Observations: Eagles 24, Cardinals 21

Eagles WR Riley Cooper in endzone against ChargersHere’s what we saw during today’s Eagles-Cardinals game.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles’ offense was up-and-down against a good Cardinals defense, but finished with a whimper. Nick Foles was 21-for-34 for 237 yards and three touchdowns. He took plenty of hits and went 6-for-14 for 62 yards in the second half. After a scoring drive to start the third quarter, the Eagles punted on their next five possessions.

* In the first, the Eagles got off to a good start as the offense 25 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. The tight ends were a big part of the gameplan. All four of Foles’ passes on the possession went to TEs. He connected with Brent Celek over the middle for a 16-yard gain on third down. Foles then faked a toss to LeSean McCoy and found Zach Ertz for a 6-yard score.

* In the second, the Eagles drove 64 yards to set up a 32-yard Alex Henery field goal, but the offense stalled in the red zone. Brad Smith came in for a play at quarterback (Foles lined up out wide) and fumbled the snap. Foles was then sacked on third down.

* The Eagles closed the first half with a touchdown. Riley Cooper drew a pass interference penalty to give the Eagles the ball at the 1. Foles then found Celek for a 1-yard TD with 15 seconds left.

* In the third, Foles connected with Ertz on a pretty 24-yard completion for his third touchdown pass of the day and 19th on the season.

* The second half was ugly. On one possession, the Eagles ran a toss to LeSean McCoy on 3rd-and-10. Later, a Jason Avant penalty negated a 19-yard McCoy run. And with the Eagles looking to close the game out, Foles threw what was initially ruled an interception by Patrick Peterson. But the officials whistled Tyrann Mathiefor a questionable holding call.

* Cooper had a great one-handed grab on a high throw from Foles in the first half. He spun out of a tackle and picked up 24 yards. Cooper had three grabs for 48 yards. Ertz made a nice grab on a high throw for 22 yards in the first half. He had five grabs for 68 yards and a pair of scores.

* DeSean Jackson had two catches for 39 yards. He also broke up a potential interception in the end zone on the Eagles’ final drive of the first half. McCoy had 79 yards on 19 carries. He also came up with five catches for 36 yards.

* Foles was sacked five times and hit seven more. He also ran the ball six times for 26 yards.

* The Eagles remain in a first-place tie with the Cowboys at 7-5 and have won four in a row for the first time all season.

DEFENSE

* The Eagles’ defense gave up some big plays, but got the job done in the end. The Cardinals faced a 4th-and-5 with under two minutes left. Carson Palmer looked for Michael Floyd, but Bradley Fletcher broke up the pass to give the Eagles’ offense the ball.

* The biggest bright spot defensively was the pass-rush. Trent Cole beat left tackle Bradley Sowell cleanly, sacking Palmer and forcing a fumble that set up the team’s first score. Cole has four sacks in the last two games.

* On the Cardinals’ second offensive possession, it looked like Palmer had Floyd open, but he underthrew him, and Nate Allen made a nice play on the ball for an interception.

* The major blemish in the first half was a 43-yard touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals had a 3rd-and-20, but Brandon Boykin and Patrick Chung ran into each other as Fitzgerald came down with the ball. Billy Davis sent a blitz that didn’t get home on the play.

* In the second half, Boykin got picked on a play that allowed Floyd to break free for a 23-yard touchdown. Allen and Fletcher couldn’t make a play on the ball on a separate occasion where Floyd came down with a 34-yard grab.

* DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks were both active. Ryans had nine tackles, a sack, two tackles-for-loss, a QB hit and a pass break-up. Kendricks had eight tackles. He also broke up a third-down pass down the sideline in the fourth quarter.

* Bradley Fletcher got called for a 15-yard personal foul penalty in the first for his suplex on a Cardinals wide receiver.

* The Eagles got a couple breaks in the first half. Tight end Rob Housler dropped a third-down grab in the first. And in the second, Floyd couldn’t come down with third-down pass from Palmer that would have extended Arizona’s drive. The ball was high, but he had a shot at it.

* The Eagles finished with five sacks. Cole and Brandon Graham had two apiece; Ryans added the fifth.

* Overall, Palmer was 24-for-41 for 302 yards, three TDs, two INTs and a fumble. Rashard Mendenhall had 76 yards on 18 carries. The Cardinals often lined up in jumbo packages and ran Mendenhall up the middle. Fitzgerald had five catches for 72 yards. Floyd had five grabs for 99 yards.

* The Eagles have held their opponents to 21 points or less in eight straight games.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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