The Morning After: Arizona Cardinals stomp Eagles
By Erich Becker
The Arizona Cardinals go a perfect 5-0 in Prime Time games this season and route the Philadelphia Eagles
Call it a trap game, call it an East Coast trip, call it anything you want. The Arizona Cardinals broke out of the slump they had over the last few weeks to win convincingly in Philadelphia against a lesser team that could just not keep up. The team’s showed their true colors, the Eagles a team that seems lost on offense and not very good on defense. The Cardinals, a team that excels on both sides of the ball.
Without going any further, the win may have come at a price, a steep one. Much like 2013, the trailing end of the season the Cardinals may have lost Tyrann Mathieu for an extended period of time. We just don’t know yet, we will know more today when the team does an MRI. David Johnson, maybe because of the workload, was also a big gimpy towards the end of the game, but when you run like that you deserve to be a little sore.
The biggest scare, and no disrespect to the Honey Badger, was when NBC’s broadcast showed Palmer walking to the sideline on a third down play. Collectively, the entire fanbase’s hearts stopped. You see him getting his finger taped, then throwing passes. You hope for a dislocation at this point, not a break, and that’s what we got.
It wasn’t all injuries, however, the Cardinals made plays on both sides of the ball, aside from Jordan Mathews getting behind the defense on a mental error by Tony Jefferson in coverage for a 75+ yard touchdown bomb from Sam Bradford, the rest of the game was effective. Only allowing 17 points is day-to-day for these guys now, and putting up 40 is the same for the offense.
There’s subdued excitement after the tshirts and hats were distributed. Maybe because Mathieu went down after a beautiful interception in the fourth, but this is only the first step, and right now all the Cardinals have done is to punch their ticket and provide tickets for their fans with a home game. Seattle is still looming, and even if the Cardinals don’t secure a bye, they’ll avoid the Seahawks in the playoffs for the first week as they can only fall as far as the third seed.
Still, the rest, and time off, especially with the injuries will come in handy, as long as the team can stay sharp.
Dec 20, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) makes a 29 yard reception at the one yard line past Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jaylen Watkins (37) during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
The impressive thing about yesterday’s game, that hasn’t been seen in the past few weeks was the mechanical nature of it all, the lack of raw emotion (seen earlier in the day by the childish antics of other players). The offense moved the ball with very little trouble, with Al Michaels going as far to say, on the first drive, that, “Arizona sure made that seem easy”.
They did, because it appeared it was.
The talking heads and written wordsmiths online will say that no one wants to play the Seattle Seahawks or Pittsburgh Steelers because they’re now dangerous, but how about a team that is 12-2, set franchise records for wins (12) and points in a season (445) and has been that way all season? The Cardinals haven’t lost since an ill-fated game in Pittsburgh two months ago.
Overall, there’s a lot to be excited about, there’s a lot of cautions optimism about where the team is. With two games to go, and possibly only the Green Bay game next week meaning anything, this team can still prove any remaining doubters wrong.