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December 20, 2015

Halftime observations: Cardinals 17, Eagles 10

The Philadelphia Eagles’ game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football isn’t exactly a must-win, but it sure would help. They're down 17-10 at the half, and here is what I saw in the first 30 minutes:

The good

•    Sam Bradford made a couple of beautiful third-down throws to Jordan Matthews on the Eagles’ opening drive. They had to settle for three, but a telling moment came when Bradford was hit hard and had to leave the field for a play. When the Eagles starter ran back out on the field to replace Mark Sanchez, the crowd went wild. They know that the sleeved one is playing some good football as of late.

•    Bradford took that shot and came back into the game playing at a high level. That’s a great sign for the Eagles. He finished the half 15-20 for 148 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions.

•    The bad news is that impressive rookie Eric Rowe left the game with a head injury. The good news is that his replacement, E.J. Biggers, generally held up very well in coverage. As a team, I thought the Eagles did a pretty impressive job of hanging tough against a talented team, especially when the secondary is so banged up.

The bad

•    Carson Palmer went deep to John Brown on the first play of the game. The speedster burned Rowe badly enough that it would have been a 78-yard touchdown if Brown simply caught the ball. As it turned out, Arizona took eight plays to score a TD, and boy, it was easy.

•    Overall, Palmer moved the Cards up and down the field on this defense to the tune of 298 first-half yards.

•    I know Bruce Arians is confident and all, but putting ten guys on the field to defend Sam Bradford is a bold move, Cotton.

•    Love the call by Chip Kelly to go for it on fourth down and short inside the red zone. Didn’t work, though.

The ugly

•    Byron Maxwell got a free piggyback ride from Darren Fells! (via Patrick Causey)

•    Great effort by David Johnson on the 47-yard touchdown run, but the Eagles’ tackling was just brutal on that play. I’ve said this before, but Maxwell (who is banged up) can make Asante Samuel look like Ronnie Lott with his tackling.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann