Handing out Game Balls in Philadelphia Eagles' Loss to Arizona Cardinals
The Philadelphia Eagles' turnover woes finally caught up to them in Week 3.
After narrowly skating by their first two opponents, despite leading the turnover category, it would seem as if Michael Vick and co. ran out of rabbits to pull out of their hats.
The Arizona Cardinals made sure they didn't fall victim to yet another improbable Philadelphia comeback by putting the game out of reach early. From the first snap, Arizona asserted itself both offensively and defensively, harassing Michael Vick all game long and exposing many of Juan Castillo's schemes.
Even though the team as a whole turned in a disappointing performance, there were still some who had good individual games.
This was a difficult decision, due in large part to the costly punt return fumble that led to Arizona's first touchdown. However, if not for that one blunder, Johnson would have had a great game.
My reason for giving a him a game ball is because he was the most productive player on offense, catching five balls for 84 yards. His main role was to fill in for the injured Jeremy Maclin and he did just that—and against an outstanding defense, might I add.
Johnson did a superb job of creating separation on many of his routes to get open on critical third downs and showed glimpses of his talent for running after the catch.
DeSean Jackson was often times double-covered or unable to get open due to great coverage by Patrick Peterson, Therefore, Vick had no choice but to turn to Johnson, who was targeted 11 times.
On any given day, the game ball on offense would have gone to Vick or LeSean McCoy or any one else deserving of it. Considering Vick's two fumbles and indecisiveness, and LeSean's lack of touches, I had to go with Johnson.
Every week, it's becoming more and more evident that DeMeco Ryans is the leader of this defense. No offense to Casey Matthews, but the two-time Pro Bowler brings the experience and toughness that this Eagles D responds to.
Ryans had himself another solid game against the Cardinals, compiling six solo tackles and one for a loss. He should have added another interception on the season but couldn't come down with the juggled pass that ended up in Michael Floyd's hands for Arizona's first touchdown.
Ryans was excellent in the run game, plugging holes and pushing backs to the outside, limiting them to minimal gains. The Eagles have yet to allow a 100-yard rusher and Ryans is a huge part of that.
The score suggests that this game wasn't even a contest, but that simply is not the case. A lot of the points on the board were directly from Eagles turnovers or were a result of good field position that came from turnovers.
The Eagles' defense played particularly well, forcing Arizona to punt five times. But once again, it was the offense that didn't take advantage of its chances.
Last year the problem was the defense and this year, its the offense. Will they ever figure it out?
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