Cornerback Patrick Peterson returns a punt 82 yards for a touchdown Sunday during a 30-27 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore.
BALTIMORE – From the time the ball floated down into his hands, Patrick Peterson looked so nonchalant and comfortable – and then he exploded upfield with the punt return.
Slipping five tackles, the rookie busted out an 82-yard touchdown runback, part of the reason the Cardinals looked so good in the first half of Sunday's eventual 30-27 loss against the Ravens.
"That's what I love to do," Peterson said. "That's my number one love – playing punt return, having the opportunity to give the offense a good field position. I told my guys at the beginning of the week 'All I ask for is give me five yards, and meet me in the end zone.' "
With a pair of punt returns for scores in his first seven games, Peterson already is just one short of tying the franchise career record of three, jointed held by Vai Sikahema and Ollie Matson.
"It's definitely something we needed right now," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
GIMPY BEANIE STEPS UP
After a week of uncertainty because of a right knee injury, running back Beanie Wells not only played but played well despite clearly favoring the leg. He started and, while the Cards wanted to be careful with his carries, picked up several key yards.
"I was very limited today -- if you noticed, I came off the field a lot," Wells said. "I was playing in spots. I really wanted to play today. Now, I'll just worry about next week."
Wells ended up with 83 yards on 22 attempts with a touchdown.
"There were a lot of questions about Beanie coming into this year," Whisenhunt said. "A lot of people were talking about, questioning his toughness. What he did today, I think shows that. His knee still wasn't a hundred percent but he still wanted to play."
KOLB AMONG THE INJURED
Quarterback Kevin Kolb was wearing a boot on his right foot after the game. It was just described as a foot injury and Kolb said he didn't know the details, although Kolb said he hurt on the first play of the game and he ended up playing the whole game.
The Cards also lost fullback Anthony Sherman to a left ankle injury early in the game, forcing tight end Jim Dray to line up at the position most of the game. Rookie tight end Rob Housler hurt his groin as well, a combination that affected some of the Cards' offensive packages since tight end Todd Heap was unable to play with his hamstring injury.
YOUNG LINEBACKERS HAVE IMPACT
With veteran outside linebacker Joey Porter sitting out with a bad right knee, rookie Sam Acho got his first NFL start. Both Acho and fellow backup linebacker O'Brien Schofield, each expected to get more playing time as the season goes forward, ended up posting sacks Sunday.
"We both knew we could do it," Schofield said. "We both do it all the time in practice. We just had to show our coaches and the rest of our teammates when someone is down, we could fill that void. We were both just trying to make plays."
Said Acho, "The goal is always winning, no matter who starts, no matter what playing time you get, it's all about the team.
STRUGGLING WITH ANQUAN
Former Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin was quiet early for the Ravens, but eventually, Baltimore started going to him often as the Ravens picked on the inexperienced A.J. Jefferson and Peterson, as well as veteran Richard Marshall.
"We felt like they had young corners, and that's one of the things we felt like we could take advantage of," Boldin said.
Boldin not only ended up with 145 yards on seven catches, he drew a total of four penalties – which didn't exactly sit well with the Cards.
"He made some catches, but at the same time I'm not going to get on that level," Peterson said. "He made some good catches, and I believe he's definitely a good receiver. It is what it is."
Whisenhunt said "there was a lot of pushing and shoving going on, on both sides of the ball."
"Unfortunately we got called for some big plays," he added.