Sunday, September 23, 2012
Wrap up: Cardinals 27, Eagles 6
By Dan Graziano
A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' first loss of the season, 27-6, Sunday in Arizona to the still-undefeated Cardinals:
What it means: Well, the Eagles won't be going undefeated, is what it means. After winning each of their first two games by the thinnest of possible margins, the Eagles got too far behind Sunday on the road against a very good Arizona defense and could not come back this time. The good news is that their number of turnovers fell by one again. After turning it over five times in the season opener and four times last week, they turned it over just three times Sunday. So if this holds up, they won't have any turnovers at all in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions.
The turning point: With six seconds left in the first half, the Eagles trailed 17-0 and had the ball on the Cardinals' one-yard line with third down and goal to go. At the very worst, it appeared, they were set to go into the second half down 17-3, and they were surely thinking about 17-7. But safety Kerry Rhodes came unblocked around the edge and Michael Vick never saw him. The hit forced the ball out of Vick's hands and onto the ground, where James Sanders picked it up and ran all the way back the other way for a touchdown. The Eagles went into the half down 24-0 and could not put anything together in the second half against that ferocious Arizona front.
Kolb's Revenge: Former Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb, who lost his job to Vick in 2010 and was traded to Arizona before the 2011 season, had to start the game due to an injury to Arizona's starting quarterback, John Skelton. Kolb was 17-of-24 for 222 yards and two touchdowns against his former team, leaning hard on top wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who caught nine of the passes for 114 yards. Kolb is more game-manager than anything else in Arizona's conservative game plan, but it must have felt good to light it up a bit in the first half against the team that traded him.
Control: The Eagles actually outgained the Cardinals 308 yards to 292. But Arizona held the ball for 34:33 to win the time-of-possession battle, and of course by turning the ball over you make it easier on your opponent. As already mentioned here, the most crucial touchdown of the game didn't require the Arizona offense to gain even a single yard.
What's next: The 2-1 Eagles host the 2-1 New York Giants next Sunday night in one of the key early games in the NFC East race. The Eagles have won seven of their last eight games against the Giants going back to 2008, but lost last year's game in Philadelphia 29-16.