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Beating The Other Birds: The Philadelphia Eagles Win Against The Arizona Cardinals


Photo Credits: Michael Chow - The Arizona Republic


Despite playing their arguably worst game of the 2022 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles managed to hold on to beat the Arizona Cardinals by a finals core of 20 to 17. And in doing so, finally managed to beat the Cardinals in Arizona, something the team hadn’t done since 2001. The vibes were bad for the majority of this game, but a win is a win. Below are three of my observations from this game.


The Eagles Offensive Line Depth Is What Makes This Team Elite:


Heading into this game, the Eagles were without their starting and second-string left tackles, Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard. So, they were forced to start their backup right tackle, Jack Driscoll, on the left side. For most teams, starting their third option at arguably the most important position on the offensive line would be challenging enough, but then the Eagles also lost their starting left guard, Landon Dickerson, and starting center, Jason Kelce, to injury as well. While Dickerson and Kelce eventually came back, for roughly half of this game the Eagle's offensive line was virtually on life support. And yet, they were fine.


The second and third-string options for the Eagles didn’t play like All-pros, to be clear, but they were able to hold their own against the Cardinal's impressive pass rushers like J.J. Watt. According to teamrankings.com, the middle-of-the-pack offensive line groups (ranked 15th in the league) give up, on average, two sacks a game. This is the exact number of sacks the Eagles hobbled offensive line gave up today. Why does that matter? Well, when your second and third-string offensive linemen are performing at a higher rate than HALF of the league’s starting units, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that if one, two, or even three of your best lineman go down, you don’t have to switch up your offensive gameplan. That type of assurance is almost unheard of in this league, and it’s one of the main factors that makes this Eagles team elite.


Speaking Of Elite, How About Jalen Hurts?


Hurts definitely didn’t have his most impressive game of the year today. But when it seemed like almost every part of the Eagles team was sluggish today, Hurts was the one to create plays and momentum. He finished with 239 passing yards on 26 completions and 61 rushing yards along with 2 rushing touchdowns. It’s well known that Hurts is a stone-cold competitor, never letting the moment or situation get to him, and that sort of calmness really helped this team when the Cardinals were picking up steam late into the second quarter/early into the third quarter.


In addition to him posting a decent stat line and acting composed throughout the game, Hurts was also able to read the Cardinal’s defense and keep their hopes of winning alive during their last offensive possession. Nick Sirianni said after the game that Hurts called an audible on a crucial third down in the fourth quarter to keep the Eagles alive.



This just shows that Hurts is growing more and more comfortable in the offense and is continuing to improve as the season progresses. Call me crazy or maybe I’m just biased, but I seriously believe that if the season were to end today (it doesn’t), Hurts would be a dark horse MVP candidate. There’s a real argument for him winning the award, and if he continues to lead the team like he currently is, he might very well win it this year.


Now Let’s Talk About The Bad Vibes:


I’ve always been a good-news-first, bad-news-second type of guy. That’s the reason why I want to talk about the bad now. Through the first four games of the season, the Eagle's defense sacked opposing quarterbacks 15 times, or just under four a game. Today, the Eagle's defense only sacked Kyler Murray once. For a defense that is very reliant on the defensive line to get sacks, one a game, when you have elite talent in that group, isn’t going to cut it. To be fair, the Cardinals starting offensive line was the best they’ve faced thus far, but still. This group can’t allow this regression to continue throughout the rest of the season.


A.J. Brown has, by far, been the Eagle's leading receiver in the 2022 season. Why then, was A.J. Brown not targeted at least once after the first quarter of this game? The Cardinal's secondary is made up of smaller corners and safeties, the type that Brown is usually able to dominate. So why did the Eagles coaching staff not try to get him more looks? Something weird is going on.


The last point I’ll make here --- the vibes are sort of off. I have no statistics to back this up, just my general feeling as an Eagles fan. It seems like every week, games are getting closer and closer for this team and they’re really not responding all that well. Philly fans are notorious for being pessimistic about their teams and I am no exception. All I’m saying is, if it weren’t for Hurts, I’d be feeling pretty off about this team right now.


Up Next:


The Philadelphia Eagles play the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night football in Philly next week. This game has the potential to be the best one so far in the 2022 season, so I'm excited to watch it. Combine the fact that the Cowboys are playing really well right now and the Eagles always seem to lose to the Cowboys at home (and beat them on the road), I’ll say this is where the Eagles suffer their first loss of the season. My prediction: Eagles 20 – Cowboys 27.


Go Birds?


Yeah, Go Birds!!!

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