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Carson Wentz goes wild in Eagles' win over Cardinals

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  • By Around the NFL staff
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The Eagles and Cardinals are two NFC teams heading in different directions, as Sunday's 34-7 Philadelphia victory showed. Here's what we learned:

1. Sometimes NFL games end in the first quarter. This was one of those times. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 121 yards with more touchdowns (3) than incompletions (2) in the first frame thanks to pinpoint throws up the seams on third down. He also finally connected deep with Torrey Smith on a 59-yard score on the way to 304 yards and four TDs on only 30 attempts. Wentz is showing greater maturity with heady audibles and consistently keeps drives alive by escaping pressure up the middle. He made some loose throws as usual, but he also tosses in jaw-droppers like a teardrop against the blitz to Nelson Agholor for a 72-yard score.

2. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer spent another day on his back, the inevitable result of the Cardinals' personnel and coach Bruce Arians' philosophy. Arians refuses to leave in an extra pass protector and Palmer continues to pay. (He was hit 10 times Sunday.) Arians lives by a "no risk it, no biscuit" philosophy but the Cardinals risk irrelevance if Palmer keeps throwing dump offs on third-and-long because pressure arrives so soon. This is no longer a team that can make a big comeback. It has no running game whatsoever. I miss the old Cardinals.

3. The Eagles offense spreads the ball around, with Kenjon Barner stepping into a three-man backfield Sunday and eight receivers catching passes in the first half alone. But this is undeniably tight end Zach Ertz's breakout season, with another six catches for 61 yards and a score keeping him on pace for more than 100 catches. When Wentz needs a third-down conversion, and the team converted 9-of-14 chances Sunday, he looks to Ertz first.

4. Philadelphia's defensive line is so deep that it has barely missed its best player, Fletcher Cox, the last two weeks. The Eagles dominated up front thanks to Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and especially Timmy Jernigan who continues to wreck havoc on a weekly basis.

5. Frustration is starting to mount in Arizona. Cornerback Patrick Peterson was seen blowing up on the sidelines after the last touchdown the Cardinals gave up, perhaps upset with an aggressive blitz call. This Cardinals defense needs to carry the team as presently constructed, and it's not up for the task.

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