KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A group of reporters gathered near Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson following the Cardinals’ 26-14 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.
Johnson was coming off an impressive two-touchdown performance, so Fitzgerald let the running back know the media gaggle was waiting on him. But Johnson knows his history, and knew Fitzgerald was also in demand.
“They want you,” Johnson told Fitzgerald. “Second all-time. Congrats.”
Fitzgerald passed yet another milestone in the fourth quarter, and this was a big one, as a 15-yard catch vaulted him past Terrell Owens for the second-most receiving yards in NFL history. Fitzgerald is up to 15,952 in his career, 18 ahead of Owens and now behind only Jerry Rice.
It’s an incredible accomplishment, and one that meant more to Fitzgerald because of his relationship with Owens.
“I’m really close with T.O.,” Fitzgerald said. “His friendship and my relationship with him is invaluable to me. It means a great deal to me. To be able to be mentioned in the same breath with him, it means a lot to me.”
Fitzgerald didn’t have a catch at the half but finished with six for 50 yards. Coach Steve Wilks was hoping to get Fitzgerald going early on, and when that didn’t work, it was reiterated at intermission.
“We came out in the second half really trying to find ways to get him the football,” Wilks said.
Quarterback Josh Rosen has only thrown a fraction of those yards to Fitzgerald, but appreciates that he gets to play a role in the record-setting career of one of the best receivers in history.
“It’s really cool to play with a legend like that,” Rosen said. “I’m really happy for him.”
PUGH LEAVES GAME WITH KNEE INJURY
Guard Justin Pugh injured his knee on the Cardinals’ first drive of the second half. He left the game and was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the contest. Wilks said the severity will be updated on Monday.
Pugh missed the previous two games with a broken hand and was excited to return to the field. The Cardinals didn’t have either of their starting guards the rest of the way as Mike Iupati (back) was inactive with a back injury. Wilks said Iupati suffered a setback during practice on Friday.
Jeremy Vujnovich started the game in place of Iupati and Oday Aboushi entered the lineup for Pugh. The Cardinals gave up five sacks in the game, although most of the pressure seemed to come from the edges.
“It always hurts when a starter goes down, but next man up,” Wilks said. “We can’t sit back and worry about that. I will say we’ve got to protect the quarterback much better, for sure.”
Safety Rudy Ford (heel) was injured in the fourth quarter.
GETTING PRESSURE ON MAHOMES
The Chiefs’ pass protection was terrific in the first nine games of the season, allowing only 12 sacks of quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and never more than two in one game.
The Cardinals obliterated that, sacking Mahomes five times in the contest. Defensive end Chandler Jones led the way with two, forcing the Chiefs into field goals both times. Jones has 8½ sacks on the season.