Arizona Cardinals return to scene of the crime
By Scott Allen
The Arizona Cardinals return to the City of Brotherly Love to face the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night
It was a scene of bitter disappointment in December 2013 for the Arizona Cardinals. It was the first season for coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer in the desert. They took their squad into Philadelphia to face an Eagles team they had handled the last few times out.
Unfortunately it ended up being the game that likely cost the Cardinals a playoff spot that season. The Cardinals left Philadelphia with a 24-21 defeat, some by their own doing, some thanks to the officials.
I do not like going around blaming things on officials as reasons for a loss. However two very costly penalties in the Cardinals comeback attempt derailed their chances for victory on that cold December afternoon. The Cardinals got down early 7-0 after the first quarter and were down 17-7 at halftime. All of that thanks to very poor play by Palmer and the Cardinals.
For the day, Palmer had two interceptions. However he lead the team on the comeback trail in the second half. After Eagles tight end Zach Ertz caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from then Eagles quarterback Nick Foles with 10:16 still left in the third quarter, it put the Eagles up in a commanding 24-7 lead.
The Cardinals got a 23-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to receiver Michael Floyd near the end of the third quarter to bring the Cardinals to within 24-14. A touchdown pass to tight end Jim Dray in the fourth quarter brought the Cardinals to within 24-21.
On the ensuing Eagles drive, the Cardinals appeared to have gotten the ball back on a cornerback Patrick Peterson interception. However safety Tyrann Mathieu was called for defensive holding. It was a phantom hold. Most calls are subjective but I have no idea what the officials saw in that play. It was an awful call.
Now admittedly the Cardinals still had a couple of opportunities after that. On their next offensive drive, Palmer threw three straight incomplete passes. Like I said, some of this was the Cardinals doing. The defense had one more shot though to get the ball back.
On the Eagles last offensive drive, the Cardinals had Philadelphia down to a third and four with still 1:42 remaining. On the play, Cardinals linebacker Matt Shaughnessy was called for defensive holding. Again, awful call and also the one that broke the camels back. Lesson learned though. Do not get down by three scores on the road. It usually does not turn out well.
Yes, the Cardinals came away with victory in Arizona last season 24-20, however, the Cardinals get another December matchup in Philadelphia to try to atone for the loss in 2013 there. Only this time, the Cardinals already have the playoff spot. They need a victory to win the NFC West and help secure a second seed in the NFC playoffs with a win and a Green Bay Packers loss.