Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald entered Sunday’s game in St. Louis stuck on 992.
In a bit of a statistical anomaly, Fitzgerald needed eight receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the season. More importantly (and impressive), the veteran also needed eight catches to reach 1,000 for his career.
He’d get both in a 27-3 win over the Rams at Edward Jones Dome.
The yardage mark was reached on the Cardinals’ second drive of the second quarter. On first down, quarterback Carson Palmer found Fitzgerald a well-set up screen pass to the left, which picked up 23 yards. It’s the seventh time Fitzgerald has eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in a single season and the first since 2011.
He wasn’t done reaching milestones, though.
Still needing two catches to reach quadruple digits for his career, head coach Bruce Arians helped the cause with his play calling early in the fourth quarter. On first down, Palmer flared a short pass to the right, which Fitzgerald caught for a 4-yard gain. On the very next play, the receiver went in motion, then ran an out pattern and his quarterback found him on a 7-yard gain.
Fitzgerald became just the 11th player in NFL history to catch 1,000 passes in a career.
The ever-humble Fitzgerald downplayed the accomplishments.
“It’s nice, it’s nice, but it’s even better to have had three consecutive seasons with 10 wins,” he said. “Coming here in 2004, I mean it’s something really special to be here that long and see a complete transformation. It makes you feel proud and special to be a part of it. It was a great day.”
Fitzgerald’s NFL career started with a visit to St. Louis. On the first play of the first game of the 2004 season, he caught a 37-yard pass from quarterback Josh McCown. The defender on the play was former Cardinal, and Hall-of-Famer, Aeneas Williams.
“Oh yeah. Every time I see Aeneas (Williams) I always tease him about it. It was a flea-flicker from Josh McCown down the middle. I remember it with the baby dreads,” he said.
Fitzgerald is also the youngest player ever to join the 1,000-catch club. He reached the mark at 32 years, 97 days old.
— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) December 6, 2015
“I came in at 20 years old so it’s like, look at Kobe Bryant. I think he’s 35 years old and he still seems young, but when you start playing at 17 years old, it’s different,” Fitzgerald said. “I came in pretty early and had a head start. Jerry (Rice) went to school for four years at Mississippi Valley State and didn’t have his first season until he was 23 or 22 and I’d already had two full seasons by that time. I just got a quick jump on him.”
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