The Arizona Cardinals did something Sunday in Week 10 of the NFL season that we've not seen in a long time, they won a game on the road. Sure, they made numerous mistakes that should have cost them the victory but they came back, overcame and got their first road win in 11 tries.
Despite two John Skelton interceptions that led to 10 points and despite two missed field goals from Jay Feely that cost six easy points, the Cardinals were able to put together that big drive and get that big play that's eluded them all season long. They leave Philadelphia with a 21-17 win and improve to 3-6 on the season, the same record as the "Dream Team" Eagles now have.
The game came down to the fourth quarter, a period that has not been kind to either of these teams. The Cardinals had chances to win games four times this season in the fourth quarter and failed. The Eagles have now blown five fourth-quarter leads on the season.
Something had to give and this Sunday, it was John Skelton giving Larry Fitzgerald his best game of the season and a game-winning play.
It started about about the eight-minute mark when Skelton threw the ball between two open receivers and into the waiting hands of defender Nnamdi Asomugha. It was his second pick of the game with the first going for a touchdown in the first half.
After the pick, the Cardinals defense, which has looked a lot better over the last two weeks, held the Eagles to four plays or fewer for the eighth time in the game. But starting from the 26-yard line they were already in range of a go-ahead field goal.
Arizona got the ball back down 17-14 with about five minutes on the clock and for the first time all season put together the winning drive they needed.
It was a 37-yard bomb to Fitzgerald that moved the Cardinals to first and goal but before that Skelton completed an 11-yard pass to Fitz, a 17-yard pass to Chester Taylor, and got a huge 30-yard gain on a wheel play to LaRod Stephens-Howling on fourth and two.
The winning drive was capped off with a third down touchdown pass to Early Doucet which put the Cardinals on top for good. The defense capped off the game by forcing Michael Vick into a 3rd and 20 and intercepted a Hail Mary to put the win to bed.
It was fitting that the defense got the final stop after putting together their best game of the season.
The Eagles were only able to generate one long scoring drive in the game and finished with just 3-of-15 third downs converted. The defense held Vick in check on the ground (79 yards on eight carries) which is a lot of yards but they came in smallish chunks and weren't damaging. Through the air Vick had 128 yards on 16-34 with two interceptions and another two reversed by the officials.
John Skelton at times looked shaky with his accuracy and both interceptions were poorly thrown balls. But as we've seen from him, Skelton showed great poise in the pocket and proved to be resilient and unflappable. He's now 2-0 on the season and 4-2 as a starter for the Cardinals in his career. He finished with 315 yards on 21-40 passing and three touchdowns to go with the two INTs.
It was enough to win but only thanks to a big game from the defense.
Beanie Wells was fairly well contained, 62 yards on 23 carries, but his ability to at least keep the defense honest was important. It was also good to see the Cardinals going to him even when the yards weren't there.
Larry Fitzgerald had 146 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns. It was his biggest game of the season as Skelton was able to find him for several big plays. Twice Fitzgerald was able to make great catches on tipped balls and the final long bomb catch was a thing of beauty.
It wasn't a pretty win, but a team that came in a 14-point underdog with a horrible road history will take it. Next up is another road game against the NFC West leading San Francisco 49ers.