Cardinals vs. Eagles: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Arizona

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 17:  Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals attempts a pass during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on November 17, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals surged back from a 24-7 deficit, but ultimately fell short against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Final Score: Arizona 21, Philadelphia 24

Arizona Cardinals Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseB-B
Run OffenseBC+
Pass DefenseDC-
Run DefenseB-C+
Special TeamsBC+
vs. Eagles Week 13

Final Analysis for Arizona

Pass Offense: Quarterback Carson Palmer made some mistakes early, including a fumble and an interception in the first half. He also threw another pick in the second half.

Poor pass protection was a major source of his mistakes. Palmer was frequently pressured and was sacked five times on the day.

However, Palmer responded well, throwing for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he couldn’t deliver on Arizona’s final, potentially game-winning drive.

Run Offense: Arizona entered this game at a disadvantage due to the absence of budding star Andre Ellington.

However, Rashard Mendenhall showed his ability to carry the load on his own. He rushed for 76 yards on 18 carries for the day.

Pass Defense: Arizona’s usually reliable pass defense (ranked 17th, allowing 235.8 yards per game) was gashed by Eagles quarterback Nick Foles early in this contest.

Fortunately, Foles was only allowed to reach the end zone once in the second half, which allowed the Cardinals to creep back into the game after facing an early deficit.

Foles finished the afternoon 21-of-34 for 237 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

Run Defense: Trying to contain Philadelphia and its second-ranked rushing attack (150.6) is an unenviable task. However, the Cardinals did a respectable job.

Running back LeSean McCoy entered Sunday averaging 92 yards per game rushing, but was held to 79 yards on 18 carries in this one.

Special Teams: It was a fairly average afternoon for the Arizona special teams unit.

It could have been worse, however, as a holding penalty negated a 54-yard punt return score by Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson.

Dave Zastudil averaged 44 yards per punt, while Patrick Peterson returned just one punt for three yards.

Coaching: Despite playing from behind, head coach Bruce Arians found a way to maintain offensive balance by sticking with the running game.

Arians also deserves credit for continuing to dial up long pass plays, despite a number of early turnovers by his quarterback.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 01:  Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches a touchdown pass from Nick Foles #9 as Tyrann Mathieu #32 of the Arizona Cardinals prepares to tackle during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on December 1, 2013
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images


First-Half Analysis for Arizona

Pass Offense: Quarterback Carson Palmer’s lack of mobility in the pocket was once again an issue in the first half. A sack fumble on the opening drive set the Eagles up in scoring position.

In all, Palmer was sacked three times. He also threw an interception, but rebounded with a 43-yard touchdown strike to Larry Fitzgerald.

Palmer finished the half 10-of-17 for 119 yards with the score and the pick.

Run Offense: Despite playing without running back Andre Ellington, the Cardinals remained committed to the run throughout the half.

Rashard Mendenhall ran hard, racking up 61 yards on 12 carries.

Pass Defense: The Cardinals pass defense produced a few good plays and a few bad plays during the first two quarters. However there were a few more bad plays than good ones.

While Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was sacked twice, he was allowed to complete 15 of 20 pass attempts for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

Run Defense: Arizona did a respectable job against Philadelphia’s second-ranked rushing attack (150.6 yards per game) in the first half.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has been racking up yards on a regular basis this season. However, he was held to just 30 yards on eight carries in the half.

Special Teams: One of Arizona’s most positive plays of the half came on special teams.

Early in the second quarter, Dave Zastudil boomed a 52-yard punt that was downed at the Philadelphia Eagles 1-yard line.

Aside from Zastudil’s punting (44-yard average), it was a fairly average half for the special teams unit with no major mistakes to speak of.

Coaching: The first half featured some aggressive play calling from Bruce Arians’ staff, including a 4th-and-1 attempt in the second quarter.

The biggest mistakes have come on defense, where coordinator Todd Bowles’ unit has seemed unprepared to face the Eagles passing attack.


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