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Over The Head, Fitz Makes The Play

Posted Nov 13, 2011

Notebook: Grab breaks Eagles; Campbell gets first pick

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald hauls in the 37-yard reception that set up the game-winning touchdown Sunday in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA -- Every game, long before kickoff, Larry Fitzgerald even stands a few feet in front of assistant head coach Russ Grimm, back to Grimm, as Grimm spins the ball above Fitzgerald’s head and Fitzgerald must quickly find the ball to catch it.

The play Fitzgerald made Sunday to cap his seven-reception, 146-yard day just was a much longer version.

With coach Ken Whisenhunt saying he has watched him make such a catch “hundreds of times” in practice, Fitzgerald managed to amazingly find a 37-yard, right-over-his-head bomb that set up the game-winning touchdown in the Cards’ emotional 21-17 win over the Eagles.

“Whenever you see Larry and his head goes back tracking that ball like the long one at the end, he comes down with those balls,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s unbelievable.”

Said quarterback John Skelton, “Honestly, the guy hit me when I threw it and I just threw it up there and hoped for the best and Larry made a great play on it. … It makes life easy. It makes life easy.”

Fitzgerald had already scored two touchdowns in the game, tying and then surpassing Roy Green for the most touchdowns in franchise history with 70. He now has five on the season, three in the last two games, and hoping he was going to get a third Sunday.

It looked like the Cards could have challenged the spot – Fitzgerald looked like he might have slid in before he was touched after the catch – but Whisenhunt said there wasn’t a clear view on the replay, disappointing Fitzgerald.

“As a competitor you always want to be the one to put your team over the top,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald actually was open for big plays a couple of other times, only to have Skelton miss the throws. Not that it mattered in the end, when the two combined for the huge play.

“We saw we got favorable coverage, (Skelton) gave me a shot and I told him I appreciate it,” Fitzgerald said.

CAMPBELL PICKS HIGHLIGHTS DEFENSIVE DAY

The Cardinals have had back-to-back games of solid defensive performances as the scheme of defensive coordinator Ray Horton seems like it’s finally taking root. The Eagles had only 289 yards of total offense, and when Skelton threw a second interception late inside his own 30-yard line, the unit didn’t allow a first down and forced a field goal.

The unit ended the game with A.J. Jefferson’s interception of Eagles quarterback Michael Vick as well after the Cards scored the go-ahead touchdown.

“They are making progress, no question,” Whisenhunt said. “(The Eagles) are a scary bunch, and our guys did an unbelievable job on them. We had guys all over the place making plays. … They are starting to get it.”

Whisenhunt then ticked off half the defense – cornerback Michael Adams, safety Adrian Wilson, linebacker Daryl Washington, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, defensive end Calais Campbell.

Campbell made one of the game-saving plays, picking off Eagles quarterback Michael Vick just jumping at the line of scrimmage when Philadelphia was up 14-7 and at the Arizona 18.

“Man, I wasn’t even trying to catch the interception,” Campbell said. “It just happened to stay in my hands. He happened to throw it low enough where I had a chance to just cup it. It was like, ‘Oh, wow, this is in my hands.’ ”

FEELY STRUGGLES

Kicker Jay Feely was relieved with the win, after he missed a pair of first-quarter field goals from 35 and 43 yards.

“Obviously they were big misses and loomed large at the end,” Feely said. “I am just thankful. I went and gave Larry a big hug, told him, ‘Thank you for saving my butt.’ ”

Feely said he felt he hit the first right down the middle and it took a hard left turn. Trying to compensate, he played it to the right upright and it didn’t come back over, staying right. It was the second time Feely had missed two field goals in a game this season – the first, in Seattle, ended up as a three-point Cardinals’ loss. The Cards faced the same problem  until Fitzgerald’s big catch and the ensuring Early Doucet touchdown.

“It is frustrating when you are on a battle against a team like this on the road, East coast and you have opportunities to get points,” Whisenhunt said. “You can’t miss those. We did that against Seattle and it cost us the game.”

KEITH HURT AGAIN

Right tackle Brandon Keith was forced to leave the game again because of his bad knee, the third time that has happened in the past few weeks. Jeremy Bridges replaced Keith, who did not return to the game.

For the Eagles, former Cardinal cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game for good in the third quarter after hurting his ankle.

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