SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Bruce Arians wants the Cardinals to forget about the 49ers game quickly, since their wild card matchup with the Panthers is only six days away.
Michael Floyd is one player who wouldn't mind letting his performance linger into next week. The third-year wideout didn't have the breakout year many expected, but put an impressive wrap on the regular season in the 20-17 loss at Levi's Stadium.
Floyd set season highs with eight catches for 153 yards and had a pair of touchdowns, time and again giving third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley a reliable target. Many of the receptions were at a high degree of difficulty, as Floyd double-tapped his feet before tumbling out of bounds on one catch and reached behind him for another.
"That's the way he's supposed to play," coach Bruce Arians said. "He has the ability to make those plays. He made some great ones
Floyd had a lull this season when he didn't register more than 54 yards receiving in eight straight games, but ended the year strong. He averaged 77.4 receiving yards in the final five games, headlined by the finale.
For the second straight season, Floyd finished as the Cardinals' leading receiver, and while he didn't hit 1,000 yards like in 2013, he ended with 47 catches for 841 yards and a career-high six touchdowns. Floyd averaged 17.9 yards per catch and likes being that big-play threat.
"I think the whole team expects me to make big plays for us," he said. "I expect that in myself too. Whenever the ball is in my area, I expect to come down with it."
Floyd's first score against San Francisco first came on a flea-flicker, when he beelined to the back of the end zone and waited for an easy throw from Lindley. Floyd was all alone and tapped his feet in-bounds before his momentum took him.
"They played cover-4, and the safety comes down to the hole on run plays," Floyd said. "They both bit and I just stayed vertical. He threw a good pass."
On the other score, a 41-yard pass as the first half winded down, Floyd again had great separation. He caught the ball with ease and then took off down the right sideline, reaching the pylon before the 49ers could push him out of bounds.
"If he comes to play like that, then it's going to be tough for guys on the outside to stop him," Lindley said.
The second touchdown gave the Cardinals a 17-13 lead at the half, as the offense showed it could put up points despite using a third-string quarterback. Lindley struggled last week against the Seahawks, but he didn't get much help from his receivers. In this one, Floyd was made him look good.
"When you have a guy that has not played that much, coach said it this week, everybody has to step their game up," Floyd said. "Especially us being wide receivers, making plays for our quarterback, because he expects us to."
After the game, Arians had no update on the health of quarterback Drew Stanton, who hopes to be recovered enough from a knee injury to play in the wild card round against the Panthers. If he is unable to go, Lindley will again be under center.
"We have the utmost confidence in Lindley that he can get the job done. If we can keep him clean, up in the pocket, he can deliver the ball," Floyd said. "Coach said it's zero-and-zero. The record is new. It's crunch time."