GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals seemed headed for a tough loss, the Philadelphia Eagles a big road victory.
Then rookie John Brown made that over-the-shoulder reception – ”a Willie Mays catch,” coach Bruce Arians said – on a 75-yard touchdown play and the Cardinals stunned the Eagles 24-20 on Sunday.
”He’s so young and so raw and so fast and so explosive,” Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer said. ”I mean, for him to pull away from everybody like that, I’m not surprised and I expected him to do what he did.”
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The victory left the Cardinals (6-1) with a two-game lead in the NFC West as one of three one-loss teams left in the NFL. Denver and Dallas are the other two. Arizona plays at the Cowboys next Sunday.
It’s the Cardinals’ best start since they went 7-0 40 years ago.
”I can’t say enough about the resiliency of our football players,” Arians said. ”It’s a family, it’s a band of brothers that just will not quit.”
Arizona had the ball third-and-five at its 25 when Palmer came to the line of scrimmage and noticed something that made him signal Brown to change his route. The third-round draft pick from little Pittsburg State raced past safety Nate Allen, gathered the ball in his arms and barely made it across the goal line to put Arizona up 24-20 with 1:21 to play.
”I was kind of thinking that he overthrew me a little bit, but it ended up being a great pass by Palmer,” Brown said. ”It was right over the head, right in the basket.”
The Eagles (5-2) showed some resilience of their own, driving to the Arizona 16 before Nick Foles’ pass to Jordan Matthews on the final play was just out of bounds.
”Normally this year, we’ve been on the other side of this,” said Philadelphia wide receiver Jeremy Macklin, who caught 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. ”This was a big one.”
Here are some things of note about Sunday’s Eagles-Cardinals thriller:
Before the last-gasp Eagles try failed, the Cardinals had another defensive stand that, in retrospect, turned out to be crucial.
Philadelphia had used up more than 7 minutes to drive to the 2, where LeSean McCoy was stopped for no gain on third-and-1.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly thought about going for the touchdown, but chose to put the game in the hands of his defense.
”I thought our defense at that point was playing really, really well and I had real confidence in them,” he said. ”I told them that we were kicking the field goal because I had confidence in our defense at that point.”
Cody Parkey’s 20-yarder put the Eagles up 20-17 with 1:56 to play.
FITZ’S BIG DAY
Much has been made of Larry Fitzgerald’s supposed loss of a step at age 31. He had enough of a step to outrun the defenders on an 80-yard touchdown play.
”I haven’t lost anything,” he said. ”That’s all I’m saying. No, I haven’t lost anything.”
He said he watched himself on the big new screen at University of Phoenix Stadium to see how far behind his pursuers were.
Fitzgerald caught 10 passes for 160 yards, his 37th career 100-yard receiving game but first this season.
Asked where this game ranks among the regular-season contests in his long career, he said, ”This is one of my favorites – the way we were able to close it out.”
FOLES GOOD AND BAD
Foles threw for 411 yards and two touchdowns but had two passes intercepted, both by Antonio Cromartie. One came in the end zone, the other in the fourth quarter to set up Chandler Catanzaro’s tying 28-yard field goal.
The Eagles also lost a fumble at the Arizona 2.
”You never want to turn it over in the red zone,” Foles said. ”You want to get points, especially with such a great kicker. … I’m not going to let this defeat me. I’m going to learn from it and move forward.”
Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson left with concussion symptoms in the first half.
The odd play occurred when teammate Deonne Bucannon hit Maclin in the helmet, and Maclin in turned slammed his helmet into Peterson’s.
Maclin also left the game briefly.
Peterson would be sorely missed in the game at Dallas next Sunday.
Both rookie kickers had a big moment.
Parkey kicked a career-long 54-yard field goal, the longest by an Eagle since 2003.
Catanzaro set a rookie NFL record by starting the season 16 for 16 on field goals.
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