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First Quarter Review: Eagles Lead 7-0

Posted Dec 1, 2013

The Eagles won the toss and elected to defer, so the Arizona Cardinals received the opening kickoff. After a 25-yard return by Javier Arenas out to the 25-yard line, quarterback Carson Palmer led the Cardinals offense onto the field. After a run and quarterback screen combined to gain just four yards, the Cardinals faced a third-and-6 from the 29-yard line. Palmer dropped back to pass as Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole exploded around the edge. As Palmer wound up to pass, Cole slapped the ball out of his hand for a strip-sack, and defensive tackle Bennie Logan recovered the fumble at the 25-yard line.

On their first offensive possession of the game, quarterback Nick Foles threw four straight passes, all to tight ends – the first three to Brent Celek – and capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz in the back right corner of the end zone after executing a fake-pitch roll out. Less than three minutes into the game, the Eagles took a 7-0 lead.

The Cardinals got the ball at the 20-yard line following a touchback on the ensuing kickoff. The offense registered a first down on an 11-yard completion from Palmer to wide receiver Michael Floyd and another on a six-yard completion to wide receiver Andre Roberts, after which 15 yards was tacked on because of an unnecessary roughness penalty against cornerback Bradley Fletcher. On the very next play, however, Palmer underthrew Floyd on a long pass to the goal line, and safety Nate Allen was able to come over his centerfield position to make the leaping interception in front of Floyd. Allen then returned the interception 43 yards to the Eagles’ 48-yard line.

Following the interception, Foles was sacked on first down for a loss of seven to bring up second-and-17. Running back LeSean McCoy got his first carry of the game on second down but gained only one yard. On third-and-16, Foles scrambled for nine yards before sliding down around midfield and the Eagles were forced to punt.

The Cardinals started their next drive at the 10-yard line and were able to move the ball to their own 46-yard line after a combination of solid runs and a 17-yard catch and run by tight end Jim Dray. Facing third-and-4, Palmer threw a perfect pass to tight end Rob Housler on an out route near the left sidelines. It would have been enough for a first down, but Housler dropped the ball and the Cardinals were forced to punt.

The Eagles started their third offensive drive of the game from their own 18-yard line and started with a 22-yard completion from Foles to Ertz. But then three straight McCoy runs produced just eight yards and the Eagles were forced to punt again. Again, Donnie Jones was able to pin the Cardinals at their own 10-yard line.

The Cardinals came out throwing and Palmer completed his first two passes of the drive, first to running back Stepfan Taylor for a gain of 16, then a screen to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for nine yards. A 14-yard run by Rashard Mendenhall picked up the first down, but that was followed by a sack of Palmer by DeMeco Ryans to bring up second-and-19. A wide receiver screen to Brittan Golden picked up four yards and brought up third-and-15 as the first quarter closed.

Despite being outgained 95 to 56 in yards, the Eagles held a 7-0 lead.

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