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Bruce Arians doesn’t “buy into” injuries factoring into Cardinals loss

Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Carolina Panthers

Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Carolina Panthers

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The Cardinals finished Saturday’s loss to the Panthers with 78 yards, a record low for an NFL team in a playoff game and one last illustration of how hamstrung they looked running an offense with Ryan Lindley at the controls.

Arizona averaged 1.7 yards per play on Saturday and the Panthers actually had more penalty yards than the Cardinals mustered on offense in one of the worst showings in playoff history. With Lindley offering no threat to opposing defenses and leaving a good performance by the defense to mean nothing, it seemed clear that a season-long run of injuries finally caught up with Arizona.

Coach Bruce Arians wouldn’t say that after the game, however. Even though Panthers coach Ron Rivera admitted his team caught the Cardinals at a good time, Arians said he thought Lindley played well until throwing his first of two interceptions in the fourth quarter and that he didn’t “buy into” the notion that injuries were a factor in the end of the Cardinals season.

“We have to make game plans to win games and ask players to do things we think they are capable of doing to win games,” Arians said, via the team’s website. “These guys overcame. This was a great season. We didn’t miss any kind of opportunity. Other than scoring that touchdown down there.”

Arians’ confidence in his players never wavered this season, no matter the circumstances that brought some of them into the lineup. The outside take is different. Arians and the coaching staff could plan for months and they’d still struggle to come up with one that a Lindley-run offense without a strong running game could follow to a victory.