Sep 23, 2012
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- After three games and three wins, it might be difficult to keep calling the Cardinals a surprise team.
Arizona's defense forced three turnovers, Kevin Kolb passed for 222 yards and two touchdowns and the Cardinals remained perfect with a convincing 27-6 victory over the Eagles on Sunday in University of Phoenix Stadium.
It's the first time the Cardinals have started a season 3-0 since 1974, when they opened 7-0.
The Eagles were also trying to remain unbeaten, having started the season 2-0 despite committing nine turnovers and becoming the first team in history to win each of its first two games by one point.
But the NFL's top-ranked offense just can't seem to hang onto the ball. Quarterback Michael Vick lost two fumbles, one of which was returned for a 93-yard touchdown at the end of the first half, and it spelled doom in front of the Cardinals' 67th consecutive sellout crowd.
Kolb, meanwhile, was facing his former team for the first time since being acquired from the Eagles more than a year ago for a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Starting his second straight game for injured John Skelton, Kolb was 17 of 24 without an interception and looked more poised than perhaps ever in an Arizona uniform.
He threw first-half touchdowns to rookie Michael Floyd and All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald, whose 37-yard score gave the Cardinals a 17-0 lead with 7:40 left in the opening half.
It was Fitzgerald's ninth touchdown in five career games against the Eagles, including the playoffs, and he has scored at least one in all five games.
The Cardinals' defense, meanwhile, continued to make dominating plays and, to date, has allow just two touchdowns. A week after upsetting the Patriots in New England, Arizona held the Eagles to 304 total yards. Philadelphia entered the game ranked first in offense, averaging 470 yards.
It was Vick's second turnover and ninth this season that virtually sealed the game in Arizona's favor. After Fitzgerald's touchdown, the Eagles had the ball at the Arizona 1 with six seconds remaining in the half. Facing third down and out of timeouts, Vick dropped back to pass.
A Philadelphia touchdown would likely swing momentum in the Eagles' favor heading into the half. Instead, Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes blindsided Vick and he lost the football.
It bounced right to Cardinals defensive back James Sanders, who raced down the left sideline for the third-longest fumble recovery for a score in franchise history.
Instead of it being a game, it was 24-0 Cardinals and looking like a rout.
The Eagles managed two third-quarter field goals by Alex Henery, but Vick (17 of 37 for 217 yards) couldn't guide them into the end zone all day.
Vick and the Eagles had a shot early in the fourth quarter, but it fell apart on a drive that stalled at the Arizona 31. First, they had a short pass completion to tight end Brent Celek overturned on a challenge flag from Arizona.
On third-and-9, Vick was chased out of the pocket by Sam Acho and his pass out of bounds didn't get back to the original line of scrimmage, resulting in intentional grounding, a loss of down and a Philadelphia punt.
Notes: With his second reception Sunday, a 4-yard shovel pass from Kevin Kolb, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 700 career catches. Fitzgerald did it at age 29 and 23 days. … For the 11th consecutive game, the Cardinals did not allow a 100-yard rusher as the Eagles' LaSean McCoy was held to 66 yards on 12 carries. … Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox left the game in the second quarter with a migraine. … Cardinals running back Beanie Wells left in the third quarter with a toe injury and did not return. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, meanwhile, suffered a right hamstring strain in the third and also did not return. … With the win, the Cardinals posted their seventh consecutive victory at home, tied for the second-longest streak (2007-08) since 1925 when the team won nine in a row and played in Chicago.