Poor Decision-Making, Situational Awareness, and Clock Management Cost the Cardinals

Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals dropped another home game Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles to fall to 2-3 on the season. After the potential game-tying or winning drive ended abruptly on a missed field goal attempt, the fingers began pointing at Kyler Murray, coach Kingsbury, and kicker Matt Ammendola.

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Jalen Hurts Calmly Marches Eagles Down the Field to Recapture the Lead

After Philadelphia surrendered the lead in the 4th quarter, the Eagles converted on three third downs on their final drive that spanned 17 plays and chewed up 7 minutes, and 58 seconds. The backbreaking play for the Cardinals’ defense came on a 3rd & 12 for the Eagles with 4:28 to go in the 4th quarter. Eagles right guard Isaac Seumalo seemed to have gotten away with a false start penalty just before the ball was snapped to Hurts.

The Eagles quarterback cooly stared down Arizona’s blitz and got the ball out to Dallas Goedert just before getting sacked. Linebacker Dennis Gardeck had a chance to stop Goedert four yards shy of the first down, but could not tackle the tight end before he lunged for the first down. Rookie kicker Cameron Dicker chipped in a 20-yard field goal to give the Eagles a three-point advantage.

Lack of Situational Awareness and Execution Cost the Cardinals

Down by three with 1:45 remaining, the Cardinals started moving the ball down the field, knowing they only needed a field goal to force overtime. Marquise Brown caught a short pass up the middle to pick up the first down, but a perplexing lack of urgency for Arizona cost the Cardinals ten seconds from the moment Hollywood was down until they spiked the ball to stop the clock.

Murray’s biggest blunder of the game, however, came on the next play – 2nd & 10 with 36 seconds left in the game, on the Eagles’ 35-yard line. With no timeouts left, the Cardinals quarterback called his own number and seemed to have plenty of running room ahead. Following the solid blocking by RB Eno Benjamin, Murray looked to have an easy first down and could stop the clock if he continued his run outside and out of bounds.

Inexplicably, Murray cut inside and slid near the first down marker. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Murray gave himself up a yard shy of the line to gain and precious seconds continued to tick away. Worse still, instead of running a play to try and pick up the first down on 3rd & 1, Kyler spiked the ball to stop the clock with 22 seconds left.

Under immense pressure, Matt Ammendola stepped up to take the kick. His body language looked unconfident from the moment he positioned himself behind the placeholder. Not surprisingly, Ammendola’s kick was no good as it sailed wide right of the goalpost, costing Arizona the game.

The loss, though, cannot simply be blamed on Ammendola, Murray, or even Kingsbury. Instead, the entire team collectively shares the burden of responsibility. Arizona will look to get back to a .500 record next week when they take on the Seahawks in Seattle. One major emphasis at practice this week should be the two-minute drill, to ensure that the mental mistakes and breakdown of execution do not happen again.

 


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