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Feely's Fantastic Show

Posted Dec 12, 2010

Notebook: Kicker stars in win; Fitzgerald breaks franchise record

Kicker Jay Feely is thrilled to score a touchdown during Sunday's 43-13 win over Denver, a game in which Feely scored 25 points.


The play is called “Wolverine,” and that makes sense, since the man running it went to the University of Michigan.

The Cardinals run it frequently in practices, waiting for the right moment, and the right moment had been close before – only to have a run to the end zone by kicker Jay Feely foiled by a penalty or something happening at the last second.

Then the ball sat on the Denver 5-yard line Sunday.

“I’m sitting on the sideline saying, ‘Here we go, another field goal,’ ” safety Kerry Rhodes said. “The next think you know, he’s running in the end zone for a touchdown. He’s a nice little halfback.”

It’s been a fantastic year for Feely, but Sunday was the apex. He booted five field goals, including tying a career-long with a 55-yarder, and ran in for the touchdown. At one point, the Cards – who won 43-13 – led, 22-3, and Feely had scored every point.

He finished with 25 points all told (one shy of the NFL record for kickers, set by Tennessee’s Rob Bironas in 2007) and would have broke the record had he not missed a sixth field-goal attempt. Feely became only the fourth kicker since 1970 to rush for a touchdown. He even contributed a special teams tackle.

“I have decent speed,” said Feely, who has been dealing with a sore right groin. “I’m getting up there in age, but I kind of like to think of myself as an athlete and not just a kicker. Hopefully today I did a little bit of both to prove that.”

Judging by the way his teammates good-naturedly poked fun at him after, Feely clearly had shown something in his own locker room.

“That dude, he seemed like he was doing it all,” running back Tim Hightower said. “He was on fire.”

Said coach Ken Whisenhunt, “You talk about guys you bring in that perform the way you expect them to perform, he’s exceeded that.”

TWICE, FITZ BREAKS RECORD

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald needed one catch coming into Sunday to break a tie with Anquan Boldin for most receptions in franchise history. He did it on the Cards’ second play from scrimmage, grabbing a screen pass – but then fumbling.

Whisenhunt challenged that Fitzgerald never had control. For a moment, it looked like Fitzgerald’s historical reception would have an ugly footnote. Instead, the play was overturned, and Fitzgerald waited until the second quarter for an 11-yard catch that officially made him tops on the list.

“I’ve never hoped for an incompletion more than I did then,” Fitzgerald said with a smile about the first attempt. “I think (the record) was so much better to get it in a win, too. That made it more special for me.”

Fitzgerald, who finished with six catches for 72 yards, said he still texts with Boldin weekly, and said “I miss him dearly still.”

WASHINGTON’S MISTAKE

It should have been a great moment for rookie Daryl Washington, picking off Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton late in the game for an easy 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. Except Washington inexplicably slowed up near the 15-yard line and raised the ball in his right hand in celebration – allowing running back Lance Ball to chase him down from behind and forced a fumble right before Washington crossed the goal line.

Fortunately for Washington, teammate Darnell Dockett was there to cover the fumble for a touchdown. But Washington lost his score, and had to endure serious verbal punishment on the sideline.

“I told him, ‘Don’t ever do that again,’ ” Whisenhunt said. “I said, ‘In this situation, we were lucky.’ That’s something that could cost you a game. I said, ‘We’re not going to represent ourselves that way.’ ”

A sheepish Washington took it to heart.

“I got too ahead of myself,” Washington said. “That’s not the way I play the game. I guess I got too excited. That’s not what I am about, not what this team is about. I have learned from that and next time it will be different.”
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