GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Cornerback Brandon Boykin #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Early Doucet #85 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carindals defeated the Eagles 27-6. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Arizona Cardinals manhandled the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, kicking them off to a 3-0 start, the best in Arizona Cardinals franchise history. Their 27-6 win put the league on notice that the Cards are the real deal and should not be taken lightly. Here are the positives and negatives other teams will see when they look at the game tape.
For the first time in Arizona Cardinals franchise history, the team is off to a 3-0 start. They have not done that since 1974 when the Cardinals were still based in St. Louis. Their win over the Eagles displayed many great traits about the team, but it also had some ugly moments as well. Here are the positives and the negatives from the Cardinals' big win.
For once, the turnover differential seemed to be on the Cardinals' side. Arizona managed to get Michael Vick to fumble twice in the game, while also getting a big special teams turnover as well. The Eagles have now turned the ball over 12 times in 12 quarters of football this season. The biggest one came at the end of the first half when Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes sacked Vick, jarring the ball loose. James Sanders scooped it up and returned it all the down the field, giving Arizona a command 24-0 halftime lead and sinking the hopes of the Eagles.
The Cardinals, as alluded to in the last point, managed to get pressure on Vick throughout the day. In the game, they had five sacks, 20 hits and 12 knockdowns. Many questioned whether or not Vick was even going to make it through the game after watching the blows he was taking. Keeping him in check is ultimately what won Arizona this game.
3. No Touchdowns Allowed:
The Cardinals' defense was spectacular, so much so that they did not allow a touchdown to the league's #1 rated offense. In fact, through three games this season, the Cardinals have allowed only two opposing players to reach the end zone. That is quite a feat given the teams they have played thus far.
4. Kevin Kolb:
Despite having the pending birth of his newborn on his mind, Kevin Kolb was fantastic on Sunday. He looked like more than a game manager, which was evident in his deep 37 yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown. Going 17/24 for 222 yards and two touchdowns really put Kolb in the driver's seat for the starting quarterback job and it showed his former team that they may have made a huge mistake.
5. Larry Fitzgerald Breaks Another Record:
In the first quarter of Sunday's game, Larry Fitzgerald managed to break yet another league record. This time, he became the youngest player ever to record 700 career receptions. That means he beat out greats such as Jerry Rice, Randy Moss and any other receiver you can think of. Quite a feat for a very special player and a future Hall of Fame receiver.
1. Early Doucet's Drop:
Last year it was tripping in the end zone, this time it was dropping a key pass that could have easily gone for a touchdown. Doucet's first quarter mishap came in the red zone where he seemed to turn his head to look at the goal line before seeing the ball into his gloves. Luckily for the Cardinals, his mistake didn't hurt too bad, as rooie wideout Michael Floyd made his first reception as a pro which also gave him his first touchdown as well.
2. The Run Game:
Outside of Ryan Williams' late game heroics, the run game, once again, looked a bit stale for the Arizona Cardinals. Beanie Wells managed to grab 18 yards on the ground after rushing the ball 8 times. LaRod Stephens-Howling, who usually manages to play well, toted the ball 8 times for a whopping -14 yards. Arizona, despite not having a ground game this season, is somehow 3-0.
3. Replacement Referees:
Where do I start with this one? First, the refs decided to waste what seemed like half an hour of my day to decipher a holding call in the first half. Then, they failed to call multiple penalties throughout the game, which really could have shifted the whole match. Defensive holding, offensive holding and ever horsecollar infractions were not penalized. When do the regular refs come back, again?
4. Red Zone Efficiency:
So far this season, the Cardinals have seemed to stall a bit in the red zone. Against the Eagles, they went 1/4 in terms of being able to score a touchdown. When playing explosive teams, it does not suit the Cardinals to walk away with scoring just a field goal. They need to start recording 7 more often, or it may come back to haunt them one of these games.
Adrian Wilson, Todd Heap and John Skelton were already inactive for Sunday's game, so the Cardinals could ill-afford to lose anymore of their key players. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Running back Beanie Wells did not return after the third quarter. He sustained some sort of toe injury to which the extent of is not known. Darnell Dockett, one of the team's best defensive linemen, went down in the fourth quarter and could be seen on the sidelines with his leg wrapped in ice. The Cardinals can only hope that his injury does not linger. Finally, Ryan Williams left in the fourth after running out some clock for the Cardinals. It seems as if it was just a leg cramp, but after watching him go down for the season in 2011, it is very worrisome to see him go to the ground like that. He should be fine for next week's game against the Dolphins.