Report Card(inals)

Report Card(inals)

A game of what-ifs. The Arizona Cardinals had their chances to get a huge upset win over the last undefeated team in the NFL, but weren’t able to get it done. 

The Cardinals have fallen to 2-3 on the season after dropping the match 20-17 to the Eagles. 

Clearly, the team as a whole didn’t play well enough to get the win, but how did the individual position groups perform? 

Arizona Cardinals Report Card: Week 5 vs. Eagles

Dennis Gardeck

Defense

Defensive Line – B-

Once again, Allen and Watt made their presence known in the backfield and got after Jalen Hurts. 

A swatted pass from Allen was a huge potential game changer in the second half.

However, the Eagles enforced their will on the ground on the last drive and chewed up several minutes of clock. The FG scored on that drive would be the difference in scoring that won the game for Philadelphia. The defensive line played a big role in that failure. 

Linebackers – D

Dallas Goedert went after the linebacker position and won nearly every matchup. He finished the day with 8 receptions and 95 yards including multiple, big 3rd down conversions. 

It is a bad, bad sign when Ben Niemann is on the field over a former first-round pick. Philadelphia had a lot of success in the screen game and took advantage of the slow Niemann to make them work. 

The athletic prowess of Isaiah Simmons needs to be on the field. All the time. 

Secondary – C

Jalen Hurts took advantage of Marco Wilson early in the first half, giving up two big gains to AJ Brown on the first Eagles’ drive. 

Byron Murphy played well for the most part, including a hit stick on Devonta Smith that forced a punt and gave the Cardinals offense another shot. He also met J.J. Watt at the quarterback and was credited with a half sack. 

Jalen Thompson almost had a game changing interception in the first half, but it was ruled incomplete. He also got in front of the ball on an end zone pass in the 4Q and went down. Thankfully, he jogged off the field and should be alright. 

Kyler Murray

Offense

Running Backs – B-

No one finished the day with crazy numbers, but the running backs did what they needed to do when it needed to be done.

Eno Benjamin can look special when he gets the ball in his hands. He seems to slowly be earning trust from Kingsbury and should be earning more touches. His 11-yard TD run in the fourth quarter got his team back in it. 

James Conner did what he needed to do, but he, unfortunately, went to the locker room early with an apparent rib injury. 

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Wide Receivers – C

Once again, this position group is a bit hard to grade because Marquise “Hollywood” Brown is nearly the only receiver of note on this team. 

He didn’t have the same type of monster game as last week, but Brown was effective, scoring the only receiving touchdown of the game. Sadly, a dropped pass that was most likely a house call is one of the “what-if” moments in a game full of them. 

Rondale Moore finished with 68 yards, good for second on the team, but his continued misuse behind the line of scrimmage is incredibly frustrating. His big play, a 28-yard grab, came when he finally took off downfield. 

Greg Dortch, who was the team’s leading receiver the first two weeks did not have a reception. 

Kliff’s misuse of his receiving options continues to hurt this position group’s grade. 

Tight Ends – C

Zach Ertz was the team’s third leading receiver with 48 yards. Sadly, he was uncharacteristically unsure with his hands. Only 6 receptions on 10 targets including a dropped pass that would have given the Cards a key third-down conversion. 

Trey McBride saw the field but Murray never looked his way. Again. 

Offensive Line – B

Even with Sean Harlow taking the place of Rodney Hudson, the Cardinals offensive line didn’t look particularly bad. Murray had time to throw today. 

After some impressive outings, the Eagles defensive line was held to one sack on Murray which came at the hands of former Cardinal Haason Reddick. 

The line struggled at times opening up holes for the running backs, but overall they deserve a decent grade this week. 

Quarterback – C

Once again, Murray finished the day with a decent stat line that was marred by big mistakes at the worst possible times. 

Murray had 250 yards and one touchdown and an over 65% completion rate. 

Sadly, an interception on an underthrown toss to Brown was a major mark on his game. 

On the last-minute, game-winning drive Murray slid before the first down marker and snapped the ball to create a 4th and 1 situation with 22 seconds left. There is some controversy over what down and distance was being shown on the field, but the snap forced a 43-yard field goal attempt that missed wide right by off-the-street kicker Matt Ammendola. 

Murray also had yet another very slow start on offense. A trend that does not lend itself to thinking well of a quarterback benefitting from a recent massive extension making him one of the highest-paid players at the position. 

There is still a lot of room to improve here. 

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