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Larry Fitzgerald Climbs Past Randy Moss

Posted Dec 10, 2017

Notes: Star WR third in receiving yards; Williams, Bynes shine; Dawson's kicks

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald continued his move up the record books on Sunday.

Larry Fitzgerald will forever sit above Randy Moss on the NFL’s career receiving yardage list.

He climbed that ladder on Sunday night, as a 23-yard third-quarter reception moved Fitzgerald into third place all-time behind only Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. But don’t try to tell Fitzgerald he’s a more talented player than the wunderkind he grew up watching in Minnesota.

“I don’t have any of those gifts that he has,” Fitzgerald said after Sunday’s 12-7 win over the Titans. “Some of the stuff that he did, you just marvel because he was just so physically dominating. I would say he’s like the equivalent of Russell Westbrook, when you watch him play basketball. You can try to emulate that, but there’s no way you can do that. You can do your best.”

Fitzgerald pointed out that the current era features more prolific passing attacks, which has helped him surpass not only Moss but a who’s who of receiving greats the past few years. After his five-catch, 44-yard performance against Tennessee, Fitzgerald sits at 15,311 receiving yards for his illustrious career.

He was asked if he had spoken with Moss after the game, but said he had yet to scroll through his phone for text messages or voicemails.

“I just got off the field 35 minutes ago,” Fitzgerald said with a smile. “My hair isn’t even dry yet.”

As close as Fitzgerald is with Moss, the two didn’t talk this week prior to the game. Fitzgerald has an idea why.

“Nobody wants to see their records die,” Fitzgerald said. “You have to toe the line and say the right things, ‘Oh, man, he’s passing me. That’s wonderful.’ That’s not real. You have to be honest with it.”

Fitzgerald will inevitably be passed by wideouts in subsequent years, but he’s making that harder with each passing game. Despite being the oldest wide receiver in the NFL, he remains one of the best pass-catchers in the league.

Fitzgerald credits his move to slot receiver to lengthening his career, a move he initially pushed back against when it was brought up by coach Bruce Arians in 2013.

“I think as a player you are sometimes naïve to the things that you lose and don’t always look at yourself the way the other people see you,” Fitzgerald said. “I think that’s one of the negatives about being a professional athlete. Coach had a bigger picture, and I just needed to understand that. … When you do something for 10-plus years and you’re an All-Pro, you do it at a high level, you’re one of the best in the business, it’s tough to make that adjustment. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me. Coach, he breathed life into my career. It was going the wrong way.”

Fitzgerald is 624 yards away from passing Owens for second place on the all-time receiving list. He was asked postgame if he plans on catching Owens.

“I don’t know,” Fitzgerald said. “That would require me to play another year, I think. I hope to catch him this year.”

VETERANS BYNES, WILLIAMS SHINE

Arians has balked at playing rookies in place of more-deserving veterans down the stretch, because he doesn’t like the message it would send to the team. Linebacker Josh Bynes and cornerback Tramon Williams continued to show Sunday why they have earned playing time, each coming up with critical second-half interceptions.

William’ pick came in the third quarter, when a route mix-up allowed him space to make a diving grab. The Titans had a 7-6 lead at the time and were already in field goal range.

“Once I lock in on the ball when I see it come out of the quarterback’s hands, it’s pretty much a guarantee,” Williams said. “The hard part as a DB is when the ball is already in the air and you’ve got to see it at the last minute. If I can see it come out of the quarterback’s hands just like a receiver, 90 percent of the time I’ll probably catch it.”

Bynes followed that up with a fourth-quarter interception. He dropped into zone coverage and plucked quarterback Marcus Mariota’s throw before it got to Delanie Walker.

“I saw the tight end go out, so I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure I should melt this way,’ and ironically I melted in the right spot and got the pick,” Bynes said.

DAWSON REGISTERS ALL OF CARDINALS’ SCORING

The Cardinals never found the end zone on Sunday, but a strong defensive effort meant four field goals from Phil Dawson were enough. He connected from 47, 23, 32 and 35 yards – all in the second half -- with the third one ending up as the game-winner.

Dawson also missed one field goal, from 40 yards away on the first possession of the fourth quarter.

“It’s inexcusable, but he made the next two,” Arians said.

Titans kicker Ryan Succop missed his only field goal attempt, a 58-yard try on the final play of the first half. It was the first missed field goal by a Cardinals opponent this season.

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