Dealing Cards: After 37 carries Sunday, Adrian Peterson is ‘ready to roll’
TEMPE, Ariz. – Thirty-seven carries is a lot. In fact, it’s the most by any running back this season. It’s also the most times Adrian Peterson has ever been handed the football in a single-game in his 11-year NFL career.
That was just three days ago in San Francisco. In one day, it’s expected he’ll once again be asked to carry the offensive load for the Arizona Cardinals against Seattle.
And Peterson wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling good,” he said Wednesday. “Body feeling fresh. Feeling rejuvenated. Ready to roll.”
When the Cardinals arrived back in the Valley on Sunday night, Peterson went straight to the team facility and jumped in the cold tub. He worked out Monday morning and then took the field with his teammates for a walk-through.
“It’s amazing, the first day of practice this week, even though it was a walk-through, he don’t believe in walk-throughs so he was still going pretty good,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “It’s amazing to see a guy at that age play the way he plays run as hard as he runs, so I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Peterson totaled 159 yards on his 37 carries. Of course, that was against the 49ers defense. The Seahawks defense figures to put up more resistance, even given all their injuries. Seattle ranks 15th against the run, allowing 109.4 yards.
“They swarm to the ball well,” Peterson said. “They do a great job of competing. Their energy. They’re still running to the ball. They fly to the ball. To me, that’s the best thing about their defense.”
To have success on Thursday Night Football, the Cardinals must stick with the run game, just as they did against the 49ers.
“Don’t look for the home runs. They’ll come,” Peterson said. “Just take what they give you and the big ones will come.”
Only once in his career has Peterson carried the ball 30-plus times in back-to-back games, and that was four years ago in Weeks 12 and 13. He had 32 rushes for 146 yards at Green Bay and then followed that up with 35 rushes for 211 yards against Chicago.
Again, the Cardinals will likely lean heavily on Peterson as they look to climb past .500 for the first time since 2015.
“The more you run it, obviously, that’s less passing situations and things that I don’t have to be nervous about as far as getting the quarterback hit,” Goodwin said, smiling. “But I loved it, man. As the game went on, he just started to wear on the defense. Hopefully we can duplicate that this Thursday.”
Homefield advantage means nothing
On a short week, yes, it’s advantageous to play at home, except maybe when it’s a Cardinals home game against the Seahawks. In that case, homefield advantage goes out the window.
Seattle is unbeaten in its last four trips to Arizona. They’ve turned University of Phoenix Stadium into CenturyLink Field-south in recent years.
“I don’t know what it’s been,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “What I’m hoping is that we change that and start taking care of business at home because we do have five home games down the stretch and three road games, so it’s important for us to be able to protect the field at home.”
The Cardinals are 2-1 at home this season.
Now while the Seahawks have had success in the desert, the Cardinals have had similar success in the Pacific Northwest, going 3-1 since 2013.
“I think a lot of it is your defensive communication,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “Both crowds are so loud that their defensive communication sometimes break down because you can’t hear each other.”
Perhaps an open roof will lessen the noise some. The plan is for the two NFC West rivals to play under the stars in front of a national television audience on Thursday, weather permitting of course.
The game is big, especially for the Cardinals. A win would vault them into a second-place tie with Seattle.
“Obviously, any time you play against a team in your division—especially a team that’s pretty much run this division for the last few years—you understand the brand of football you have to play. This is a great test of where we are as a football team,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re a .500 club right now. We know for us to be an elite team we got to beat elite football teams and Seattle is that.”
Color Rush uniforms
Finally, the Cardinals will get to wear their black and red Color Rush uniforms.
“The jerseys looked pretty sweet,” said cornerback Patrick Peterson, who received a sneak peek last week. “Just our normal black jersey with red numbers on it now. The pants are cool, though.”
The Seahawks, too, will be in Color Rush uniforms. They call theirs “Action Green”.
“We might have to wear shields out there,” Peterson said, laughing.
‘Larry Legend’ spotlighted
Though he excels in the spotlight on the field, Fitzgerald typically does all that he can to avoid such attention when not playing football.
That changes this week when “Larry Fitzgerald: A Football Life” premieres Friday on the NFL Network.
“It’s really weird kind of talking about yourself and doing stuff like that in a team setting,” he said. “If I was Michael Phelps or if I was Tiger Woods and I was playing an individual sport and it was just predicated on my and my success to go out there and win, that would be different but this is a team game.”
It took some convincing, but Fitzgerald finally green-lighted the project.
“Twenty years from now, I’ll look back and it will be kind of nice to have. My children are in there and I have some people that I really respect that were a part of it,” he said. “I got a chance to watch it a couple of weeks ago and it was really, really well done.”
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