ST. LOUIS — A fourth-quarter comeback Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles may have resolved a St. Louis Cardinals' budding quarterback controversy.
Cliff Stoudt, subbing for starter Neil Lomax in the final two quarters, threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Roy Green with 5:04 remaining and handed off to Stump Mitchell for a 1-yard, game-winning touchdown with 36 seconds to go as the Cardinals defeated the Eagles, 13-10.
"I just thought we needed a change," St. Louis rookie Coach Gene Stallings said. "He (Lomax) was having a hard time. We were not getting the kind of production we needed. And there were some dropped passes. I just told him I was going to go with Stoudt."
The Cardinals' comeback, snapping a four-game home losing streak, left St. Louis with a 2-7 record and the Eagles at 3-6.
Lomax, who owns the NFL's longest current starting streak by a quarterback at 52, completed only 7 of 16 passes for 47 yards. He was sacked twice and was booed vociferously late in the first half by a Busch Stadium crowd of 33,051.
"He (Stallings) told me I'd be going in at the half," said the 31-year-old Stoudt, a former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the USFL's Birmingham Stallions.
His first drive, however, did not go well. After Mitchell gained a yard, Stoudt was sacked by Reggie White, who had 3 1/2 of the Eagles' 5 sacks. On the next play, Roynell Young intercepted a Stoudt pass at the St. Louis 44.
"I knew I'd be rusty but not that bad," said Stoudt, who completed 7 of 11 for 54 yards. "It's been 15 months."
Philadelphia Coach Buddy Ryan, when asked to comment on Stoudt's play, chose instead to chastise the Eagles, who dominated the Cardinals for three quarters.
"Defensively, we have to come up and make the big plays," Ryan said. "If we're champions, we make those plays, (but) I guess we're not."
After Mitchell's touchdown, set up by Stoudt's eight-yard pass to J.T. Smith, Philadelphia came up short of victory only because Gregg Garrity was dragged down by Cedric Mack on the game's final play at St. Louis two.
"I thought I could score; I really thought I had it," said Garrity, who weaved his way toward the end zone on a 34-yard pass play from Ron Jaworski. "We were trying to get in field-goal range, and I was trying to get as far as I could."
Jaworski passed for 174 yards, completing 16 of 30.
Rookie Charles Crawford ran one yard to score late in the first quarter, and Paul McFadden kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead.