The season isn’t technically over.
Like their last two seasons, the Cardinals weren’t able to overcome a sluggish start out of the game, getting down 21-0 in the first quarter alone.
Let’s take a look at the winners and losers:
Winner: Carson Wentz
Wentz was efficient and outside of a Bethea INT, he managed to have an incredibly efficient day and avoid turnovers despite Arizona throwing some tight blitzes at him. His offensive line held up despite the fact they couldn’t run the ball and he did exceptionally well on third down and completed several deep shots on Arizona’s secondary.
Wentz looks to be coming into his own and seems to be on the rise as a young quarterback in the league.
Loser: Carson Palmer
How many hits can one guy take? The guy took a beating again and watched as his defense gave up an early touchdown followed by a 76-yard punt return and quickly found himself in a hole.
Palmer’s near the end of his career and it’s tough to watch how well he’s playing with such little talent around him. Though he’s certainly not without fault, as he nearly added to the pile with some balls that should have been intercepted.
Winner: Tight Ends vs. the Cardinals
The Cards had played tight ends very well so far in the 2017 season. That all changed this afternoon, as two Eagles tight ends scored touchdowns and Bucannon and Dansby looked to be unable to keep up with them in the redzone, and Hasaan Reddick
Loser: Special Teams and the Defense...in nearly every facet
The Cardinals defense probably qualifies too but despite the fact that they lost their consistent long-snapper to a reportedly “broken wrist” they gave up long punt returns, had penalties, etc.
It was a nightmare from start to finish. And what’s worse is that this special teams unit hasn’t seen other major injuries or issues in which you’d expect guys to come back or it to get better, like this offensive line.
Many fans have bemoaned the fact that the Cardinals have refused to find a superior special teams coaching option outside of Amos Jones and they have not. And the team is paying the price.
As for the defense, the secondary couldn’t shut down Wentz nor generate enough pressure to get him off his spot, and got beaten and embarrassed on several long pass plays as Nelson Agholor embarrassed rookie Budda Baker on a long pass play.
Really, this game was a microcosm of the last two seasons for Cardinals fans.
Winner: John Brown
There’s almost no winners to be found on the Cardinals in this game, but John Brown had a touchdown and took what was a bad day at the office an prevented it from getting worse by breaking up some near-interceptions of Palmer.
He has been able to make an impact on the offense despite the train wreck that it’s become and if he can show that he can stay healthy and keep making those plays, he may see his tenure with the team continue in a contract year.
Loser: Steve Keim & Bruce Arians
At some point, it won’t matter that they have lost all these starting offensive linemen, David Johnson, Robert Nkemdiche and Markus Golden.
Fans want to win and hate losses. But they especially hate embarrassing blowout losses. The Keim-Arians era has managed to avoid those ever since the 2013 season when they have had Carson Palmer as the starter but they just can’t seem to shake off the issues that plagued them in 2016.
That’s on Keim, in a sense, as he came in as the GM wanting to find a solid offensive line and instead has struggled to field depth at the position
The team is now at 2-3 coming home to face a talented Bucs team that they blew out only 12 months ago and should they drop that game before going to play the division leading Rams, people will probably start penning the end of Arians’ time in the NFL.
He’s always wanted to do things “his way” and for the most part, he’s been one of the most successful coaches in the NFL. But with how poorly he’s looked, it’s probably only a matter of time before the fans wearing Kangol caps and wearing “No Risk It, No Biscuit” shirts will start calling for his head with all the offensive struggles Arizona is putting out.
And it remains to be seen if this will be a situation Arians will want to come back to in 2017, much less Palmer and Fitzgerald.
And as a result, the REAL loser today ends up being the fans of this team
As those fans are having to deal with a season in which they had hoped for one last golden ride from Arians/Fitzgerald and Palmer and now are wondering if they’ll have winnable games left on their schedule this year.
So that’s it for today.
What were your thoughts, Cardinals fans? Which players did you think were winners today? Which losers weren’t mentioned?
Sound off below in the comments section!