What They’re Saying About the Eagles
Here’s a roundup of what the national and local media are saying about the Eagles this week.
Peter King of the MMQB talks about the remarkable rise of Cardinals rookie receiver John Brown and his day against the Birds:
On Oct. 26, 2013, the Percy Harvin of Division II football, John Brown, was in St. Joseph, Mo., with his Pittsburg (Kans.) State football teammates, playing Missouri Western. A crowd of 4,517 watched Brown catch four passes for 48 yards in a Pittsburg State win.
One year later Brown was in Arizona with his new team, the Cardinals, to play the Philadelphia Eagles. A crowd of 61,789 watched Brown make the play of the day, and of his young and burgeoning career: a fingertip 75-yard bomb from Carson Palmer that accounted for the winning points in a battle of one-loss teams.
What an absolutely perfect match Brown is with Bruce Arians and his daring ways. Sunday was the first time America got to see it on the national stage, and it lifted the surprising Cardinals to a two-game lead over San Francisco and Seattle in the NFC West at the season’s midway point.
King also lists the Eagles at number five in his Fine Fifteen:
5. Philadelphia (5-2). If the field is 12 inches wider, Jordan Matthews catches that touchdown inbounds on the last play at Arizona and it’s the Eagles who leave the desert dancing. Philly has agonizing losses to the Niners (26-21) and Cardinals (24-20).
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes about what the Birds may or may not do at the trade deadline:
The Eagles reportedly are interested in Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson, and they’re looking for a safety who’ll be an upgrade over Nate Allen, who was caught flat-footed and burned by Cardinals receiver John Brown for the game-losing touchdown pass on Sunday.
But the Eagles aren’t admitting to it.
A team source directly disputed to PFT the report about interest in help at safety. On Monday, coach Chip Kelly downplayed any and all trade talk during an appearance on WIP radio.
“I listen to them and chuckle,” Kelly said of the reports.
Chris Burke of SI.com gives out his superlatives from Week 8 with two Eagles sharing the Least Valuable Player title:
LVPs: Cary Williams and Nate Allen.
Allen actually made one of the defensive plays of the day, stripping Arizona running back Andre Ellington and managing to recover the loose ball while getting both feet inbounds. An untimely miscue later will overshadow that effort.
The Eagles held a 20-17 lead with just 1:30 left, and the Cardinals were facing a 3rd-and-5 from their own 25, when Allen and Williams allowed speedy receiver John Brown to beat them for a game-winning touchdown. Brown faked inside, then ran past Allen deep. Williams, who appeared to be responsible for outside coverage on the play, also could not turn and catch Brown as he sprinted underneath Carson Palmer’s bomb.
“It was just a great play by the coaches,” Brown said. “I [saw] the safety [Allen] on me and I had made a double move. He bit on it.”
Tough to pin the blame for a hard-fought defeat on any one player. In that situation, though, letting Brown have a first-down catch over the middle would have been preferable by far to allowing him the deep ball.
Don Banks of SI.com reviews the Eagles-Cardinals game:
• There was Brown, the unsung and fleet-footed third-round pick from tiny Pittsburg State, hauling in that rainbow 75-yard bomb from quarterback Carson Palmer on third-and-5, barely beating a pair of Eagles defensive backs to the end zone with 81 seconds left in the game to put the Cardinals up 24-20.
• There was the almost overlooked goal line stand by Arizona’s defense on the previous Eagles drive, which blunted Philadelphia on third-and-1 from the two-yard line, forcing the Eagles to settle for a 20-yard Cody Parkey field goal and a 20-17 lead with just under two minutes remaining.
• And finally, there was the last-play heroics by Arizona reserve safety Rashad Johnson, who came up huge by forcing Eagles rookie receiver Jordan Matthews out of bounds before he could land with the potential game-winning 16-yard touchdown pass from Foles as time expired.
Football Outsiders has its e-mail exchange from Week 8:
Aaron Schatz: Watching Philadelphia is just such a different experience than any other NFL offense. It seems like there’s a read-option or fake read-option on every play. Just over and over.
Vince Verhei: Larry Fitzgerald catches a quick slant, gets one block, breaks one tackle, and he’s gone for an 80-yard touchdown. I get so happy when this guy succeeds. Their Super Bowl year, I thought he was maybe the best overall player in the league. Then he spent the next half-decade playing with some of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. He has been overshadowed a bit by his teammates now (I’m not even sure he’s still the top receiver on the team), but I hope not too many people have forgotten how good he used to be.
Cian Fahey: The final play of this game was a great example of why height is so overrated at the wide receiver position. Jordan Matthews is huge, but he’s not a natural receiver. He sacrifices his ability to keep his feet in bounds to allow a body catch. Body catching drags him out of bounds with his momentum. A more talented shorter receiver would catch that ball with his hands away from his body, allowing him to drag his feet as he goes out of bounds.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz is frustrated that a few big plays changed the outcome of the game:
The worst thing about the loss is that it ruined some things I’d love to be happy about.
* If you set aside the 2 long TDs, the Eagles defense played well. They allowed one long TD drive. They allowed one short FG drive (which came after an INT). The Eagles let the Cardinals get a few yards here and there, but controlled them for the most part. They played good, solid team defense.
Unfortunately, those 2 mistakes gave up 155 yards and 14 points. You can’t just ignore them. I need to study the Fitzgerald TD at length to see who was at fault. Nate Allen accepted the blame for the John Brown TD.
Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com gives out his awards from the Eagles-Cardinals game:
The Uber-Conservative Award: Chip Kelly
With six seconds left in the first half at the Cardinals’ 44 yard line, Kelly elected to punt instead of trying a Hail Mary. Why not just chuck it up for grabs one last time? I mean… That’s what Nick Foles did for most of the game anyway.
The Stud Award: Cody Parkey
Parkey drilled a key 54 yard field goal and hit touchbacks all day. The kid is a stud. I love Cody Parkey, mainly because I can re-post this anytime he does something good.
Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com thinks Kelly’s logic got a little foggy during the loss to the Cardinals:
In the game’s pivotal sequence, right before the Eagles kicked a go-ahead field goal with two minutes left, Kelly’s decision-making is open to question. The Eagles had driven the length of the field and had a first down at the Arizona 11-yard line after a LeSean McCoy run.
Foggy moment No. 1: McCoy, who led the NFL in rushing last season, was taken out of the game and replaced by Chris Polk for two plays. Polk had exactly one carry earlier in the game, his first of the season. He did well, running up the middle for six yards. That set up second-and-4 from the 5-yard line.
Polk got the handoff again from Nick Foles, who was in the shotgun. Polk ran off the right tackle, then cut inside. He was brought down near the goal line, then tried to lunge forward over the goal line. The officials marked the ball midway between the goal line and the 1-yard line.
Matt Cassidy is a journalism student at Temple and an intern at Birds 24/7.