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A Bigger Fitz Impact Vs. Dallas

Posted Dec 1, 2011

Notebook: Porter returns; Beanie's follow-up; Cards sell out

Larry Fitzgerald makes his crucial -- and only -- catch against Dallas last Christmas.

It was possibly his biggest catch of the season last year, given the circumstances.

But Larry Fitzgerald clearly had mixed emotions from his play the last time he and the Cardinals played the Dallas Cowboys, on Christmas at University of Phoenix Stadium. Fitzgerald rose up to cradle a 26-yard catch to convert a fourth-and-15 play deep in Arizona territory with a little more than a minute remaining in the game, sparking the drive that led to a game-winning field goal.

That reception was Fitzgerald’s only one of the game, and for a while it looked like Fitzgerald would be shut out.

“That was a forgettable day for me, but it was a good day for our team,” Fitzgerald said. “We won. To come down to fourth and 19, that’s not where you want to be.”

To have your Pro Bowl wideout get just one catch isn’t where the Cards want to be either. Having Fitzgerald neutralized the past two weeks has been eerily similar to the Cowboys game.

The struggles of quarterback John Skelton have been obvious, but Fitzgerald has felt the brunt. After his award-winning game in Philadelphia (seven catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns) Fitzgerald’s combined totals the past two games against the 49ers and Rams are six catches for 96 yards.

After surpassing 1,000 yards receiving for the season last year in the Dallas game (despite the one catch), Fitzgerald could do it against Dallas again Sunday. He needs 112 yards to reach that total. He’ll also have a new quarterback, as Kevin Kolb returns from his toe injury.

“I am happy for him,” Fitzgerald said. “He is healthy and he can come back and play football like he is capable of playing.”

KOLB STILL PRACTICING FULL; PORTER RETURNS

Quarterback Kevin Kolb was a little sore Thursday following Wednesday’s practice, but he one against worked full and remains on track to play Sunday.

Linebacker Joey Porter (knee) returned to limited work for the first time since undergoing knee surgery a few weeks ago. Porter is close to being available to play, but he will serve in a reserve role whenever he does return. Sam Acho will remain the starter.

Safety Kerry Rhodes (foot), who has been out since getting hurt against Minnesota Oct. 9, is close to returning to limited work. From there, Whisenhunt said, the Cards will judge how quickly he can get back to being game-ready, much like they have done with Kolb.

Linebacker Reggie Walker (hamstring) was added to the injury report Thursday as limited with a bad hamstring. For the full injury report, go here.

For the Cowboys, wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) was once again unable to practice and reports are he is unlikely to play Sunday.

BEANIE’S FOLLOW-UP

Coming off a franchise-record 228 yards rushing, running back Beanie Wells is looking for a healthy follow-up game against the Cowboys. Dallas is 10th in the NFL in run defense (St. Louis was last).

“Of course I want to, big-time,” Wells said. “But I don’t feel any pressure.

“We want to see if we can do it again. We don’t want to go out and say it was a fluke.”

Wells admitted he was scared in St. Louis after getting his knee twisted and bent in the fourth quarter. “I felt a huge grab in there and I didn’t know what was going on,” he said.

He also said he was grateful for Whisenhunt calling the final run play that allowed Wells to break his tie of 214 yards with former record holder LeShon Johnson, when the Cards could have just kneeled on the ball.

“I thank him a lot for that,” Wells said. “Any other coach in the league might have said, ‘To hell with it.’ ”

CARDS-COWBOYS A SELLOUT

The game Sunday is officially a sellout at University of Phoenix Stadium, marking the 60th straight time – every game the Cardinals have played there, preseason, regular season and postseason – that has been a sellout. It will be televised locally on Ch. 10.

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