The plane ride home is so much different after a win. Why wouldn’t it be, after a big win like the Cards had Sunday? Get into the Way-Back machine for a moment, and try to remember Jake Plummer’s middle screen to tight end Freddie Jones for a touchdown, and Bill Gramatica’s late field goal. That 16-13 win on Oct. 6, 2002 was the last time the Cardinals won a game with a 10 a.m. Arizona time start. Since then they had played nine eight such games, all of them losses:
- 9/7/03 @Detroit 42-24
- 9/26/04 @Atlanta 6-3
- 9/11/05 @NY Giants 42-19 (Oops. Realized in the shower Monday morning this game was a late start)
- 10/1/06 @Atlanta 32-10
- 9/23/07 @Baltimore 26-23
- 10/21/07 @Washington 21-19
- 9/21/08 @Washington 24-17
- 9/28/08 @NY Jets 56-35
- 10/26/08 @Carolina 27-23
So now you can understand the significance of Sunday (and FYI, the Cards don’t have another 10 a.m. game this season).
On to other thoughts:
— Coach Ken Whisenhunt on Beanie Wells’ fumbles: “Trust me, he may be carrying the ball around all day now.” So why wasn’t it surprising to see Wells at the end of the game when the defense was on the field, helmet on his head and ball tucked firmly in the crook of his arm – despite sitting on the bench?
— The punt returns were (very very) ugly. But the whole reason Antrel Rolle is back there was on display during that field-goal return of 83 yards. Six touchdowns on 11 “quick change” plays is insane. His teammates know what’s what. This is Darnell Dockett: “When he gets the ball in his hands, there’s an 80 percent chance he’s gonna score. When he took off I was like, ‘Don’t nobody block in the back, just let him do his thing.’ We learned the lesson when we played Seattle a couple years back, when he gets the ball, everybody just move out of the way. He’ll create his own plays and we don’t want nothing called back.”
I’m not sure if Dockett meant the infamous Cincinnati game where Rolle lost a third touchdown return in the game, but he made his point.
— It was weird hearing this from Whisenhunt: “It is funny, people say practice isn’t important, but it is for us.” I don’t know if anyone doesn’t think practice is important for this team, because the players and coaches often talk about how it matters. I get fans and cohorts asking me all the time how they look at practice, when a) one of the big rules about being able to watch is that you can’t talk about it and b) I can’t really tell who’s having a good practice or not, not when I don’t know exactly what’s being worked on. I think Whiz’s message has to be more for the players, to remind them what practice means.
— Larry Fitzgerald tried to pretend he wasn’t getting upset at not getting many passes, including one point after he looked to be open down the field but didn’t get the ball. “I was just tired,” Fitz said, trying to suppress a smile. “It was humid out there today I was just trying to save my energy so that’s why I walked off so slowly. That’s all that was.” Nevertheless, Fitz got a TD catch in his eighth straight game, including that playoff run.
— Think NBC, which has Colts at Cardinals next Sunday night, is breathing a sigh of relief that the Cards’ offense got out of its funk, and that they aren’t 0-2? Me too.
— The defensive front continues to impress. Calais Campbell is going to be a player (Nice field-goal block, by the way). Clark Haggans had a good game. And Bertrand Berry has two sacks in two games. That’ll be important against a guy like Peyton Manning.
Tags: Antrel Rolle, Beanie Wells, Bertrand Berry, Bill Gramatica, Calais Campbell, Clark Haggans, Colts, Darnell Dockett, East coast, Freddie Jones, Jaguars, Jake Plummer, Ken Whisenhunt, Larry Fitzgerald, Peyton Manning
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