Larry Fitzgerald dives for a catch during Sunday's 25-21 win. Fitzgerald drew pass interference on the play, but it also signaled to him he no longer could play through his bad hamstring.
Larry Fitzgerald was playing and there wasn't any doubt of that. How much he had to give was the question.
A national report before the game said the Cardinals wide receiver was "80 percent" after hurting his left hamstring, but when that was brought up to Fitzgerald after Sunday's 25-21 win over Detroit, he smiled and said "I would've been good if I was 80 percent."
Fitzgerald wasn't providing any of his own percentage analysis, but after making just two catches for 33 yards and drawing a pass interference penalty, he came out of the game for good early in the fourth quarter knowing he had nothing left.
"It's tough to play my position and not be able to run and separate," Fitzgerald said. "But I knew I needed to go out
there and fight with my guys."
Fitzgerald said there was "no question" he would play next week in New Orleans, but there probably will be a question of how healthy he will be. Fitzgerald said he knew he was done after running the route that drew the interference on cornerback Bill Bentley midway through the third quarter. Fitzgerald almost made a spectacular one-hand catch regardless, but he said had he been healthy he thought he might have been able to score a touchdown on the play.
"I didn't want to be a liability for my team," Fitzgerald said. "A couple of years back I would've tried to keep going, but Kerry (Taylor) and I have been working together for a year now and I knew he was prepared."
Indeed, Taylor – promoted from the practice squad Saturday just in case Fitzgerald faltered – had three catches in the game. Michael Floyd had an important catch on the game-winning touchdown drive, and Andre Roberts drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty (also on Bentley) to set up Rashard Mendenhall's touchdown run.
"You're going to lose your playmakers," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "For us not to have Larry in a critical game, it's tough. ... You look around the huddle (at the end) and there's not one guy acting like this is the game on the line. It's just a drive."
Said Taylor, "When you step in for Larry, a lot of the plays are designed to go to him, so I kind of fell into a good little trap right there."