The Cards and Eagles have one of the more overlooked rivalries/histories. The two teams used to play each other twice a year when they were NFC East rivals. That stopped in 2002 when the NFL went to 4 divisions in each conference. Here are some memorable games of the last 20 years.
1992 – The Goal Line Stand. Cards had 7 plays from the 1-yard line and couldn’t score. On a couple of those the Eagles were offside and that’s why they had to come up with 7 stops. Final score: 7-3 Philly.
1994 – The Return of Buddy. Arizona came to town with new HC Buddy Ryan, making his first trip to The Vet since his firing by Norman Braman. Fred Barnett had a huge game 11-173 and accounted for both TDs in a 17-7 win.
1995 – The End of Buddy. In the next to last game of the year the Eagles were 9-5 and fighting for a playoff berth. The Cards were trying to stop a losing streak. The Eagles led 21-20 late in the game when ARZ drove to the PHI 29. On 3rd/7 they decided to pass rather than run and that led to a sack. The ensuing FG came up short. The Eagles went to the postseason and Buddy was fired a couple of weeks later.
1996 – The Wildest Ride. After 3 quarters the game was 16-13, Arizona. The 4th quarter became a major shootout. The Cards built up a 29-20 lead with just 2:30 left in the game. Derrick Witherspoon took the KO and went 95 yards to cut the lead to 29-27. The Eagles then recovered an onside kick and marched down the field quickly. The Eagles got inside the RZ and went conservative to make the Cards burn timeouts. A FG gave the Eagles a 30-29 lead. Arizona got the ball at their 34 with :45 left and no timeouts. Boomer Esiason led a masterful drive that ended in a 24-yd TD with :14 left. That game was one of the longest, crazies non-OT games I’ve ever seen. So, so heartbreaking. It was the Eagles third loss in a row after a 7-2 start to the season.
1998 - The Stupor Bowl. At the end of 3 quarters, the score was 0-0. One announcer said that was a first in NFL history. I’ve never checked that stat out. The Cards offense “got hot” and they won 17-3. Bobby Hoying…ugh.
1999 – Heartbreak City. The Eagles led the game 24-12 in Andy Reid’s debut as coach. The lead melted away to 24-22 late. Reid called a perfect pass play to WR Brian Finneran, who bobbled the ball and had it picked off by a DB. The Cards then drove down and kicked the winning FG. So much for the hot start with the new coach.
2000 – The Running of the Birds. Darnell Autry ran for a TD. In case you didn’t hear me, I said DARNELL AUTRY ran for a TD. His long run of the day was 6 yards. FB Cecil Martin had a 13-yard run. FB Stanley Pritchett had an 11-yard run. PK David Akers had a 15-yard run. That came on a brilliant fake FG. Koy Detmer flipped the ball over his shoulder and Akers got outside for a big gain. Beautiful play. Cards WR David Boston lost 17 yards on a run play. I assume he ran out of steroids and turned human right as tacklers hit him.
2001 – Another Blown Lead. The Eagles led 17-14 late. They had 4th/short, but were in FG range. Reid decided to kick the FG and trust his defense with a 20-14 lead. Jake Plummer led the Cards down the field. He then hit MarTay Jenkins with a 35-yard pass to win the game. Even worse, Troy Vincent was the guy burned on the play. He got turned around and left Jenkins wide open. Another ugh moment. In the revenge game out in the desert (meaning Arizona), Brian Mitchell ran a KO back 94 yards for a TD. Bill Gramatica tried to tackle him. Mitchell didn’t use a move, just ran straight at him at full speed. Gramatica suffered a dislocated left shoulder on the play. Mitch ran the ball harder than any return guy I’ve ever seen. He once gave LaVar Arrington a concussion when Arrington tried to tackle him on a KOR. Mitch was a great Eagle even though he was just here for 3 years.
2002 – Donovan McTough. McNabb got hit early in the game and complained of an ankle injury, but he never came out. The injury forced him to stay in the pocket and he did just that. He shredded the Cards, going 20-25-255. He threw 4 TDs and the Eagles won 38-14. We found out later that McNabb played on a broken leg.
2008 – Opposite ends of the spectrum. We played the Cards twice. The first meeting was a Thanksgiving night blowout. We won 48-20. Kyle Eckel had plenty of touches if that tells you how much of a blowout it was. The rematch came in the NFC title game. Kurt Warner and the Cards dominated the 1st half. McNabb led us back in the 2nd, but the defense gave up a late TD drive and we lost. Ugh. Again. Another blown lead.
2011 – Won’t get fooled again (yes you will). The hapless Cards came to Philly with some guy named John Skelton at QB. He sucked for most of the game, but got hot late and led the Cardinals to a pair of 4th quarter TDs and the win. Almost half of the Cards yards for the entire game came in the 4th quarter. The Eagles fell to 3-5 and proved to be every bit as hapless as the Cards. Another blown lead. Ugh, again.
2012 – Down and out. The 2-0 Eagles went to the desert and found out just how good Jason Kelce was. He tore his ACL the week before. Dallas Reynolds took over at C and essentially was the 12th Cardinal. They attacked the A-gap over and over and he was just overwhelmed. Michael Vick had to run for his life, but made things worse by turning the ball over. The Cards led 17-0 late in the half. The Eagles drove down to the 1 with just seconds left. Vick failed to see a wide open receiver in the end zone on one play. That was okay. There was still 3rd down and even if he had to throw that away, the team would get a chip shot FG and at least get on the board, right? Wrong, very wrong. Vick hesitated with the ball, got hit from behind and the ball came loose. James Sanders picked it up and ran 93 yards for a Cardinals TD. 24-0 felt like 10,000 to 0. I think that was the beginning of the end for Vick. At least the Eagles didn’t blow a late lead.
So as you can see, Sunday will probably be a boring, uneventful game. Nothing wild ever happens when the Birds get together. Yeah right. So let’s hear your predictions on what crazy things might happen Sunday.
Nick Foles runs for 100 yards?
Cary Williams covers Larry Fitzgerald tight for one play?
Chip Kelly runs the Wishbone?
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Happy Thanksgiving everyone.