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A Victory Monday

Posted Dec 17, 2012

Cardinals hope to build on steps taken in Lions' win

 
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald gleefully hugs running back Beanie Wells Sunday after Wells scored one of his three touchdowns.

It’s been a while since Ken Whisenhunt had a Monday morning like this.

Seven, to be exact. With a Friday and a Tuesday thrown in.

But when Whisenhunt got out of bed Monday morning, it was the first time since October he awoke to the Cardinals as victors.

“It’s a lot better, no question about it,” Whisenhunt said. “I hate losing and it was a tough stretch. To get a win, it was something that makes it a lot better Monday.”

It was also a new dawn for the Cardinals’ offense under quarterback Ryan Lindley, who became the eighth rookie quarterback to win a game this season. The offense fluttered during the Cards’ nine-game losing streak, unable to find a rhythm nor the end zone. But that changed, at least a little, against the Lions with a 38-10 win.

The Cardinals scored twice in the red zone and another time from 31 yards away, all on Beanie Wells’ runs. While the defense has been doing its part all season, blossoming into a Top-11 unit, the offense was at least able to finish.

“It helps when we get it at the 5-yard line and the 3-yard line, there’s no question about that,” Whisenhunt said. “But we were able to run the football in there. One of the things that we said going in there yesterday, with the number of points that they’ve scored was that we had to be 100 percent in the red zone.

“Now, I would have liked to have been down there a couple more times offensively but the thing that was good was when we got down there, our guys punched it in for touchdowns. That was huge.”

With two games left in the season, the quarterback debate has temporarily died down, leaving Lindley with an opportunity to improve each week.

Whisenhunt saw glimpses of that Sunday, when Lindley worked the sideline better than he has all season, completing passes to Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald along the boundary. With Ndamukong Suh pushing the pocket back into him, Lindley completed his first five passes. Whisenhunt wants that progress to continue.

“I feel a lot better,” Lindley said. “The game is slowing down. The biggest thing is just knowing how to get the game all the way through and how to ride it out. I think I learned a lot going through New York and what happened there, making the mistakes I did.”

Sunday was the game the Cardinals needed to stop their skid. With three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns, the defense proved last weekend’s “debacle,” as Whisenhunt called it Monday, was a fluke.

“I think it speaks volumes about the team going forward, that you have young guys and veteran guys that, in the midst of something that was pretty tough, stick together the way they did and play the way they did yesterday,” Whisenhunt said. “Guys really wanted to be out there and play together.”

EXTRA POINT

Whisenhunt said he didn’t have any injury updates. Linebacker Quentin Groves did leave Sunday’s game with a foot injury. Whisenhunt did say tight end Rob Housler had aggravated his Achilles Friday which is why he didn’t practice, but that Housler made sure he could play.

“In this league you have to fight through things,” Whisenhunt said.

 

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