Larry Fitzgerald completes first pass, surpasses 1,000-yard mark
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Cardinals coach Bruce Arians wasn’t shy using unique offensive packages thanks to a wide open playbook at quarterback Drew Stanton’s fingertips Sunday against the New York Giants.
It helped Arizona to an early lead en route to a 23-0 win in the final game at University of Phoenix Stadium this year.
Starting at midfield on the first play of the second possession, the Cardinals went with an empty-set of five receivers. Two of them, Jermaine Gresham and Ricky Seals-Jones, were tight ends. The next play after Gresham caught a four-yard reception, the tight ends lined up as blockers for a Kerwynn Williams’ rush for no gain.
Keeping the Giants off balance with those two plays was only a prelude to what came two plays later: Arizona ran a flea-flicker, but it didn’t go as planned.
Stanton’s pass got tipped.
As Larry Fitzgerald streaked down the field with three defenders in the area, he read that the pass had enough zip to get 19 yards down the field. Some way, some how, he came down with the ball.
A little trickery.
Flea-flicker to Fitz! #BeRedSeeRed pic.twitter.com/00ceKqELrC
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 24, 2017
The grab for Fitzgerald was significant in a game that, if the receiver retires after the season, would mark his final home contest at University of Phoenix Stadium. With it, he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season, his ninth such receiving campaign in his career.
That total ranks third all-time, trailing only Jerry Rice (14) and Randy Moss (10). Tim Brown, Terrell Owens and Jimmy Smith also have nine season of 1,000 receiving yards.
And in the first half, Fitzgerald was one of few things working for the Cardinals’ offense. He had eight receptions for 104 of Arizona’s 159 total yards, including a late first-half touchdown catch. His 100th reception on the year gave him five seasons with triple-digits of total receptions, making him second in NFL history behind only Brandon Marshall, who had six in his career.
Fitzgerald also accounted for 21 more of those yards with his own toss, a trick play that allowed him to find Jaron Brown for a 21-yard gain.
That marked the veteran’s first career completion.
Yup. @LarryFitzgerald just completed a pass!#BeRedSeeRed pic.twitter.com/xER8bNv089
— NFL (@NFL) December 24, 2017
Fitzgerald wrapped the evening with nine receptions for 119 yards, a touchdown and the completion to Jaron Brown.