Cornerback Patrick Peterson is tackled after the interception that wasn't during Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Eagles.
PHILADELPHIA – During the Cardinals' recent four-game winning streak, the defense continued its regular mayhem, sacking quarterbacks and forcing game-changing turnovers. The offense, meanwhile, began doing a much better job of protecting the football.
On Sunday, though, that turnover ratio flipped. It wasn't a surprise to see the end result. The Cardinals outgained the Eagles, 350 yards to 307, but turned the ball over three times and could not force one – at least, one that counted -- in the 24-21 loss.
Carson Palmer was intercepted twice and lost a fumble, which helped the Eagles build a 17-point lead that ended up being just
"It's obvious when you get on the road in a very, very tough environment you can't turn the football over," coach Bruce Arians said. "We lost this football game with self-inflicted wounds."
It looked as if the Cardinals' defense picked up an interception late in the contest when Patrick Peterson grabbed an ill-advised throw by Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles. Foles, who had 19 touchdown passes on the season and no interceptions up to that point, looked like he had made his first mistake.
Instead, a holding penalty was called on Cardinals safety nTyrann Mathieu away from the play, negating it.
"I knew I got a pretty good jam on him at the line of scrimmage," Mathieu said. "From there I just tried to get my body into his body. It was an unfortunate call, especially when Patrick made that great play."
Said Foles, "I try to push it in practice and test my boundaries and see what throws are capable against certain defenses. It's through a lot of mistakes that I've learned that. I have to keep working and staying away from a mistake like the one I made today where I was off balance and threw it across the middle. That's a no-no. I can't do that, and I have to keep working at it."
The Cardinals trailed by three points at the time and would have been in field goal range to at least tie the game and maybe take the lead. The crucial call changed the complexion, and while the offense got the ball back once more, it turned the ball over on downs.
"That was the play to win the game for us," Arians said. "That's where we've been all year. We make a play to win the game in the fourth quarter. We made the touchdown drive and then we got the interception, but obviously we lost the interception."
Palmer fumbled the ball on the third play of the game, and that miscue may have been a 14-point swing. Arians said wide receiver Brittan Golden was running wide open behind the defense and would have scored if the throw was completed. Instead, Trent Cole hit Palmer as he prepared to make the long pass and Bennie Logan recovered the fumble. The Eagles scored a touchdown four plays later.
"(Golden) was running wide open," Palmer said. "We could have had a long one."
The first interception by Palmer was on a deep pass for Michael Floyd in the end zone on the Cardinals' next possession. His second interception came in a 24-14 game with 3:45 left in the third quarter.
Palmer had Andre Roberts in 1-on-1 coverage but underthrew him, and Cary Williams swooped in for the pick.
"You can't come into a place like this, play against a good team in front of a crowd like this, and not win that battle," Palmer said. "You can't expect to win and you make it extremely difficult on yourself."
The defense was tied for third in the NFL in interceptions heading into the game but couldn't get the one steal of Foles that might've stolen the game.
"We had opportunities, but we didn't make enough plays," defensive end Calais Campbell said.