Updated Jan 1, 2012 - 7:58 pm
Larry Fitzgerald carries Cardinals to win in season finale
The reception, which was good for 12 yards, was Fitzgerald's last of the season, his ninth of the day and, arguably, one of the coolest catches you'll ever see.
Not that his second one-handed grab of the day impressed his teammates.
"We come to expect that from Larry," quarterback John Skelton said. "It's almost like it's not even a shocker anymore because he does it so often."
As unfair as that may be for Fitzgerald, it's not as if anyone is ignoring his greatness. The receiver had nine catches for 149 yards in Sunday's 23-20 win over the Seahawks, bringing his season totals to 80 receptions and 1,411 yards to go with eight touchdowns. That Fitzgerald has done this with shaky QB play (his nine receptions came on 18 total targets Sunday) makes it all even more impressive.
"What a warrior he is," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "So glad that, obviously, Larry is with us, what he brings to the team; he just makes big plays."
Of Fitzgerald's nine receptions, all but one came in the second half, and his three for 46 yards in overtime helped setup the game-winning kick.
"I'm just fortunate John gave me an opportunity to make a play and contribute down the stretch," Fitzgerald said.
Yeah, Larry is fortunate the Cardinals gave him a chance. Or, perhaps, the Cardinals are fortunate to have a player of Fitzgerald's caliber on the roster.
"Larry Fitzgerald," defensive lineman Darnell Dockett mused, "I'm glad to have him on my team."
Even with the big numbers, Arizona had plenty of chances to get No. 11 the ball early and failed. Skelton blamed himself for a couple of overthrows, and Whisenhunt said his star could have "had a monster day."
Don't tell the Seahawks Fitzgerald's day wasn't monstrous.
"He's as good as you can get at this game, and he showed it," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, acknowledging that he can't help but marvel at some of the things Fitzgerald can do on the field.
But that's just it with Fitzgerald, since he may be the only player who could make amazing catches on the way to having a stat line like the one he posted in Sunday's win still feel like he could have done more.
"I was upset that I didn't make the one on the sideline before regulation ended, that's the one I was pissed off about," Fitzgerald said of a pass that would have gone for a first down but, in reality, was a pass few would have come down with. "I wanted to make sure I came back and tried to redeem myself and put our team in a good position."
Pick a superlative -- any superlative -- and chances are it will describe Fitzgerald and his impact on the Cardinals. Whisenhunt praised his receiver's work ethic and leadership abilities, and anyone who watches the guy play knows where he ranks among the NFL's greats.
"He made some unbelievable catches that only a couple guys on this Earth can make," Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said.
That could work.
Or, maybe, the best way to describe what Fitzgerald did Sunday - and, really, his entire career - was how Skelton did after the game.
"It's Larry being Larry," he said. "He's done it all year and his whole career.
"It's just awesome having him out there."
- Wolf's NFL 5 Star Games - Week 14 - Friday December 6The must-see NFL games of the weekend.
- Wolf's Film Room - Friday December 6Ron Wolfley grinds film all week and shares his findings in the Cardinals-Rams match-up
- John Clayton, ESPN NFL Insider - Friday December 6The Professor provides insight into this week's NFL headlines
- Ron Jaworski, ESPN NFL Analyst - Thursday December 5A recap of the Cardinals game in Philly and what to expect against the Rams.
- Craig Wolfley, Steelers Sideline Analyst - Thursday December 5Will Ben Roethlisberger leave the Steelers?