Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald catches one of his 10 passes against Washington.
Larry Fitzgerald chuckled when he considered the dichotomy of it.
The Cardinals' star receiver went up the NFL records list in Sunday's 31-23 win over Washington, ascending to No. 10 all-time in receiving yards and No. 3 in receptions, but his final record-breaking reception of the day was only a three-yard grab, a far cry from some of his more legendary catches.
"They keep getting shorter and shorter," Fitzgerald said with a wide grin. "But, hey, I am getting it thrown to me still, so that's all that I can ask for."
He's getting them because Fitzgerald continues to show he's the team's most reliable receiver -- he hauled in 10 passes for 78 yards against the Redskins -- and always clutch, as even that short reception resulted in a critical first down.
Fitzgerald passed Andre Johnson in career receiving yards and both Cris Carter and Marvin Harrison on the receptions list. The only receiver with more career catches than Fitzgerald is Jerry Rice, although Fitzgerald is well aware he's going to need to play a lot longer to get within shouting distance of that record.
"It's always nice to be able to climb up a little higher, but it's humbling to know that I am still 400 catches behind Jerry Rice," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald was a ballboy for the Vikings back when Carter played, and the two are still close. Carter tweeted a congratulatory note to Fitzgerald after they swapped spots on the list, and Fitzgerald made more history when he became the youngest player to ever each 1,100 career receptions.
Coach Bruce Arians has spent the majority of his adult life coaching in the NFL and still marvels at the feats Fitzgerald has accomplished.
"It's mind-boggling to me," Arians said. "I've been around some great receivers, but to see those statistics and the names he just passed is mindboggling. Hats off to a great player and an even better person."
GRESHAM REMAINS INVOLVED
Tight end Jermaine Gresham had five catches for a season-high 52 yards, continuing an uptick in performance over the past several games. Gresham had his first two receiving touchdowns of the season in Minnesota and Atlanta and seems to have found a groove with quarterback Carson Palmer.
"It's part of the ebb and flow, man," Gresham said. "Anybody can get the ball at any time in this offense."
Gresham has been effective after the catch, often doling out punishment on defenders trying to wrap him up.
"That's kind of my identity," Gresham said. "(Expletive), that's why they brought me here. Just try to be more of a powerful guy and try to impose my will on people. That's what I get paid for, so I stay true to it."
BRANCH RETURNS; MATHIEU SITS
Safety Tyrann Mathieu missed the game with a shoulder injury, which increased the role of Tyvon Branch, who played in his first game since getting activated from injured reserve.
Branch was the slot cornerback throughout and finished with four tackles – including a big hit on Jamison Crowder – and a pass defensed, but had a rough time in back-to-back plays in the third quarter.
On the first, Branch blitzed off the edge and had a chance to bring down Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, but missed him and the Redskins got a first down. On the next play, Branch was beaten deep by speedster DeSean Jackson for a 59-yard gain.
"He had way too many plays," Arians said. "We didn't want him to play that much, but he's gotten himself back in really great condition."
Safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger and defensive tackle Calais Campbell each left the game for a spell, but no injuries were reported after the contest.