first_img Top Stories Coach is sick LMAO— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) October 24, 2016David Johnson’s great leapHey, David Johnson is still really, really good. The Cardinals have that going for them. The second-year running back has 705 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground with 4.5 yards per carry and just one lost fumble. He’s second on the team with 407 receiving yards. In all, 12 plays have been for 20 or more yards. So which one play tells us the whole tale? Mr. Jump Cut (could that be a nickname for the nicknameless star?) did it all when he jumped over the Panthers’ Robert McClain and then sidestepped Luke Kuechly for a big gain against Carolina. A few words that might explain the first half of the Arizona Cardinals’ season: Painful, mistake-prone, ugly, depressing, disappointing, bad and inexplicable.Nobody saw a 3-4-1 start for Arizona with losses to a Tom Brady-less Patriots team, the always-mediocre Rams and a then-one-win Panthers squad in Week 8. There was also that tie with the Seahawks.All-in-all, it’s been weird.Bruce Arians’ team hits a bye week with injuries, holes and inconsistencies lingering. Within the surprising failures, there has been some good as well. Looking back on the first eight games of the year, here are five plays that said a lot about the year as a whole. Call them the five defining plays of the year. Peterson and Arians can’t believe it 0 Comments   Share   The botched snapIt wasn’t a quirk. It became a trend. And it was certainly telling. Rookie long snapper Kam Canaday’s bad snap, Drew Butler’s hold and kicker Chandler Catanzaro’s missed field goal in the final seconds against the New England Patriots in Week 1’s 23-21 Arizona loss was foreshadowing. Of the three, only Catanzaro remains on the Cardinals’ roster. He too hasn’t recovered completely, having missed an overtime field goal in Week 7 against the Seahawks that would have given Arizona a win instead of a tie. From snaps and kicks to coverages and punts, the special teams unit has been poor for the Cards, all around.Cooper’s pick-sixThe defensive backfield has fought health issues with Tyvon Branch’s trip to the injured reserve and Tyrann Mathieu’s shoulder injury that interrupted an up-and-down year. But the No Fly Zone began the year feeling good everywhere but the cornerback spot opposite Patrick Peterson. While rookie Brandon Williams started the year and quickly got cooked in the Patriots game to open, it was Marcus Cooper, acquired in an offseason trade with the Kansas City Chiefs, who took opportunity by the horns. He did so in a Week 2, 40-7 Arizona win against Tampa Bay. Cooper’s two interceptions, including a 60-yard pick-six, earned him ownership of the cornerback job. As of the bye, Cooper and the cornerback position is far from the team’s biggest problem. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Arizona Cardinals’ David Johnson (31) hurdles Carolina Panthers’ Robert McClain (27) in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Losing a gimme callSince the preseason, the Cardinals haven’t produced the most inspiring record when it comes to using the NFL’s replay review rules. Bruce Arians has thrown flags when he shouldn’t have and held off when there have been clear poor calls. Between all of those mistakes, a decision by the referees burned Arizona early on in its first visit to Carolina since the NFC Championship loss. Carson Palmer’s forward pass was ruled a fumble and the Panthers’ Thomas Davis returned it for the first score of a game that got away from the Cardinals early on. Arizona would lose 30-20, and later the NFL would admit it 1) got the play wrong and 2) didn’t have the replay system operational to fix the mistake. Arians couldn’t have done much about that, but it became the prime example of replay burning the Cardinals this season. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling We are all Patrick Peterson— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) October 24, 2016Yeah, yeah. We’ve already covered the Cardinals’ special team woes of the year. Chandler Catanzaro’s chip-shot that clanged off the goalpost against the Seahawks didn’t make much sense, and the reactions along Arizona’s sideline summed it up. What said it all? Bruce Arians’ arms going from made-field-goal to tossing the playbook on the ground. Patrick Peterson’s sad face and clinging to defensive coordinator James Bettcher. The disbelief can be applied to the team’s entire first half of the season, as well.last_img read more

first_img Email Polynesians from Easter Island and natives of South America met and mingled long before Europeans voyaged the Pacific, according to a new genetic study of living Easter Islanders. In this week’s issue of Current Biology, researchers argue that the genes point to contact between Native Americans and Easter Islanders before 1500 C.E., 3 centuries after Polynesians settled the island also known as Rapa Nui, famous for its massive stone statues. Although circumstantial evidence had hinted at such contact, this is the first direct human genetic evidence for it.In the genomes of 27 living Rapa Nui islanders, the team found dashes of European and Native American genetic patterns. The European genetic material made up 16% of the genomes; it was relatively intact and was unevenly spread among the Rapa Nui population, suggesting that genetic recombination, which breaks up segments of DNA, has not been at work for long. Europeans may have introduced their genes in the 19th century, when they settled on the island.Native American DNA accounted for about 8% of the genomes. Islanders enslaved by Europeans in the 19th century and sent to work in South America could have carried some Native American genes back home, but this genetic legacy appeared much older. The segments were more broken and widely scattered, suggesting a much earlier encounter—between 1300 C.E. and 1500 C.E. 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Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*)center_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country But did Polynesians land on South American beaches, or did Native Americans sail 3500 kilometers into the Pacific to reach Rapa Nui? “Our studies strongly suggest that Native Americans most probably arrived [on Rapa Nui] shortly after the Polynesians,” says team member Erik Thorsby, an immunologist at the University of Oslo. He thinks that could support the controversial theory, posited by Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl more than a half-century ago, that Native Americans had the skills to move west across the Pacific.But many scientists say that Pacific currents and Polynesian mastery of the waves make it more likely that the Polynesians were the voyagers. They may have sailed to South America, swapped goods for sweet potatoes and other novelties—and returned to their island with South American women.Sweet potato was domesticated in the Andean highlands, and researchers recently determined that the crop spread west across Polynesia before Europeans arrived. Another hint of trans-Pacific exchange comes from chicken bones—unknown in the Americas before 1500 C.E.—excavated on a Chilean beach, which some believe predate Christopher Columbus.Skeptics say that genetic evidence from modern human populations is not enough to prove ancient contact. The genetic clock is often uncertain, says anthropologist Carl Lipo of California State University, Long Beach. “We need ancient DNA from skeletal evidence—not modern evidence—to resolve this question.”*Clarification, 27 October, 11:50 a.m.: Erik Thorsby is described as supporting the hypothesis that Native Americans voyaged on their own to Easter Island. Thorsby, like most scientists, believes it much more likely that Polynesians brought Native Americans to the island.last_img read more