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Eagles again avoid blowing big lead to Cardinals

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The Philadelphia Eagles had a week off before facing the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 1. Yet the Eagles didn't seem to spend their bye week changing anything. Instead, Philadelphia did what it did the last time it took the field -- jump out big at home, look ready to blow a visitor out, and then let it nearly win anyway before finally shutting the door.

This time around, the Eagles held off the Cardinals by 24-21, after building up a 24-7 lead early in the second half. Truthfully, it should have been bigger than that, given how Arizona opened the game with two turnovers. But the Eagles still let the Cardinals hang around, until they put together touchdown drives to end the first half and open the second.

After that, Philadelphia went into autopilot, just like it did against the Washington Redskins on Nov. 17. When that happened, Washington nearly erased a 24-0 deficit in the fourth quarter and knocked on the doorstep of forcing overtime. In this case, Arizona merely closed a 24-7 deficit to 24-21, then had what might have been a game-turning interception off Nick Foles called back on a penalty.

Previously, the Eagles had a DeSean Jackson punt return touchdown and a long LeSean McCoy run erased by flags. Other than that, their offense did virtually nothing after the first second-half drive, as merely running out the clock still escapes Chip Kelly's high octane game plan. It would have cost the Eagles, if the defense hadn't stopped the Cardinals on a four-and-out final drive.

Given that the Eagles had been winless at home before these last two games, winning in Philadelphia in any way comes as a relief. Yet with December under way and the playoff chase heading into the home stretch, it would be nice to breathe easy once in a while. Unfortunately, the Eagles have been breathing too easy after starting out hot lately.

One of these days, Philadelphia might coast with a lead that it can't hold onto after all -- and that one loss could be what ends this season. But that day hasn't come yet, although the Eagles keep bringing it to their doorstep anyway.


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