For all the Pro Bowl berths Larry Fitzgerald has collected – 11 in all – the most he had in a row was seven.
Teammate Patrick Peterson bested that Tuesday when he was named to his eighth Pro Bowl in eight seasons, the lone Cardinal to get an official nod for the NFL’s all-star game, and it was something Peterson knew could happen.
“I’ll have one leg up on him,” Peterson said with a laugh back in November, when Pro Bowl voting first began.
Peterson was picked as a starter for the game.
The Cardinals did get three alternates: Defensive end Chandler Jones (12 sacks), Fitzgerald (team-bests in catches with 59, yards with 645 and receiving touchdowns with 5) and safety Budda Baker (92 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries). League-leading punter Andy Lee (a 48.5-yard average) was shut out.
The Pro Bowl will be played in Orlando, Florida, on Jan. 27.
Peterson was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011 as a return man, after his record-tying four touchdowns on punt returns. Every year since, he has been named as a cornerback. His eight straight Pro Bowls is the second longest active streak after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (10). The eight Pro Bowls also ties him with Hall of Fame safety Larry Wilson for the most Pro Bowls by a defensive player in franchise history.
“That’ll be another huge accomplishment for myself but I want to continue to help this team win ballgames,” Peterson said in November.
That has not happened. The Cardinals are 3-11, and Peterson’s frustrations have been apparent at times. He had to address a reported trade request. But he remains a defender few teams want to throw at, his streak of games allowing fewer than 80 yards still alive at 69 straight despite the Falcons’ Julio Jones beating good Peterson coverage Sunday for a touchdown.
Peterson has two interceptions this season, and according to Pro Football Focus, has only been targeted 55 times all season, allowing only 29 catches for 346 yards and three touchdowns. Former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen, now an ESPN analyst, called Peterson the best overall cover cornerback in the NFL this season.
He is well aware that Champ Bailey holds the record for most Pro Bowls for a cornerback, with 12. But he insisted that is not a focus.
“Those individual accolades will continue to happen if I continue to do the things I need to do on the football field,” Peterson said about the Pro Bowls. “That’s not going to stop. Obviously, I want those Pro Bowl votes to keep adding up, but like 2015, I don’t want to play in those games anymore. I want to be in the (NFC) championship game and Super Bowl.”