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Even Limited, Wilson's Impact Felt

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Cards safety Adrian Wilson delivers the hit that knocked Buffalo quarterback Trent Edwards out of Sunday's 41-17 Arizona victory.

For Adrian Wilson, whether he would play Sunday against Buffalo was simple.

"I was either going to play," said the Cardinals' safety, who had missed practice all last week with a hamstring injury, "or they were going to have to keep me off the field.

"I had my mind made up (Sunday) morning when I woke up I was going to play."

After Wilson showed athletic trainer Tom Reed pregame that he could indeed run and cut, coach Ken Whisenhunt allowed Wilson to play in the Cards' 41-17 victory. Wilson was limited to playing third-down packages, but it made an immediate impact.

Wilson's first play, on the third play of the game, ended with him knocking Bills quarterback Trent Edwards out of the game with a concussion after a blitz. And Wilson's availability alone inspired his defensive teammates.

"He's like Iron Man," defensive tackle Gabe Watson said. "He was like that the whole game, hitting guys."

Wilson said his quest to play was merely because "we needed this game."

Wilson acknowledged it was "a scary situation" to see Edwards lying on the ground not moving after watching teammate Anquan Boldin go through a similar situation the week before. Wilson, however, looked like he delivered a clean hit on Edwards.

As for inspiring his teammates, Wilson cracked a small smile at the possibility.

"I do my job and I try to let my play speak for itself," Wilson said. "If I am out there and they get excited about it, I'm happy. It makes me feel good."

ACTIVE AND IMPORTANT

Watson had been out since April after fracturing a kneecap. Running back J.J. Arrington simply had fallen behind every back – including backup fullback Tim Castille – on the depth chart.

Both Watson and Arrington got to play Sunday, making impressive contributions.

Watson worked into the defensive line rotation and then left a 325-pound imprint on Bills quarterback J.P. Losman early in the fourth quarter. Watson drilled Losman from behind on a sack, forcing a fumble the Cardinals recovered.

The Cards scored their final points seven plays later to ice the win.

"I came around (the corner) and the quarterback's back just kept getting wider and wider," said Watson, who credited teammate Chike Okeafor for getting him a lane to Losman.

"I released a lot (of frustration). Before the game I was getting teary-eyed, just praying. It's tough being out four, five months, and not being able to do anything with the team."

Arrington had been all but forgotten after a good preseason. He gained 19 yards rushing on four carries and 25 yards on three catches. He also returned kickoffs.

"J.J. did a great job in the preseason with competing when a lot of people had written him off and I give him a lot of credit for that," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

WARNER HANGS ON

After turning the ball over six times last week, quarterback Kurt Warner said he carried a ball around his house last Monday and Tuesday – making sure he had two hands on the ball as he chased his kids around.

"Or they were chasing me around trying to simulate the Buffalo Bills," Warner said.

Ultimately, it worked. Warner didn't turn the ball over. He completed 33-of-42 passes, none more stunning than a two-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald in which Warner was falling over and backward because of pressure and still delivered a pass for which Fitzgerald dove to catch.

"He saw me there," Fitzgerald said. "It's all calculated to Kurt."

Warner even scrambled for 11 yards – without sliding -- late in the second quarter to aid what became a drive to a field goal right before the half.

"I wanted to slide, I was just in a bad position," Warner said. "I couldn't find a place to slide. I'm not real athletic in that regard. What are you gonna do?"

HOOD HURTING

Cornerback Rod Hood left the game with a groin injury and sounded down about it after the game. Hood said he was scheduled to have an MRI performed Monday to see the extent of the problem. Tight end Ben Patrick also suffered a knee injury, although it's not expected to be serious.

EXTRA POINTS

With Watson playing, the Cardinals made defensive tackle Alan Branch – who continues to struggle with consistency – inactive. …

Cornerback Eric Green made his first interception of the season and only the second of his four-year career. …

Rookie running back Tim Hightower had two more rushing touchdowns, giving him five in five games – the most for a Cardinals' rookie running back since Ronald Moore had nine in 1993.


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 10/5/08.

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