Kevin Kolb wins game, Arizona Cardinals fans too?
The freshly-minted backup quarterback, who lost the starting job to John Skelton after a preseason competition, was only expected to see action if the third-year pro played poorly or got hurt.
Skelton did both in the second half of Arizona's 20-16 Week 1 win over Seattle.
The quarterback exited the game after completing his second pass of the second half -- midway through the fourth quarter -- with what has been described as a high ankle sprain. The Cardinals were down 16-13 with 8:33 left in the fourth quarter.
Enter Kolb, who came in to a chorus of boos before leading a game-winning drive.
"I want to talk about Kevin Kolb, let's talk about how poetic that was," safety Adrian Wilson said from the podium at his own personal press conference.
Kolb completed 6-of-8 passes for 66 yards and a touchdown on his only drive of the game.
Skelton completed 14-of-28 passes for 149 yards and an interception.
If not for the latter's injury, there might be a full-fledged QB controversy in the desert. Again.
As it stands, Kolb is likely to at least get the nod next Sunday in New England, and probably for more games after that. And while his performance running a hurry-up offense against the Seahawks does in no way indicate he's past his struggles and ready to become the QB the Cardinals thought they were trading for, it was absolutely a step in the right direction.
"I haven't had a whole lot of two-minute opportunities -- and successful ones, at that," Kolb said. "To win a game in that fashion, the way the preseason went, I'll definitely enjoy this evening and [Monday] get back to work."
He does so as the starting quarterback once again, with momentum, an undefeated team and the confidence of his teammates.
"We wouldn't expect anything different from him," receiver Larry Fitzgerald said of Kolb coming off the bench and playing well. "He's never shown to hang his head. He's dealt with some adversity in his time here, but he's still a great teammate and he's committed to helping us win."
And now, barring a miraculous recovery by Skelton, it will be up to Kolb to lead the team for the foreseeable future.
For now, at least, that's fine. Kolb is no longer the quarterback whose injuries cost him the starting job in 2011 and then wasn't good enough to beat John Skelton out for the same role in 2012.
Kevin Kolb is instead the player who the Cardinals would not have won the game without, and that has to count for something, especially with a fan base that hasn't exactly been high on the guy.
"Somebody said it to me in the locker room, it went from boos to cheers in a matter of three plays," Kolb said. "But that's the way this league is. It's a ‘what can you do for me now' league and I understand that.
"I always give my all, and hopefully people learned a little bit out about my personality [Sunday]."
They did, and while Sunday was a nice start -- in relief -- it's what lies ahead that will truly define Kolb's tenure with the Cardinals.
"Kevin's our guy now, and we're going to ride with him," Fitzgerald said.