Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald runs away from Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin during his 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown during Sunday's 24-20 Cardinals' win.
During his prime, Larry Fitzgerald made life miserable for many opposing defenses, but none more than the Eagles.
In five games leading up to Sunday, the Cardinals' star wide receiver amassed 40 catches for 642 yards and 10 scores against Philadelphia, an unmatched run of success against any one team.
Despite those staggering numbers, Fitzgerald was cautious in an interview earlier this week, saying "that was then, this is now." As Fitzgerald streaked down the field for an 80-yard touchdown in the third quarter, it was hard to tell the difference between his present-day self and that mid-twenties superstar, the "champagne problems" of getting more touches a non-factor.
Fitzgerald ended up with another banner day against Philadelphia, finishing with seven catches for a team-high 160 yards, highlighted by the long score on a catch-and-run slant in which two Eagles defenders couldn't catch up.
"Michael (Bidwill) blessed us this year with a new Jumbotron, so it's a lot bigger, and it's HD, so I utilized that," Fitzgerald said. "Thank you, boss. I appreciate the Jumbotron. It was nice and clear, so I was able to see where the guys were behind me and not look back."
The big day came within 12 yards of matching Fitzgerald's career high for receiving yards in a game, set in 2006 against the Vikings. It was his highest yardage output since 2007 and the 80-yard touchdown catch was the longest of his career.
The score gave the Cardinals a 14-7 lead during a time when the offense was having trouble moving the ball, and Fitzgerald remained a big part of the offense throughout, finishing tied with John Brown for a team-high 10 targets.
Despite talk of his demise, Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals in receptions (30), yards (443) and targets (49) while adding a pair of touchdowns. And he showed on the touchdown that his speed isn't gone, either.
"I haven't lost anything," Fitzgerald said. "That's all I'm saying."
PETERSON WILL GO THROUGH CONCUSSION PROTOCOL
Cornerback Patrick Peterson left the game to be evaluated for a concussion in the second quarter and didn't return. He was hurt when safety Deone Bucannon laid a big hit on Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, whose helmet ricocheted into Peterson.
Both Maclin and Peterson went down hard. Maclin eventually returned to the game, but the Cardinals went the rest of the way without their Pro
Bowl cornerback. Peterson will need to pass concussion protocol to be available for next week against the Cowboys.
Per NFL rules, Peterson was not allowed to be interviewed postgame, but sent out an encouraging message on Twitter.
"Thanks for all the prayers from #p2nation and @AZCardinals fans," Peterson tweeted. "I will be O.K. 6-1 moving on to Dallas."
Bucannon said he was a spy on the play and followed the path of the ball before rocketing toward Maclin.
"I saw the Eagles player and I hit him as hard as I could," Bucannon said. "I didn't realize Pat was back there. I would never want to hurt anyone on purpose ever in my life. When it happened… I felt really bad. I'm really happy that he's OK."
Jerraud Powers replaced Peterson at outside cornerback, while Tyrann Mathieu moved to slot cornerback and Tony Jefferson played safety. While the front seven has been decimated by injuries this year, it was the first extended challenge for the secondary with a game in the balance.
The Cardinals' top seven tackles were all defensive backs, led by Jefferson with 11, and the unit was counted on to stop three passes to the end zone in the final seconds.
"Our guys will not give up for anything," coach Bruce Arians said.
Running back Stepfan Taylor also left in the third quarter with a calf injury.
CAMPBELL PLAYS WITH "PASSION" ON SORE KNEE
As expected, defensive end Calais Campbell played for the first time since suffering an MCL strain in Denver. After missing two games, Campbell started, and was credited with two tackles as he was weaved into the defensive line rotation.
"I could definitely tell a difference (wearing the brace) but I was able to be functional and explosive and leave it all on the field," Campbell said. "It held up pretty good. After the game I was exhausted."
Arians said last week getting Campbell back on the field was as much about his presence as his statistics.
"Unbelievable effort and leadership," Arians said. "He was playing with a lot of passion."
CATANZARO SETS FIELD GOAL RECORD
Chandler Catanzaro set an NFL record on Sunday in a spot where he preferred it didn't happen. It looked like the Cardinals were going to take a 21-17 lead when tight end John Carlson had a 10-yard touchdown catch in his grasp, but Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans ripped it out.
Catanzaro came on for a chip shot, hitting a 28-yarder for his 15th consecutive made field goal, a rookie record to start a career.
"I'm excited about it, but what I'm most excited about is getting this victory," Catanzaro said. "It's just really amazing what this team is doing. We've got a special squad."
The field goal tied the game at 17 and the Cardinals would go on to win, but Arians thought Carlson should have held on for the lead.
"Fundamental football is you catch it and you don't take a picture of it," Arians said. "You snatch it and you put it away just so that doesn't happen. That's something to learn from. We were fortunate that didn't kill us."
PENALTY-FEST IN THE FIRST HALF
The exciting ending to the game offset the slow going of the first half thanks to penalty flags. The teams combined for 14 accepted penalties in the first half, slowing the flow to a crawl. For the game, the Eagles had 11 penalties for 103 yards. The Cardinals had 10 for 95 yards.
Images from the game between the Eagles and Cardinals