December 20, 2015
When it rains, it pours. The Philadelphia Eagles headed into the second half against the Arizona Cardinals down 17-10 and receiving the kickoff. They were hanging tough against one of the best teams in the league, but it was going to take a herculean effort in the final 30 minutes to secure a victory.
That didn’t happen, as the Cardinals breezed to a 40-17 win. Here’s what I saw:
• The Eagles were down a million (approx.) defensive backs, but I thought the subs did a decent job in coverage only to be foiled by perfect throws from Carson Palmer. Cam Newton will probably win the MVP (and deservedly so), but Palmer has been excellent this season. His final line: 20-32, 274 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions.
• The game was already over, but Sam Bradford hit Jordan Matthews on a 78-yard touchdown when Arizona’s coverage completely broke down.
• The two interceptions were bad (one of them happened well after the game was over, though), but I thought Bradford was the least of the Eagles’ worries on the night: 28-41, 361 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. The Eagles offensive line and skill players didn’t provide him with much help.
• First place is still on the line next Saturday in Philly!
• BIG MISTAKE No. 1: Markus Golden got to Bradford and forced a fumble, and he beat Jason Peters clean on the play. The offensive line generally did not do a good job in pass protection. Bradford took a ton of big hits.
• BIG MISTAKE No. 2: After the Eagles defense forced a rare three-and-out, Zach Ertz whiffed on the block and Ryan Mathews put the ball on the turf far too easily. The Eagles had very little room for error in this game, and a mistake like that is something they simply couldn’t afford.
• The Eagles got steamrolled on the ground yet again: Arizona ran the ball 39 times for 230 yards.
• BIG MISTAKE No 3: A bad miscommunication between Bradford and Mathews (along with more poor pass protection) led to Deone Bucannon’s pick six. That was officially your ballgame.
• DeMarco Murray finished with three yards on two carries. That situation doesn’t seem to be improving much anytime soon.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann