The Arizona Cardinals came into Sunday’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles with a record of 7-4 and very well alive in the NFC playoff race. After a loss, sitting at 7-5, they are still in the thick of it. But, this particular loss stung a bit more than typical defeats. The reason behind the sting is due to a chunk of questionable officiating that came toward the end of regulation Sunday.
Head coach Bruce Arians was obviously upset about the game as a whole, but there were three instances that stuck out in the fourth quarter.
The first came on a huge turnover that could have been a game-changing play. Patrick Peterson intercepted a pass, which would have been Nick Foles’ first of the season, but a holding call on Tyrann Mathieu negated the pick and brought it back. The second call came on Matt Shaughnessy on the Eagles’ final possession where he was flagged for holding.
Finally, on the final play for Arizona, there was visible contact on an incompletion to wide receiver Michael Floyd. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, no flag was thrown.
Arians was asked after the game whether or not he thought the officiating could have cost them the playoffs.
“It possibly could, but I think a lot of things have to happen here in the last four weeks. I would hope that we give up all that talk this week and just focus on the St. Louis Rams.”
The coach also said that he sent “about 15 plays” to the league to review. “The proper channels have been followed,” the Arizona coach said, “and obviously there were very, very many problems.”
It’s hard to disagree with Arians, as all three plays could have gone either way. In a season where officiating seems to be questioned more than recent years — aside from last year’s replacements, of course — the Cardinals’ season could wind up coming down to this one loss to the Eagles that, according to Arians, was lost due to officiating.