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first_img Top Stories “We have to find a way to keep getting the ball in his hands,” the receiver added. “He is a guy that can change the complexion of the game with one touch.”No one was underestimated hereFans and media alike probably felt like the Cardinals were going to cruise to a win over the Patriots on Sunday, as the visitors were without star QB Tom Brady and stud TE Rob Gronkowski, among other key players.Shoot, even the oddsmakers in Las Vegas had the Cardinals as nearly 10-point favorites over the Jimmy Garoppolo-led Patriots.Yet, while outsiders may have felt the Cardinals would roll, any sense that overconfidence may have cost the team Sunday is misguided. At least, according to those who coached and played in the game.“No,” Arians said. “There was enough veterans in talking about that, after Pittsburgh last year with Landry Jones, we talked about it a bunch. Jimmy played very well. Knew he would.”The way the Cardinals explained it, just because the Patriots were without some of their better players did not mean they were not one of the NFL’s better teams. There is a reason they are a perennial Super Bowl favorite, and it is not just because of a couple of players. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) catches his career 100th touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game as New England Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan (26) defends, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires About that retirement talk…As noted above, there was a report that said Fitzgerald was planning on calling it a career after this season. On that, here’s a note from Arizona Sports’ Craig Morgan:Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald addressed a report earlier on Sunday by NFL.com’s Ian Rapaport that he planned to retire after this season.“I don’t talk about the future. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight; let alone what I’m doing next year. I signed another year for a reason. I believe in what we’re doing here, I believe in the guys that I have in this room, the head coach, his staff, obviously, Michael Bidwill is doing everything he can to put us in position to win. That’s where my mindset is at. What I’m doing next year is of no importance. This is the year and I want to make sure we make it a great one.”Fitzgerald was asked if it was frustrating to read such a report right before the season started.“With the internet, people, they can speculate about anything and it goes viral. I saw a seven-legged dog cross the street this morning, too. I didn’t tweet it, but I’m pretty sure if I would have it would have gone viral, too. That’s the nature of the beast nowadays.” David Johnson, still legitIf you play fantasy football, you know all about David Johnson and the high expectations people have for him going into this season.Through one week, the running back did not disappoint.Johnson ran for 89 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries and added another 43 yards on four catches, proving once again that he seems well equipped to handle the role of being the team’s No. 1 running back.One run in particular, a 45-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter that saw him break multiple tackles, was another in a growing list of “wow” moments for anyone who is watching him.“Yeah, I definitely thought I was going to take it to the house,” he said of the play, which saw him get dragged down at the New England 12. “I did not see that guy chasing me from behind. Hopefully, it was a DB and not a linebacker.”Johnson can rest easy knowing the man who tackled him was safety Devin McCourty, and besides, the run did set up a touchdown that for a little while seemed as though it would be the game-winner.Referring to Johnson and that long run specifically, Fitzgerald called the RB “the monster” and added that he is unbelievable. Comments   Share   The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img To wit: four of his catches, 47 of his yards and one of his scores came in the fourth quarter.“That’s just Larry,” head coach Bruce Arians said. “He’s got to get open in crunch time.”While the Cardinals’ loss to the Patriots certainly takes priority over individual accomplishments, there is no denying the night Fitzgerald had.In classic Fitzgerald fashion, he took very little credit for either of his touchdowns, praising Michael Floyd for clearing the way for his first score and then David Johnson for putting him in position for the second.“He made a play in the flat and made a couple guys miss at the end of the run and it really got the momentum on our side,” he said of a 45-yard Johnson run. “I was just able to cap it off. That drive was all on his shoulders.”The drive, maybe. But the game — and this team — still rests on Fitzgerald’s shoulders, at least emotionally.“It’s awesome,” QB Carson Palmer said of having a player like Fitzgerald to throw the ball to. “We’ve got one of the best receivers to ever play the game. That’s a good situation to be in.” GLENDALE, Ariz. — Early Sunday morning, a report emerged that said Larry Fitzgerald planned on making 2016 his last NFL season.If that is indeed the case — and after the game Fitzgerald gave no validity to the report — then he began this final campaign with a bang.The 33-year-old led the Cardinals with 81 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches in a 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots, and as he has so often since the team drafted him in 2004, he came up with big receptions when the team needed him most. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Palmer said he does not necessarily try to find Fitzgerald in tight moments, though no one would blame him if he did.Few of Fitzgerald’s receptions Sunday were of the ordinary variety. Many were in traffic and with the receiver barely having time to react, or as was the case on his second touchdown, with him basically lying on his back.“The GOAT,” tackle D.J. Humphries said of Fitzgerald. “That’s the GOAT (greatest of all time) right there. He’s going to always show up, every time. That’s Mr. Consistent, for sure.”Fitzgerald was so good, Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered this glowing review:“Larry’s a good player. He made a lot of good plays tonight. Stuff you’ve got to cover.”Often times — as was the case the last time the Cardinals played a meaningful game in University of Phoenix Stadium — Fitzgerald’s heroics end up being the catalyst for a victory.The Cardinals feed off of their future Hall of Famer.“It’s a huge momentum swing,” Johnson said of plays like the ones Fitzgerald was making. “Larry does that stuff all the time throughout practice and definitely throughout games. It’s just another boost for our offense. It gets me motivated to do what I can to help out the team.” “We didn’t underestimate them at all,” linebacker Kevin Minter said. “They are still the Patriots at the end of the day — they can fit anyone in there and have a chance to win, and they come in there with that mentality every game.”Minter said during the week he cautioned against sleeping on Garoppolo, who he knew was a good QB and highly-rated coming out of college. Garoppolo also showed flashes in the preseason.“They knew he might be the starter since what, OTAs? He was working with the ones — he’s a starting quarterback, it is what it is,” Minter added. “They’re the Patriots, and they executed well and we didn’t. It is what it is.” – / 55last_img

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