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Pathetic Eagles blow 15-point lead in loss to Jonathan Gannon’s Cardinals, 35 to 31

The Birds are 11-5.

Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are 11-4 after LOSING to Jonathan Gannon’s Arizona Cardinals. Final score: 35 to 31.

This is one of the most pathetic Eagles losses I’ve ever witnessed.

Entering halftime, the Eagles had a 15-point lead on the team with the second-worst record in the entire NFL. They were well on their way to needing a Week 18 win over the New York Giants to be no worse than the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture.

Instead, the Eagles’ defense offered ZERO resistance in the second half.

Gee, demoting Sean Desai for Matt Patricia really did wonders!

To be clear, that’s not to let the players off the hook. The pass rush has been too ineffective for too long now. The Eagles sacked Kyler Murray just once on Sunday, giving them just five sacks over their last four games.

But it’s hard to argue that the coaching has been putting the players in great positions to succeed.

And it’s not just the defense that wears the blame. The Eagles should’ve been able to score more than 31 points against the Cardinals. And they had a chance to do that when they reached 1st-and-10 at Arizona’s 20-yard on their penultimate drive. But then this happened:

Obviously poor play-calling. But it’s hard to believe that Nick Sirianni wanted to be aggressive and go for a touchdown and Brian Johnson instead called these conservative plays. The head coach was seemingly content playing for a field goal despite the fact the defense hasn’t gotten a single stop in the second half. The Eagles have a coaching problem and it’s not just limited to their coordinators.

With this loss, there’s a good chance the Eagles will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC playoff picture. They were on the verge of being the first team to repeat as division champions since 2004 ... and they likely blew it.

Maybe they beat an unimpressive NFC South winner on the road. Maybe not.

It’s impossible to feel good about their chances after the wild card round, though.

This team is cooked.

Happy New Year.

Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage, including the BGN Radio postgame show.


FIRST QUARTER

  • The Cardinals won the coin toss and elected to defer to put the Eagles’ offense up first. The Eagles opened with two straight D’Andre Swift runs to set up third down. Facing 3rd-and-2, Jalen Hurts dumped off to Kenny Gainwell for no gain. Three-and-out.
  • The Cardinals’ first play was a play-action pass that reached midfield. Facing 3rd-and-5 in Eagles territory, Greg Dortch made a diving catch right beyond the marker. Facing 3rd-and-6, Murray completed another pass just beyond the marker over the middle. James Conner ripped a 10-yard run to the left edge to move the Cardinals into the red zone. Murray took off running to set up 1st-and-goal at the 3-yard line. Milton Williams strip-sacked Murray for a 9-yard loss but the Cards QB was fortunate to recover. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Murray’s pass was dropped with Reed Blankenship in position to make a tackle short of the goal line anyway. Allowing a 64-yard drive? Not great. Only allowing three points after the Cardinals got to 1st-and-goal from the 3-yard line? You’ll take it. EAGLES 0, CARDINALS 3.
  • Hurts’ second pass of the game resulted in a 16-yard completion to A.J. Brown. Facing 3rd-and-3, the Eagles went with their unstoppable short throw to a crossing Dallas Goedert play for a catch-and-run into field goal territory. Facing 3rd-and-4 just outside of the red zone, a Gainwell run brought up 4th-and-1. The Cards got called for being offside while trying to stop the Brotherly Shove. Hurts lofted the ball in the end zone to an open Julio Jones, who made his second career Eagles TD catch! Nice response drive. EAGLES 7, CARDINALS 3.

SECOND QUARTER

  • Facing 3rd-and-8, Murray found Rondale Moore for a first down but he ball popped out for an Eagles recovery ... but the WR was ruled down. Nick Sirianni didn’t challenge. Jalen Carter was credited with a sack to ring up third down just outside of the red zone. Facing 3rd-and-7, Murray floated a pass off his back foot to ... no Cardinals player in the area and it was very easily picked off by Sydney Brown, who did an excellent job of blazing by the offense, navigating traffic, and staying on his feet to return 99 yards to the house! EAGLES 14, CARDINALS 3.
  • Facing 3rd-and-2, the Cards converted with another short Murray pass. The Cards would’ve been in 3rd-and-9 if not for a phantom Kelee Ringo illegal contact penalty that instead resulted in a first down. Facing 3rd-and-2 just outside of the red zone, Reed Blankenship tackled Trey McBride short of the marker. Facing 4th-and-1, the Cards lined up for a Tush Push but pitched to Conner, proving to be quite a nuisance, for a first down. Facing 3rd-and-7, the Cards got knocked back out of the red zone with a false start. Facing 3rd-and-12, Murray took off running to bring up 4th-and-7. Finally, a stop. The Eagles called their first timeout with 1:53 left in the first half. 15-play, 59-yard drive by the Cardinals that took 9:51 off the clock and produced three points with a 34-yard Matt Prater field goal. Gannon clearly trying to play keep away ball control offense. EAGLES 14, CARDINALS 6.
  • The Eagles took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:50 on the clock and two timeouts to work with. Despite having a clean pocket, Hurts slightly sailed a throw to Brown for a would-be first down. Facing 3rd-and-2, Hurts fit a ball to a very tightly-covered Brown for an actual first down. Difficult throw and catch. Hurts impressively got a throw off against a free blitzer to complete a pass to Goedert ... which went for no gain, preferable to a sack. Hurts to Brown along the left sideline picked up another first down. Hurts threw over the middle to Goedert to have the Eagles use their second timeout at 0:38. On 2nd-and-1, Hurts took a deep shot to DeVonta in the end zone and it looked like a flag for pass interference could’ve been called but there was none. Not really a great throw regardless. Facing 3rd-and-1, the Eagles lined up for a Brotherly Shove ... but pitched to Gainwell ... who threw a pass to DeVonta for a first down! Tricky, tricky. The Eagles took their final timeout at 0:24. Hurts scrambled but kept his eyes downfield and ripped a pass just short of the end zone to — who else — Julio Jones, who was able to break through contact for another touchdown! Excellent two-minute drill by the offense. EAGLES 21, CARDINALS 3.
  • The Cardinals got the ball back with 0:16 left and two timeouts to work with. They completed a pass and let time expire.

THIRD QUARTER

  • The Cardinals open the second half with three straight Conner runs for a first down. Eli Ricks whiffed reaaal badly on a tackle attempt as the Cardinals moved into Eagles territory. A few plays later, Michael Carter broke a run to the 5-yard line. Carter caught a pass short of the goal line and Shaq Leonard was unable to tackle him, which allowed Arizona’s first touchdown. Just not enough resistance there on a 10-play, 75-yard TD drive that took 6:18 off the clock. The Eagles only got the Cardinals in third down once there and it was a 3rd-and-1. EAGLES 21, CARDINALS 13.
  • Swift made a one-handed catch in stride to bring up a third down. Facing 3rd-and-5, Hurts aired it out deep to DeVonta ... who had the ball go through his hands on an over-the-shoulder catch attempt. Gotta make that play.
  • The Cardinals took over at their own 23-yard line after a 62-yard (!) punt by Braden Mann was returned for 14 yards. Conner broke off a 22-yard run into Eagles territory. Arizona starting left tackle D.J. Humphries left the game with an injury. The Cardinals moved into the red zone with a completion. A Conner carry took the Cards to 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Murray broke out of a potential sack by Josh Sweat to deliver a touchdown pass to Conner. Terrible. Gannon elected to go for two and the Cards got it. Tie game after a 9-play, 77-yard TD drive that took 5:03 off the clock. Awful. EAGLES 21, CARDINALS 21.
  • The Eagles went with four straight runs, one by Hurts and three by Swift, to move to the Cards’ 36-yard line at the end of the third quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER

  • The Eagles got to 3rd-and-1 from the 16-yard line and went Brotherly Shove ... for no gain. They ran it again on 4th-and-1 ... and got it. Hurts took off running and got to 2nd-and-2. Then he ran right and then cut back left and slid down for a 7-yard loss. What the hell. Facing 3rd-and-9, the Cardinals got flagged for jumping early. Facing 3rd-and-4, Hurts rolled right and hit a wide open Goedert for the score. The toe-tapping sideline catch was harder than it had to be with Hurts oddly getting it to him late. Still, crucial TD drive. The offense stayed on the field for 7:06, allowing the defense to get a breather. EAGLES 28, CARDINALS 21.
  • Murray took a deep shot and Ringo got called for a highly suspect DPI penalty, didn’t look like there was much to that call, more OPI than anything. The Cards’ second offensive play, a run by Carter, got to the Eagles’ 27-yard line. Murray took off running to the 11-yard line. In a miraculous turn of events, the Eagles got the Cardinals to third down from the 5-yard line. Facing 3rd-and-4, Ricks had good coverage to prevent a completion. Facing 4th-and-4, Murray hit Michael Wilson over the middle for a touchdown with Ringo trailing. EAGLES 28, CARDINALS 28.
  • The Cards went with a surprise onside kick but it was recovered by Eli Ricks. Even if the Cards recovered it, it wouldn’t have counted due to them being offside. Still, smart strategy by them ... either get the ball or give themselves a chance to get it back with more time left if the Eagles score. The Eagles took over at the Cards’ 39-yard line with just over five minutes to play. They quickly got to first down from the 20-yard line. But then they got knocked out of the red zone with a Jordan Mailata holding penalty. Hurts designed run on 1st-and-20 gained four and drew boos from fans at The Linc. After that play, Julio Jones and Jack Stoll didn’t look sure which of the two of them was supposed to be on the field. Hurts kept the ball, ran right, and slid down for a loss of four. Facing 3rd-and-20, the Eagles called a timeout. And then threw a screen to Gainwell for just five yards ... to the tune of more well-deserved boos. EAGLES 31, CARDINALS 28.
  • With it feeling like there was no chance for the Eagles defense to get a stop, the Cards took over at their own 30-yard line with 2:28 to play and two timeouts to work with. The Cards got to the 5-yard line with Maddox missing a tackle and several other Eagles defenders joining him. The Eagles called their second timeout. The Cardinals ran but got stopped short, which caused the Eagles to call their third and final timeout. Conner’s next attempt found the end zone. PATHETIC!!!!! EAGLES 31, CARDINALS 35.
  • The Eagles took over at their own 25-yard line with 0:32 left and zero timeouts to work with. The Eagles moved the ball to their own 49-yard line with 0:14 left. Hurts’ Hail Mary attempt was picked off in the end zone. Fin.

FINAL SCORE: EAGLES LOSE, 35 to 31


EAGLES INJURY NEWS

  • Reed Blankenship visited the medical tent early in the second quarter. It wasn’t too long before he returned to action.
  • Jordan Davis got banged up during the third quarter. It wasn’t too long before he returned to action.
  • Shaq Leonard got banged up during the third quarter. It wasn’t too long before he returned to action.
  • DeVonta Smith visited the medical tent late in the fourth quarter.

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