NEW ORLEANS – Christian Kirk missed being on the field the past three games, and the Cardinals' passing game missed him, too.
The second-year wide receiver returned from a high-ankle sprain against the Saints and made an immediate impact. He had eight catches for 79 yards and added 19 rushing yards on an end-around.
Kirk had an encouraging start to the season, and even at less than full strength against New Orleans, he looked like the team's most explosive skill player.
Kirk would have surpassed 100 receiving yards in the game if quarterback Kyler Murray didn't leave an easy completion short after a nice scramble in the second half.
"He brings a real explosiveness to the passing game," Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "We had him on a couple of other things, I felt like – I'll have to watch the tape – but we weren' able to get it to him. But he plays hard, plays the game the right way, and brings that element of speed down the middle of the field."
Kirk was cognizant of the ankle but didn't feel like it hampered him in the contest.
"I'd love to say I'm that I'm 100 percent, but when you recover from the injury I got, there are still some minor things you can't really recreate during physical therapy," Kirk said. "But the pain was fine, and I felt that I could do everything I was normally able to do. I feel good."
FITZGERALD EXPECTS TO MAKE PLAYS LIKE ONE IN END ZONE
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had a quiet day, finishing with only two catches for eight yards. He nearly had a critical touchdown 13-yard touchdown reception in the first half on a fade pass but couldn't get his second foot in-bounds.
Fitzgerald was shoved out before the foot landed but took responsibility for the incompletion.
"I would've loved to get the other foot down," Fitzgerald said. "That would have been a decisive play in the game. I haven't seen (the replay) yet. When I get on the plan and watch the tape, I'll see what I could have done better. Kyler put a great ball on me, and I expect to make those plays."
The Cardinals settled for a field goal one play later, cutting New Orleans' lead to 10-6 at that point.
AN UP-AND-DOWN DAY FOR PETERSON
Cornerback Patrick Peterson secured his first interception of the season in the third quarter, picking off an overthrow by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Peterson did a nice job of landing in-bounds on the leaping pick.
It was the second interception for the Cardinals in two games since his return to the lineup after zero picks in the six games without him.
The day was a mixed bag, though, as Saints star receiver Michael Thomas had 11 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown in the contest. Peterson wasn't shadowing Thomas full-time but was in coverage on some of the receptions.
MARSH LEAVES GAME
Outside linebacker Cassius Marsh had a big play early in the contest, bringing down Saints Thomas for a nine-yard loss on an end-around.
However, he entered the concussion protocol after the collision and was ruled out of the game.
Images from the Week 8 contest in New Orleans