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Fitzgerald Makes An Impact

Notebook: Receiver has first 100-yard game of season versus Eagles; Floyd gets first TD


Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who had his first 100-yard game of the season Sunday, bellows in celebration of the Cardinals' 24-0 halftime lead.

It wasn't a coincidence that on the afternoon Larry Fitzgerald has his first breakout game of the season, the Cardinals' offense steamrolled to a 27-6 win.

Through the first two weeks, Fitzgerald had just five catches for 67 yards. On Sunday, he caught nine passes for 114 yards, including the 700th of his career.

"One catch, no catches, getting a win is what matters," Fitzgerald said.

Even though the Cardinals won their first two games with Fitzgerald totaling less than 70 yards, they proved Sunday the more he gets involved, the easier their day could be.

It didn't take long Sunday for Fitzgerald to factor into the Cardinals' offense. He caught a 16-yard pass from Kevin Kolb on the Cards' second play of the game and scored his first touchdown of the season when he tumbled into the end zone after hauling in a 37-yard pass from Kolb in the second quarter.

When Fitzgerald starts making plays, "it opens up everything," Kolb said. Teams start assigning Fitzgerald two defenders which opens avenues for other receivers, such as Andre Roberts and Early Doucet.

"If he's moving the ball we're moving," said tight end Rob Housler, who took the place of the injured Todd Heap. "That's good. You just want to keep the chains moving."

If there was a game when Fitzgerald would rev his engine this season it was against Philadelphia. Heading into Sunday, he averaged 114 yards and had eight touchdown receptions in four career games against the Eagles. Fitzgerald didn't disappoint Sunday. He matched his average for receiving yards against Philadelphia and tacked on another TD. It was his 33rd career 100-yard game and the fifth time he's hit 100 in the first half.

But in typical Fitzgerald fashion, he ceded the praise to others.

"It is our coaching staff," Fitzgerald said. "Those guys do a great job of preparing us week in and week out against new challenges. They asked me to move around and come out onto the practice field and play Z and play F, so they are continually force-feeding me new opportunities."

It's also why Fitzgerald became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 700 receptions, which he hit in the first quarter. Fitzgerald reached the mark in 29 years, 23 days, passing Jason Witten, who did it in 30 years, 133 days.

Fitzgerald didn't change his attitude when addressing the career milestone.

"Jerry Rice had (1,549) catches," Fitzgerald said. "I'm not even halfway, so that kind of puts into perspective for me. I have a long way to go and this is exactly where I wanted to be in terms of the situation we are in now."


When his playing days are over, Michael Floyd won't have to strain to remember his first touchdown catch and his first reception.

They happened on the same play.

On a third-and-5 play from the 8-yard-line, a pass from Kolb was tipped by two Eagles defenders before Floyd came down with it and stretched the ball into the end zone to give the Cardinals a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.

"Good concentration by me," Floyd said. "It feels great. I'm excited, my team is excited for me. I'm not just out there, I finally did something I feel like. I'm feeling good about myself."

Floyd also made an impact when he wasn't catching touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, he drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on former Cardinal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a run play. It led to a Cardinals' field goal.

"I knocked him down and I don't think he liked it at all so he retaliated," Floyd said.


It took two players to take the place of injured strong safety Adrian Wilson.

Rashad Johnson and James Sanders did more than enough, however, to fill Wilson's void. They alternated possessions in the secondary and combined for six tackles and a touchdown Sunday. Johnson had five tackles and Sanders scored late in the first half when he returned a fumble 93 yards. The two alternated possessions.

"For them to stay in it and be tuned into the game for every possession and not be in the whole time, was good on their part," said Kerry Rhodes, who sacked quarterback Michael Vick and forced the fumble that Sanders recovered. "They played solid, didn't make many mistakes and that just shows a lot about this team."


The Cardinals forced and recovered three Eagles fumbles Sunday, swelling Philadelphia's turnover total for the season to 12.

"We have to make sure that we are putting guys in the right position to make plays and then we have to make the plays," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "It is all of our responsibility."

The Cardinals turned one fumble into points. Rhodes sacked Vick at the end of the first half and Sanders returned it 93 yards for a touchdown.

"The only thing we can do is eliminate then when we are out on the field," Vick said. "It's easy to talk about. It's easy to say it but when you are in the moment, you have to eliminate the turnovers. We'll do it. Everything happens for a reason."


Running back Beanie Wells left the game in the third quarter with a toe injury and did not return. He finished with 18 yards on eight carries, and had just one carry in the third quarter. Wells went down for no gain on the first play of the second half.

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett went down early in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury.

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