Eagles Edge Cards: Five Things We Learned

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Cardinals returned home Sunday, falling to the Philadelphia Eagles 20-17 in front of an Eagles-dominated crowd at State Farm Stadium as replacement kicker Matt Ammendola’s potential game-tying field goal attempt sailed wide right in the closing seconds. With the loss, the Cards fall to 2-3. The Eagles stay unbeaten, improving to 5-0.

Here are #FiveThingsWeLearned in Glendale.

1. Empty Nesters…The Cardinals, for whatever reason, simply can’t win at home. In fact, when the Cards return to State Farm Stadium for their next home game, Thursday, October 20th against the New Orleans Saints, it will mark nearly one full calendar year since Arizona has won a game on their home turf. After Sunday’s loss, their last win dates all the way back to October 24, 2021, a 31-5 victory over the Houston Texans.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury was at a loss for words after the game. “I don’t have an explanation,” he said of the home struggles. “Each year is different. We have to find a way to win at home.” The home losing streak now sits at eight games.

2. Slow From the Get-Go…Another week, another first quarter with the Cards having a “0” next to their name in the scoring column. The Eagles scored early in the quarter, then were on the move at the end of the first 15 minutes of game action. This teams’ early-game offensive ineptness is head-scratching, especially considering how dynamic Kyler Murray is.

“To come out flat five-straight weeks,” Kingsbury lamented. “We’ll keep trying. The margin of error playing against a talented team like [Philadelphia] is small.”

The Cards’ struggles Sunday benefited those with a sweet tooth back east.

Arizona has been outscored 38-0 in the first quarter of games this season.

3. Leg Day…While Murray may show more sizzle on some of his scramble runs, Philly’s Jalen Hurts simply sets the tone with his legs. The 2019 Heisman Trophy Award winner had a 17-yard run down the Eagles’ sideline, and two short touchdown plunges early in the game which got the Eagles soaring with Arizona, again, sleep-walking through the first quarter.

Hurts is on pace to set an NFL record for rushing attempts for a quarterback this season. He finished the day with a team-high 61 yards on 15 carries. Many of his runs helped open up Philly’s passing attack. Hurts was 26-36 for 239 yards and did not throw an interception (89.9 quarterback rating). His evolution as a complete NFL quarterback is a big reason for the Eagles’ fast start this season.

4. Fine Line Between Winning and Losing…The easy play would be to blame the replacement kicker for missing the biggest attempt in his NFL career but their were a number of key parts, including the three topics listed above, where Arizona could have stamped the Eagles with their first loss. While Murray was solid (28-42, 250 yards, one touchdown), he threw an interception and missed a couple of key throws – including a potential chunk play on a deep out to tight end Zach Ertz in from of the Arizona sideline, as well as a big drop by Hollywood Brown which could have gone for a long touchdown. A key false start on Kelvin Beachum on the Cards’ final drive, as well as allowing the Eagles to convert a key 3rd-and-12 earlier only adds salt to the wound.

“There were a lot of moments where we could have played better,” Kingsbury lamented.

Arizona’s first four offensive possessions were punt, punt, interception, punt. Good teams in the NFL exploit weaknesses. The Cards have found that out first-hand in their three losses against teams (Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, Eagles) with a combined record of 10-4.

5. Hooray for Hollywood…It’s been a slow build up this season, but Brown’s emergence in Arizona’s passing attack, especially considering DeAndre Hopkins’ return from suspension in two weeks, is exciting to think about. 

Brown got the Cards’ scoring on track in the second quarter with a nifty 25-yard catch-and-run. His five catches and 71 receiving yards in the first half were both team-highs. He netted over half of Murray’s first half passing yards (141), and served as KM1’s primary target on most pass plays. His final stat line was eight receptions for 78 yards (both team highs) and the touchdown.

Arizona is back on the road next Sunday in Seattle against the Seahawks. In his post-game press conference, Kingsbury stressed the importance of putting this tough loss in the rearview mirror and looking to get their first NFC West win after falling to the Rams on September 25th.