Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wrap-up: Cardinals 21, Eagles 17
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 21-17 victory at Philadelphia in Week 10:
What it means: The Cardinals improved to 3-6 with their second harrowing victory in a row. They ended a streak of 11 consecutive road defeats. Backup quarterback John Skelton improved to 4-2 as the Cardinals' starter, fueling questions about whether he should remain in the lineup ahead of injured starter Kevin Kolb. Skelton was up-and-down in this game, throwing a pair of costly interceptions deep in Cardinals territory, one returned for a touchdown. But he made key plays in the clutch, throwing the tying fourth-quarter touchdown pass for the second week in a row. This time, Skelton also threw the winning touchdown pass. Kolb, meanwhile, has a 1-6 starting record. Kolb has to be the starter when healthy given what the Cardinals have invested in him, but with the team winning two in a row with Skelton, the pressure on Kolb is growing.
What I liked: The Cardinals' defensive plan appeared sound. Arizona pressured and shadowed Michael Vick without giving up too much in the secondary. The matchups became easier for Philadelphia once the Eagles made receiver DeSean Jackson a surprise inactive. Rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson fared well against Jeremy Maclin, who suffered a shoulder injury and left the game. The defensive stop Arizona made on an early fourth-and-2 gave the Cardinals momentum early. Adrian Wilson's interception in the end zone, though nullified by a penalty, was an impressive play. Calais Campbell's interception in the red zone continued a run of big plays from the defensive end and free agent-to-be. The offensive staff did a good job getting Andre Roberts involved, a trend since Skelton took over for Kolb. Roberts' gain on a rushing play set up Larry Fitzgerald's first touchdown reception of the game. The fourth-quarter scoring pass Fitzgerald caught came on a tipped pass, giving him 70 career touchdown receptions and moving him past Roy Green for the franchise career record. Skelton has now thrown the tying fourth-quarter touchdown pass in consecutive games. Skelton threw the winning touchdown pass to Early Doucet. Cornerback A.J. Jefferson clinched the victory with a late interception.
What I didn't like: Skelton's pick-six interception from deep in Cardinals territory was costly. Skelton appeared to telegraph his intentions on the play. This was a close, low-scoring game. Skelton's error and two missed field goals from Jay Feely forced the Cardinals to play catch-up unnecessarily. Their margin for error appears too slim to tolerate those types of issues -- most Sundays, anyway.
What's next: The Cardinals visit the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11.