Both the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles came into to Sunday's week three match-up in Arizona unbeaten at 2-0; the Cardinals however, emerged with a statement win after walloping the Eagles 27-6 behind quarterback Kevin Kolb's very efficient 222 yards and two touchdown passing day.
There were a number of big plays on the defensive side of the ball for Arizona, in addition to an even greater number of hard hits imposed upon Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. The same can not be said for Philadelphia.
Here are five things that stood out from Sunday's match-up:
1. The Arizona Cardinals are legit.
Amidst all the preseason quarterback controversy and uncertainty, the Arizona Cardinals have come out this season and proved all the doubters wrong. After thoroughly shutting down Tom Brady and the Patriots in week two, Arizona came out in week three still being questioned. They answered all questions today. Completely dismantling the Eagles in all phases of the game, there is no question that these 3-0 first place Arizona Cardinals are a legitimate team, and one to be reckoned with.
James Sanders scooped up a Mike Vick fumble on a devastating hit on the final play of the first half and returned it 93 yards for a touchdown to put the Cards up 24-0 at halftime. That play embodied Arizona's toughness and tenacity on defense.
2. Philadelphia is not good enough to overcome these turnovers.
Although Vick did not throw a interception this week (he threw six through the first two weeks), he did have two fumbles, one returned for a touchdown. The Eagles through what you could call good fortune managed to survive committing nine turnovers through the first two weeks, winning both of those games, leaving people saying that the Eagles were simply good enough to overcome those mistakes.
The fact is, they're not. If Philadelphia continues to turn the ball over at their current rate, they will have no hope of competing in the NFC East.
3. Kevin Kolb is the answer for Arizona at quarterback.
After a roller-coaster ride for Kolb as Arizona's quarterback, a role that has seen him go from starter to back-up behind John Skelton, among uncertainty towards both quarterbacks, Kolb finally seems to have settled into his own behind center in Arizona. Although it took a Skelton injury to propel Kolb back into the starting role, he is finally playing like he deserves to be there.
Kevin Kolb is simply a better quarterback than John Skelton, and gives Arizona their best chance to win, as evident by their 3-0 start. That by way is the first time the Cards have started 3-0 since 1974.
4. Mike Vick will not finish the season playing like this.
No, he won't be pulled for rookie back-up Nick Foles, however, his reckless abandon style of play and tendency to hold on to the ball longer than he should is leading to multiple big-time hits on him every game. Arizona's pressure was relentless today, sacking Vick five times with two fumbles, but the amount of knockdowns and hits that Vick took is more than anybody can be comfortable seeing.
Vick got up slow after a couple hits today. Unless he learns to start sliding and throw the ball away when nothing is there, Vick will not be able to make this only his second complete sixteen game season.
5. All of a sudden, the NFC West is one of the best divisions in football.
After shutting down the Patriots and Eagles, the Cardinals are a legit squad. Seattle's defense is one of the best in the league that nobody is talking about, not to mention they have this running back by the name of Marshawn Lynch. And oh yea, there's also San Francisco, they're pretty good themselves, a couple Kyle Williams fumbles away from the Super Bowl last year. The NFC West has silently emerged as one of the best divisions in football.