Eagles vs Cardinals: 4 things we learned about the Eagles in a disappointing loss

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Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift celebrates after scoring against the New York Giants during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Just when you think the Philadelphia Eagles hit rock bottom in Seattle, they find a way to dig a bigger hole for themselves.

On a day that could have been a further step towards winning the NFC East for the second-straight year, the Eagles lost control of their playoff destiny with a humiliating 35-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.

Four losses in their last five games have sent the city into a tailspin and one that isn’t likely to recover from. For that, let’s go through the biggest takeaways from an embarrassing loss like the one we all just saw.

Their season is over

If there was any doubt before, there isn’t any now. The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t going anywhere this year once the playoffs begin. Whether it’s unforced errors on players, poor in-game coaching, or a horrific defense (we’ll get to them later), the Eagles have shown that they cannot be trusted to win when it matters most.

There were plenty of highlights this season, but there’s little hope that the team can get past the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, or Detroit Lions.

Heck, they may not even get past the first round, and whoever wins the NFC South!

The Defense was flat-out embarrassing – as it has been all year

Good god that was pathetic.

The Arizona Cardinals racked up over 400 yards of offense, drove into the red zone every single drive of the game, put up 35 points on the road, and had 39 minutes of time of possession.

For a defense that made changes to the play-caller, and has tried to get some of the younger players involved more, this has been a completely embarrassing showing from the Eagles 2023 defense. On Sunday, they hit rock bottom.

Now, many people point to the group being “out-manned” in different points as a reason to their struggles.

Nfl josh sweat eagles
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat (94) and safety Sydney Brown (21) react after a tackle against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Those people fail to acknowledge that Fletcher Cox, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, Shaq Leonard, Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Brandon Graham, and Kevin Byard all are Pro Bowl or All-Pro players.

They have the horses. None of them are playing well or being coached nearly well enough. The Sean Desai hiring has proved to be a disaster and Matt Patricia was just embarrassingly out-coached by rookie play-callers.

There isn’t much more to say about this. The Eagles season is over but it has little to do with what the offense isn’t doing.

It’s more about what the defense is allowing.

No, Brian Johnson did not call a bad game

Everyone wants to jump on the inefficiencies of the offense for *checks notes* a bad stretch of football that began with a bad holding call on Jordan Mailata.

What people seemingly fail to realize about the Eagles’ loss on Sunday is that this game is not put on the offense at all. At least it shouldn’t be.

The Eagles averaged close to six yards per play and were 2-2 in the red zone. The numbers look bad (275 yards of offense) because they only had the ball for 20 minutes in the entire game! When you have a TOP battle that is 39 minutes to 20 minutes and a defense that didn’t force a punt the entire game, the offense is already in a no-win situation.

Did Johnson have a bad series when he ran two quarterback draws and a screen after the holding call? Of course.

But the Eagles led 31-28 after that play. Johnson made sure the team got points on the board.

The defense being unable to do anything all game is not acceptable and a bigger problem.

No, Nick Sirianni should not be fired

The overreactions to this kind of loss are out of control from fans and media members alike. Yes, this season and collapse in December is inexcusable. There will have to be major structural changes to a terrible month like this.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

That being said, the Eagles are not just going to fire a head coach or make sweeping changes across the board because of a bad month or a bad end to a year. That’s not how any of this works.

Nick Sirianni is 36-19 as a head coach and a year removed from a Super Bowl appearance. He’s gone through a hard schedule, massive coaching turnover, and still has gotten his team to 11 wins. He’s the first coach in Eagles history to get to the playoffs for three straight seasons to start his career.

But because of a bad stretch of games in a month that’s cause for removal?

Sirianni will have to answer to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie about why this team collapsed when it did but to assume that the team should look to replace him if they can’t get out of the wild card is just absurd when you consider that the other Super Bowl attendee last year (the Kansas City Chiefs) look even worse than they do.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke