The Philadelphia Eagles extended their winning streak to four games in Week 13 with a hard-fought victory over the Arizona Cardinals, who had won four in a row coming into Sunday's pivotal NFC clash.
|Eagles 24, Cardinals 21|
|Arizona Cardinals (7-5)||0||7||7||7||21|
|Philadelphia Eagles (7-5)||7||10||7||0||24|
The Eagles defense forced three turnovers, and quarterback Nick Foles tossed three touchdown passes in the 24-21 victory at Lincoln Financial Field. Surprisingly, it's only the second time the Eagles have won at home in 2013.
Nonetheless, the win keeps them on pace with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
Coach Chip Kelly knows his team has to get right back to work, per the team's Twitter account:
Philadelphia's defense set the tone early as linebacker Trent Cole recorded a strip-sack on Carson Palmer to set the Eagles up with excellent field position right outside of the red zone. Four plays later, Foles hit tight end Zach Ertz for a six-yard touchdown pass.
A Palmer interception on the very next drive would give the Eagles a significant advantage in the turnover margin, but not on the scoreboard, as the Cardinals defense forced them to punt on their next three possessions.
But despite its defensive success, it wasn't until under eight minutes to play in the second quarter that Arizona finally got on the board when Palmer hit Larry Fitzgerald in stride across the middle of the field. The veteran playmaker showed off his speed and athleticism en route to the end zone.
But the Eagles weren't rattled by the big play. Instead, they responded on their very next drive as Foles marched the offense 64 yards down field to set up a go-ahead field goal.
The highlight of the scoring drive was this 24-yard gem from Riley Cooper:
After forcing the Cardinals to punt for the third time in the half, Foles would lead a brilliant two-minute drill that saw the Eagles cover 78 yards in nine plays. The scoring drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brent Celek that put Philly ahead 17-7 at the halftime break.
Foles credited his teammates following the win for their strong performance:
Overshadowed by Foles' impressive performance in the first half was DeSean Jackson surpassing 1,000 yards receiving in a season for the first time in three years, per The Philadelphia Inquirer's Zach Berman:
Chip Kelly and the Eagles continued to ride Foles' hot hand in the second half, taking a commanding 17-point lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ertz.
Afterward, Eagles Insider put the second-year passer's superb play into perspective:
The Eagles offense would cool off dramatically after pulling ahead 24-7, as Foles completed just one pass for nine yards over the final 25 minutes of action.
Trailing by three scores and desperately needing a response, Palmer and company answered by piecing together a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 23-yard touchdown strike to Michael Floyd.
Following Palmer's second interception and back-to-back three-and-outs, Arizona's offense finally mounted another lengthy drive, covering 86 yards in eight plays to cut Philadelphia's lead to three points with under five minutes to play.
The Cardinals would get the ball back after the Eagles' next drive stalled at midfield, but Philadelphia's defense was up to the task, forcing Arizona to turn the ball over on downs deep in its own territory with under two minutes left. The Cardinals would use their final two timeouts to stop the clock but a defensive holding penalty on a key third down handed the game to the Eagles.
Key Player Grades
Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles, QB: A
Foles was stellar in the first half, making plays down the field and avoiding costly errors. The fact that he's still yet to throw an interception this season speaks to his remarkable decision-making, but his play in the second half has to raise some eyebrows.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals, QB: C+
Palmer, who threw for 302 yards and three scores, had several bright moments, but his mistakes stood out above all else. He had thrown just two interceptions total during Arizona's four-game winning streak, but he tossed two in Week 13's loss and fumbled on the Cardinals' first drive of the game.
It's tough to win on the road when you're minus-three in the turnover department.
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles, RB: B-
The league's leading rusher coming into Week 13, LeSean McCoy made plays on the ground and in the passing game to help extend drives and keep the Cardinals defense on its toes. However, he failed to leave a lasting mark like he did in recent wins over Washington and Green Bay.
He finished with 79 yards on 19 carries and 36 receiving yards on five receptions out of the backfield.
Philadelphia will gear up for its third consecutive home game in Week 14 against the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, Arizona will return home to prepare for a pivotal division matchup against the St. Louis Rams next weekend.
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