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Peterson Makes First Pick

Posted Aug 27, 2011

Notebook: Toler sprains knee; Beanie runs well in Chargers loss

Cornerback Patrick Peterson steps into the end zone to complete his 34-yard interception return Saturday night against the Chargers.

A little while after Patrick Peterson had scored his first NFL touchdown – on a 34-yard interception return of a Philip Rivers pass – the Cardinals’ rookie cornerback found himself near the Chargers quarterback during a time out.

“Where the freak did you come from?” Rivers asked Peterson, and Peterson said yes, Rivers used the word “freak.”

Maybe that’s appropriate, because that’s the kind of talent the Cards’ No. 1 draft pick is said to have, and it flashed during Saturday night’s 34-31 loss to San Diego at University of Phoenix Stadium. Peterson had his big return and a near-breakout on a punt return (it went for 23 yards) as he grows into the game and waits for a chance to be more than a backup.

“This game is definitely different,” Peterson said. “You kind of have to spoon feed the rookies, and you appreciate what the coaches are doing. I’m not frustrated at all.”

Peterson came off his man to make the interception. Coach Ken Whisenhunt joked about it – “That was one of those, ‘Hey, what are you doi … oh, good play.’ ” – but said Peterson looks good.
 
“He’s a rookie, and they went after him a little bit in the first half,” Whisenhunt said. “He’ll learn from it. Obviously he is explosive. He will get there. He works at it and it means a lot to him.”

ON THE GROUND

Beanie Wells continues to play well, gaining 63 yards on 10 carries, and LaRod Stephens-Howling had 40 yards on six carries. The Cards didn’t get a chance to see how Alfonso Smith would work – Whisenhunt said he was suffering from a sore hamstring – so the role of the third running back remains vague.

It didn’t hurt that wide receiver Andre Roberts provided a 34-yard TD run on a reverse, helping the Cards averaged 6.7 yards a carry on the night.

“We did a better job,” Wells said. “There are still pieces of the puzzle we need to put together. … There is still a lot for me to be precise on.”

KOLB-TO-FITZ

Quarterback Kevin Kolb missed a long attempt at Larry Fitzgerald early, not getting enough air under the ball and overthrowing the receiver. It didn’t happen again. The next try was a perfect 80-yard throw for an electrifying touchdown.

“It was a no-huddle, a call at the line,” Kolb said. “We have been working on it and that is the kind of stuff we want to get to, where we can communicate things once we get up there and see what the defense is giving us. Again, we just have to keep progressing as an offense and hopefully we can put up more points.”

Said Fitzgerald, “He gave me a good signal. This was our first time and coach said he wanted to run it today and it worked to perfection.”

It won’t count in the record book because it is the preseason, but it was the longest catch of Fitzgerald’s career, topping a 78-yard score he got from Matt Leinart in New England on Dec. 21, 2008. It also would have been the longest TD in University of Phoenix Stadium history, beating the 79-yard score from Anquan Boldin Sept. 14, 2008.

INJURY REPORT

Cornerback Greg Toler suffered what he said was probably an ACL sprain in his knee. Whisenhunt said Toler will have an MRI Sunday to see the extent of the injury.

“I’m going to pray for a light sprain,” said Toler, who called it a freak accident.

Smith was out with his hamstring, while wide receiver Max Komar left the game with a knee injury. Tight end Rob Housler (groin), wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring), quarterback John Skelton (ankle), linebacker Brandon Sharpe (hamstring), safety Adrian Wilson (biceps) and cornerback Michael Adams (knee) were inactive.
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