Week 16 Game Recap: Philadelphia Eagles 21, Arizona Cardinals 27
What you need to know
Depleted by injuries, the Eagles’ starting team was a patchwork of players fighting for their future roster spots. Their inexperience was particularly evident on the offensive side of the ball, as Philadelphia had difficulty mounting any sort of consistent offensive attack. They had eight three and outs in this game.
Although Mike McMahon put up good fantasy numbers in this game, he continued to struggle behind center, throwing off the mark and making numerous poor decisions. His best plays occurred when he was able to move around in the pocket and show his athleticism. He finished the day with two rushing touchdowns, one passing touchdown, and one interception. Wide receiver Billy McMullen caught a 21 yard touchdown pass for his first career touchdown.
The Eagles had very little success on the ground. Coming off of consecutive impressive performances, Ryan Moats failed to find any running room against the Cardinals. He finished with just 13 yards on nine carries.
With Kurt Warner out for the remainder of the season, Josh McCown took over at the quarterback position for the maligned Arizona Cardinals team. McCown played well for much of the game, spreading the ball around among his trio of speedy wide receivers and throwing two touchdowns in the process. Fitzgerald and Boldin were on the receiving end of McCown’s touchdown passes.
The Cardinals continued to struggle in the run game, with Shipp and Arrington sharing the rushing load. Between them they had 23 carries but only 65 yards. Neither of them came close to the goal line.
The Cardinals’ pass defense sacked McMahon on the first play of game, and continued to bring pressure throughout the contest. Arizona pass rushers finished with four sacks and interception return for a touchdown.
What you ought to know
|QB Mike McMahon, Pass: 12 - 33 - 151 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 21 - 2|
Despite putting up good fantasy numbers, McMahon looked like a back-up quarterback thrust into a starting role, as he struggled against Arizona all afternoon. The Eagles tried to get him going early with easy short throws, but he was off with both his accuracy and timing. McMahon improved a bit as the game wore on, and generally looked to be at his best when he was able to move around in the pocket. McMahon’s lone interception was a costly one, as he threw the ball right into the hands of an Arizona pass rusher. The ball was tipped, caught, and run into the end zone. McMahon had two short rushing touchdowns on the day, and threw a strike to Billy McMullen into tight coverage for his only passing touchdown of the day.
Detmer’s first completion of the game came on a fake field goal attempt. Detmer, who holds for David Akers, took the snap on a 50 yard try and threw a 12 yard strike to Chad Lewis for a Philadelphia first down. Detmer also entered the game briefly in the third quarter following an injury to Mike McMahon.
Moats struggled to find anywhere to run against the Cardinals. He had 13 yards on nine carries, with a long run of ten yards. In other words, take away his one long carry, and Moats had three yards on eight rushing attempts. Moats can’t be blamed entirely for these poor numbers, as the Cardinals took advantage of a decimated Philadelphia offensive line, and seemed to be living in the Philadelphia backfield for much of the game. Moats did find the corner on a nice run at the end of the first half, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty.
|RB Reno Mahe, Rush: 4 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)|
Mahe was used in the backfield to spell Moats, and also in passing situations. Like Moats, he found no room to run against the Cardinals. He did have a carry from the Arizona one yard line with time running out in the game, but he was stuffed. On the very next play, he was targeted on the one yard line, but the ball bounced off his chest and fell to the ground.
Brown had a decent game, managing 69 yards on six receptions. However, at times it seemed that he was not on the same page as his quarterback, as he appeared to be running different routes than his quarterback was throwing. Brown made a nice leaping catch on a 26 yard play on a deep out route. A couple of his catches came late in the game in garbage time.
McCants only had two catches in the game, but on both receptions he ran for tough physical yards after the catch. On one of his catches, a 19 yard gain, he was brought down at the Arizona half yard line.
McMullen only had two receptions despite nine targets, but did register his first career touchdown. He found the end zone on a go route from the slot position against tight man coverage. McMullen had a 15 plus yard reception negated by a holding penalty. He nearly had a 25 yard catch across the middle, but dropped the ball when he was clobbered by the Arizona defender.
Lewis continued to be a non-factor in the Eagles’ offense. He was targeted four times but did not register a catch.
Lewis had his only catch of the game on a pass from Koy Detmer on a successful fake field goal attempt. Lewis had an uncharacteristic drop on a pass that was thrown perfectly at his chest.
Smith continued to be a non-factor in the post-McNabb portion of the season. Smith was the intended target on a red zone pass play at the Arizona one yard line, but he tripped on the play and McMahon improvised and ran it into the end zone. Smith’s only catch came with 5:00 remaining in the game.
Akers lined up for a 50 yard field goal attempt, but it was a fake. He had no other field goal attempts on the afternoon. He successfully converted three of three extra points.
The Philadelphia rush defense overall did a nice job in this game. Neither Arizona running back found any sort of running room. The unit allowed just 75 yards on the ground on 32 attempts.
The Eagles’ pass defense struggled against the Cardinals’ potent air attack. As has been their problem all season, they were unable to get a decent pass rush from their front four. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia defensive backs seemed to be giving Arizona receivers a large cushion off the line. They were subsequently abused for big gains on underneath routes time and again. In total, the Eagles allowed 294 passing yards and two touchdowns in the air. They had two sacks on the day and one interception.
|QB Josh McCown, Pass: 27 - 38 - 294 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0|
A free agent at end of year, McCown may have raised some eyebrows in this end of the season audition for a job. He made good accurate throws all game, including a perfect throw to Fitzgerald into tight coverage on a 45 yard flea flicker. McCown also did a good job audibling out of a run-play to find Fitzgerald matched up in man coverage against a Philadelphia safety for a 25 yard touchdown. McCown had one big mistake – an interception while throwing off his back foot against an Eagles’ blitz with his team up 20-7. McCown had a third touchdown pass called back by an illegal shift penalty.
Shipp was the better of the two Arizona runners on this day, for what it’s worth. At times Shipp showed good vision and patience, but for the most part he was bottled up for small gains. Shipp finished with 42 yards on 13 carries, with a long run of 14 yards. Shipp was not targeted in the passing game.
Arrington found nowhere to run against the Philadelphia defense. He shared the load in the backfield with Marcel Shipp. He had just 23 yards on ten carries, with a long run of seven yards.
Ayanbadejo had two catches for 19 yards.
Boldin was a monster in this game. He was open all day on short hitches and drag routes underneath against soft Philadelphia coverage. Whenever he caught the ball, Boldin fought for extra yards after contact with tough physical running. Boldin’s touchdown came on a 20 yard go route. He held on despite being hit by the safety as the ball was delivered. Boldin lost yardage on and end around early in the game when nobody was blocked. Boldin did fumble the ball after a fourth quarter reception, but the Cardinals recovered.
Fitzgerald had a strong game, scoring a touchdown and catching five balls for 93 yards. Fitzgerald had a 45-yard catch down the sideling on a flea flicker. He was well-covered on the play, but went up and made the tough catch. Fitzgerald’s touchdown came against a breakdown in coverage that found him wide open on a post-corner route.
Johnson got into a bit of a groove in this game, making some nice catches out of the slot position. He had only three catches for 26 yards, but had a long touchdown called back due to an illegal shift penalty.
Edwards did a nice job getting open on short underneath routes. He caught four of five balls thrown his way for 21 receiving yards.
Bergen made the most of his four targets in this game, catching all of them for 54 total yards. Bergen also recovered a Boldin fumble.
Rackers hit two 32 yard field goal attempts and missed a 54 yard try. He converted three extra point attempts.
The Eagles did not try to run much in this game, but when they did they enjoyed little success. The Arizona rush defense allowed just 39 total rushing yards. 21 of those yards, and two touchdowns, came from Philadelphia quarterback Mike McMahon.
Arizona got good pressure from its front four, but also mixed in a number of blitzes that flummoxed the inexperienced Eagles’ quarterback. The Cardinals had four sacks on the day and a tipped ball that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.