After a while, even these endings tend to numb you. The Cardinals didn’t really do anything different than they have been. They won. Their playoff hopes took a blow when the Raiders couldn’t finish off the Lions in Oakland – the Cards need a lot of help the next two weeks, even if they win out, for the playoffs – but the goal at this point can only be a 9-7 record and let the rest settle out as it may.
Let’s put this four-game winning streak in perspective, at least when it comes to me. I’ve never seen one. I started covering this team full time in 2000; the Cards’ last four-game win streak was in 1999. (I’ve seen a few four-game losing streaks, but I digress).
– Props to Ken Whisenhunt’s 43rd win as Cards’ coach to set the franchise record and break his tie with Don Coryell. No, it’s not a Belichickian total, but it means something. It especially means something since it looked all but impossible to reach this season after that wretched start.
– It’s still so hard to decipher QB John Skelton. Some great plays. Some plays he’s got to make. A stumbling offense, but a win. Good yardage – 313 – but a passing rating below 80 because he threw so many incompletions. Cards have won five of six he has played the majority of the snaps, however.
“Everyone talks about Tim Tebow and his record but you look at John’s record and it’s pretty good too,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.
Let’s not bring Tebow into this, Fitz. Skelton’s his own man. “I don’t consider myself able to lean on the crutch I am a young quarterback anymore,” Skelton said. “If there are plays that need to be made, I need to make them.”
– Fitzgerald explained the game-winning play where he unbelievably got wide open for the 32-yard gain. “We had been in that bunch (formation) three times throughout the day and every single time we ran it before, we ran the ‘Toss Crack’ out of it for Beanie,” Fitzgerald said. “As soon as I lined up in the formation they were yelling ‘Crack, crack, crack!’ The cornerback kind of settled, and I saw that and went vertical and broke it to the corner.”
– Speaking of playcalls, here was Whiz’s explanation of the shovel pass that went sour after Schofield’s forced fumble. The Cards ended up kicking a tying field goal when Skelton was sacked (and the Cards went nowhere on three downs). “We had a play we thought would work,” Whisenhunt said. “It was a good play to get to LaRod (Stephens-Howling) on a shovel pass inside. They played it (well). Kudos to them. … It’s a situation where we’ll second-guess that or I’ll think about it all night, would have, could have, should have run the ball. The ones that work, you don’t second-guess.”
– I will admit I was expecting a lot more Beanie. Skelton had 48 pass attempts and Beanie Wells just 15 rushing attempts (for 51 yards, so he is still six short of 1,000 for the season). Obviously the Cards fell behind, but against the 31st-ranked rush defense, it was surprising.
– Safety Kerry Rhodes made his return, and showed up a couple of big times, one on a diving play to break up a deep pass, and another to take down a pass receiver short of a first down. “Getting back into the mix was a little weird, but no rust,” Rhodes said.
– Kicker Jay Feely said he was ready to kick a 54-yard field goal had that last pass to Fitzgerald not been completed. Then maybe Fitz couldn’t have gotten off his postgame jab at the kicker: “I wish I would have been able to get in the end zone,” Fitz said, “but I wanted Jay to get a shot. I wanted to get his Twitter followers up.”
– That’s @JayFeely, for those interested. And @LarryFitzgerald.
– The field-position game started lousy for the Cards (obviously, since the offense couldn’t do anything) but ended perfect. Patrick Peterson’s big last punt return was huge, but it was helped because the defense forced a punt deep in Cleveland territory.
– Thank goodness for the first turnover in three weeks. Only gave the Cards a field goal, but it was enough.
– Cornerback Michael Adams said some on defense needed to “wake up” after that first Cleveland drive, but they did. Browns RB Payton Hillis had 51 yards rushing in the first quarter and still didn’t get to 100 (99 total).
– Fitz was full of one-liners. On playing yet another barnburner: “We wanted to help CBS with their ratings.”
Christmas is coming. A winning streak — which the Cards will attempt to make five in Cincy Christmas Eve — is a fun gift for the whole family.
Tags: Browns, Don Coryell, Jay Feely, John Skelton, Ken Whisenhunt, Kerry Rhodes, Larry Fitzgerald
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