Safety Antrel Rolle does a standing backflip after returning an interception for a touchdown Monday against the 49ers. The play was negated because of a penalty.
The record books show four. Antrel Rolle, nevertheless, has six in his head.
Six, as in six interception returns for touchdowns in the past season-and-a-half – and more specifically, six in the Cardinals' last 16 games. Four have counted, including two in Cincinnati last season, one at home against St. Louis last season and one in St. Louis this season.
But Rolle had a third against Cincinnati wiped out by an unsportsmanlike penalty against Antonio Smith that was later acknowledged by the NFL shouldn't have been called – Smith knocked quarterback Carson Palmer to the ground on a clean block, and was flagged for basically beating up the QB. Palmer, however, was trying to get to Rolle.
The other was lost against San Francisco on Monday night, when safety Adrian Wilson was called for being in the neutral zone on a blitz – a call that could have gone either way.
"It is frustrating, but at the same time, I can't fault my teammates for trying to make a play," Rolle said. "I told A-Dub, if you weren't there to pressure the quarterback, he probably would have thrown the post over my head. Who knows? It goes both ways. Is it disappointing? I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. But I told A-Dub, let's just get more together."
That's the thing with Rolle. Saying he can go out and get more doesn't just sound like lip service, the way the field seems to open up when he is running with the ball. He is a natural weaving through would-be tacklers, talking Monday how he feigned right on tight end Vernon Davis during his runback and, once Davis was leaning, cut back left while a teammate locked up Davis.
"It's all about setting up blocks," Rolle said.
He was confident enough in getting to the end zone that he engaged some of the Cardinals' equipment managers in a conversation of what he would do if he scored. Rolle broke out the backflip he tried and fell on in Cincinnati. This time, he stuck the landing.
It all came back after the penalty was announced, but Rolle sees more pick-sixes in his future.
"That's always my mindset, no matter where I am on the field, when I get my hands on the ball, I turn into an offensive player," Rolle said. "My emphasis is to help get our team as many points as I can."
FALSE START FIELD
Playing in Qwest Field, where the Cards will be Sunday, isn't easy. That's mainly due to the powerful teams the Seahawks have fielded, but also because of the noise the Qwest crowd creates. In 28 home games since 2005, opponents have been whistled for 75 false starts. Last season, the Cardinals were only whistled for one, however, and the last game there this season – Philadelphia's 26-7 drubbing of the Seahawks – the Eagles had none.
"You have to maintain focus," Cardinals tackle Levi Brown said. "You won't be in a silent call all the time, and it is very difficult sometimes to hear what the quarterback is saying. You've just got to key in, know the play in and out, and focus on that snap count."
The noise does come into play, Brown added, which is why it would behoove the Cards to get off to a fast start and keep the fans quiet.
"I think it might be a little bit louder than most stadiums," Brown said. "I don't know if that the way they constructed it, because the noise does seem to come right down on you. Maybe it's just because the fans are a loud crowd and really support the team."
A FAIRLY HEALTHY FRIDAY
Cornerback Eric Green (knee) was limited in practice but he did practice, and is listed as questionable. He and fellow cornerback Rod Hood (ribs) – who did practice fully – are the only ones listed as questionable. The other four players on the Cards' injury list are all probable: T Mike Gandy (ankle) and TEs Jerame Tuman (ankle), Leonard Pope (ankle) and Ben Patrick (knee).
Q TO 20?
With 10 touchdowns in seven games played and seven games to go, wide receiver Anquan Boldin is on pace to get 20 receiving touchdowns. Only two players have ever had 20 receiving touchdowns in a season – New England's Randy Moss had 23 last season, and Jerry Rice had 22 (in just 12 games because strike replacement players played three games) in 1987.
Miami's Mark Clayton (in 1984) and Green Bay's Sterling Sharpe (in 1994) are next on the list with 18.
"For me, I am just taking advantage of the opportunities I am given," Boldin said. "Anytime I am around the red zone, your radar does go up. But I didn't set a goal for touchdowns."
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 11/14/08.