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The Setup
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

The Lede
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 Recap
Cards spotted the Eagles 21 points in the 1Q before scoring their only TD early in the 2Q and allowing the Eagles to tack on another 10-points in the 2H on route to a 34 - 7 Cardinal loss. Cardinal tackling was horrific. They were consistently beaten by second-effort run gains. Our corners were getting no help deep from our safeties. Carson Palmer was his typical self when under fire from enemy pass rushers (i.e. a few completions mixed in with a few floaters and overthrown long balls).

Game was lost before they said the Pledge.

1st Quarter
  • Cards received (we can't remember when a Cardinal team didn't receive the opening KO) and went 3 & out. (Lots of grabbing, clutching and standing around). Wentz hit Burton for a 15-yd TD to finish off a 10-play drive. Philly 7 - Cards 0

    Cards returned the KO to their own 21, reached the 35 and punted. Barner returned the punt 76 yards to the AZ 15 (Talk about coming out flat)!!!! (Our long snapper Brewer was injured). Three plays later, Wentz hit Ertz for an 11yd TD. Philly 14 - Cards 0.

    Cards returned the KO to their own 22 and went 3 & out. Punt was downed at the Philly 36. Three plays later, Wentz hit T Smith for a 59-yd TD. Philly 21 - Cardinals 0.

    TB on KO. Cards moved to their own 44 in 3 plays before the quarter mercifully ended.

    1st Quarter Score: Philly 21 - Cards 0.

2nd Quarter
  • Cards made it all the way to the Eagle 15 before Palmer hit Jaron Brown for a 13-yde TD. (Now we're rollin').!!!. Philly 21 - Cards 7.

    Cards held Philly to 7 plays before getting the ball back on a punt. The Cards were held to two 3 & outs sandwiched between 2 Cardinal 3 & outs. Philly got the ball back on their own 28 yd line with 3:19 till the half. They made it to the Cardinal 25 in 8 plays before Wentz's pass for Ertz was picked off by Bethea at the Card 20. Cards made it to the Philly 33 and attempted a FG with 0:05 left on the clock. Attempt was blocked (Way to go Amos)!.

    First Half Score: Philly 21 - Cards 7.

3rd Quarter

  • Philly received. TB on KO. Wentz engineered an 11 play drive to the Card 18 resulting in a 36 yard Philly FG. Philly 24 - Cards 7.

    KW returned the KO to his own 13. Cards went 3 & out. Philly downed the punt on its own 37. 4 plays later, Wentz hit Agholor faked Budda Baker out of his jock) en route to a 72-yd TD. (Can you spell B-L-O-O-D-B-A-T-H)? Philly 31 - Cards 7.

    The two teams swapped possessions. The Cards started from their own 10 amd reached their 34 in four plays to end the 3Q.

    Third Quarter Score: Philly 31 - Cards 7.

4th Quarter
  • Palmer managed to reach the Philly 38 in 14 before turning the ball over on downs. Eages then consumed 9:14 on 13 plays before kicking a FG from the Card 10. Philly 34 - Cards 7.

    2:00 left - To add insult to injury - a last ditch TD by Nelson (who ran down the left sideline and touched the pylon before going out of bounds) was overturned by officials who said he lost possession before touching crossing the goal line. Wentz took 2 knees.

Final Score: Philly 34 - Cards 7.

Notable Game Stats.

  • Passing: Palmer was 28 of 44 for 291 yards & 1 TD. (Wentz was 21 of 30 for 304 yds, 4 TD's and 1 pick).

  • Rushing: Cards picked up a whopping 31 yards. CJ2K gained 21 yds on 8 carries. C. Johnson picked up 32 yds on 13 carries. JJ Nelson picked up 14-yds on one end around. (Blount gained 74 yds on 14 carries. Barner picked up 23 yds on 5 carries).
  • Card rush defense gave up 3.7 yds per rushing play (Card rushers averaged 2.2)
  • 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

Bright Spots

  • None.

TheDark Side

  • Effort - Cards came out flat - they were outhit and outhustled by a much livelier Eagle team in all three aspects of play

  • Technique - Very few head on collisions on defense - Cards would dive and clutch from the side and almost always bounce off the the ball carrier or otherwise let him escape.

  • Football IQ - Eagle receivers constantly made fools of Cardinal defenders. Poster Child: Agholor's faking Budda out of his jock on the 3Q TD catch and run,

  • Improvement - In no area of play did the Cardinals play better than they did the week before (Trend line is down, down, downward.

    Route Running - Our WR's couldn't shake their DB's (but their WR's made monkeys out of ours).

    Long Snapper - I witnessed a series of high snaps on punts and the block of Dawson's FG try, but couldn't figure out why. Then I noticed on the play by play log that Brewer was injured early in the 1Q and had to leave the game. That explains it. Gotta fix it.

    Three Areas of Play - Offense: 31 rushing yards on 14 carries just won't cut it. That Carson Palmer was sacked only twice is a small miracle. Defense: Four TD passes allowed - 15 yds to (who?) Burton....11 yds to Erst....59 yds to T Smith....72 yds to Agholor (who faked Budda B out of his proverbial jock)....Special Teams - Dawson FG attempt blocked. Punt returns of 19 yds, 76 yds, 15 yds.

Last Word:
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.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 11/26/2012