Rapid Reaction: Cardinals struggle in all phases during loss to Eagles
Little went well.
The Arizona Cardinals fell behind early on and never caught traction defensively or offensively in a 34-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
A defeat in Week 5 moved Arizona to 2-3 on the year and came as third downs doomed the Cardinals early on. That led to a 21-0 hole after the first period that they couldn’t climb out of with the run game ineffective and the pass protection not giving quarterback Carson Palmer time to make plays.
Here’s some quick reaction to the game from the staff of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station and ArizonaSports.com.
Of course, you can get more reaction Monday starting at 6 a.m. with Doug and Wolf and continuing with The Blitz with Bertrand Berry & Mike Jurecki and Bickley & Marotta — who will both broadcast from the Cardinals practice facility in Tempe. Then, Burns & Gambo will wrap up the day’s analysis on your drive home from 2-6 p.m.
Vince Marotta, Co-host of Bickley & Marotta
When you come out of a game and one of the biggest bright spots is that a defensive lineman who was pressed into long-snapping duty did a decent job, I’ll show you an ugly, lopsided loss.
That was the deal for the Cardinals Sunday in a 34-7 loss to the Eagles. There are big issues in each phase. Offensively, the Cardinals can’t protect and can’t run the ball. Defensively, Arizona was victimized for 419 yards and couldn’t get off the field on third down, allowing the Eagles to convert 9-of-14 opportunities. Special teams continues to be an Achilles’ heel for this team.
The Cardinals have been riddled by injury, but so was the 2014 team that made it to the playoffs. The biggest difference with this year’s team has been how it has responded — or more to the point, how it hasn’t responded to those injuries. Considering the challenges caused by the lack of depth and the remaining schedule, the next 11 games could be a tough go for this team.
Craig Grialou, Reporter
It’s an excuse, yes, but it’s also a fact: The Cardinals do not play well at 10 a.m. in the morning.
Of course, some might argue they just don’t play well, period, five games into the 2017 season.
Once again, the Cardinals dug themselves a hole. Falling behind by 21 points 15 minutes into the game is embarrassing. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz looked like an all-pro; and maybe some day he will be. He continuously beat the Cardinals’ defense, first with his feet to allude the rush and then with his arm throwing touchdown passes of 15, 11, 59 and 72 yards. The first three scores came in the first quarter.
No quarterback in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles franchise had ever thrown three first-quarter touchdowns.
To make matters worse, the Cardinals are a banged-up bunch, especially along the offensive line. Right tackle Jared Veldheer was forced to leave the game in the third quarter, though he did later return. The Cardinals are minus two starters, one backup and had to re-sign Earl Watford this week.
Seriously, how much can one team endure?
Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski
Defensive-lineman-turned-long-snapper Josh Mauro summed up Arizona’s situation pretty well after the game, when he said the Cardinals are looking for ways to win, not excuses for why they lost. But the injuries are clearly taking their toll on this team.
Already playing without David Johnson, Markus Golden, Mike Iupati, D.J. Humphries, and Robert Nkemdiche — to name a few — the Cards lost long-snapper Aaron Brewer and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre on Sunday. Injuries aren’t the only reason this team is losing games — they were pretty thoroughly dominated by the Eagles across the board. But it’s really difficult to evaluate the 2017 Cardinals when it seems like half the key players aren’t able to suit up.
The absences are most obvious up front, where the offensive line just can’t protect Palmer or open any running lanes. So even in a game like this, where the Cardinals fell way behind early, there were stretches where they had to go somewhat conservative because they couldn’t even block long enough to take shots down the field. That put the defense in some tough spots, and the Cardinals couldn’t contain Carson Wentz.
Oh, and the special teams are still an issue. Especially now that they’re missing their long snapper. So there’s some work to do this week.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
The mess the Cardinals have made this year goes well beyond the loss of David Johnson or the injuries on the offensive line. The defense repeatedly failed to get off the field in third down situations, many of them 3rd-and-long. Elite units don’t allow the opposition to repeatedly convert on long third downs the way the Cardinals defense did all day.
Carson Wentz looked like a smooth and polished vet against this unit, which furthers the notion that its success against Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer was overvalued. The Cardinals did not play with the required energy or focus. It’s hard to blame the special teams unit for losing their long snapper early in the game, but it is easy to blame it for allowing Kenjon Barner to run wild on punt returns, setting up easy touchdowns.
Offensively it was more of the same. The inability to run the ball. The pressure on Palmer. All of the “almost” interceptions. The team feels like it’s drifting right now.
John Gambadoro, Co-host of Burns & Gambo
There is really not much to say on this one. The Cardinals were thoroughly beaten down by the Eagles, and a once promising season appears to be on life support. An awful start, terrible special teams play and complete inability to run the ball were mostly to blame, but you can’t let Arizona’s defense off the hook on this one as Philly had touchdown passes of 59 and 72 yards.
The defense carrying the team is the only chance Arizona has of staying in games, and today it didn’t show up. A loss at home to Tampa Bay next week, and it will be time to start talking draft.