Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald catches one of his 12 passes on the day.
Larry Fitzgerald's greatness is easy to quantify. His toughness is harder to measure, but there's no questioning it after Sunday afternoon.
The Cardinals' star wideout returned from a scary upside-down flip near the end of the second quarter to finish with 12 catches for a season-high 133 yards in the 23-20 win over the 49ers.
San Francisco safety Jimmie Ward said Fitzgerald told him he tore something on the play, but Fitzgerald popped right up, and after a quick pit stop on the locker room, was on the field for the entirety of the second half.
"I'm sore," Fitzgerald said. "You have to continue to battle. It's funny, whenever I get banged up, I think of (former Cardinals safety) Larry Wilson all the time. As a rookie, I just remember one time having a conversation with him and him telling me, 'It really bothers me when I see guys get banged up and they don't get their (expletive) off the field.' I remember the stories of him playing through all these types of injuries. I don't know, for some reason it always pops up into my mind when I get banged up – get off the field, don't ever lay down."
Fitzgerald entered the game dealing with a sprained ankle before adding to his list of maladies, but there he was in the second half, hauling in huge catches to help the Cardinals escape with the victory. His long was 33 yards on a flea-flicker, and Fitzgerald also leapt over a defender and stretched past the first-down marker on a critical third down.
He's had some big games earlier this season but this was his first time surpassing the century mark in receiving yards.
"I wish I could have done it on less targets," Fitzgerald said. "You give me 18 targets in 2006, I might have had 200 yards."
While Fitzgerald downplayed his accomplishments, multiple 49ers spoke of how hard it was to slow down the future Hall of Famer. Ward was excited to receive Fitzgerald's jersey and an inscription on it afterward.
"There are not too many words to say but 'Legend,'" Ward said. "He is great and one of the greatest."
Fitzgerald admitted he was beaten up physically after the contest but said he will be fine for next week's game against the Vikings.
"I'm good enough to go," he said. "This is Week 9 in the National Football League. Everybody is dealing with something."
WETZEL HOLDS UP AT LEFT TACKLE
Arians holds back most of his judgment on linemen until after film review, but praised John Wetzel after the game.
Wetzel started at left tackle for the first time in place of Jared Veldheer, who is out for the season with a torn triceps, and held up well.
"I didn't notice him so he must have played pretty good, you know?" Arians said. "I wasn't on the sideline going, 'What the hell do we got to do to help him?' So it must have been real good."
Wetzel said he knows he made some mistakes but wasn't ready to judge how well he did. He said he had to make sure to balance his emotions early on despite an exciting individual moment for him.
"If you get too excited, your brain goes everywhere," Wetzel said. "You've got to stay focused."
The Cardinals' offensive line didn't create massive holes in the running game but did a nice job protecting Palmer. He was sacked twice, but on one of them he was flushed from the pocket and had time to throw the ball away.
TWO MORE SACKS FOR CHANDLER JONES
Outside linebacker Chandler Jones continued his impressive season by registering a pair of sacks on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He now has seven on the season, which has passed Markus Golden for the team lead.
Defensive tackle Calais Campbell added a third sack, although Kaepernick did make some plays with his legs, finishing with 10 carries for 55 yards and a late game-tying touchdown.