The Philadelphia Eagles have lived on the edge all season and have usually survived. However, Eagles fans like myself still have to fear what will happen if they have to come back every week. Eventually, late game magic won't be enough to win anymore, and then a harsher reality will set in. For proof, they need only to look at the Arizona Cardinals and Kevin Kolb on Oct. 4.
The 4-0 Cardinals had won every game by a tight margin - except for the one against the Eagles on Sept. 23. Yet at last, they weren't able to wake up at the last minute to win, as the St. Louis Rams put them down and kept them down en route to a 17-3 victory.
Kolb didn't do anything to lose the game, as he didn't throw any interceptions. But he clearly didn't do enough to win it either, as neither he nor the entire Arizona offense produced any touchdowns. He wound up having to throw 50 times, even though it wasn't his night - which is very reminiscent of a typical Michael Vick start.
The Cardinals also overused him despite how he was knocked around the entire game - another Vick hallmark. Arizona's offensive line collapsed and let Kolb get sacked nine times, which hardly helped the effort to score more than a field goal. As such, the Cardinals had to rely on their surprisingly elite defense to bail them out, but they couldn't do it this time.
Sam Bradford only completed seven passes all night, which would seem to have indicated bad news for the Rams. But while Kolb got no production despite throwing so often, Bradford made up for his poorer stats by having two of his seven completions go for touchdowns. In a game like this, it was all the Rams needed by far.
The Cardinals weren't supposed to start 4-0, yet when they were expected to win, they couldn't come through. But after four weeks of living on the brink, it finally caught up to them and to Kolb as well. Now Arizona must wonder anew if it has the personnel and capabilities to survive this way for three more months.
Philadelphia asked that as well after it was slaughtered in the desert, in virtually the same way. The Eagles are still asking those questions and may have to do so for some time. But if they want to avoid crashing down to earth before they can find a better way to win, they need only to look at the Cardinals-Rams game as a cautionary tale.
Maybe Kolb will bounce back like Vick did against the New York Giants on Sept. 30. But if Kolb's work in St. Louis was a harbinger of more ominous things to come, he may go from being quarterback of a winning team to having his very job in jeopardy - almost like in Philadelphia two years ago. Hopefully the Eagles and Vick take note before they risk having the same long overdue problem as well.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
Other stories by this contributor
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Kevin Kolb
- the Eagles
- Michael Vick