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Monday, 27 October 2014

Arizona Staves Off Philadelphia: 3 Things Learned

John Brown's game-winning TD

In a nail-biter, the Arizona Cardinals held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-20; extending the Cardinals' record to 6-1 and keeping them atop the NFC West (by two games over the 49ers and Seahawks). The Eagles drop to 5-2 and remain behind the Cowboys in the NFC east who host the Redskins Monday night. 

It was most certainly an air campaign today with Nick Foles completing a career-high 36 passes out of a whopping 62 attempts for 411 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. WR Jeremy Maclin caught 12 of those balls for an impressive 187 yards and both scores, the second one coming after a terrible helmet-to-helmet collision with Arizona CB Patrick Peterson; the latter would not return after sustaining a concussion. RB LeSean McCoy managed 83 yards on 21 carries.

On the other side, Carson Palmer was 20-of-42 for 329 yards and two touchdowns. WR extraordinaire Larry Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 160 yards and a career-best 80-yard touchdown (really only a short pass with the rest all Fitz). Rookie WR John Brown caught what turned out to be the game-winning 75-yard touchdown reception on a third-and-five with 1:23 left in the game. RB Andre Ellington scored the other touchdown on his 23 carries for 71 yards. 

Of interest, neither quarterback was sacked today.

So, what'd we learn? 

1. Rookies are sure strutting their stuff this season. As mentioned, Brown snagged the game-winning touchdown while Cardinals' rookie S Deone Bucannon brilliantly broke up a deep pass from Foles to TE Zach Ertz with :07 left in the game. Both teams' rookie kickers did well too. Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro hit his three extra points and nailed a 28-yard field goal, his 16th consecutive since he entered the league. Philadelphia's Cody Parkey went two-for-two on field goals including an NFL career-long (eight-game career, I know, but still) 54 yarder and was successful on both extra points.

2. Of particular note were the ridiculous penalties in this game. Philadelphia was dinged 11 times for 103 yards while Arizona was punished 10 times for 95 yards; a mere five penalties shy of the current record for most penalties in a game (26) which occurred in the 9/14/2014 match-up between the Bears and the 49ers.

3. Coming into today's game the Cardinals' defense was ranked first versus the run; holding opponents to, on average, 72 yards per game this season. Today it gave up 110 net yards rushing. Arizona's defense also entered today's match-up with the fewest missed tackles in the league but bungled quite a few today. Neverthless, the Cardinals' defense is still something. CB Antonio Cromartie picked off Foles twice--extending Arizona's consecutive-games-with-a-takeaway record to 19--and, after allowing the Eagles to march down the field in the final minute of the game, managed to sustain the lead and get the win. 

Next week, the 6-1 Cardinals travel to the (currently) 6-1 Cowboys while the 5-2 Eagles visit the 4-4 Texans who snapped a three-game skid in Tennessee on Sunday thanks to RB Arian Foster's three scores.


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