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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Dec 5, 2011 - 2:48 am

Kolb shakes off rust, has big second half in win over Cowboys

Kevin Kolb entered the game 1-6 as a starter for a team
that won three of four in his absence.

After 30 minutes of football, Kolb had led the Cardinals to
just three points while completing 7 of 11 passes for just
44 yards, numbers that are anything but inspiring.

But then the second half arrived, and so did an entirely
different quarterback.

Kolb completed 9 of 14 passes in the second half and
overtime, racking up 203 yards and the game-winning
touchdown pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling, improving
Arizona’s record to 5-7 while Kolb doubled his win total
as a starter here in the desert.

“It was definitely a game of two halves,” Kolb said.

Kolb said it took a little time to settle into the game,
which is understandable after not playing in a game since
October 30.

“I thought Kevin was a little rusty in the first half, I
think getting used to the speed of the game,” head coach
Ken Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt, though, noted how impressive his quarterback
was in the second half.

“It was exciting to see Kevin respond and play that way,”
he said.

Indeed, Kolb responded to his poor first half by making
play after play in the second. Whether it was avoiding the
rush and making plays with his feet or finding guys down
the field, the QB showed poise and accuracy that had been
lacking at times in his first seven games.

Also lacking in those games was the complete team effort
seen Sunday, as the defense held a potent Cowboys offense
down and, as per usual, special teams came up big, too.

“We put in ourselves, as an offense, say ‘hey look, let’s
find a groove,'” Kolb said. “I said that in the huddle
before the first drive of the second half.”

Maybe that’s why the offense was better after the
intermission? Whatever it was, Kolb looked more
comfortable on the field and, as receiver Andre Roberts
said, confident.

“He’s been confident since he came into camp, that’s just
who he is,” receiver Andre Roberts said of Kolb. “As the
game went on, you could just tell he wanted to make a play
for us.”

And make plays he did, maybe none more important than the
final play of the game, which was a screen pass that
surprisingly did not go off without a
hitch.
The Cowboys blitzed on the play and Stephens-Howling, the
intended target, had to alter his route, meaning Kolb had
to buy some time.

“To escape on that last play, the screen pass, to escape
that pressure and make the play to LaRod,” Whisenhunt
mused, “is what you’ve got to do in this league.”

The other thing you have to do in this league is win
games, which is something the Cardinals are starting to do
with some regularity. With Kolb back under center, the
hope – if not expectation – is for the offense to continue
to grow.

But that’s all for the future. The present is about the
victory, which Whisenhunt said “takes a lot off” Kolb’s
shoulders.

“There has been a bunch of stuff piled on his plate and to
see him handle everything the way he did [Sunday] and have
success in the second half, that is what you have to do,”
he said. “Maybe the time for him away, the couple of
weeks, were a chance for him to catch his breath and get
comfortable with our scheme, was good.”

And a comfortable Kolb is one that could seemingly keep
getting better.

“It’s very exciting to see that we have something to build
on and build with him,” Whisenhunt added.

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