The Cardinals started the game with the ball and a statement drive against the Eagles. With Andre Ellington out for another game David Johnson was giving the start and again looked like he belonged there.
The offense started with a one shot deep to John Brown who uncharacteristically dropped the pass that would have gone for at least 40 yards, if not a TD. After that the offense clicked with Carson Palmer and David Johnson smoothly operating the team down the field to the Eagles one yard line where Johnson easily punched in the run for a TD.
The defense looking to make a statement against a suddenly potent Eagles offense started aggressive but were easily dissected by Sam Bradford and the Eagles offense. Even with an offensive hold against the Eagles giving the Cardinals chance to get off the field, the D easily allowed a first.
If not for a big, and legal, hit on the already injured Bradford it didn’t look like the Eagles offense was going to slow. The defense held firm and with the aid of a holding penalty were able to hold the Eagles to a field goal. Newly promoted safety DJ Swearinger made an appearance with an Adrian Wilson like hit on Zach Ertz to help dislodge the ball.
The Cardinals with a 7-3 lead quickly moved the ball again against the Eagles defense. It looked as if another TD was in order but another drop by Brown and a goal line sack on only a three man rush stalled the offense and forced them into a field goal to put the lead back to seven.
Technically the field goal came before the second quarter but I’m trying to keep my recap articles shorterJ (just a heads up, it didn’t happen).
The defense appeared to have seen enough last drive as they quickly held the Eagles to a three and out with Swearinger making another appearance on third down with good coverage on the Eagles slot WR Jordan Mathews.
The offense started hot with a few nice runs by Kerwynn Williams but again the offense stalled after a holding call on Mike Iupati. It was unfortunate as it was on a first down run by Aged One Palmer. It also appears that the Eagles found a nice solution to combat the Cardinals offense with just a three man rush and dropping eight into coverage. The rush was getting to Palmer and with so many people in coverage Palmer forced a dangerous throw into coverage.
The Eagles answered on their next drive, finding a lot of space on a pitch to Ryan Matthews and later the TD to a wide open Zach Ertz. The pace of the Eagles continues to be a problem for the Cardinals who are giving up easy catches and are unable to get pressure quickly enough on Bradford.
Eagles WR Jordan Matthews did most of the damage, working often against Tyrann Mathieu who seemed to struggle against the larger WR.
After a replay of the TD it was shown that on the TD throw Calais Campbell was vigorously calling for a timeout but apparently the 6’9" inch DE wasn’t seen.
The Cardinals with the ball back again started strong but again was stalled by their own mistakes. Drops by Michael Floyd and John Brown stopped the offense and forced the defense back on the field. Thankfully the defense was able to hold and force the Eagles into a very quick three and out.
What happened next may live in Cardinals lore forever. The offense again started strong but this time ended on one of the best runs I’ve ever seen by a Cardinals player. Looking like the Eagles had sniffed out the Cardinals stretch play, Johnson planted his foot and turned up field with lowered shoulders. It appeared he was tackled but then squirted out, stiff armed a DB to the ground, out ran another one and tip toed the last few yards into the end zone for a FANTASTIC TD run!
With only a few minutes left in the half, there was plenty of time for the Eagles offense to get a score. A 40 yard return Josh Huff gave the Eagles great field position and a few plays later they were again knocking on the door just inside the red zone. The defense held them to a 4th and 1 and a field goal seemed next but Chip Kelly rolled the dice and went for it but the defense snuffed them out!
The Cardinals attempted to get into field goal range and a couple of first down runs almost did it but the result didn’t turn into points and it appeared that Johnson was injured on his last run of the half.
First Half Stats
Palmer 11/21, 162 yards
David Johnson 14 carries, 112 yards and 2 TDs.
Kerwynn Williams 3 carries, 28 yards.
RBs had 140 yards on just 17 carries!
Overall the WRs had 162 yards with Larry Fitzgerald leading the back. The numbers could be much higher if John Brown hadn’t dropped three passes.
Deone Bucannon led the team with eight total tackles and seven solo. Regretfully no one sacked Bradford in the first half.
The Eagles started the half with the ball but an errant throw and a tipped pass stalled the Eagles offense and got the Cardinals offense back on the field. A great way to start the half.
David Johnson started the half back in and showed he wasn’t injured with a six yard carry to start the series. He wasn’t done there, again showing patience and power, Johnson waited for a hole and was rewarded by an excellent block by Mike Iupati getting a first down and some extra yards after contact.
The drive ended in semi-vintage 2015 Cardinals fashion. A big play and an amazing catch by Michael Floyd put the ball inside the Eagles one yard line. The difference was Johnson punched it in from shot with his third TD of the game but the lead was only extended by six as Chandler Catanzaro missed the PAT.
Cardinals 23 – Eagles 10
Stat update, David Johnson now has 144 yards on 18 carries and three TDs. Sweet Abraham, we’ve found our man.
The defense finally collected its first sack of the game, almost pinning Bradford in the end zone. The next play it seemed the Cardinals defense had him again but Bradford was able to loft up a ball to a wide open WR that lost Jerraud Powers. The Eagles kept attempting to force the run but found little room but were able to keep on getting first downs on third and long attempts.
But then Markus Golden struck getting a sack fumble on Bradford that was quickly pounced on by Frostee Rucker!
With the offense back on the field and the run game looking good, I was feeling optimistic until Michael Floyd dropped another pass and Carson Palmer had his finger dislocated on the play. Drew Stanton came in the game and immediately attacked deep, Michael Floyd was open but the throw was too far inside and was deflected away.
If you felt your stomach drop out on the play, I’m there with you.
The Eagles again turned over the ball right after again looking like they would march right down the field and score. The Cardinals defense is bending like hot metal under intense heat but somehow still making the big plays.
A big sigh of relief when the Cardinals offense came back out and Palmer was at the helm. Some hard runs and short throws helped the Cardinals move the ball and run out the clock on the third quarter. The drive ended with Palmer alluding a sack and hitting John Brown for a TD! Finger doesn’t look like a problem!
Cardinals 30 Eagles 10
The fourth quarter started out like a dream, Bradford looking for Mathews on the slip screen missed his RB but found the waiting arms of Deone Bucannon who blew past a few offensive players for his first INT TD of his career!
Cardinals 37 Eagles 10
While the media was talking about the undefeated Panthers and the surging Seahawks the Cardinals so far in three quarters have made a statement. You all forget about Dre… I mean the Cardinals!
And that’s what I get for being brash, the next series it appeared that Tony Jefferson got lost in coverage and gave up an easy 78 yard TD to a wide open Jordan Matthews who is having himself quite the game.
The offense went run heavy and was able to get a few first downs and run out almost five minutes but a sack on third and short forced the punt, giving the Eagles the ball back with ten left on the clock and down 20 points.
With a huge lead the defense looked like it could take its sweet time and again looked porous against the Eagles spread attack offense. But with their backs against the wall the defense, particularly Mathieu, made some plays and forced the Eagles into another 4th down. Chip gambled and again lost against the Cardinals defense!
From there the Cardinals slowly road out the clock on the back of David Johnson and his epic game. With three minutes left the Cardinals were finally stopped and forced into a 38 field goal which Catanzaro nailed. Too bad he’s been shanking PATs lately.
Cardinals 40 Eagles 17
On the Eagles likely last drive of the night the Honey Badger picked off Bradford but appeared to injure his knee. He was able to walk off but went immediately to the locker room. Stanton then came in for Palmer and Stefan Taylor for David Johnson. The Cardinals ran out the clock and that was that!
End of Game Stats
Palmer 20/32, 274 yards and a TD
David Johnson 29 carries, 187 yards, 3 TDs plus 4 catches for 42 yards. That’s 229 total yards!
Michael Floyd led all receivers with 70 yards and John Brown had the lone TD reception. Darren Fells also had a good game with 54 yards on 3 receptions.
The defense stepped it up in the second half with Deone having an incredible game. Ed Stinson was also in on a sack as well as the aforementioned sack fumble by Markus Golden. The defense also forced and recovered another fumble for a total of two on the day and a total of four turnovers counting Mathieu’s pick.