GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 04: Runningback LaRod Stephens-Howling #36 celebrates with Alfonso Smith #46 after scoring the game winning 52 yard touchdown reception against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
I have to say -- everything feels better after a win. It also makes so much more sense to give out game balls. When the Arizona Cardinals were losing, it seemed silly, but we did it anyway. Now, it has a certain joy to it. So after Kevin Kolb and LaRod Stephens-Howling connected for a 52-yards overtime touchdown to beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-13, we the writers of ROTB present our game balls to the players of our choice.
There are a lot of good choices and the most logical would be to go with the Hyphen for his touchdown play. I could go with the defense overall or even Jason Garrett in a facetious game ball. But I will stick with Stephens-Howling because he ran the ball in. Yes, Kolb eluded the pressure and got him the ball and, yes, there was great blocking down the field, but it was LaRod's running in space like when he gets a little room on a kickoff return (there hasn't been a lot of that lately) that turned that dump pass and good blocking into a win.
Tough decision this week, going to have to pick Ray Horton for calling a great game and turning this defense into a force.
So many options for the game ball this week, but I have to give it to Andre Roberts. He had his best day as a pro (albeit he had a great day against Dallas last year), catching six passes for 111 yards. He looked composed and was able to draw some attention off of Fitz. Also, the Cardinals were able to run some screen passes through him, which was a rare sight to see.
In classic fashion I have to give a primary and secondary. Primary goes to the Defense for playing one hell of a game and keeping the Cardinals in the game. My secondary nomination is LSH for an incredible run to get the OT win! The Cowboys defense has been stout and the run was shut down today. I can barely believe a screen play actually worked, and even more so that LSH was able to burst onto the seen for his first catch all day and get the win.
I really want to give it to LSH for getting the win, but man the defense played so well again. They gave up yards, but they got the crucial stops when they had to do it and they held an explosive Cowboys offense to 13 points. This just sums up how well the defense has played lately: Over the 1-6 start they gave up 26 points a game, but over this 4-1 stretch they are only giving up 17 points a game. They may give up yards at times, but they are stepping up when it matters most.
I saw a lot for my liking today.
Andre Roberts for 111 YDS receiving on the day, he was clutch. Kevin Kolb for a performance that provided optimism.
But in the end it has to go to the Hyphen. His catch and run to the end zone was motivated. He broke a tackle, bounced off a another Dallas defender, stumbled, kept himself up with his left hand and finally scored. In overtime. Game ball to you LaRod Stephens-Howling.
I'm going to give it to the second half Kevin Kolb. He shook off the rust from the first half, and looked like an entirely different QB. Without his second half performance, it would've been another blowout loss. (The defense and LSH get shoutouts too, big reasons why we won today)
I would give it to LSH, but he made some poor decisions taking some of the kickoffs out of the endzone, and putting our offense in poor field position. It was a great play, but that play alone doesn't deserve it IMO. My gameball goes to the defense as a whole. Despite giving up 299 yards in the air, Peterson and Jefferson looked good, Washington played as great as he has all year, and our D-Line was constantly in the backfield, getting 5 sacks from 5 different guys. Good to see and hopefully they can do the same next week in a pivotal game against the 49ers.