By: Barry Barnes, Founder/Senior Writer
The hot Philadelphia Eagles continues to keep their eyes on the prize as they held off the storming Cardinals behind quarterback Nick Foles’ three touchdowns and solid defense down the stretch snapping Arizona’s four-game winning streak, and extend their streak to four wins in a row for a 24-21 victory.
“That’s what’s important. A quarterback has to be consistent, especially in this league where there is so much talent,” said Foles. “These defenses are very good, so as an offense, you want to get the ball into your playmakers’ hands. Doing that means getting the ball out quick, if you have a shot take it, recognize when there is pressure, and be smart with the ball. If you go back to film study, you’ll see there are mistakes that I need to get better at. That’s why I love this game. There’s always an opportunity to get better.
“We need to play better in the second half,” he continued. “That’s obvious. We didn’t play well. We need to help our defense out. Special teams played tremendously. I think [punter] Donnie Jones had seven punts inside the 20-yard line. That’s huge, because then you make them march the entire field. I’m really proud of our team for playing together and getting a team win once again.”
The Eagles sit at the top of the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys at 7-5, but keeping pace with their rival from the south is the last thing on their minds as they are focusing on themselves, and the Cardinals on Sunday.
“We are not really focusing on Dallas,” said Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz, who had two touchdowns. “We play them on December 29. When we play them, we will focus on them. We knew the Arizona Cardinals were a heck of a team and they have a very good defense and some playmakers on offense. We just needed to do what we knew we had to do.”
The Cardinals (7-5) are still in the hunt for a playoff spot and are just on the outside looking in. However, Arizona must find a way to win on the road (2-4) and with two remaining trips, they must put it altogether.
“We’re still in it,” said Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians. “We control our own destiny as far as that goes. We learned a lot today about what playoff atmosphere is on the road and how to overcome it and how to handle it when bad things happen and when good things happen.
“So I was real pleased with the way we handled it on the sidelines, but we have to learn from it and know that if we play error free we can win games like this.”
By Courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles
-During the Eagles current four-game winning streak, Foles is 72 of 106 (69.2%) for 1,169 yards with 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. His 144.2 passer rating over that span is the sixth highest by an NFL quarterback during a four-game stretch since 1960.
-Foles has thrown a team-record 233 passes without an interception, dating back to 12/23/12 vs. Washington, which supplanted Michael Vick’s team record of 224 … Foles has thrown 19 touchdowns this season without an interception, needing just one more to tie Peyton Manning (20 in 2013) for the NFL record.
-Foles become the second Eagle to boast a rating over 100 in four straight games, joining Donovan McNabb, who did so in 2004.
-P Donnie Jones landed seven punts inside the 20-yard line, setting a team record and tying for the third-highest total in the NFL since the stat became official in 1976. Only Jacksonville’s Bryan Barker (8 on 11/14/99 vs. Baltimore) and Pittsburgh’s Mark Royals (8 on 11/6/94 at Houston Oilers) had more. Both Barker and Royals are former Eagles.
-Jones has placed 29 punts inside the 20 this season, which is tied for the second-highest total in franchise history behind Jeff Feagles’ 31 in 1993 … Jones booted a 69-yarder today, his second-longest of the season and the third-longest of his career … Jones boasts the third-highest career gross punting average (45.3) and the best net punting average (41.3) in franchise history.
-The Eagles were plus-three on the turnover ratio today and are plus-seven on the season. In their seven wins, they are plus-13 and minus-six in their five losses … During the current four-game winning streak, the Eagles are plus-eight and have committed just one giveaway.
-The Eagles have now won four consecutive games, which is the third-longest current streak in the NFL behind Carolina (8) and Seattle (6). Seattle plays New Orleans (who has a three-game winning streak) on Monday Night.
-LB Trent Cole compiled two sacks on the day and now has 76 in his career, tying Clyde Simmons for second on the Eagles all-time list … Cole had two sacks in back-to-back games. It’s the third time Cole has had multiple sacks in consecutive games and the first time since 2006 … Cole also forced a fumble, which was recovered by DT Bennie Logan on the opening possession and led to an Eagles touchdown.
-The Eagles forced turnovers on the first two possessions and three overall against a Cardinals team that had gone two straight games without a giveaway … S Nate Allen became the eighth Eagles defender to record an interception this season on his sixth-career pick.
-CB Cary Williams also recorded an interception, his third of the year. Over the last two seasons (including playoffs), his nine interceptions rank fourth in the NFL behind Tim Jennings (12), Richard Sherman (12), and Patrick Peterson (10).
-TE Zach Ertz scored two touchdowns, marking the first multi-touchdown game by an Eagles tight end in the regular season since Chad Lewis on 12/30/01 vs. NYG. The last Eagles rookie tight end to do so was Keith Jackson on 11/1/88 vs. LA Rams … Ertz also tied a career high with five catches and set a career high with a team-leading 68 yards.
-The Eagles defense combined for five sacks of Carson Palmer, including two apiece by Cole and LB Brandon Graham … It was Graham’s third-career multi-sack game … LB DeMeco Ryans picked up his third sack of the year, becoming the first Eagles linebacker with at least three sacks and two interceptions in a season since Jeremiah Trotter in 2001.
-The Eagles defense has held its opponents to 21 points or less in each of the last eight games, the only NFL team to do so during that span. The last time the Eagles held opponents to 21 points or less over an eight-game stretch came in 2003.
-Only the Panthers (10), Chiefs (9), and Saints (9) have held more opponents to 21 points or less this year.
-The Eagles defense has vastly improved over the last eight games in many of the major categories, holding opponents to just 17.9 points per game, compared to 27.5 over the first four games.
-With his 24th career touchdown catch, TE Brent Celek moved out of a tie with Chad Lewis for second all-time among Eagles tight ends. He now ranks second in receptions (303), yards (3,792) and touchdowns, trailing only Pete Retzlaff (452-7412-47) in all three categories.
-Celek supplanted Brian Westbrook for 11th on the team’s all-time receiving yards list … The Eagles are 19-5 in regular season games that Celek catches a touchdown pass.
-The Eagles have not allowed opening drive points in their last seven games … LeSean McCoy’s 1,088 rushing yards are the 12th-highest single-season total in franchise history … WR Jason Avant moved past Keith Byars and into 13th on the Eagles receiving yards list with 3,535 … WR DeSean Jackson has amassed 1,021 receiving yards this season, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for the third time in his career, which is tied with Harold Carmichael and Mike Quick for the most in team history.
-Jackson celebrated his 27th birthday today and has racked up 5,806 receiving yards in his career. Only Randy Moss (8,375), Larry Fitzgerald (6,241) and Calvin Johnson (6,241) had more on their 27th birthday than Jackson … G Evan Mathis played in his 100th NFL game.
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