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Tough times for Garrard


David Garrard better have thick skin for what he's going to face on the field and for the criticism he's going to face off it.

Garrard appeared to be under a fierce pass-rush all day and the final stats would tend to support that claim. The Cardinals were credited with four sacks and four hurries, and I'm sorry, folks, but I'll have to watch the tape to count the number of times Garrard had to scramble from danger.

I know I saw him scramble a total of 50 yards on two particular escapes. I saw him pull out of the grasp of two linemen on another occasion. I'm not suggesting that Garrard should be awarded AFC offensive player of the week for his performance on Sunday, but my bet is that he's worthy of scrambler of the week.

The popular question in postgame interviews was: Did he have enough time to throw?

"I thought he got better pass-protection than he did last week," coach Jack Del Rio said.

That, of course, is an answer that could be taken a couple of different ways, since the lack of protection Garrard got in Indianapolis bordered on abusive.

"When you don't win, it's not good enough. We have to look at the tape," Del Rio added. "I don't care to do any finger pointing. We need to get better."

Garrard pointed the finger at himself, as a good quarterback should.

"I thought I had plenty of time today. I have to avoid some things," he said.

OK, that's enough. Shouldering the blame for your teammates is wonderfully honorable, but I feel compelled to show respect for the truth. What's the truth? The truth is I've never covered a quarterback who could've functioned in that environment and have won.

Being sacked at one end and having passes dropped at the other is not a formula for success. It's especially defeating when two of those drops are on consecutive plays in the end zone.

Hey, I don't wanna point fingers but, you know, it is what it is, right? While we're not pointing fingers, maybe we shouldn't point them at Garrard, either.

The fingers, however, will collectively point at him. He's the quarterback. He's the guy who's responsible for this defeat. Never mind that the defense allowed 383 yards and, for all intents and purposes, permitted the Cardinals to shut it down before three quarters were complete.

Never mind that the defense allowed Kurt Warner to set an NFL single-game record for pass-completion percentage, 92.3. I gotta tell you, it's tough to win when the opposing quarterback completes 92.3 percent of his passes, no matter how well you tackle.

Garrard is gonna take the blame for this loss, in the talk shows, in print, on the message boards, etc., because that's the popular thing to do, blame the quarterback. Is it just? Ask yourself that question. Did he have the support a quarterback needs to be able to come out a winner?

In my mind, the answer is clearly no, he did not.

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