When we got on the plane tonight to fly back to Arizona, the announcement came that the headwinds were nasty. The return was going to be more than five hours. It didn’t seem to really matter. Gotta say, a long flight home always feels a little – OK, a lot – better after a victory. The mood is completely different.
Two wins in a row for the first time since Week 15 and 16 of 2009. The first win on the road since the season opener in St. Louis a season ago. And as coach Ken Whisenhunt pointed out, the Cards did a couple of things Sunday in Philly they hadn’t too many times this season: Scored a TD on a final drive when it was necessary, and gotten a defensive stop to finish it off.
So, with that as the big-picture background, a few thoughts:
— Of course, the big story is going to be John Skelton. Yes, the second-year QB just keeps making things stickier and stickier for Whisenhunt whenever Kevin Kolb returns to health. Larry Fitzgerald certainly wanted no part of a question asking him to compare Skelton and Kolb. “Both of them we feel we can win with, and that’s a good problem to have,” Fitzgerald said.
Good is relative. But Skelton just seems to be getting better. He needed that last drive to show that. He had 315 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also had two bad interceptions that almost cost them the game. He has made Andre Roberts relevant again. And he had two beautiful passes on that final drive, the bomb to Fitz (which he never saw, because he was getting clobbered as he threw) and the wheel route to The Hyphen on fourth-and-2.
He has shown a little bit of “it” though, hasn’t he? On the sideline, “He was mad and upset when he missed a couple of things,” Whisenhunt said. “But he is calm. He’s got that look and it shows in his demeanor on the field.”
Whiz was asked about Skelton as permanent starter. He didn’t dismiss it, like he had the previous week. But he punted. “I’m just going to enjoy this and worry about that later,” he said.
— In two starts, Skelton is 17-for-30 for 238 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the fourth quarter – a 101.8 passing rating.
— “The Trade” didn’t exactly have a banner day as a storyline. Kolb was hurt and didn’t play. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie hurt his ankle and left the game.
— In his last two games against the Eagles – which was today plus the NFC Championship game – Fitz has 16 catches for 298 yards and five touchdowns.
— Whiz, on the decision – gutsy as it was – to go for it on fourth-and-2 with 3:10 left and three timeouts remaining: “Fourth down, where it was, we had a good play. We felt they would give us a shot at LaRod. It’s a tough throw. We felt like we had a bead on that. The way they were playing. We felt like, in that situation, we had to take our shot.” Honestly, the call didn’t surprise me, and I thought it was worth it. Always looks better after it works.
— Here’s tangible proof of the better defensive play: The Cardinals had given up 41 plays of 20 or more yards in the first seven games. The last two? Five combined. The Eagles had two today, after notching 45 in their first seven games.
— Calais Campbell (pictured below) now isn’t just making sacks and blocking kicks, now he’s getting interceptions.
— A.J. Jefferson has had a rough go of it most of the season (and was flagged for another pass interference Sunday). But he came up with the game-sealing interception with 33 seconds left and was all smiles. “Yeah man, there is pressure on me, and getting that first pick, I feel like it’s the start of something,” Jefferson said. “It takes a lot of pressure off.”
— Adrian Wilson should have, what, four interceptions now? Lost one Sunday because of a Richard Marshall penalty and has dropped at least two (maybe three, the memory is sketchy). The one Sunday was a great grab.
— The Eagles kicked to Patrick Peterson and dared him to return punts. He only averaged 4.5 yards on six returns.
— Couldn’t have been a happier Card than Jay Feely, whose misses could have been disaster. But can I make a quick point? Feely hasn’t had a couple of bad games because he’s well-rounded or likes to tweet. To suggest that’s the reason is crazy.
— Want to enjoy some audio fun? Check out Jim Omohundro’s radio mashup from Sunday.
OK, that’s enough. A couple hours left in the flight. I’m sure it’ll fly by.
Tags: A.J. Jefferson, Adrian Wilson, Calais Campbell, Eagles, Jay Feely, John Skelton, Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson
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