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Eagles-Cardinals Postgame: A Win Was in the Cards
Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. And it's even better to be good and lucky. The Philadelphia Eagles were both in their 24-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The Eagles used three Carson Palmer turnovers to extend their current winning streak to four games and pull into a tie for first place in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys with a 7-5 record.
Palmer threw for 302 yards, on 24 of 41 passing with three touchdowns, but it was his fumble and two interceptions that decided this game. The fumble came on the third play of the game, as Palmer fumbled while being sacked. The Eagles quickly converted that miscue into a 6-yard TD pass from Nick Foles to TE Zach Ertz, as they jumped out to yet another early lead.
Foles wasn't perfect in this game, but the reigning NFC Player of the Month was good enough to get his team a win. Foles completed 21 of 34 passes for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also didn't throw an interception, which help him set a team record of throwing 233 passes (and counting) without throwing an interception.
Actually, Foles and the Eagles got very lucky in the turnover department on this day because Foles threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Cards' CB Patrick Peterson, but it was negated when Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu was flagged for holding. Things were just breaking the Eagles way on this day.
Oh sure, a DeSean Jackson punt return touchdown, that would have sealed the victory in the fourth quarter, was called back due to a holding penalty and two Eagles defenders ran into each other and allowed Larry Fitzgerald (5 -72-1) to score a 43-yard TD, but everything else went the Eagles way.
Most TDs to Start a Season Without Throwing an INT
Peyton Manning - 20
Nick Foles - 19
The Cardinals had the 8th ranked defense in the NFL, but Foles and the Eagles offense managed to score three touchdowns and a Alex Henery field goal to get a hard-fought win. That defense held DeSean Jackson to only 3 catches for 36 yards, but rookie TE Zach Ertz scored two touchdowns. LeSean McCoy, the NFL's leading rusher, only gained 79 yards rushing and didn't score, but his contributions opened up the field for others like Brent Celek to score.
Will the Eagles win the NFC East?
The Eagles built up another lead in a game, only to allow their opponent to gain yardage in bunches and mount a late comeback. But as has been their way lately, the defense stiffened up at just the right time, either with a defensive stop or forcing a key turnover. They sacked Palmer five times and Trent Cole and Brandon Graham even got two each. Not bad for a couple of 4-3 defensive ends trying to convert to outside linebacker in a 3-4. Like I said, things were just going right for the Eagles on this day.
This is the eighth game in a row where the Eagles defense has held an opponent to 21 points or less, which helps explain the recent run of success.
This win not only helps the Eagles keep pace with the Cowboys in the NFC East, but also gives them a leg up on the 7-5 Cardinals for a possible Wild Card spot. The Eagles may need to get one of the Wild Card spots to make the playoffs, since the Cowboys already beat the Eagles this season and have the better division record, which is the second tiebreaker after head-to-head.
So the Eagles got lucky on Sunday and they got the win. Of course, they also played well and beat a damn good Arizona team that had a four-game winning streak of their own coming into this matchup. Now the Eagles have even won two in a row at home after losing ten straight at the Linc dating back to last season. Seeing as how they have two more games at home in the next four weeks that they absolutely need to win, that's a good sign.
Now they just need to make it three wins in a row at home and five in a row overall next week when the Detroit Lions come to Philly. We'll see.