Larry Fitzgerald said when his number was called, he'd answer the bell. And, no surprise, he did.
So many crazy things happened in Sunday night's back-and-forth win over the Seahawks that lost in the maelstrom was the performance of the 17-year legend. It wasn't just that he made the 1,400th catch of his career, the first of a season-high eight receptions for a season-high 62 yards. It was also when he was making those receptions -- and some of the other stuff as well.
No. 1,400 didn't come until 43 seconds remained in the first half. But that catch -- for 9 yards -- and a catch on the next play -- for 12 -- jump-started a late hurry-up drive that allowed Zane Gonzalez to boot an important 49-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter. Oh, and Fitz was doing the heads-up thing making sure the ball was rushed back to the middle of the field to set the ball in play.
He was the target on the first play (11 yards) of the final drive in regulation to get Gonzalez a chance to tie the game with another field goal. And he was Murray's choice for a seven-yard catch on Murray's final completion of the night, setting up Gonzalez's game-winner in overtime.
The numbers (collected by stats guru Mike Helm) are fun to look at. Fitzgerald's first catch, on Sept. 12, 2004 on a flea-flicker thrown by Josh McCown, came when current starting quarterback Kyler Murray was one month into being seven years old. The 1,400th catch was also his 647th at State Farm Stadium, snapping a tie he was in with Jerry Rice for the most catches in a single stadium in a career. Rice had 646 at Candlestick Park. Fitz also ran his consecutive games-with-a-catch streak to 250, now just 24 shy of tying Rice's all-time record.
For the impact on this franchise, it's crazy to see Fitz's 1,407 catches (and counting) is more than double the second-place guy in the organization's history (Anquan Boldin's 586.) Fitz is 142 receptions behind Rice on the NFL's all-time list.
That's all stuff for the Hall of Fame. But watching Fitz play a big role in a big game just underscores how he remains an important part of the offense, even all these years in.