Dec 20, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiverMichael Floyd
(15) makes a reception past Philadelphia Eagles cornerbackEric Rowe
(32) during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Well, that wasn’t very fun, was it. Going into halftime on Sunday night, it seemed like the Philadelphia Eagles had a chance against the Arizona Cardinals.
Then turnover, turnover, turnover and all of a sudden it was out of reach.
Let’s jump right in with the “Monday Morning Touchdown” as we try to put this ugly defeat behind us and focus on the improbable goal that remains in front of this team: an NFC East title.
First of all, even in year 3 of Chip Kelly as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, NBC is fascinated with the Eagles’ offensive signals from the sideline. Of course, every team has and uses signals, but the Eagles remain the only team in the NFL who has those signals broadcast on national television before multiple plays each game.
And then there is DeMarco Murray. The dude’s face is burned into my memory thanks to NBC showing him over, and over, and over. Yeah, we get it, guys, he’s not on the field. How about showing some of the people actually playing? Or a replay on a non-touchdown or non-turnover play? That would be swell. The fact I get more information on replays by listening to the radio broadcast is perhaps the biggest indictment of this sham.
2) End of the first half
I really disagree with the decision Kelly made at the end of the first half. You deferred the opening kickoff and have a chance for points in the final minute of the first half. You take those points and then take the football to open the third quarter. That is the entire point of the strategy of deferring the kickoff. If you’re not going to take points, then you don’t defer the kickoff.
3) Sam Bradford
What a bizarre year it’s been for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. Think about where most of the Eagles fans were a few weeks ago with this guy, calling for his benching in favor of Mark Sanchez.
Then Sunday night, Bradford goes out for a play and returns to an overwhelming ovation.
It seems fans have come around on Bradford, if not as the quarterback of the future, at least as the quarterback of the moment.
4) Run defense
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson had never rushed for 100 or more yards in a game. Ever. Never, ever. Until Sunday night in Philadelphia.
This Billy Davis defense has a wonderful history of helping opposing NFL players reach career milestones.
The ugly Sam Bradford pick-6 was the nail in the coffin, but the real knockout blow came much, much earlier, when Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters was burned (again) and an unsuspecting Bradford was drilled from behind, fumbling the ball away. The Eagles were down 23-10 at the time and moving the football. Get points on that drive and then, well, who knows?
Bottom line is this – good and great teams can overcome turnovers and still win football games. The Eagles are neither of those. They are, at best, average to slightly above average. If you’re going to win games as a team like that, you need to win the turnover battle (and probably get some luck).
6) The good news
Despite the ugliness of this defeat, the Eagles still control their own destiny in the NFC East. Beat the Washington football team this weekend and then go on the road and beat the New York Giants and the Eagles win the division and host a playoff game.
If that’s going to happen, they’re going to need cornerback Eric Rowe to not miss extended time with a concussion. Sure, Byron Maxwell was hurt in the Arizona game, too, but I think that is addition by subtraction in that, at the very least, he’s being replaced by a guy who isn’t afraid to tackle people.
- I still say Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis has to go. I understand the defensive gameplan was probably designed to slow the passing game and therefore they sacrificed something against the run, but still, the lack of overall run defense was inexcusable. There’s enough talent on that side of the ball that the overall performance has to be better.
- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians sure likes to yell at officials, doesn’t he?
- I really, really don’t like how, when things aren’t going this team’s way, it seems like the defense just quits playing.