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Notes From the Nest: Arizona Cardinals host Philadelphia Eagles

It’s a battle of two 5-1 division-leading teams — and it’s the sexiest matchup on the Week 8 schedule in the NFL.


The Arizona Cardinals play host to the Philadelphia Eagles in a pivotal NFC showdown.

Here, you’ll find a running blog of thoughts and observations during Sunday’s game.

BALLGAME! — Matthews catches the ball in the corner of the end zone, but is pushed out by Rashad Johnson. Cardinals move to 6-1 on the season.

:01 left in the 4th quarter – Eagles have the ball at the 16-yard line. Time for one shot in the end zone.

:18 left in the 4th quarter – Foles bootlegs for two yards and a first down. Eagles have to burn their last timeout.

:25 left in the 4th quarter – Fourth-and-2 for the Eagles from the Cardinals’ 38-yard line. It all comes down to this.

1:21 left in the 4th quarter – Wow!!!!! Palmer hits Brown on a 75-yard touchdown pass. Brown makes an unbelievable circus catch over his shoulder. This game has lived up to all the hype! Cardinals’ drive: 3-80-:35. Catanzaro kicks the extra point.

Cardinals 24, Eagles 20

Palmer now 20-of-42 for 329 yards and three touchdown passes!

1:56 left in the 4th quarter – Kelly opts for the field goal and Parkey bangs it through from 20 yards. Philly’s drive: 13-78-7:05 — yes, you read that right — a Chip Kelly offense held the ball for seven minutes.

Eagles 20, Cardinals 17

Arizona has all three timeouts remaining.

2:00 Warning – A punishing drive by Philadelphia takes them down to the Cardinals’ 1-yard line. Chip Kelly facing a decision — take the field goal and the three-point lead, or go for a back-breaking touchdown on fourth down.

9:06 left in the 4th quarter – Arizona drives down to the Eagles’ 10, but Carlson can’t hang on to a sure TD pass. Catanzaro kicks a 28-yard field goal — his 16th consecutive make to start his career. Cardinals’ drive: 9-30-3:19.

Cardinals 17, Eagles 17

12:20 left in the 4th quarter – On a third-and-11, Cromartie comes up with his second pick of the game and returns it to the Philly 40-yard line. Finally, Arizona has some good starting field position and at the very least, can flip the field on this possession.

Cardinals have forced three Eagles’ turnovers today.

13:11 left in the 4th quarter – Floyd drops a third-down pass. He still doesn’t have a catch on the afternoon (four targets).

Butler punts again and Maclin fair catches again. Philly takes over at their own 42.

14:39 left in the 4th quarter – Jones’ uncorks a 49-yard punt that is downed at the Cardinals’ 3-yard line.

End of the 3rd quarter – Eagles facing a third-and-14 after a beautiful tackle by Tommy Kelly on McCoy.

:56 left in the 3rd quarter – Ellington makes a nice first down run and is ruled down. But it looks like Allen strips him and makes a recovery on the sideline. Chip Kelly challenges….and the Eagles win the challenge. Huge play by Allen and a dagger of a turnover for the Cardinals, who were showing life offensively on this possession.

2:22 left in the 3rd quarter – Field position, schmield position. Foles throws a beautiful 54-yard bomb to Maclin for the score. Maclin beat Jerraud Powers, who actually had pretty good coverage, on the play. Philly’s “drive”: 1-54-:09.

Eagles 17, Cardinals 14

2:39 left in the 3rd quarter – Cardinals can’t do anything, and Butler punts again. Maclin calls for a fair catch at his own 46. Philly has had good starting field position in the second half, but has been unable to do much with it.

4:29 left in the 3rd quarter – Mathieu makes a great diving pass break-up on a third-and-3, forcing an Eagles punt.

Arizona takes over on their own 14-yard line.

6:03 left in the 3rd quarter – The Cardinals’ drive was stalled on first down by a holding call on Paul Fanaika and they did nothing after that.

Maclin returned Butler’s punt 18 yards and then got pushed into the Arizona Gatorade table by Rashad Johnson for his trouble. If you’re wondering who the guy on the Eagles is with blue pants, it’s Maclin.

7:24 left in 3rd quarter – Parkey boots a 54-yard field goal that had plenty of distance. Philly’s scoring drive: 6-20-1:50.

Cardinals 14, Eagles 10

On the third down play before Parkey’s field goal, it appeared that Arizona safety Tony Jefferson got away with a pass interference, but no flag was thrown. In this game, that featured 16 penalties in the first half, that’s saying something.

9:09 left in 3rd quarter – Cardinals go three and out. Butler punts. Eagles take over on their own 44-yard line.

11:00 left in the 3rd quarter – The Cardinals defense hold on Philly’s first drive. There’s already been considerably more pressure put on Foles in this half — a sign of the trademark defensive adjustments made by Todd Bowles at halftime.

Cardinals take over on their own 20 after the Philly punt.

14:07 left in the 3rd quarter – Palmer hits Fitz on a quick slant and the veteran takes it to the house for an 80-yard touchdown. Cardinals’ drive: 3-80-:53. Catanzaro kicks the extra point.

Cardinals 14, Eagles 7

That was the longest catch of Fitzgerald’s storied career.

15:00 left in 3rd quarter – Cardinals get the first crack on offense after a touchback on the kickoff by Cody Parkey.

Halftime – Eagles’ drive stalls at the 44 and the half ends on a punt.

:58 left in 2nd quarter – Maclin’s back, and he made a nice catch on a third down for the conversion.

1:48 left in 2nd quarter – Cardinals punt after a third down pass to John Carlson fell incomplete. Carlson a) didn’t get to the marker and b) didn’t use two hands to try to bring it in while shielding a defender.

2:00 Warning – Cardinals have the ball near midfield facing a third-and-5. Earlier in the drive, Ellington made a beautiful 23-yard run after spinning while receiving the handoff from Palmer. Vinny Curry tackled Palmer during the exchange, but Ellington squirted free for a first down.

Word from the Eagles bench is that Maclin is also being evaluated for a head injury after the collision with Peterson.

4:05 left in 1st quarter – The Eagles hurt themselves with another penalty. This one, an illegal block and personal foul on receiver Jeff Maehl. Donnie Jones punts, and Arizona’s Robert Hughes gets called for a hold. Penalty count: 14.

4:50 left in 2nd quarter – Peterson headed right to the locker room, walking under his own power, but very slowly. This doesn’t look good for the Cardinals. He’s being evaluated for a concussion.

5:39 left in 2nd quarter – Patrick Peterson is down on the field after a violent three-way collision between himself, Deone Bucannon and Maclin. It looked like all three players hit heads on the play, which resulted in an 8-yard gain on first down.

6:06 left in the 2nd quarter – Cardinals punt. A holding penalty on Ted Larsen negates a third-down conversion. Eagles take over on their 20.

If you’re a fan of watching old guys in black-and-white stripes throw flags, you’re giddy about this game. The teams have combined for 12 penalties for 115 yards in the contest. Referee Walt Anderson’s crew was averaging 18 penalties per game — the fifth-highest figure in the league entering Week 8. They’re living up to their reputation today.

7:14 left in the 2nd quarter – Antonio Cromartie jumps in front of a pass in the end zone, makes a leaping interception and returns it 38 yards.

7:32 left in the 2nd quarter – Arians loses this challenge, and the Cardinals have extinguished their challenges for the game. Eagles with a first down at the Cardinals’ 25-yard line.

7:32 left in the 2nd quarter – On third-and-15, Foles rolled out of pressure and threw a 50-yard strike to Riley Cooper, who made a sprawling catch on the sideline. Tyrann Mathieu was flagged for a late hit (that’s weird, a flag) and it’s a 65-yard gain. But Arians has thrown the challenge flag again.

8:43 left in the 2nd quarter – After Brown’s circus catch, the Cardinals couldn’t move another yard, and Butler’s punt is downed at the Eagles’ 15-yard line.

8:51 left in the 2nd quarter – John Brown just made one of the best catches you’ll see in a long time — a lunging 28-yard reception on third down. Palmer was hit late, tacking on another 15 yards…and the Cardinals are on the move again.

10:34 left in the 2nd quarter – A beautiful Philadelphia drive is halted by a turnover. Rookie receiver Josh Huff was hit from behind by Frostee Rucker and Deone Bucannon recovers at the 1-yard line.

13:01 left in the 2nd quarter – Arians is challenging the ruling that Matthews caught a first-down pass from Foles….and Arians wins the challenge. Second down for Philly.

13:45 left in 2nd quarter – After Palmer found Fitzgerald for a 10-yard gain on third-and-7, Ellington found pay dirt from 1-yard out and the Cardinals are on the board. Arizona’s drive: 13-80-5:54. Catanzaro adds the extra point, and we’re tied.

Cardinals 7, Eagles 7

End of the 1st quarter – Cardinals on the move, facing a third-and-7 from the Eagles’ 19-yard line. The key play on the drive so far — actually there have been two — Palmer rolled right and threw a beautiful 30-yard strike to Larry Fitzgerald on a first down play, and Andre Ellington converted on a short run on fourth-and-inches to keep the possession moving.

4:39 left in 1st quarter – Eagles draw first blood on a beautiful read-option where Foles pulled the ball back on a fake and found Jeremy Maclin for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Philly converted a couple of key third downs, including a third-and-12 when Foles found Jordan Matthews on a 23-yard gain. Philly’s drive: 9-80-4:10

Eagles 7, Cardinals 0

Foles is off to a good start: 6-of-8 for 81 yards and a touchdown.

8:49 left in the 1st quarter – After a disjointed possession, which featured a total of five penalties, the Cardinals punt and Drew Butler’s kick goes into the end zone for a touchback. Interesting Bruce Arians didn’t opt to attempt a 53-yard field goal.

10:19 left in the 1st quarter – Cardinals facing a third-and-1, and Rob Housler jumps early. On the next play, Palmer is rocked while trying to throw, but Nate Allen gets called for hands to the face and Arizona gets an automatic first down.

12:22 left in 1st quarter – Carson Palmer somehow completes a 9-yard pass to John Brown on 3rd-and-3. Palmer stepped up to escape pressure and threw a duck across his body to the right sideline to Brown.

13:59 left in 1st quarter – Three-and-out for the Cardinals defense…Rashad Johnson nicely knocks down a pass on third down.

14:50 left in 1st quarter – Campbell starts and gets a good push on the first play — a 2-yard pass to LeSean McCoy.

15:00 left in 1st quarter – We’re underway. Nick Foles and the Eagles get the first crack offensively at their own 20-yard line after a booming kick by Chandler Catanzaro.

19:00 before kickoff – Good news for the Cardinals — defensive end Calais Campbell is active after missing the last two-and-a-half games with a knee injury.

We’ll also get our first look at former ASU running back Marion Grice, who is active for the first time this season.