Larry Fitzgerald carries Cardinals to win in season finale

Jan 2, 2012, 2:51 AM | Updated: 2:58 am

Larry Fitzgerald reached out with his right arm, grabbed
the football and fell to the ground.

The reception, which was good for 12 yards, was
Fitzgerald’s last of the season, his ninth of the day and,
arguably, one of the coolest catches you’ll ever see.

Not that his second one-handed grab of the day impressed
his teammates.

“We come to expect that from Larry,” quarterback John
Skelton said. “It’s almost like it’s not even a shocker
anymore because he does it so often.”

As unfair as that may be for Fitzgerald, it’s not as if
anyone is ignoring his greatness. The receiver had nine
catches for 149 yards in Sunday’s 23-20 win over the
Seahawks, bringing his season totals to 80 receptions and
1,411 yards to go with eight touchdowns. That Fitzgerald
has done this with shaky QB play (his nine receptions came
on 18 total targets Sunday) makes it all even more

“What a warrior he is,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt
said. “So glad that, obviously, Larry is with us, what he
brings to the team; he just makes big plays.”

Of Fitzgerald’s nine receptions, all but one came in the
second half, and his three for 46 yards in overtime helped
setup the game-winning kick.

“I’m just fortunate John gave me an opportunity to make a
play and contribute down the stretch,” Fitzgerald said.

Yeah, Larry is fortunate the Cardinals gave him a chance.
Or, perhaps, the Cardinals are fortunate to have a player
of Fitzgerald’s caliber on the roster.

“Larry Fitzgerald,” defensive lineman Darnell Dockett
mused, “I’m glad to have him on my team.”

Even with the big numbers, Arizona had plenty of chances
to get No. 11 the ball early and failed. Skelton blamed
himself for a couple of overthrows, and Whisenhunt said
his star could have “had a monster day.”

Don’t tell the Seahawks Fitzgerald’s day wasn’t monstrous.

“He’s as good as you can get at this game, and he showed
it,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, acknowledging that
he can’t help but marvel at some of the things Fitzgerald
can do on the field.

But that’s just it with Fitzgerald, since he may be the
only player who could make amazing catches on the way to
having a stat line like the one he posted in Sunday’s win
still feel like he could have done more.

“I was upset that I didn’t make the one on the sideline
before regulation ended, that’s the one I was pissed off
about,” Fitzgerald said of a pass that would have gone for
a first down but, in reality, was a pass few would have
come down with. “I wanted to make sure I came back and
tried to redeem myself and put our team in a good

Pick a superlative — any superlative — and chances are
it will describe Fitzgerald and his impact on the
Cardinals. Whisenhunt praised his receiver’s work ethic
and leadership abilities, and anyone who watches the guy
play knows where he ranks among the NFL’s greats.

“He made some unbelievable catches that only a couple guys
on this Earth can make,” Seahawks cornerback Richard
Sherman said.

That could work.

Or, maybe, the best way to describe what Fitzgerald did
Sunday – and, really, his entire career – was how Skelton
did after the game.

“It’s Larry being Larry,” he said. “He’s done it all year
and his whole career.

“It’s just awesome having him out there.”

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Larry Fitzgerald carries Cardinals to win in season finale