James Conner ran for a two-yard touchdown with 32 seconds remaining, Kyler Murray threw three TD passes, and the Arizona Cardinals rallied from a 15-point deficit to stun Philadelphia 35-31 on Sunday and disrupt the Eagles’ playoff path.
Former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon returned to Philly and got his biggest win yet as Arizona’s coach. Granted, there haven’t been many of them for the Cardinals (4-12). But the playoff-bound Eagles’ fourth loss this month — and second at home — was a huge setback to their standing in the NFC.
The Eagles (11-5) could have won the NFC East with wins against Arizona and the New York Giants next week. Now, Dallas can win the division with a win next week at Washington, and San Francisco has locked up the top seed in the conference.
Jalen Hurts, who threw three touchdown passes, was picked off in the end zone on a desperate heave to end the game.
Murray finished 25 of 31 for 232 yards and got stronger as the game progressed, overcoming a 99-yard pick-six by Canadian rookie Sydney Brown early in the second quarter. Conner rushed for 128 yards on 26 carries.
Brown, a safety out of Illinois, circled under a pass from Murray at the Eagles one-yard line and streaked down the sideline, then zig-zagged into the end zone to give Philly a 14-3 lead with his first career interception and touchdown. The London, Ont., native reached a top speed of 21.52 miles per hour (34.63 km/h) and travelled 126.7 total yards on the 99-yard return, per Next Gen Stats.
99 YARDS TO THE CRIB <a href=”https://twitter.com/Sydbrown___?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Sydbrown___</a> !! <a href=”https://t.co/qMP0nvrSZ5″>pic.twitter.com/qMP0nvrSZ5</a>
The Eagles have played every bit like a team facing a potential one-and-done in the post-season rather than one that could make a second straight trip to the Super Bowl.
There was plenty of blame to go around: a discombobulated offence that included indecisive play-calling late in the game, a running game that never got going and a defence that couldn’t get off the field.
Hurts put the Eagles ahead in the fourth with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Goedert.
Normally, that would be enough to win a game at the Linc. But Philly’s defence couldn’t hold on. Cornerback Kelee Ringo was flagged for pass interference and the Cardinals used the extra 29 yards to help tie game 28-28 with 5:26 left. Murray hit Michael Wilson for a five-yard touchdown.
Jake Elliott kicked a 43-yard field goal with 2:33 left to give the Eagles their last lead.
Murray had plenty of time to move the Cardinals into scoring position. He hit Greg Dorch for a 36-yard gain that brought Arizona to the Eagles five and set up Conner’s decisive TD.
The Cardinals finished with 449 yards of offence and scored touchdowns on all four possessions in the second half.