Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald celebrates his first-down catch to seal Sunday's win over the Lions.
When Larry Fitzgerald was needed, he was there, grabbing an 11-yard pass from Drew Stanton Sunday for a first down that sealed a win over the Lions.
It was impressive Fitzgerald was out there, after suffering an MCL sprain of his left knee on a hit he absorbed late in the second quarter trying to make a catch. Fitzgerald left the game, but came back as the second half began, missing only six offensive snaps in the game. Coach Bruce Arians said that despite the injury, the Cardinals are hopeful Fitzgerald will be able to play Sunday in Seattle.
"We'll see how sore he is Wednesday and how much it limits him, and we'll go from there," Arians said.
"He braced it up and taped it up and was able to continue playing," Arians added. "Sometimes adrenaline wears off after game day and you get pretty sore. He was in there rehabbing today, so he looks OK."
Fitzgerald has played in 110 straight games, having not missed a game since Dec. 2, 2007. On the season, Fitzgerald has 46 receptions for 658 yards.
The third-down catch was among his most important. Quarterback Drew Stanton rifled one to Fitzgerald – Fitzgerald said after the game he wasn't really open, and Stanton trusted him – and he leaped to corral it right at the first-down marker. The Lions argued about the spot but could not challenge because they were out of timeouts.
"A first down ends the game," Arians said. "For me, the offense needs to kneel down at the end of a game. We don't need to have our defense out there. It's your job to finish it. When you trust your players, it's not a high-risk thing. Larry got exactly on the sticks, Drew made a nice throw and we had really good protection. For me, it wasn't a high-risk situation, it was just a matter of going to win the game."
NIKLAS' SEASON IN JEOPARDY
Tight end Troy Niklas suffered a high ankle sprain on the same ankle he had hurt earlier in the season, and while Arians said the team will monitor Niklas' progress, there is a concern he could end up lost for the season.
"He's very frustrated and we all are for him, because he was starting to get a pretty good role," Arians said. "He's just been hampered all year with these things."
Darren Fells will step in as the No. 3 tight end behind John Carlson and Rob Housler.
The Cardinals, after a decent start, struggled to run the ball again Sunday, finishing with just 46 yards on 26 carries (although kneeldowns were involved at the end of the game.) Running back Andre Ellington found tough sledding with just 42 yards on 19 carries,
and that included a 17-yard run.
Arians reiterated Ellington hasn't had the kind of year he had hoped, because of all the practice time Ellington has missed nursing his season-long foot injury.
"He's gutting it up on Sundays, but he needs to perform better, too," Arians said. "Right now, he's as healthy as he's been and we need more out of him."
Arians said Ellington "saw a ghost" on one screen pass Sunday, causing him to turn around and lose four yards when Arians thought he could have had a big gain. Those are the missed opportunities the Cardinals would like to avoid.
A better running game would help new quarterback Drew Stanton as well.
"I feel like we're headed in the right direction," Ellington said. "We just have to continue doing what we do."
CB Aeneas Williams was presented with his Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the Lions game