The Arizona Cardinals were flying high. With home wins over Seattle Philadelphia and Miami and a road victory in New England to open the 2012 season the Cardinals entered a Thursday night game at the Edward Jones Dome at 4-0.
The Rams defeated Arizona 17-3 and the Cardinals’ season eventually spiraled out of control. Arizona would win just one of its last 12 games finishing 5-11.

Blame for the Cardinals’ season-ending collapse can be shared. The offensive line struggled surrendering a league-worst 58 sacks and the ground game was nearly as ineffective averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

Add to that some really ugly play at quarterback where four different passers — Kevin Kolb John Skelton Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer — combined for four touchdowns and 18 interceptions in the season’s final 12 games.

The offseason in the desert provided a major overhaul with Steve Keim taking over as general manager and longtime NFL offensive coordinator Bruce Arians added as the new head coach. The team cut or elected not to re-sign six players who started at least 10 games a year ago parting with players who took 38.2 percent of the team’s snaps.

“Every year is a new year in the NFL and this is a new team’’ Arians said by phone on Wednesday. “We’ve got 26 new players on our roster and a new coaching staff. ... We’re talking more about winning than losing and about going forward and never looking backwards.’’

Arians joins the Cardinals after playing a major role in one of 2012’s best stories. He became the first interim to win the NFL Coach of the Year award after leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 9-3 record while filling in as head coach Chuck Pagano battled leukemia.

“Last year was an unbelievable fairy tale ride for all of us and the biggest part of the fairy tale was seeing Chuck get well and come back for that last game’’ said Arians. Being a head coach is “extremely exciting for me. It’s something I never thought would happen. ... If it wasn’t for Chuck’s illness I don’t think it would have happened.’’