Rapid Reaction: Arizona Cardinals
December, 1, 2013
By Josh Weinfuss | ESPN.com
PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 24-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
What it means: Maybe it was the cold. Maybe it was the long trip. Whatever the reason, the Cardinals looked more like the team from the first seven games than the one that won the past four. And that’s not a good sign going forward. With a wild-card spot on the line, Sunday was essentially a dress rehearsal. To say the least, Arizona needs to go over its lines some more. Most of the issues that plagued the Cards early on surfaced again, but this time they had one distinct source: the inability of the offensive line to protect quarterback Carson Palmer. The pocket consistently collapsed on him, leaving him rushed and flushed. But Palmer didn’t make it any easier on himself by underthrowing on his two interceptions, one of which was a potential touchdown.
Stock Watch: Michael Floyd was the only constant for Palmer on Sunday, making a great touchdown catch in the back of the end zone while dragging his feet. Though his 99 yards barely broke his streak of two straight 100-yard games, Floyd continued to establish himself as one of Palmer’s go-to receivers, coming through on an important third down. Floyd continues to earn the admiration of the coaching staff for playing through an AC sprain in his right shoulder, which he appeared to aggravate again.
D-pendable: If it wasn’t for the Cardinals’ defense continuing to play at a high level, Sunday could’ve been a blowout despite allowing 24 points. Arizona sacked Nick Foles five times and when it forced the Eagles to punt, it took the Cards only four or five plays most drives to do it. All the time Arizona spent on substitutions in practice paid off. The Cards were able to move their men in and out quickly, getting the personnel they needed on the field.
Loose with the tight ends: One of the Cardinals’ few yet well-known weak spots on defense is defending tight ends. And the Eagles came out ready to exploit that. Zach Ertz, who had 68 yards, and Brent Celek, who finished with 29, combined for all three of Philadelphia’s touchdowns.
What's next: The Cardinals begin their second round of NFC West games when they host the Rams next Sunday.