Finally…a game that I can thoroughly enjoy writing about. This was the most satisfying game of the year, a victory on the East Coast as two-touchdown underdogs. Here are my observations;
1) Without a doubt, this was the Cardinals best defensive effort of the year — a complete effort for four quarters. They played with energy. The tackling was solid. The pass coverage was superb. And they made big plays when it counted.
2) John Skelton made two very poor decisions on the two interceptions that he threw, and they both cost the Cardinals points. However, give the kid credit — he bounced back both times and led the cardinals to a score after each interception.
3) There is that intangible called “heart” which doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. The Cardinals showed it in today’s game.
4) The offensive play calling was great — a nice mix of plays to Beanie and Fitz. And there were two critical plays that kept drives alive — one that was not planned (the shovel pass to Chester Taylor) and another that was brilliantly executed (the fourth down pass to LaRod Stephens–Howling). I’ve been very critical of Coach Whisenhunt this year about his play calling, but I have no complaints about how he called this game.
5) What can you say about Larry Fitzgerald that hasn’t been said before? The 42-yard reception in the first quarter in between three defenders was simply amazing. The concentration he showed on catching two tipped passes (one for a touchdown) was beautiful to watch. And the intensity he showed to get into the end zone, after making an amazing catch, was incredible. He is worth every penny the Cardinals are paying him.
6) Daryl Washington very quietly had another great game…nine tackles, one sack. He is developing into the leader of the linebacker corps.
7) The Cardinals had two critical interceptions against Michael Vick — the Calais Campbell pick and the Richard Jefferson takeaway to seal the victory for the Cardinals. However, there were also two amazing interceptions that were taken away from the Cardinals on questionable calls — Adrian Wilson’s brilliant interception in the end zone (nullified by a holding penalty) and Richard Marshall’s fantastic pick (reversed by the refs). Truthfully, I look at the Cardinals having four interceptions in this game, even though the stat sheet doesn’t say that.
8) John Skelton was sacked four times, but overall I thought the offensive line played good and protected the quarterback relatively well. There were several instances where Skelton was given extra time and found an open receiver downfield. Combine that with his ability to stay in the pocket, and you get a very efficient overall performance–even with the two picks and four sacks.
9) Did anyone notice how quiet the Eagles fans were most of the game? It seems they really have given up on the season.