The Arizona Cardinals vs. The Philadelphia Eagles
The Battle of the Birds ended with the Philadelphia variety running away with this one from the start and never letting up. The Eagles (4-1) took down the Cardinals (2-3), 34-7 from Lincoln Financial Field.
The Dueling Carsons, Wentz & Palmer, performed with vastly different support systems. While both had quality pass catchers at their disposal, the victor had a legitimate running game around him and was given ample time to go through his progressions, many times finding receivers open deep. Palmer on the other hand was dealing with the backups to the backups on the offensive line, taking hit after hit, running for his life or making throws with defenders in his face. The difference between the two scenarios explained the lopsided score.
Carson Palmer seemed to make adjustments after last week’s hit total that he took by speeding up his own clock and getting rid of the ball sooner versus the Eagles. Regardless, Palmer still was sacked twice and hit seven times aside from all the pressures. Arizona had a hard time pushing the ball down field under these circumstances. Palmer now has been hit 50 times this season, a significant amount more than the next quarterback.
We said it above and we’ll continue to say it, the Cardinals offense depends on what the offensive line allows it to accomplish. David Johnson’s presence and production continue to be missed as well. The Red Birds lack of running game continued for another week as Chris Johnson led all Cards rushers with nine carries for 21 yards. Andre Ellington did add 9 receptions for 65 yards from the backfield. As a whole, Arizona ran for 31 yards on 14 carries, 14 of those came on JJ Nelson’s sole rush. I’ll state the obvious, that’s horrific. As if not being able to protect Palmer wasn’t enough, having a defense know that you can’t run the ball either isn’t doing Palmer and the passing game any favors.
JJ Nelson led all receivers with four grabs for 80 yards and John Brown added a touchdown on one of his 2 catches for 26 yards. Larry Fitzgerald did manage to reach 200 consecutive games with a reception, an incredible achievement only reached by two hall of famers, Jerry Rice, Tony Gonzalez and now Larry Legend. Congrats to you, Larry!
Through it all though, Carson Palmer was 28 of 44 for 291 yards and one touchdown. That’s no small feat and speaks to his talent and toughness, both physical and mental. It’s not an easy time to be a member of this offense right now.
The Cardinals defense had shown an ability to keep the team in the game the first four weeks but today was different. The Eagles hung a quick 21 points in the first quarter on the Arizona defense as Carson Wentz was able to dissect them, avoiding pressures, finding soft spots and consistently finding an open Eagles pass catcher to extend drives. Wentz was 21 of 30 for 304 yards and four touchdown and one interception (though it was a beautiful pick by Antoine Bethea in the end zone where he snuck two feet in to secure it). Nelson Agholor lead Eagles receivers with 93 yards on four catches and a touchdown. Tight End Zach Ertz added six grabs for 61 yards and a touchdown of his own.
The Philly passing game later allowed the running game to develop from it as they added 122 yards rushing with LeGarrette Blount collecting 74 yards on 14 carries.
Tyvon Branch led all Cardinals defenders with 10 tackles and Chandler Jones added his fifth sack of the season to go along with his five tackles.
Defensive tackle Olsen Pierre hurt his ankle and long snapper Aaron Brewer broke his hand.
The Cardinals fly back to Phoenix to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) on Sunday at 1PM, PST from University of Phoenix StadiumDon’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @cardinalsFGSN. Go Cardinals!