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Just Enough Fitzgerald

Posted Dec 25, 2010

Notebook: Wideout's one catch is crucial in comeback; Two more return TDs

Larry Fitzgerald makes his lone catch Saturday, a fourth-down conversion that led to the game-winning field goal in a 27-26 win for the Cardinals.


Larry Fitzgerald was blunt.

“About four years ago, I might have been pouting on the sidelines,” the wide receiver said, with the knowledge he didn’t get a reception Saturday night against the Cowboys until just over a minute remained in the game.

But then Fitzgerald got one to extend his streak to 101 straight, and it was a doozy – a 26-yarder on fourth-and-15 that sparked the Cards’ game-winning drive in the 27-26 win. And it was enough.

“I really wasn’t too frustrated, honestly,” Fitzgerald said, although it’d be hard to believe otherwise if the Cardinals hadn’t rallied to win. “I wish I would have been able to have more impact in the game, but you never know when your number is going to be called.”

Quarterback John Skelton said he could see Fitzgerald frustrated. Skelton only threw his way three times total.

“He wants the ball,” Skelton said. “He wants to be the guy that we’re targeting. Any game-changer is going to feel that way.”

Skelton emphasized Fitzgerald isn’t one to complain and Fitzgerald said “that’s not my style.” The Cowboys often used safety help over the top of coverage to limit Fitzgerald, but coach Ken Whisenhunt said ultimately, “our quarterback just didn’t connect with him.”

On the lone reception, Fitzgerald still gained enough yards to put him over 1,000 yards for a fifth season (1,012) to tie Anquan Boldin for the most 1,000-yard receiving seasons in franchise history. Without it, the Cardinals wouldn’t have won.

“To be able to come and win a game in that fashion against America’s Team on Christmas, you can’t ask for a better setting,” Fitzgerald said with a smile.

PICK-SIX TWICE ADDS TO RETURN RECORD

The Cardinals’ amazing run of return touchdowns this season grew when both starting cornerbacks, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Greg Toler, took back interceptions (32 and 66 yards, respectively) for scores.

The Cardinals now have 12 returns for touchdowns this season, one shy of Seattle’s 2003 NFL record.

“Thank goodness we’ve done something good this year,” Whisenhunt said.

It was the first time a team had two interception returns in the first quarter of a game since Andy Katzenmoyer and Ty Law did it for the Patriots against the Dolphins in 1999.

“Everybody is trying to make plays,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “When we’re in practice, when somebody gets a pick or picks up a fumble, we always escort the man into the end zone. That’s really paid off.”

ROBERTS BREAKS OUT

Rookie receiver Andre Roberts had a difficult training camp and preseason, and it was rough early in the regular season. But he has performed well as the season has gone on, and had his best game against the Cowboys.

Roberts had five catches for 110 yards, including a 74-yard bomb for a touchdown from Skelton that was the Cards’ longest TD pass since Matt Leinart connected with Fitzgerald for a 78-yarder in New England Dec. 21, 2008.

“I think a lot of the young guys, even John and Max Komar, we have just seen a lot,” Roberts said. “Coming out of college, it’s definitely not the same, but I think we credit (playing better) to experience.”

The TD pass was Skelton’s first as a pro.

HENDERSON HOSPITALIZED

Cardinals defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson was taken to the hospital before the game after he fainted while driving down the ramp into the coaches and players parking lot, his car hitting a cement barrier. Henderson was conscious when he was taken away. Assistant defensive backs coach Rick Courtright said he was planning on visiting Henderson as he was leaving the locker room.

INJURY UPDATE

The only reported injury was linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who came out after hurting his groin. Schofield returned, however, and notched his first NFL sack later in the game.
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