It's about time the Eagles enjoyed some homefield advantage.
After racing out to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter, the Eagles held off a late comeback attempt from the Arizona Cardinals thanks to two key penalties to escape with a 24-21 win. The Eagles improved to 7-5 after winning their fourth straight game to remain in a first-place tie in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys.
In his first start since being named the starting quarterback by head coach Chip Kelly on Tuesday, Nick Foles was 21-of-34 for 237 yards with three touchdowns against no interceptions for a 112.0 quarterback rating. For the season, Foles has now thrown 19 touchdowns against no interceptions. It's the second-highest total to start a season in NFL history only behind Peyton Manning who had 20 touchdown passes before throwing his first interception earlier this season.
However, the streak was briefly over for a few moments. With 3:51 remaining, the Eagles were looking to run out the clock. Foles was pressured by the Arizona defense and instead of taking a sack he attempted a pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson that went directly into the hands of Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. The only problem for the Cardinals was that safety Tyrann Mathieu was called for defensive holding to wipe away the interception.
On the final drive of the game, the Eagles had the ball at the Arizona 15-yard line after forcing a turnover on downs. On third down from the 9-yard line, defensive end Matt Shaughnessy was called for a holding penalty which was compounded by linebacker Daryl Washington's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for verbally abusing an official. The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Eagles a fresh set of downs and allowed them to run out the clock.
Foles was efficient against one of the league's stingiest defenses. On the opening drive of the second half, Foles converted three third-down situations and hit tight end Zach Ertz on a 24-yard touchdown - the rookie's second touchdown of the game - to put the Eagles ahead by 17. It was a big day for the tight ends as Brent Celek hauled in the other touchdown - a 1-yard reception. Ertz and Celek combined for nine catches, 97 yards and the three scores. LeSean McCoy had a game-high 79 rushing yards on 19 carries. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson had three catches for 36 yards which was good enough to catapult him over 1,000 receiving yards for the third time in his career.
The rest of the day belonged to the defense which punished Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, who was 24-of-41 for 302 yards with three touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble. Palmer was sacked five times in the game – twice each by linebackers Trent Cole, who had his second straight multi-sack game, and Brandon Graham. Wide receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald paced the Cardinals offense five catches apiece. Floyd had 99 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald had 72 yards, 43 of them came on his touchdown reception. Rashard Mendenhall had 76 yards on the ground as Andre Ellington was sidelined with a knee injury.
Arizona's four-game win streak came to an end. The Cardinals are now 7-5 on the season, along with the Eagles.