Bruce Arians on Cardinals' season: 'We played stupid at times and that cost us'

Some of the Cardinals' in-game decisions this past season confused Bruce Arians. Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

TEMPE, Ariz. -- With the 2016 season fading further behind in the Arizona Cardinals' rear-view mirror, it's become clear to coach Bruce Arians and general manager Steve Keim what went wrong during a 7-8-1 campaign that occurred only a season after coming within a game of the Super Bowl.

"When you look at the close losses and why, there was a lack of discipline at times," Arians said. "There was a lot of guys trying to do too much instead of just doing their job. We missed some kicks we should've made.

"But overall, I don't want to use the word stupid but we played stupid at times and that cost us."

Among the many reasons for Arizona's dramatic drop from 13 wins in 2015 to seven in 2016 was a lack of attention to detail, Keim pointed out on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

"There were mental mistakes," Keim said. "Certain times where guys had to step up and make plays and they didn't do it. That's the nature of the business that's tough."

Instead of fulfilling expectations of a Super Bowl run and even a world championship, Keim felt the Cardinals regressed. He didn't lay the blame on the Cardinals' coaching staff, though.

"I have a tremendous amount of faith in our coaching staff," Keim said. "I know they do a great job with our players and it's shown over the last four years -- 10, 11 and 13 wins -- and then we took a step back this year. We didn't coach them any different."

Keim added: "We didn't make the plays that we needed to."

Keim, the architect of Arizona's three straight double-digit wins seasons, shouldered the blame for that.

"Ultimately, I'm the one that has to provide our coaches with the players to succeed and I didn't do a good enough job," Keim said. "I challenge myself every day to make sure that moving forward that we won't be in that position again."

Arians agrees. He sees the 2016 season as an anomaly, especially after how Arizona finished it with an upset win over the Seattle Seahawks and a blowout of the Los Angeles Rams, both coming on the road with a slew of backups in the Cardinals' lineup.

Last season was Arians' first losing season as an NFL head coach dating back to the 2012 season in Indianapolis, when he was the Colts' interim head coach for 12 games, going 9-3 and leading them to the playoffs. Arians went 10-6, 11-5 and 13-3, respectively, in his first three seasons in Arizona.

Losing was foreign to Arians, who said he took the veteran roster he had for granted because he never heard it complain.

"I knew losing sucks, but now you really know," Arians said. "I don't like it."