GLENDALE, Ariz. — Ultimately, Larry Fitzgerald did not earn his first 100-yard receiving game this season.
But he did catch six passes for a team-best 98 yards and one touchdown in Arizona’s 30-20 win over Washington Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, and he looked very much like the Fitz of old in the process.
He entered the game with just 13 catches for 164 yards on the season.
Fitzgerald, who said he had an idea his role would increase this week because of how involved he was in the game plan, downplayed what it meant to be one of the biggest factors on the field.
“I’ve had major impacts on many games,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve mentally always prepared myself for a big day. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.
“But I take my same approach every single week, every single day in my preparation and that doesn’t change. I believe in the way we work as a team, I believe the way we prepare is the right way, I believe the way I prepare is the right way, and that’s not going to change.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean seeing No. 11 catch all six of his targets while reaching the end zone for the first time this season wasn’t something to smile about.
“I was extremely pleased,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “I mean, you’re always happy for anybody, but with Larry, sometimes the numbers don’t add up the way he plays. He’s always been playing great games. We prepare him well and you’re always happy for guys that make big plays and he made big plays today.”
None were bigger than the touchdown, his first of the season and one that saw him display toughness in fighting through would-be tacklers to get to the end zone.
“When he’s 225 pounds he’s dragging guys in the end zone, not surprised at all,” quarterback Carson Palmer said. “I kind of felt like right when I let the ball go there was a chance he was going to break a tackle and score, and wasn’t surprised one bit by what he did with the ball.”
The score put the Cardinals ahead 14-13 late in the second quarter, giving them a lead they would not relinquish.