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Arizona Cardinals finally join the 12-win club

Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, left, meets with quarterback Carson Palmer after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in Philadelphia. Arizona won 40-17. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It took 96 years, but the Arizona Cardinals finally got there.

Their 40-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field not only clinched the NFC West, but it was their 12th win of the season.

Believe it or not, it’s the first time the Cardinals franchise has ever reached that mark in a single season. They are the last NFL franchise to notch a 12-win campaign.

“It feels good,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who has spent his entire career with the Cardinals, said Sunday following the win. “It was nice to do it in this fashion with all three phases playing well throughout the course of the game. To be able to win seven road games on the season, it just shows a lot about the character and the resolve of the men on this football team being able to battle through adversity on the road.

“I think that bodes well for us moving forward.”

The Cardinals join the Houston Texans (2012), Detroit Lions (1991), New York Jets (1998) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002) as the only NFL teams to have only one 12-win season.

The all-time leader in that category is the San Francisco 49ers, who have had 14 seasons of 12 wins or more, including a 15-win campaign in 1984. The Dallas Cowboys are second with 12, followed by the Green Bay Packers with 11 and the Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, who have 10 each.

Last year, the Cardinals got their 11th win in Week 15 — a hard-fought 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams in a game that was finished by third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley.

But a 12th win eluded them. With Lindley at the controls, the Cardinals lost their final two regular-season games before falling to the Carolina Panthers in an NFC Wild Card playoff game.

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