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Cardinals WR Michael Floyd comes up big in first game of season’s second half

Michael Floyd makes a big catch in the fourth quarter of the Arizona Cardinals' win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — All season long as Michael Floyd continued to struggle, his coaches and teammates maintained that he would turn things around and be the player everyone expected.

For one game, at least, they were right.

In Sunday’s 23-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers, Floyd caught five of six targets for 101 yards. He came up with big catch after big catch, and in the process helped the Cardinals improve to 4-4-1 on the season.

It was a performance that was, to be fair, a long time coming, after he entered the game with just 19 catches for 257 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

“We felt like we had good matchups,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “I knew Mike was going to have a big ballgame, and it was a great, great catch he made at the end there.

“He got his 100-yard game, which last year he strung them out, and I’m thinking he’s going to string them out now.”

Floyd was one of two Cardinals receivers, with Larry Fitzgerald being the other, to top the century mark, which happened in part because Carson Palmer threw 49 passes.

Still, the maligned receiver looked like the impact player he has been in the past, with only one pass — a contested deep ball late in the game — going his way and failing to be caught.

“It feels good,” Floyd said of the performance. “I think the whole thing started after we lost to Carolina. We had a wide receiver meeting and Coach said that the second half was mine. Obviously in the first half of the season, I didn’t make the plays that I am capable of making, but this team is close and they had all confidence in me. So, I came out here and made plays.”

Arguably, the biggest was the one Arians referenced, a leaping 26-yard grab near the sideline with Arizona facing a second and 10 from its 15 in a recently-tied game. It set the table for what would be the game-winning drive.

“I saw Carson rolling out,” Floyd explained. “The widest guy always takes the go ball, and he put it up there where I had a chance to make the play, and from the review I came down with it.”

It will go down in the record books as a reception, and without it, the Cardinals probably don’t win the game in regulation.

“From here on out,” Palmer said of Floyd coming up big. “That’s what we expect from Mike. Like I’ve said, Mike can have a big second half of the season and that started today.”

Fellow receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Floyd is a “big-time player,” who has a knack for making tough catches like he did Sunday.

“I love to see him making those types of plays,” he said. “He really energizes our team because of what he’s capable of doing — just going up and just high-pointing the football.”

Floyd said it feels great to have a game where he played more like himself but made sure to credit his teammates for their belief in him, specifically citing Palmer’s insistence that a big second half was in store.

“When you have a quarterback like Carson, him coming up to you telling you this is the second half, you can make plays and he’s going to throw it to me, that feels great for me,” he said.

That confidence, Floyd said, helped him get through his rough first eight games. He’s never had a stretch like that, he said, and because of it he had to regroup.

“Mentally, I had to tell myself that this is like playing in the sixth grade — going out there and making plays,” he said.

The key now, he said, is putting consecutive games like this together, continuing to make plays for the team.

As for the biggest one Sunday, the one that happened on the Palmer scramble? It was upheld on review, and Floyd said, “I think I got it; the film don’t lie, I think I came down with it.”

He thinks he caught it?

“I know I did,” he added with a laugh and a smile.

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