2008 Game 12... Eagles 48 Cardinals 20
First of all I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving.
When the Eagles played the Cowboys on Christmas night the entire holiday depended on the outcome of that game. If the Eagles lost it would have been like the Grinch came to Philadelphia and stole Christmas. Lucky for us, it was one of the best Christmases ever.
This Thanksgiving was a different holiday and a different situation. The Eagles have been struggling, and that’s an understatement. We all just wanted to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and maybe tune in to see who gets benched this week or if the Eagles could figure out a way to tie. Its safe to say I was pleasantly surprised and the Eagles made the Arizona Cardinals look like turkeys.
The Eagles and Seinfeld’s George Costanza have more in common than I thought. Every instinct George had led him to his lack of success with the opposite sex. Jerry suggested that he do the opposite, because if every instinct he has is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right. Great episode, the Eagles went with some opposites of their own, and they too worked out for the best.
On the Eagles opening drive Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook looked like two individuals on a Thanksgiving Day mission. For the first time this season the Eagles ran the ball more times than passing, and it led to a 5-yard shuffle pass to Westbrook. Instead of a pass heavy drive, the Eagles did the opposite, and the result was a touchdown.
Turnovers. In the past few weeks, it was the Eagles who were turning the ball over early and often, which led to playing from behind. In the first quarter against the Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner threw two interceptions on Arizona’s first two drives courtesy of Joselio Hanson and Quenten Mikell. The Eagles capitalized on the first turnover with a four-play drive that consisted of Westbrook running the ball hard and scoring on a 1-yard dive.
The Eagles first possession of the second quarter began on their own 40-yard line. Six runs and four passes later the Eagles had a 21-0 led over the Cardinals, and Brian Westbrook had his third touchdown of the game. The Cardinals have a high-powered offense that can move the ball down the field in a hurry, and they did just that after the Eagles scored again. Warner hit Larry Fitzgerald in the endzone to cap an 11-play drive. With 2:51 left until halftime the Eagles did the opposite of what they usually do, and got down the field with an efficient two-minute drill. Akers drilled a 42-yard field goal, and the Eagles were up 24-7 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same, the Eagles scored first and last in the third quarter. Westbrook tied an Eagles record with his fourth touchdown of the game, Warner threw his second touchdown pass to Steve Breaston, and Akers hit another field goal, this one from 41 yards out. The Cardinals failed to convert the 2-pointer and trailed 34-13 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Baltimore Ravens scored 24 points in the fourth quarter against the Eagles last week, and the Cardinals offense is capable of a similar explosion. Just over a minute into the final quarter, Warner and Fitzgerald hooked up again to narrow the deficit to 14 points. But benching does the body good. McNabb threw two more touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to the burner DeSean Jackson and then to Jason “you can’t always get what” Avant.
Eagles 48 Cardinals 20.
There are two aspects of this game that I left out on purpose to discuss now. The Eagles defense as a whole did a terrific job. The Cardinals actually rush the ball less than the Eagles do, and they showed it only gaining 25 yards on the ground. When the offense doesn’t turn the ball over it gives your team a better chance to win. When your defense forces four turnovers, it gives you an even better chance.
Brian Dawkins was responsible for two of those turnovers. He grabbed his 34th career interception, which tied the franchise record, and put his hat on the ball forcing a fumble that set up a touchdown.
The commitment to the run this game was a long lasting relationship due in large part to the offensive line. When you get those big boys up front moving downfield more and more throughout the game they push more and more, opening up holes big enough for three or four Westbrooks to run through.
Ten days until the Eagles flock north to play the Giants. At 6-5-1 the Eagles are, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, still alive, however barely.
The Eagles rushed the ball 40 times against the Cardinals and passed it 39 times. Against the Bengals they threw it 58 times, and tied.
Who knows, maybe the opposite is right.