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October 08, 2017

Final observations: Eagles 34, Cardinals 7

If there were any concerns about whether the Eagles are "for real," they did their best to put them to rest on Sunday. Philadelphia dominated the Arizona Cardinals from start to finish, preserving their undefeated home record with a 34-7 victory. Life is very good for the Eagles, who will take their 4-1 record into a Thursday night matchup with Carolina.

The Good

•  What a difference a year makes for Nelson Agholor. After hardly looking like he belonged on the field during his first two seasons in Philadelphia, he made rookie safety Budda Baker look absolutely ridiculous with a series of moves near the sideline.

To borrow a phrase coined by a friend of mine, Agholor hit Baker with the Baskin Robbins and gave him all 31 flavors.

Maybe a little confidence is all he needed because the physical talent has always been apparent. He blew past Baker to get open here, and provided he actually catches the ball, Agholor can make things happen with the rock in his hands.

RELATED: First half observations: Eagles 21, Cardinals 7

•  Philadelphia's offensive line was missing a critical component for all of the second half, and they made it look like it didn't matter all that much. The O-line will nearly always be overshadowed by the performances of the skill position guys, but the men in the trenches deserve a ton of credit for a dominant effort against Arizona.

The blocking on this play was exceptional, and though Blount made a nice effort of his own once he got past the first level, it's pretty easy to get some momentum going if your line prevents an edge from ever being set.

Doug Pederson has drawn a lot of comparisons to his mentor Andy Reid, and one that may fit best is their shared desire to build out from the lines. The Eagles have a lot invested in the boys up front, and so far, it looks like the resources have been spent wisely.

•  How about Carson Wentz? The Cardinals may not be a great football team, but they are significantly better on defense than he made them look today. Their pass defense is in the top half of NFL teams, and Patrick Peterson is one of the game's most dynamic talents at the corner position.

None of that mattered. Wentz dismantled the Cardinals with throws at every level on Sunday, using short and intermediate throws to set up big plays that came later on. He didn't hit on everything, but the second-year QB was nearly immaculate on third down against Arizona, regularly extending drives and keeping the Cardinals on the field long enough to exploit a weakness for a touchdown.

Some of that success can be credited to his decision making on first and second down. The Eagles did not operate from too many third-and-long situations, which made life easier for the offense when it came time to convert big plays. Pederson's playcalling blend was on point for yet another week, and a nearly 50/50 pass-run split kept the Cardinals guessing deep into the fourth quarter.

Ultimately, it was efficiency that ruled the day for Wentz and the Eagles – 21/30 for 304 yards and 4 TD's is nothing to sneeze at.

•  Patrick Robinson was excellent for the Eagles on Sunday, and the only thing you could knock about his performance was his inability to come away with an interception. He came up with three pass breakups against the Cardinals, with at least two of those bouncing in and out of his hands.

The Eagles will happily take the performance they got out of Robinson, however, especially considering where his pass breakups came. He made big plays in high-leverage situations, allowing the Eagles to stay on the front foot all afternoon.

This defense could be mighty good when they get the likes of Fletcher Cox and Ronald Darby back. And by the way, ultra-talented corner Sidney Jones is still waiting in the wings too. 

•  Jake Elliott was perfect again on Sunday, booting in both his field goal attempts and all four extra point tries. The rookie has taken the job and run with it and is looking like a really good snag by Howie Roseman. 

The Bad

•  On balance, Sunday's game is one of the better performances Wentz has had as a pro. That said, the second throw in this clip is still godawful.

Hey, you can't win 'em all. If Wentz throws four TDs in every game, Eagles fans will be happy to accept a few duds like these.

The Ugly

•  This is not the sort of news Eagles fans wanted to receive to start the second half:

Johnson is one of the most important players on the team, and they'll have to hope he doesn't miss any significant time. Having Johnson and Jason Peters as bookends on the offensive line makes life a lot easier for everyone else in the unit, and there is no real replacement for what he brings to the table.

There's also the human element to consider. The dangers presented by head injuries are known all too well at this point, so here's hoping Johnson puts his long-term health first.

• Carson Palmer's performance. It is pretty apparent that he can't carry an offense at this stage of his career, but with David Johnson on the shelf until at least mid-November, the Cardinals don't really have any other option. Good luck with that.

As an aside, can we get announcers to stop referring to Carson Wentz as Carson Palmer? They are on two opposite ends of the career spectrum, so it shouldn't be that hard to tell them apart.