There's no sugar-coating allowed following brutal performances. An affinity for sweets is still OK.
In that vein, I went back and looked at Tim Hightower's 80-yard touchdown run from Week 2, the Arizona Cardinals' lone score during a 41-7 defeat. For one play, everything came together. The Cardinals really could not have drawn it up any more perfectly.
They lined up with base personnel in the I-formation at their own 20-yard line, the ball between the hashes. Tight end Stephen Spach lined up next to right tackle Brandon Keith. Receiver Steve Breaston lined up just outside left tackle Levi Brown, but off the line of scrimmage. Larry Fitzgerald lined up wide left, just outside the numbers.
The Falcons arranged their defense in a 4-3 under look, as if hoping to prevent the Cardinals from double-teaming their linemen. It appeared as though Atlanta wanted to exploit one-on-one matchups up front. But with Jamaal Anderson, the left defensive end, lined up across from Keith, Spach had a clear shot at rookie strong-side linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who was lined up directly behind Anderson, on the hash. Spach cut down Weatherspoon at the knees, obstructing Anderson's path as Hightower barreled around the corner.
Fullback Reagan Maui'a sealed safety William Moore along the perimeter as Hightower hit stride. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton might have had a shot at Hightower, but Keith was roaming free after losing Anderson in traffic. Keith and Lofton intersected at the 22. Size and leverage were on Keith's size, especially when Lofton tried to turn back as Hightower raced by. Keith launched Lofton hard. Lofton landed at the 27.
Hightower outran cornerback Brent Grimes and lost him for good at the Atlanta 35. Hightower owned the longest touchdown run of his career and the Cardinals' longest run since 1958. But he had lots of help.