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Larry Fitzgerald Hits 1,000 - Twice

Notes: Wide receiver becomes youngest to 1,000 catches; Bethel tested; Getting 10 wins

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Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald shakes the hand of Panthers defensive back Josh Norman after Saturday night's loss.


ST. LOUIS – Six of the first seven questions at Larry Fitzgerald's postgame press conference on Sunday afternoon pertained to a pair of milestones he reached involving the number 1,000.

In the second quarter of the 27-3 victory over the Rams, the Cardinals star wideout surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark on the season. In the fourth, he became the youngest player to reach 1,000 catches in a career.

While Fitzgerald said he was grateful for the accolades, there was a much smaller number he kept

referring back to: one, as in the number of Super Bowl rings he'd like adorning his finger at the end of this season's journey.

"The personal stuff is all good, but I've done all the personal stuff, the Pro Bowls," Fitzgerald said. "That stuff is great but when your team is having success – the only thing I need, personally for me, to feel like my career is fulfilled is a championship. Each win gets us a step closer, and that's what it's about."

The Cardinals continue to roll this season, as they have won six straight games and are 10-2. Fitzgerald has been a big part of it, as his 91 catches and 1,047 receiving yards lead the team.

Fitzgerald had eight catches for 55 yards in the win, surpassing 1,000 yards on the season when he caught a bubble screen and took it 23 yards down the sideline. He was at 998 career receptions when coach Bruce Arians went up to Fitzgerald and told him it was time to hit quadruple digits.

Quarterback Carson Palmer threw it to Fitzgerald on consecutive plays the next time the Cardinals had the ball, and not surprisingly, he caught them both to reach the milestone. Fitzgerald made it there in 32 years, 97 days, breaking the former record set by Andre Johnson (33 years, 163 days).

Fitzgerald deflected the praise, pointing out that Jerry Rice, who sits third on the list, had a career that didn't begin until he was 23. Fitzgerald was 21 in his rookie season.

"I'd already had two full seasons by that time, so I had a quick jump on him," Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald's 1,000th catch came in the same city as his first. He jumped high to corral a pass in front of then-Rams cornerback Aeneas Williams in the 2004 season opener.

"Every time I see Aeneas I always tease him about it," Fitzgerald said. "A little flea-flicker from Josh McCown, down the middle, I remember. With the baby dreads."

JUSTIN BETHEL GETS TESTED

Cornerback Justin Bethel was fresh off signing a three-year extension on Saturday, and the Rams welcomed him with plenty of action. With Patrick Peterson on the other side and Jerraud Powers sidelined with a calf injury, Bethel lined up at outside cornerback, often against Kenny Britt.

Britt finished with two catches for 41 yards on six targets.

"The more times they throw at you, the more chances you have to get a pick," Bethel said. "I should have had, like, two. My hands skills aren't that great. That's what I've got to work on."

Recent signee Corey White did see some action at cornerback, but it was primarily the trio of Peterson, Bethel and Tyrann Mathieu in coverage.

CARDINALS HIT 10-WIN MARK AGAIN

It's the third season of the Bruce Arians regime, and every year the team has won at least 10 games. That hadn't been done by the Cardinals since 1974-76 under Don Coryell.

"The tenth win is always the hardest one to get," Arians said.

The 2013 team went 10-6, last year's squad went 11-5, and this year's team has the capacity to surpass those marks with four games still left to play.

"It definitely shows we're going in the right direction," Bethel said. "(Steve) Keim, (Michael) Bidwill, coach B.A., they're all putting us in the right direction as an organization. I'm just happy to be a part of it."

CARDINALS EMERGE MOSTLY HEALTHY BEFORE QUICK TURNAROUND

There was already talk postgame of the Cardinals' Thursday night game against the Vikings, and they will enter it in reasonably good shape injury-wise.

Tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) and running back Stepfan Taylor (shoulder) were hurt Sunday, although the severity of the injuries aren't known. Running back Kerwynn Williams left the victory late but it was only a leg cramp.

Defensive tackle Cory Redding (ankle) didn't play after being listed as doubtful.

The player who had it the worst was Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was hit in the helmet twice by his teammates while in pass coverage. Safety T.J. McDonald crushed him early, and safety Mark Barron hurt him late when the Cardinals scored on a touchdown pass to David Johnson.

Jenkins was tested for a concussion both times.



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