The Philadelphia Eagles suffered their second loss of the season on Sunday from the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards scored a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining. Cary Williams and Nate Allen got toasted by rookie John Brown, allowing a 75-yard touchdown. The Eagles were left with one minute and 21 seconds and had only two timeouts. They managed to reach the Cardinals’ redzone but time was not enough for them to use all four attempts to score a touchdown.
It always leaves a bad taste in your mouth when a game slips away in the last two minutes, but the Eagles dug that hole for themselves. A lot of people will blame Williams and Allen for handing the game to Arizona. It will be fair to a point. However, focusing on this play only would be wrong, when the offense left points on the field.
Allow me to begin with this:
On a day when LeSean McCoy averaged four yards per carry (more if you count out a couple of unessecary dancing aroung which cost him some yards), the Eagles decided to throw the ball more 70% of the time. Nick Foles attempted 62 passes and completed 36 of them for 411 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. His completion percentage (58.1%) was his worst this season since the game in Santa Clara against the 49ers and third worst this season – he had 56.8% in Indianapolis.
Of the two picks Foles threw, the first was completely his fault. He aims for Josh Huff in the end zone but he doesn’t see Antonio Cromartie who uses his length to jump the route and steal the ball.
The second one is a tricky one. On third-and 11, Foles has Riley Cooper running an in route and decided to throw to his back shoulder. Cooper, however, isn’t on the same page. Unfortunately, Cromartie sees the miscue and gets his second takeaway of the day.
The Eagles were on their half of the field when the second interception was thrown, so let’s agree that even without the turnover, they could have been stopped. The first pick, though, kept the Birds from scoring at least three points.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only drive which should have provided points to Philadelphia and it didn’t.
Huff fumbled inside Arizona’s 10-yard line. A tackle from behind which he wasn’t expecting made him lose the ball. Had he kept the ball, the Eagles would have three shots to score a touchdown from eight or seven yards away and even if they failed, they would have an easy field goal. Let’s say the Birds lost only three there.
Six points lost so far.
Just before Cody Parkey’s 54-yard field goal, Jordan Matthews catches a pass from Foles and has needs to run for three yards to get a first down. He has a block set up in front of him, but instead of running straight up, he tries to go around the block and allows a free to defender to catch up and gains only one yard. The Eagles have to settle for a field goal, when they coud have had a new set of downs.
Next drive, the Eagles get the ball at their own 49-yard line. They need to convert a third-and-three. The attempted pass is incomplete and they go three-and-out. A first down would have taken them to the Cardinals’ 40-yard line. Even if they got just five yards in three attempts, that would have led to a 52-yard field goal attempt.
At the end of the third quarter, the Eagles start their drive from Arizona’s 48-yard line. Another three-and-out, another missed opportunity.
Last but not least, Chip Kelly decided to kick a field goal instead going for it on fourth-and one from Arizona’s two yard line. But this might have been the right decision. Why? Because on the previous down, the Eagles failed to convert a third-and-inches on a run by McCoy.
To sum it up, the Eagles could have scored at least six more points, but ended up turning the ball over. They also couldn’t get into field goal range while beginning their drive from midfield – that happened twice. And they had another drive killed by Foles’ second interception
Ultimately, only one field goal in those five drives would have been enough. Even with that late touchdown from Arizona, the score would be 23-24 for the home team, but the Eagles would have one minute and 21 seconds to get into field goal range. Which they did, but it wasn’t enough because they had to score a touchdown.