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Cardinals' Special Teams Miscues Return

Posted Oct 8, 2017

Notes: Big punt return, blocked field goal hurt; offensive line shuffles

Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson gets his kick blocked by Eagles cornerback Patrick Robinson.

PHILADELPHIA – As the offense and defense struggled on Sunday afternoon, the Cardinals needed their third phase to buck a recent trend and be special.

Instead, it was more of the same.

The special teams unit wasn’t the biggest reason for the blowout 34-7 loss to the Eagles, but it contributed. Philadelphia went up 14-0 on a touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to tight end Zach Ertz midway through the first quarter, a score set up by a 76-yard punt return from Kenjon Barner.

Tight end Ifeanyi Momah seemed to have Barner wrapped up near the sideline but he escaped.

“We just missed tackles,” coach Bruce Arians said. “We were down there. We just don’t make the tackle. The second wave was out of position, but Barner – I think it was Kenjon – he just made them miss.”

To add injury to insult, long-snapper Aaron Brewer broke his hand on the play. The Cardinals used defensive lineman Josh Mauro as the snapper on punts and guard Evan Boehm on field goals as Brewer’s emergency replacements.

“Hats off to Josh Mauro and Evan Boehm stepping in for ‘Brew,’” Arians said. “They did a hell of a job of getting us out of this game.”

The Cardinals had a 51-yard field goal attempt blocked on the final play of the first half. Arians said it was “a little bit slower operation” than normal with Boehm snapping instead of Brewer. Boehm said it was his first long-snap in a game since he was a sophomore in high school, and the issue was compounded because he had to wear the gloves that he uses when playing guard.

“Was the snap a little bit slower than Brewer’s?” Boehm said. “Probably so. That’s expected. I just wanted to get a good ball to (punter) Andy (Lee) so he could set it down for Phil (Dawson).”

OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE CONTINUES

Earl Watford started at left guard less than a week after he was signed because Alex Boone (chest) was inactive. The Cardinals were already without left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee). Additionally, starting guard Mike Iupati is on injured reserve.

Right tackle Jared Veldheer left the game in the third quarter with a left knee injury but returned in the fourth and said it’s minor. Rookie Will Holden took his place, the second consecutive game in which he’s been thrust into action. He started at left guard last week.

Quarterback Carson Palmer was only sacked two times in the game but was constantly forced to move around the pocket because of pressure. The Cardinals only had 31 rushing yards.

Arians was asked what can help the offensive line improve.

“Hopefully get some guys back,” Arians said. “It looks like D.J. and Alex should be back next week.”

Defensive lineman Olsen Pierre left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Arians said it might be a hairline fracture, but is waiting for X-Ray confirmation. Defensive lineman Corey Peters left the game with a knee injury but returned.

FITZGERALD’S STEADY HANDS

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught a pass for the 200th consecutive game when he hauled in a 15-yarder late in the first half. That is the third longest streak in NFL history.

Fitzgerald finished the contest with six catches for 51 yards.

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