Dec 1, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson (26) attempts a tackle during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Cardinals 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
If the Arizona Cardinals were looking for national respect, they sure won’t get it after a 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon. In a game marred by early turnovers and very poor officiating in the final minutes, the Cards couldn’t overcome either and fell to 7-5 on the season and may have effectively ended their bid for a wild-card playoff spot.
The Cards, who fell behind early thanks to a Carson Palmer fumble and couldn’t muster much on offense early thanks to an interception, came into the game looking sleepy. They played right into the hands of the national media who absolutely love to hate the Cards and love to harp on them playing on the east coast.
Without the services of Andre Ellington, clearly the Cards lost a huge weapon on offense. They lost a guy with the ability to make plays on the ground and in the passing game. They really didn’t replace him with anyone. All they did was play Rashard Mendenhall more. It was a little disappointing to see them not use Stepfan Taylor more or even activate Ryan Williams.
After falling behind 17-7 at halftime and eventually 24-7, the Cards rallied and got to within 24-21 with 4:45 left in the game. That’s when things got really interesting. Let’s just say the Cards got jobbed by the referees. The Cards were called for a defensive holding play on a Nick Foles interception. The throw, picked off by Patrick Peterson, would have been Foles’ first interception of the year. Instead, they called safety Tyrann Mathieu for defensive holding. The refs had failed to make a call on the Eagles on a similar play earlier. It shouldn’t have been called if it isn’t going to be called consistently for both sides. Mathieu’s holding didn’t look like much.
Then on a 3rd and 2 and the clock getting ready to tick under a minute, the Cards sacked Nick Foles. That would have forced the Eagles into a field goal and give the ball back to the Cards. Instead, they called linebacker Matt Shaughnessy for defensive holding on an eligible receiver. On the replay, it again didn’t look like much and even the Fox announcers didn’t believe it was the right call. That call effectively ended the game. It gave the Eagles an automatic first down and they ran the clock out. After the holding call, linebacker Daryl Washington went and chewed out the ref. He was called for a penalty but the game was already over. I had no issue with him jawing at the ref at that point.
Make no mistake though, the Cards had missed opportunities early to keep the game from reaching that point. So, as much as we want to point fingers at the refs, the Cards can blame themselves too. However, when the refs don’t even give you an opportunity to do your job, then why allow the game to continue? Seriously. Just tell the Cards to keep their defense on the sidelines if you can’t make a correct call – or don’t want to. I don’t call the refs out often but today’s calls were just so egregious, I really hope the NFL takes a long long look at this one and does the right thing and reprimands those officials. Clearly this was a one-sided officiated game and that just doesn’t sit well with me, no matter who the team is.