Thank heaven for No. 11.
Cardinals fans were witness to a special game from receiver Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona’s 24-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday.
He dodged, he juked, he blocked — but most importantly, he caught the rock when it really counted.
Arizona fans know he’s “the guy” who can be counted on in tight games to make a big play. Today, he did just that courtesy of an 80-yard touchdown air-mailed from quarterback Carson Palmer and signed and sealed by a huge block from Ted Ginn Jr. for space to run.
Fitzgerald turned on the afterburners after he got his mitts on the ball, and by all accounts it looks like he’s still got his speed.
“I haven’t lost anything,” he said. “That’s all I’m saying.”
He certainly backed that statement up with a seven-reception, 160-yard game in addition to the touchdown, making this the seventh game in a row against the Eagles in which he’s scored at least once and gotten at least five receptions. It was the third highest yardage of his career — he missed a career high by 12 yards.
He did this despite being double-teamed several times by Philadelphia.
“Obviously (Fitzgerald) is going to get a lot of that (focus) from a defense that is going to be very keen on where he is in a formation,” said quarterback Carson Palmer.
But a great bonus to having a weapon like Fitzgerald on a team is the young players that learn from him, and then turn into targets for Palmer.
Take John Brown, for example.
The rookie out of Pittsburg State had a game-changing 75-yard touchdown catch against Philadelphia. He’s been due.
“That’s why we drafted him,” said head coach Bruce Arians.
Brown spent his entire press conference grinning like a kid at his first football game.
“I was just praying that I made a touchdown,” he said.
And nobody had better things to say about the young playmaker than Fitzgerald himself.
“What a great moment for a young man to have in the biggest game of the year,” he said. “That was really special…whenever the ball’s in his hands, we know he can make something special happen with it.”
It was a great moment for the team, but Brown still has some pretty big shoes to fill if he’s playing alongside Fitzgerald.
Pretty big hands, too.