Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer 14d

Game at 49ers will determine if Cardinals found needed sense of urgency

TEMPE, Ariz. -- In the immediate aftermath of the Arizona Cardinals' blowout shutout loss to the Los Angeles Rams in London, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald talked about the benefit of the bye week.

In particular, how time away could reignite the Cardinals’ sense of urgency.

With a 3-4 record and the playoffs disappearing over the horizon, Arizona is facing as close to a must-win Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers as it has all season.

“We cannot fall any further behind in our division,” coach Bruce Arians said. “Division road wins are huge. So, this is a big, big game. I don’t think there’s ever a must (win) game but this pretty close.”

To get there, however, the Cardinals need to put together four consistent quarters, something that’s evaded them often this season. Arizona has traded wins with losses thus far. Based on their first seven games, a win would continue that trend. But the Cardinals are struggling in significant areas that help decide wins. They’re ranked last in rushing, red-zone efficiency on offense, punting net yards and goal-to-go efficiency, while being second to last in third-down defense and punt return average.

Fitzgerald wants to see a reliable team on the field.

“Just some consistency,” he said.

Arians described the Cardinals’ sense of urgency this week as “extreme.” But there’s only one way to tell just how badly this team wants to win, Fitzgerald said.

“Well, you’re not going to be able to tell if you found it until you line it up and play,” Fitzgerald said. “You can practice all you want, but at the end of the day you've got to execute against the best in the world, and that’s the competition that we play against.

“Sunday, about 5 o’clock, (I’ll) let you know.”

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