Even waking up Carolina's dormant ground game hasn't helped the NFL's lowest-scoring team. Jonathan Stewart rushed for 133 yards last week, but his fumble on the first play from scrimmage set up a touchdown and Atlanta never trailed.
It was the Panthers' seventh straight loss, leaving them three defeats away from securing the No. 1 draft pick and perhaps Clausen's replacement, Andrew Luck of Stanford.
"Obviously, no one expected us to be in this situation right now," Clausen said. "But we are what we are and we have three games left to finish strong."
Thanks to being in a forgiving division, the Cardinals still are alive in the playoff race. They trail NFC West co-leaders St. Louis and Seattle by two games with three to play. All they have to do is get hot with an offense Whisenhunt acknowledged is scaled back for Skelton.
"Obviously, that is one of the most important positions on the field," Whisenhunt said. "I think that when you look at the level that a lot of these quarterbacks are playing at, you can understand why teams are being productive."
These two teams certainly aren't productive. Just ask Smith and Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Pro Bowl regulars whose numbers are way off thanks to passing games from another era.
"Very similar situation that we're in," Fox said of the Cardinals. "They've had their rotation at quarterback. They've got some skill people outside that sometimes you don't get to take advantage of in that situation. Again, it's been hard for them to get continuity on offense."
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