Week 13 Report Card: Nick Foles, Chip Kelly beat the Cardinals 24-21 with 'college offense'

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tight ends!!!!

In what may been the biggest victory of the Chip Kelly Era thus far, the Eagles put on a show as a team and beat the much-hyped Arizona Cardinals. Behind five sacks and two interceptions from the defense and what is becoming a normal outing from quarterback Nick Foles, the Eagles were able to dominate a majority of the game. Despite allowing 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia was able to hold for their fourth-straight win.

The game saw several players breakout after having relatively vague seasons. Zach Ertz was huge with two touchdown catches, fellow tight end Brent Celek was also big on the first few drives of the game. On defense, Brandon Graham and Trent Cole each had two sacks and the latter added a forced fumble to the stat sheet. The combination of solid offense and well-played defense allowed the Eagles to book another win with a 24-21 victory over the Cardinals.

HOT

Donnie Jones: The punter gets a special shout out for his nearly-historic performance on Sunday. Jones had an incredible seven punts downed within the 20. That is good enough to tie Jones for third all-time.

Trent Cole and Brandon Graham: These two were absolutely valuable in this victory. Cole had two sacks and a forced fumble that was recovered by the Eagles. Cole is making a case to stay another year in Philadelphia and has had two-straight multiple sack games. Graham is pretty much the forgotten man of the defense, but he was critical in subduing the Cardinals offensive attack.

Zach Ertz: The rookie had his best performance this season against the Eagles toughest test. He collected five catches for 68 yards and two scores. His hands on Sunday were terrific and he showed why the Eagles drafted him in the second round. Ertz will likely be more involved moving forward.

Brent Celek: The veteran has been a great blocker this season, but on Sunday, his receiving prowess was on display. Kelly saw weaknesses in the Cardinals defense and attacked them with Ertz and Celek. The Cincinnati alum is now second all-time in Eagles history in receptions, touchdowns and yards for a tight end.

DeSean Jackson: Despite only catching three balls for 36 yards, Jackson seemed to be involved throughout the game. He had a punt return for a touchdown called back after a meaningless Kurt Coleman hold was called. The cause for the penalty had no impact on the play. It is a bummer that his return was called back.

LeSean McCoy: Despite the hype about the Cardinals great run defense, McCoy was able to run for 79 yards and collected five catches for 36 yards. McCoy has not always been outstanding on the run, but his ability to be a dual-threat has been huge for Kelly's offense.

Nate Allen: The guy gets little respect, but he has been very solid this season. The interception of Palmer on the Cardinals second series was Allen's first since 2011. He was impressive as a tackle, mostly cleaning up the mess of other's missed tackles.

Bradley Fletcher: He got away with some holding but defended several key passes on Sunday. His coverage was spot on during the Cardinals final drive and he made the fourth-down play that gave the Eagles the ball back for good.

Nick Foles: Well, what more can you say about this guy? Foles has had a 100 or more passer rating in five of six starts and is 5-1 as a starter (one could argue that he won the Giants game in Week 5). Foles went 21-of-34 for 237 passing yards and three touchdowns. He is one touchdown away from tying Peyton Manning's record for most touchdowns to start a season without an interception. Foles has a total of 21 touchdowns this season and a passer rating of 125.2. This is getting ridiculous.

That said, Foles made three pretty putrid throws on Sunday. One was caught by Jason Avant for a 20 yard game after the ball was underthrown. Another bad pass came on a bomb to Jackson when he was tightly covered by Patrick Peterson, That could have easily been picked off. His worst throw came late in the fourth quarter when he was being taken down for a sack and simply threw the forward instead taking the sack. The ball landed in Peterson's hands for an interception but it was overturned after a holding call that some view as questionable, but was clear on replay. Still, it was a lucky late flag that ultimately saved the Eagles from putting the Cardinals offense back on the field.

DeMeco Ryans: The Cap has done a great job wrapping up this season and did so again on Sunday. He had a great sack, with help from Vinny Curry, against the Cardinals.

Riley Cooper: While he has not put up the numbers he did at the beginning of Foles time as a starter, Cooper was a legit threat on Sunday. He collected three catches for 48 yards and had one of the most aww-inspiring catches you will ever see.

Special Teams: Casey Matthews, Colt Anderson and company were all pretty fantastic on Sunday. Outside of a penalty that brought back a Jackson punt return touchdown, coverage and blocking were impressive.

NOT

Fourth Quarter Lulls: This is probably the biggest issue during the four-game winning streak. The offense has suffered from major droughts of production late in games after building up major leads. That has allowed teams to creep in and comeback to make games closer. This likely attributed to play-calling and the players. It needs to be fixed and fast.

Pat Chung: He got away with a pretty bad pass intereference in the first quarter, where he did not even turn around to defend the pass but simply ran into the wide receiver in coverage. He is also the reason why Larry Fitzgerald owns another touchdown against the Eagles. In the first quarter, Chung jumped at Fitzgerald only to be pushed off and allow the future Hall of Fame pass catcher to run for a 43-yard touchdown. If Chung would have just wrapped up, it would have been a fourth down with two or three yards to go and out of field goal range. He has been awful this season.

Bryce Brown: It is getting to be about that time when Chris Polk should be getting touches. Brown averages roughly five touches per game and has average 2.9 yards per carry. His desire to bounce outside on most runs is pretty irritating.

Kenny, Daryl and Tony: Listen, I understand that FOX pays these guys to talk, but when they have nothing to say, they do so in a manner that is annoying and uninformative. Daryl Johnston was in rare form with unwarranted criticism for Kelly and talking to Daryl Washington, who clearly could not hear him.

Miscellaneous Musings

  • At one point in the second quarter, Cooper got in the face of a Cardinals defensive lineman after a play. Foles simply walked over and grabbed Cooper. The quarterback did not appear to say anything but forcefully moved Cooper away from trouble. That is what being a leader is all about.
  • The Eagles have beat the Cardinals in their most difficult matchup of the season and likely for the rest of their slate of games. The defense has held teams under 22 points for eight straight games and Foles continues to produce. This is an exciting time to be an Eagles fan.
  • For the most part, Billy Davis kept Fitzgerald out of the game. That may serves as a blue print for next week against Calvin Johnson and the Lions. Davis has called several good games in a row.
  • Cary Williams should be acknowledged for his great interception in the third quarter, but he continues to give up plenty of catches. I am all for a tackling cornerback, but I also think that guy needs to stop catches from happening as well.

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