Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling scores on a 73-yard reception during Sunday's 32-20 loss to Pittsburgh at University of Phoenix Stadium.
LaRod Stephens-Howling turned the corner and didn't see any white jerseys.
"I felt like I had to take it to the house," the running back said, which he did – a 73-yard catch-and-run that provided the Cardinals their biggest highlight of Sunday during a 32-20 loss to Pittsburgh. At the time, it cut the lead to three early in the second half, and once again showed Stephens-Howling's big-play ability.
"Get it to the right guys at the right time," quarterback Kevin Kolb said.
The play was actually intended to go to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald ended up with a linebacker helping out on his route, giving Stephens-Howling some room on the sideline. The Hyphen didn't disappoint.
"I'm thankful for those receivers blocking downfield," Stephens-Howling said.
Stephens-Howling may be needed even more going forward. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he wasn't sure the extent of the right knee injury to starting running back Beanie Wells. Stephens-Howling didn't have a rushing attempt Sunday; Alfonso Smith (five carries for 17 yards) is the backup. Fourth-stringer Chester Taylor was inactive Sunday.
There were again moments he cannot miss – like, for a second straight game, a wide-open Rob Housler down the seam, or an open Fitzgerald 15 yards downfield – but Kolb reiterated he believes his game and comfort level continue to progress.
"It's hard to explain, but the operation of the huddle and the operation of getting the guys in the right spots, getting motions down, getting the shifts, all that stuff was better," Kolb said. "I kept telling the (offensive) line, you guys can't see it, but we've got guys open on the back end. We had a good feeling at halftime we would come back."
Fitzgerald said he didn't think Kolb – 18-for-34 for 272 yards, two TDs and an interception – had lost any confidence. "It's not all Kevin's fault," Fitzgerald said.
The plan going into the game was to have rookie cornerback Patrick Peterson cover deep threat wide receiver Mike Wallace. Peterson did that practically the whole game – except that the Steelers found Wallace one of the few times someone else drew coverage, and made it work.
Stuck on their own 5-yard line in the second quarter and with the Cards building some momentum, Wallace beat cornerback Richard Marshall on a straight fly pattern, hauling in the pass and racing 95 yards for a touchdown – the longest pass play in Steelers history.
"We did everything we could to work to prevent that," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We had a plan to stop them and had Patrick matched up on him all day and that was the one play (he wasn't)."
Wallace said the play was to clear out room for tight end Heath Miller.
"But we got the coverage we needed to score a touchdown," said Wallace, who said his response when he gets single coverage is "Lunch meat."