#Byi pic.twitter.com/KmXLjlby6B— Deandre Hopkins (@DeAndreHopkins) December 21, 2020
Cardinals vs. Eagles score: Jalen Hurts' Hail Mary attempt falls short as Arizona wins thriller
Philadelphia's comeback attempt behind its rookie QB came down to the final play
Jalen Hurts was just the third rookie quarterback since 1950 to throw for 330-plus passing yards and 60-plus rushing yards in a game with four-plus touchdowns -- but his Hail Mary attempt fell just short of Travis Fulgham's hands as the Philadelphia Eagles' comeback attempt against the Arizona Cardinals ended on the game's final play.
Arizona held on to beat Philadelphia 33-26 and keep the final playoff spot in the NFC playoffs for now, remaining one game ahead of the Chicago Bears with two games to play. The Eagles remain 1.5 games back of Washington with two games left, and a loss next week to Dallas will eliminate Philadelphia from the playoffs.
The Cardinals received another excellent performance from Kyler Murray, who finished 27 of 36 for 406 yards with three touchdowns and an interception while also rushing for 29 yards and a score. Murray's 20-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 7:17 left in the game gave the Cardinals the lead for good. Hopkins finished with nine catches for 169 yards and a score, leading the 10 Arizona receivers who caught a pass. The Cardinals scored just once in the second half, but that was all they needed to hold off the Eagles after going up 16-0 to start the game.
Hurts rallied the Eagles back from the 16-point deficit to tie the game at 26-26. The Eagles had a chance to take the lead on an extra point attempt after Hurts ran for a seven-yard score in the third quarter, but Philadelphia lost punter/holder Cameron Johnston with a head injury, causing tight end Zach Ertz to be the holder on the kick Ertz bobbled the low snap, which caused Jake Elliott to miss the extra point attempt to give the Eagles the lead. The Eagles had Elliott punt twice in the absence of Johnson.
Hurts finished 24 of 44 for 338 yards with three touchdowns while rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown. Ertz led the Eagles with two catches for 69 yards.
Here are the takeaways from this thriller and you can revisit the game in our live blog below.
Why the Cardinals won
The Cardinals needed every bit of the Kyler Murray-DeAndre Hopkins connection to hold off the Eagles after building a 16-0 lead. Hopkins took full advantage of an Eagles secondary decimated with injuries (Philadelphia missed three starters, including Darius Slay), finishing with nine catches (on 11 targets) for 169 yards and a touchdown -- including the game-winning score in the fourth quarter. Hopkins had his most receiving yards in a game since Week 15 of the 2018 season and now has 1,324 yards on the year, his most in a season since 2018 and the fourth 1,300-plus yard season of his career. Murray was wise enough to target Hopkins throughout the game and make the decimated Eagles defense pay on multiple possessions.
Why the Eagles lost
Special teams miscues doomed the Eagles, and this was before Cameron Johnston left the game with a head injury. Johnson had his punt blocked -- which was the play where he injured his head -- with Arizona up 9-0 and in command of the game. The blocked punt led to a Chase Edmonds touchdown two plays later and gave Arizona a 16-0 lead the Eagles couldn't overcome. With Johnston out, the Eagles lost their holder on kicks as well, which forced Doug Pederson to go for two on multiple occasions and pass on field goal attempts with the struggling Jake Elliott (the Eagles had an botched extra point attempt with backup holder Zach Ertz). The Eagles also allowed a fourth-down conversion on a fake punt attempt. Special teams have been a problem all year for the Eagles, but there wasn't much they could do after Johnston was injured. This led to an eight-point swing in the Cardinals' favor.
Hurts threw a perfect ball to Dallas Goedert on third-and-21 in the end zone just before the two minute warning, but Goedert dropped the ball right in the end zone. The Eagles were trailing 33-26 when Goedert dropped the pass and would have gone for two and the win if Goedert would have hauled the pass in. Philadelphia failed to convert the fourth down on the next play but earned another possession for the tying touchdown. They failed to convert the Hail Mary and lost by seven.
Play of the game
The Cardinals executed a perfect fake punt -- thanks to the arm of veteran Andy Lee. On fourth-and-2 from the Cardinals 33-yard line, head coach Kliff Kingsbury dialed up the fake punt pass and Lee found Ezekiel Turner for a 26-yard gain to extend the drive. The Cardinals ended up at the Eagles' 41 in a tie game at 26-26. The fake punt didn't result in a score, but aggressive play calling is what Arizona needs if the Cardinals are going to upset a team in the playoffs.
Just your classic @AndyLee4 to @zeke_turner connection.— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 20, 2020
📺 #PHIvsAZ on FOX
📱 https://t.co/QGajPnexpn pic.twitter.com/3koYUaRFh6
If this isn't a perfect throw, the Cardinals may end up losing. The Eagles would have gotten excellent field position in a tie game late.
"I hate to lose more than I love to win." -- Jalen Hurts, who is the only player in the NFL to have 500-plus passing yards and 150-plus rushing yards in his first two starts since at least 1950, in his postgame press conference after the Eagles fell to the Cardinals
The Cardinals host the San Francisco 49ers Saturday and can clinch a playoff spot next week with a win and a Chicago Bears loss. The Eagles travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
#BoomerSooner@K1 x @JalenHurts pic.twitter.com/slmKjF4Mfo— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
Mood. pic.twitter.com/tU4WQMQBdg— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
Lisa Matthews and Kyle Odegard recap a wild win vs. the Eagles on the Cardinals Post-Game Show.— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
Watch live on YouTube:
December 21, 2020
Just out of the reach of Travis Fulgham, but man what a fun game! The Eagles NFC East chances are virtually dead, but the Cardinals are still the No. 7 seed and hold the final playoff spot in the NFC. HUGE win for Arizona there, and one they needed.
What a game guys. Hurts is a player. Murray is incredible and this game lived up to the hype.
A big one in the win column. #RedSea pic.twitter.com/omzg5jimV9— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
Tune in now for The Postgame Show presented by @RicohTweets. https://t.co/ejlZyWtrPW— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 21, 2020
Fell short in the Battle of Birds.@UnibetUS | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/MoG0JhjveO— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 21, 2020
December 21, 2020
Hail Mary time. Brace yourself guys. What a game.
Unbelievable recovery from Hurts!#PHIvsAZ | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/vBIYAYXI8B— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 21, 2020
Travis Fulgham rises from the dead and keeps the drive alive.
4th-and-8 with 56 seconds left for the game. This has been a thriller. Let's see if Hurts has one more throw left in him.
The Cardinals put the ball in Kyler Murray's hands, but he trips just short of the first down marker. The Eagles will have a chance to tie (or win) with no timeouts and 1:28 to go.
Give Jalen Hurts credit for going to Dallas Goedert again, but Goedert had to haul in that ball on 3rd-and-21. That was a TD and cost the Eagles a chance to tie the game. Eagles need a stop here for the game is over. A first down for Arizona wins it.
DG is heating up!!!!!— ♛Chandler Jones (@chanjones55) December 21, 2020
GET HIM LEKI pic.twitter.com/kSlfdpA0LM— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
DENNIS GARDECK pic.twitter.com/QkBmAvAcwL— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
Injury Update: WR Jalen Reagor (ankle) is questionable to return.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 21, 2020
ALSHON#PHIvsAZ | #FlyEaglesFly— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 21, 2020
Greta pickup by the Eagles on the blitz. Cardinals rushed 5 there, but Hurts had enough time to find Ward. Drive extended.
The man is unbelievable.@DeAndreHopkins x #RedSea pic.twitter.com/FGkwf61nmJ— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
DeAndre Hopkins is so good.
9 catches, 169 yards, TD
This is why the Cardinals traded for him. Unbelievable talent.
HOW DID HE CATCH THAT?! pic.twitter.com/mBFjJ3hqvx— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
HOP!— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 21, 2020
Injury Update: DT Fletcher Cox was evaluated for a head injury and cleared to return.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 21, 2020