Cardinals wide receiver Steve Breaston (15) is congratulated after crossing the 1,000-yard mark for the season late in Sunday's 34-21 win.
When in doubt, throw it up to Fitz.
It's a simple equation, one the Cardinals and quarterback Kurt Warner used effectively during Sunday's 34-21 win over Seattle.
Three times the Cardinals went to Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald deep, despite blanket one-on-one coverage by Seattle's Marcus Trufant. Once Fitzgerald brought in a 50-yard jump ball, a play that jump-started the Cards on the day. One was a stunning one-handed catch on the sideline for 22 yards. A third was a 38-yard touchdown reception that left fans and those in the press box amazed.
"I've been begging," Fitzgerald said. "I've been begging them to give me a couple of shots and Kurt trusted me, (offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) trusted me."
With Anquan Boldin sitting again with a shoulder injury, Fitzgerald finished with five catches for 130 yards, his 20th career 100-yard game.
"We knew we were going to need him today," said Warner, whose four touchdown passes were his most in a game since 2001. "We were going to need some guys to step up and make big plays with Anquan out. Obviously, the next guy you turn to is number 11."
Fitzgerald acknowledged the offensive troubles the Cards had endured recently was on his mind as the game began.
"We had been dragging for a couple of weeks," Fitzgerald said. "I wanted to make sure I was accountable."
A MIRACLE 1,000
Wide receiver Steve Breaston, who refers to himself as the Miracle Baby after being an unplanned pregnancy for his parents, looked like he got another intervention of some sort to reach 1,000 yards receiving for the season.
Breaston, needing 71 yards going into the fourth quarter to get the mark, found himself seven yards short on what looked like the Cards' final drive on third down – and he gained six yards on a pass from Matt Leinart.
With the Cards' sideline very aware of Breaston's shortfall, the defense needed to get the ball back. It happened with just over a minute left, when cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted the ball. But Rodgers-Cromartie also looked to be headed for a touchdown return, which would ruin Breaston's shot – until the rookie somehow dropped the ball and fumbled.
"I'm glad I fumbled, so Steve could get his 1,000 yards," Rodgers-Cromartie said with a grin.
"We were all lobbying for (Steve)," Fitzgerald said.
Despite a 13-point lead, the Cards ran a bubble screen to Breaston on the next play. Breaston gained seven yards to finish with 77 catches for 1,006 yards.
"(Dominique) said he just lost it," a grinning Breaston said. "I must be doing something right in my life, for him to just lose the ball like that. … I am just blessed."
EDGE MOVES UP
Running back Edgerrin James, who gained 100 yards for the second time in a game this season, surpassed both Thurman Thomas and Franco Harris to move to 11th on the all-time rushing list.
"Anytime you are mentioned with the all-time greats, that is super important," James said. "That was one thing I always wanted to do when I came into this league. I didn't just want to be just in the NFL; I wanted to be among the best."
James now has 12,121 yards rushing in his career.
With their final field goal from kicker Neil Rackers, the Cardinals ended up not only setting a franchise record for most points in a season (427) but outscored their opponents by a point in 2008.
Meanwhile, Warner set a franchise record for touchdown passes in a season with 30.
2009 OPPONENTS SET
The Cardinals now know their 2009 opponents. Not only will the Cards have home-and-away series with each of their three NFC West foes – Seattle, St. Louis, San Francisco – but they will also have home games against Houston, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Minnesota and Carolina.
The Cards' non-division road games include Tennessee, Jacksonville, Chicago, Detroit and the New York Giants.
Tight end Leonard Pope (knee) and linebacker Pago Togafau (knee) were the only players on the Cardinals' post-game injury list. Both will be re-evaluated.
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 12/28/08.