John Skelton filled in for injured Kevin Kolb again on Sunday and won for the second time in as many games. Skelton is now 2-0 in his only appearances, while Kolb has managed just a meager 1-6 record. This is also the Cards first victory on the road this season. The Eagles have obviously been in the spotlight all season, after an offseason of several high profile acquisitions. However, the season has been more than a disappointment than anything for Philly. More of the same on Sunday as Desean Jackson was benched after constant contract quarrels, Jeremy Maclin was a late scratch, and Vick broke two ribs in an injury riddled season. Oh yeah, the also lost the game.
The game was a close one, with the scoring starting on a second quarter pick six by Asante Samuel. John Skelton proved to have a short memory as he was quickly able to come back the field and hit Larry Fitzgerald on a 10 yard end zone strike. The Eagles were able to add a late first half touchdown by Lesean McCoy who has been one of the few pleasant surprises this season for Philly. Skelton hit Fitzgerald for another score in the 4th to tie, but the Eagles quickly took back the lead on a field goal. Not phased by the high profile secondary, Skelton led the Cards down the field again to hit Early Doucet for 5 yard TD with under 2 minutes to go. This proved to be the winning score as the Cards took the game 21-17.
The Eagles were able to run the ball, as McCoy piled up 81 yards and Vick went back to his old ways and ran for 79 yards of his own. He also struggled throwing the ball. He completed less than half of his passes for a mere 128 yards with 2 interceptions. Skelton had his struggles, but still managed over 300 yards with the 3 TD passes I mentioned above. Oddly enough, Asomugha, known as one of the elite corners in the game today, did not lock on Fitzgerald for the entire game. When Larry didn’t get the nightmare matchup, he excelled for 7 catches and 146 yards. He definitely seems comfortable with Skelton under center, as he has now scored 3 touchdowns in the last two games. Beanie Wells has struggled in back to back games, this time managing just 62 yards on 2.7 a carry. This is especially concerning considering the weak Eagles Run Defense. These teams are both 3-6 now, one a little more publicized than the other.
Going into their longest win streak of the season, the Cards will phase division leader San Francisco on the road next week. The niners are running away with this division so far, but the Cards do face them twice the rest of the season. Frank Gore left last weeks game, and Harbaugh has already admitted that he will likely have a limited role on Sunday. This means we may see a lot of Kendall Hunter, which is obviously a better situation. The niners have excelled in stopping the run (1st in the NFL), and with Beanie struggling, it would be wise to air the ball out a little more (26th pass defense). If Gore can’t go, Alex Smith will have another game with the offense relying on him. With the defense and running game working so well, the niners haven’t had to pass much, leading to the 29th ranked passing offense in the league. We have seen Smith struggle in recent years with a lot of weight on his shoulders so getting some pressure on him could be key.