ARIZONA CARDINALS

DeAndre Hopkins gets bigger gloves, makes big plays to beat Eagles

Dec 20, 2020, 7:12 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) pulls in a catch as Philadelphia Eagles defens...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) pulls in a catch as Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Michael Jacquet (38) and cornerback Kevon Seymour (41) defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — DeAndre Hopkins’ fumble spoiled a smooth, physical opening drive for the Arizona Cardinals against the Philadelphia Eagles.

He knew the problem immediately.

He tossed his size 4XL gloves for 5XL gloves, then made three big catches that led to 10 Cardinals points in a 33-26 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The receiver’s last catch was the game-winner.

“Those were too small,” Hopkins said of the gloves he started the game with. “They were like 4Xs and they know I wear 5Xs. I don’t even know why I tried to put them on.”

Once he sized up, Hopkins leveled up.

He finished with a new career-high as a member of the Cardinals with 169 yards.

The Cardinals offense had built a 16-0 lead through the first quarter before Eagles rookie signal-caller Jalen Hurts began cooking. He led Philadelphia on a touchdown drive that bridged the first and second quarters before Arizona attempted to respond.

Quarterback Kyler Murray found Hopkins to open the ensuing drive with a 45-yard deep ball that Hopkins snagged out of the air with Eagles defenders Kevon Seymour and Michael Jacquet contesting. Hopkins said that play ranks in the top-10 of his best plays over his eight-year NFL career.

“That probably (in) my top eight. Maybe 10,” he said. “I’ma go eight, though. Top-eight because it’s between two people. It’s not every day you see guys just catching on two people in the NFL. Maybe college, high school, not the NFL. So, yeah, top-eight.”

The play set up a 40-yard Mike Nugent field goal that pushed Arizona’s lead to 19-7 with 11:37 left in the first half.

Hopkins said the catch of the day, however, was Murray finding Larry Fitzgerald later on in the second quarter for a 14-yard touchdown.

Murray fired the ball past the waist of a defensive back, and Fitzgerald managed to haul it in at the back left pylon, giving the Cardinals a 26-14 advantage that was needed before the Eagles quickly added a touchdown (and a missed extra point) to pull within six points at halftime.

It was Fitzgerald’s first touchdown catch of the year.

“Kyler had talked about it this week that he was going to get him one,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury. “He kind of put it into the universe and made it happen.”

The Cardinals offense struggled to gain traction in the third quarter.

The Eagles tied the game at 26 points heading to the fourth, but the Cardinals blew another red zone possession when Murray threw an interception right to defensive back Marcus Epps.

He made up for it, to nobody’s surprise, with the help of Hopkins.

Two possessions later, Arizona went 86 yards with two third-down conversions to its best receiver: the first a 44-yard catch-and-run and the second a 20-yard touchdown strike.

“We saw the matchup that we liked. The guy was playing man, pressing me,” Hopkins said. “We just wanted to take a shot.

“Me being who I am, on third down, I always want the ball in a selfish way. I feel like Kobe Bryant always want the ball in a clutch situation.”

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