Third trip into Eastern Time Zone for Cards. Eagles were 3 & 1 and the surprise darlings of the NFC East. Cards were 2 & 2, banged up and scratching for a toe-hole in the NFC West. Eagles rode the shoulders of RB LaGarrett Blount to fend off last week vs. Chargers 26 - 24 in LA. Cardinals won an ugly "character game" in OT vs. the Niners. Old Home Week for BA (who grew up near Philly and was HC for Temple).
This was a chance for the Cards to go 3 & 2 and be in pretty good shape at or near the top of the NFC East
Nightmare on Broad Street*
The Bottom Line:
* Actually, I don't even know if the new Philly stadium is situated on or near Broad St. What I do know is that the Cardinals played arguably the worst game they've played in over a decade. They spotted the Eagles 21 quick ones in the 1Q and another 13 in the 2H onthe way to being blacktopped 34 - 7 (To add insult to injury, a last-ditch TD catch & run by JJ Nelson just before time ran out was overruled by the refs who claimed he was fumbling the football when his foot hit the pylon).
Which almost happened - except that Carson Palmer managed to hit Larry FItzgerald in the end zone on an inside slant from 19 yards out or the winning score with just 0:38 on the clock.
Game was lost before they said the Pledge.
Receiving: Ellington caught 9 for 65 yds. Fitz caught 6 for 51 yds. (Ertz led the Eagles with 6 catches for 61 yds. Agholor gained 93 yds and a TD on 4 grabs).
Turnovers: +1. No fumbles recovered. Wentz had one pick. Palmer zero.
Penalties: Cards were penalized 7 times. Niners 5 (but Card penalties seemed to come at the more untimely parts of the contest).
Run/Pass Ratio: Cards: 14/44. (PH 33/30)
Field Goals: Cards 0 for 1. Eagles 2 for 2
Net Punting Yards: Lee averaged 33.9 (Eagle dude averaged (40.7)
Tackles: Branch led with 10 tackles followed by Buccanon (6) and Dansby.
Sacks: Palmer was sacked twice. Bethea had the only Cardinal sack.
Interceptions: Bethea also had the only Cardinal interception
Third Down Efficiency: Cards were 4 of 14 for 28%. (PH: 9 of 14 for 64%).
Red Zone Efficiency: Cards were 1 of 1 - 100%. (PH: 2 of 4 - 50%).
Time of Possession: Cards 24:13/ Eagles 35:47
For much of the preseason and right up till now, we've been treated to more than a little bit of bitching and grumbling about how bad this team is, how Steve Keim has failed to upgrade his roster (especially his offensive lineand made his team older and more shopworn; how BA has ignored warning signs, hung onto his special teams coach and and allowed weaknesses to fester.
I dismissed most of the criticism as nothing more than the usual whining you invariably get from a small portion of Cardinal fandome.
Well, I was wrong. The Cardinals have many of the characteristics of a bad football team and appear to be extremely close to the point where ownership has no alternative than to "fire everyone."
I hope not. I like BA. I like SK. But, boys and girls, it's just not working. I hope the Cardinals prove me wrong, but things do not look especially rosy.
If the offensive line doesn't improve....if our receivers don't run crisper, more explosive routes....if our tacklers don't tackle better...if our DB's don't defend better....if our special teams don't improve - we're in for a very long season.
Next week, Tampa Bay is no slouch. Must-win for the 2 & 3 Cardinals before we let the season get away from us.