Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald scores on a 73-yard touchdown reception Sunday.
LANDOVER, Md. – Kevin Kolb knew the pressure was coming. He knew he was going to be hit, since he knew the Redskins were going to blitz one more player than the Cards could block.
But the Cardinals quarterback felt his team had set up Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall with a handful of underneath passes to Larry Fitzgerald Sunday, so "we had to roll the dice," Kolb said.
Kolb was right. He got hit, but he also lofted the ball to Fitzgerald for a 73-yard touchdown that turned out to be a record-setter for Fitzgerald. It put Fitzgerald over 100 yards for the game (he finished with 133 yards on seven catches) for the 27th times in his Cardinals career, tying Anquan Boldin's franchise record.
It was also Fitzgerald's 66th career TD reception, tying Roy Green's franchise record.
"I did peek up enough to see the catch," Kolb said. "I thought I overthrew him – but he did a great job."
Fitzgerald wasn't celebrating after the 22-21 loss to the Redskins – "I've had better days," he said – and saw the catch as a microcosm of offensive issues.
"We needed a big explosive, but that was kind of how we were today," Fitzgerald said. "We made big plays sporadically throughout the day but we weren't able to sustain the long drives you need. Our defense was on the field far too long, and that was partly because we weren't assisting with drives and keeping them on the sidelines."
Fitzgerald said he didn't really want to call the offense a work-in-progress.
"There are times in the game where I feel we can be really potent offense," Fitzgerald said. "But other times, you say you have some work to do."
JUDGING THE DEFENSE
After two games, the Cardinals have allowed just 21 and 22 points, not numbers that scream problems. The numbers that did, however, were the Redskins' 28 first downs, 455 total yards and 175 yards rushing.
When Ken Whisenhunt was asked about the late game showing, when the Cards allowed nine points in the last 10:52 as Washington stole a victory, the coach responded "we didn't play good defense the whole day, as opposed to letting the game slip away."
The Cardinals were without starting linebacker Daryl Washington, who sat out with a calf strain, and then lost fellow starting linebacker Paris Lenon for a while in the first half with an ankle sprain. Missing Washington, the Cards' best defender the first week, didn't help.
The issues were beyond missing Washington, however. Safety Adrian Wilson said the Redskins' key late touchdown – an 18-yard pass to a wide-open Santana Moss on fourth-and-3 – was a "miscommunication" in coverage, which plagued the Cards the first game.
Whisenhunt, however, doesn't think this has to be the defense's permanent state.
"We've been together for (only) two games and training camp," Whisenhunt said. "It's really early to make those judgments. I think everyone wants to make snap judgments on a weekly basis. We changed our scheme. We knew it was going to be tough."
After the game, Whisenhunt made an effort in the sea of players at midfield to make sure and find former Cardinal running back Tim Hightower, who was traded at the outset of training camp to the Redskins.
Hightower had gotten near the end of the game and the Redskins went away from him, but he was happy with his first meeting against his old team, after gaining 96 yards on 20 carries along with a victory.
"I tried to tell myself all week that this was just another game," Hightower said. "But it wasn't. It meant a lot to me, was very special to me. I wanted this one really bad, and I told the guys that."
The only injury during the game was to Lenon, and he returned in the second half to play. But the Cards were not only without Washington but also running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, who sat with a hand injury. Chester Taylor took Stephens-Howling's spot as backup running back, but he touched the ball just once, stopped for no gain.