24 lead.
Herbert threw 47 total passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Kyler Murray threw for only 75 yards in the second half, finishing the game with less than 200 yards in the air.
The Cardinals had two takeaways overturned.
In the second quarter, Arizona’s defense seemed to come away with a huge fumble. However, after further review, the call was reversed and was ruled a recovery by the Chargers.
As a result, Justin Herbert connected with Keenan Allen to give the Chargers their first points of the game.
The second overturn came in the fourth quarter. Zaven Collins looked to have the first interception of his career, but once again, the officials overturned the call, and it may have cost the Cardinals the game.
Instead of Arizona’s offense taking over in field goal range, the offense began backed up inside their own 20. A quick three-and-out later, the Chargers had the ball right back in their hands.
Arizona’s rushing attack was one of the few positive takeaways from this Week 12 matchup.
James Conner ran for a season-high 120 yards on 25 attempts. The 25 rushes from Conner were the most since Week 1 of the 2018 season.
Kyler Murray added another 56 yards and a touchdown.
Unfortunately, this was not enough, as the passing game lagged in the second half, ultimately preventing a Cardinals victory.
Too many mistakes
There were plenty of mistakes that ended up being killers for Arizona.
1. James Conner fumble
In the opening drive for the offense, James Conner fumbled the football after two straight 10+ yard plays. The fumble ended a promising opening drive for the Cardinals offense.
It was his first of the season.
2. 4th-down interception
The Cardinals went for it on 4th down only once today, and it was unsuccessful.
After what looked like an easy punt call, Kliff Kingsbury went for it on 4th and inches. Yet instead of a quick QB sneak or handoff to James Conner, Kyler Murray threw it deep, which was intercepted.
3. Missed field goal
Although it is hard to blame Matt Prater, a missed 49-yard field goal ended up being the difference maker in this game.
Arizona bolted out of the second half with a couple of huge runs. But the drive was halted after a false start was called on backup center Billy Price.
The missed 49-yard field goal snapped an 18 straight streak for Prater.
Heading into the bye
Unfortunately for Arizona, they will be forced to sit with this loss for a couple of weeks.
With a Week 13 bye, the Cardinals will not have the opportunity to make up for this loss until December 12th against the New England Patriots.
There is plenty to discuss inside the locker room, as 4-8 is not where this team expected to be at this point of the season.