There was frustration late in regulation after the Cards’ offense couldn’t generate any movement right before the two-minute warning. In three plays, the Cards couldn’t gain a first down and could only burn 12 seconds off the clock. The defense was exhausted.
But they huddled up and rallied. The Seahawks weren’t going to score again, not in regulation, and certainly not in overtime. That’s how the defense was the last half of the season. “I think we’re gonna be pretty good,” safety Adrian Wilson said.
There was no question the end of Sunday’s season finale win was about Larry Fitzgerald but it was also about that defense, overcoming two big plays against it – the 61-yard pass that beat Marshay Green and the 48-yard Leon Washington run, both for TDs. If they can secure defensive end Calais Campbell with a long-term contract (he will be around in 2012 regardless), if they can get another pass rusher to help out the linebacking corps, if they can get Greg Toler back healthy and re-sign Richard Marshall, you have to like where the defense is going – especially after seeing where it had been.
– I’m not going to go on and on about Larry Fitzgerald, even though I could. One catch for two yards in the first half, and then to finish 9-149? That one-handed catch in OT was amazing, but, being on the field and seeing that first 26-yarder he had in overtime, the one that looked impossible to grab in between two defenders, that was the kind of play that leaves you speechless.
“I see it every day in practice,” Wilson said. “That’s Fitz. It’s not uncommon for him to make a pinky catch or an over-the-shoulder, one-handed with people dragging all over him.”
– Fitz has now played the Seahawks 16 times in his career. His stats? 102 catches, 1,371 yards, 10 touchdowns.
– I was impressed Fitz admitted that, in the past, he would have sulked had he only had one catch in the first half. They can’t have that from him, and he knows it. Another reason they had no problem giving him the huge contract before the season.
– Quarterback John Skelton was asked about having a chance at being a starter in 2012. “I hope I do. That’s for the coaching staff to determine. … Kevin (Kolb) and I have a great relationship, we push each other and we always help each other out. We will see what happens.”
Whiz will be asked about it tomorrow, but I’m guessing Skelton will have a chance to fight for the job, while Kolb will be, officially, the No. 1 heading into the offseason.
– Skelton missed too many throws Sunday, his biggest bugaboo. You can’t miss the throws when they are there.
– The Cards finally got an interception on a well-designed scheme that made it easy for Marshall to make a pick. But if linebacker Daryl Washington had just been able to hang on for the one that would have prevented a field goal – “I was looking at the end zone,” Washington said. “I don’t even really want to even talk about it” – then maybe defensive coordinator Ray Horton wouldn’t be trying to focus on getting more turnovers this offseason.
– Washington played a really good game, however. He had 11 tackles, including a couple for loss.
– Cornerback Marshay Green gets in his first NFL game, and he’ll be remembered for getting on the wrong side of Ricardo Lockette’s catch. Green felt he got a little unlucky on the catch, and Lockette did make a nice play to concentrate on making a bobbling grab. Why Green? “We just wanted to make sure with Patrick (Peterson) he didn’t get tired and have fatigue with his Achilles (injury),” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We had the extra corner up so we had a rotation.”
– Todd Heap and Chester Taylor each scored their first touchdowns as Cardinals in the final game of the season. Assuming Ryan Williams comes back as expected, I don’t see Taylor on the roster next season. Heap is signed and I’d think, in the end, he’ll be back, but I don’t think it’s a lock, depending on the progress of Rob Housler.
– Good to see Vonnie Holliday play well. I’d think they’d like Holliday back if he wants to come back. Great in the locker room. And as he noted himself, it looks like he’s got a little bit of football left in his 36-year-old body.
– Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling played a solid game, with 93 yards on 21 carries. He was effective at the very end plowing up the middle as the Cards set up field-goal range. At his size, he can’t do that all the time, but there were times during the season he looked like he passed up some chances because he wanted to bounce it outside.
– It got pretty chippy out there against Seattle and it looked like a playoff berth was on the line, not just 8-8. There were seven total personal fouls/15-yard penalties called in the game. “Division games, around the league, they are more physical than the rest,” said Cardinals tackle Levi Brown, who drew one of the flags when he shoved a Seattle player to the ground for tangling with Skelton after a play. “You see them twice a year. Once you see a team and those guys over and over, you learn to not really like those guys.”
OK. The Cards wrap up first thing in the morning. We’ll talk more then.
Tags: Chester Taylor, Daryl Washington, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Marshay Green, Seahawks, Todd Heap, Vonnie Holliday
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