5 things to know after Eagles beat Cardinals 24-21

Nick Foles has already reached a point where mistakes are rare

and strong performances are expected.

Not bad for someone with 12 career starts.

Foles threw three touchdown passes and the defense stiffened

late to help the Philadelphia Eagles hold on for a 24-21 victory

over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

The Eagles (7-5) won their fourth straight game to remain tied

with Dallas for first place in the NFC East. They’re 5-1 when Foles

starts.

Foles, the NFC’s Player of the Month in November, set a team

record for most passes without an interception (233), breaking

Michael Vick’s mark of 224 set in 2010. He also moved within one TD

pass of tying Peyton Manning’s record of 20 TD passes and zero

interceptions to start a season.

Foles’ last throw Sunday was intercepted by Patrick Peterson at

the Philadelphia 43 late in the fourth quarter, but the play was

negated by a holding penalty on Tyrann Mathieu.

That poor decision was more surprising than any of Foles’ TD

throws.

”I need to be smart with the football and maybe just take a

sack right there,” Foles said.

Carson Palmer threw for 302 yards and three TD passes, but also

had two interceptions and lost a fumble as the Cardinals (7-5) had

their four-game winning streak snapped.

Zach Ertz had two TD catches, LeSean McCoy ran for 79 yards and

the Eagles continued their worst-to-first push. They were 4-12 last

season in Andy Reid’s last year as coach.

The Cardinals took over at their 10 with 2:08 left. But Palmer

misfired on third-and-5, and Bradley Fletcher knocked down a pass

to Michael Floyd on fourth down.

Five things we learned in Philadelphia’s win over Arizona:

EAGLES LBs ADJUST WELL: Trent Cole and Brandon Graham got off to

slow starts after switching from defensive end to linebacker.

They’re starting to get comfortable in Bill Davis’ 3-4 system and

getting results. Both players had two sacks apiece and

Philadelphia’s LBs had five against Palmer.

”It’s a lot of different, but I told myself in the beginning of

the year that I’m just going to make it work regardless,” said

Cole, who has five sacks in the last four games after getting zero

in first eight.

CARSON THE GUNSLINGER: Palmer sure puts the ball up for grabs.

He threw two more interceptions and could’ve had a couple more

picked. Palmer has 19 interceptions this season, which is second to

Geno Smith’s 20.

”The first one I didn’t see. The second one wasn’t a good

throw,” Palmer said.

PUNTING EDGE: Philadelphia’s Donnie Jones had seven punts inside

the 20, one short of tying the NFL single-game record. Jones nailed

one punt 69 yards and consistently pinned the Cardinals deep in

their territory. Jones, in his first season with the Eagles,

entered the game seventh in the league with a net average of 40.9

yards per punt. He strengthened his case for a third trip to the

Pro Bowl with his effort against Arizona.

”I changed up last year and went to a rugby-style punt,” Jones

said. ”You can hit those really hard and they don’t travel as

far.”

CARDS MISSED ELLINGTON: :Losing rookie running back Andre

Ellington, who injured his left knee late in Thursday’s practice,

was a significant blow to Arizona’s offense. Ellington has 688

yards from scrimmage and averages 6 yards per carry.

”He’s just very unique and you have certain things built in for

him, especially against this team we had things we really liked,”

Palmer said.

ERTZ, CELEK EQUAL MISMATCHES: Foles took advantage of tight ends

Zach Ertz and Brett Celek being faster than Arizona’s safeties.

Yeremiah Bell and Tyrann Mathieu are stronger against the run than

they are in pass coverage. Ertz and Celek combined for 10 catches

for 97 yards and three TDs.

”We thought we’d be used a little more because of the way they

play their defense,” Ertz said. ”They put a lot of safeties on us

in man coverage and we think against any safety we can get

open.”

NOTES: Cardinals are 0-8 when seeking their fifth win in row

since 1977. … Eagles S Earl Wolff missed his second straight game

with a knee injury. … Nate Allen’s INT was his first since the

last game of the 2011 season. … Eagles LB Najee Goode left the

game with a hamstring injury.

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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