Patrick Peterson is only two years removed from his college career at LSU, yet the 22-year-old may be the only player on the Arizona Cardinals’ 53-man roster with the authority to call out any of his teammates.
After all, he’s done just about everything in 2012.
Peterson, who has served as a cornerback, running back, wide receiver, punt returner and gunner this season, displayed that rare cachet after Sunday’s 28-13 to the Chicago Bears.
“As an offense, we can’t give up two touchdowns,” Peterson said. “Coach Whisenhunt really hit that on the head today.”
While Peterson and Arizona’s defense held Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in check (12-of-26 for 141 yards), the Cardinals were forced to play from behind all afternoon on Sunday, as a fumble return for a touchdown by Chicago’s Zack Bowman in the first quarter and an interception return for a touchdown by Charles Tillman in the third quarter put Lovie Smith and Co. in the driver’s seat at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Although the former No. 5 overall pick had some harsh words for the offense, he didn’t limit his criticism to only one side of the football.
“At the end of the day, we can’t let those guys score,” said Peterson. “We have to do a better when the offense does turn the ball over to hold those guys to three points.”
The Cardinals’ defense limited Chicago’s offense to only 15 points, but they did allow over 150 yards on the ground.
With a week left in their season, the Cardinals sit in the basement of the NFC West, and are much closer to a top 5 draft pick than they are to playoff contention. Despite a forgettable campaign in 2012, Peterson said the team would still try to grow together over their final 60 minutes of play next Sunday.
“We’re a team that never wants to give up,” said Peterson. “We want to play hard until the fourth quarter when that clock says 0:00. That’s our mentality coming into any game, win, lose or draw.”
The Cardinals travel to San Francisco to take on the division-leading 49ers next weekend. The game still has plenty of meaning for Jim Harbaugh’s squad, as well. After being blown out 42-13 Sunday night, the 49ers still need a win or a Seattle Seahawks loss in Week 17 to clinch the NFC West.