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Cardinals WR Christian Kirk came ready to celebrate first NFL touchdown

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs against San Francisco 49ers defensive back Adrian Colbert (27) during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Cardinals rookie Christian Kirk knew there was a good chance he’d be celebrating his first NFL touchdown in the early moments of Arizona’s Week 5 game against the 49ers.

Two days prior to Sunday’s 28-18 win in San Francisco, the receiver found out his team wanted to send an early message — that Arizona was going to be aggressive in using rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. And on Saturday, the team installed a deep shot that had Kirk, the second-round pick who most draft analysts believed was more of an inside receiver, streaking down the field.

He didn’t get ahead of himself and didn’t tell anyone outside the locker room to keep an eye on the first Cardinals play.

“It was very tempting but I kept it to myself. I really wanted to but … I wanted it to work out in my favor,” Kirk told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf on Monday.

“I try not to think about it too much because, you know, plays like that, you just have to let them develop and just go out there and not overthink it, just go out there and play. It all set up perfectly. All I had to do is just make sure I got open, and make the catch and score.”

A crossing route by veteran Larry Fitzgerald did just enough to pull a 49ers safety away from challenging Kirk’s post route, Rosen hit his receiver in stride, and it was an easy jog into the end zone to put Arizona up 7-6 after its first offensive play from scrimmage.

“I thought (the safety) wasn’t going to cut Larry and then last-second, he ended up driving — right when I saw him plant his foot — and go ahead and drive the cross that Larry’s running,” Kirk said. “I knew we had a play.”

But then came the celebration, which Kirk looked just as prepared for as his execution of the 75-yard touchdown reception.

He grabbed his stacks, packed a duffel and slung it over his shoulder as he left the field.

“We call that securing the bag,” he said.

There could be more securing of bags in the future. Especially as Arizona has searched for answers in its wide receiving core with few downfield options, Kirk’s big play could open up more opportunities for him to be used as a vertical threat to open up the Cardinals’ playbook.

“I have the ability to do it; I’ve said it since Day 1, all the way through the combine,” Kirk said. “I’m just looking to build on that, on Sunday, and hopefully I showed that and been able to build trust that we can do it throughout this season.”


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