Yesterday, we took a look at who the winner of the Cardinals rookie of the year award was. Needless to say, Patrick Peterson ran away with the voting, securing over 85% of the ballots. It's hard to argue with his overwhelming victory after watching what he was able to do on the field in his first full season.
Now, let's move on to the Game of the Year award. After the jump, I am going to give you a few options to look at. Hopefully you will leave your own commentary below.
Even though the Cards finished with a mediocre 8-8 record, there were still plenty of games that fans will remember for a long time. Whether it was a thrilling finish (which most of their victories were) or an overall clean and fluid victory for the Red Birds (which pretty much none of them were), the Cardinals were never shy to give us a good storyline. Here are some of the choices for game of the year:
The Cardiac Cards are always looking for the theatrical finish and this game certainly did not disappoint. Just when it looked like the Cardinals were going to lose due to a Josh Brown field goal in the final seconds of the game, Calais Campbell came up big (no pun intended) and was able to bat the kick down, forcing the game into overtime. From there, the rest is history. The Cardinals forced the Rams into a punting situation and Patrick Peterson took it back 99 yards for the game winning score.
The Cards ended up winning the game by a score of 19-13.
Week 10: Arizona Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Eagles
With John Skelton starting his second game in place of the injured Kevin Kolb, the Cardinals were able to ride to a 21-17 victory on the road. Skelton played well in this game, passing for 315 yards, two interceptions and three touchdowns on the day. Larry Fitzgerald also had himself a great game, catching two of Skelton's passes for touchdowns.
To me, this is one of the games in which we saw the defense of the Cardinals really start to break out and understand defensive coordinator Ray Horton's scheme. They were able to stall a plethora of Philadelphia's offensive drives and when it came down to the final two minutes, they held off the Eagles' surge for the victory.
Week 12: Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams
With this victory, the Birdgang won their seventh game in a row after defeating the Rams on their own turf. Beanie Wells rushed for a franchise record 228 yards and Patrick Peterson returned his fourth punt for a TD on the season. With that, he made his move into the record books, tied for the most punt return touchdowns in a single season.
Week 13: Dallas Cowboys vs. Arizona Cardinals
This was another game that the defense was really able to showcase it's talent, putting the Cards in a position to win on a drop off pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling in overtime. Just as it looked as if Kevin Kolb was about to get manhandled by the defense, Howling was able to weave his way underneath, catching a short throw from Kolb and taking it 52 yards for the score.
Although LaSH may have won the game for the Cardinals, the standout player was Andre Roberts. He had six receptions for 111 yards and for the first time in his career, he was able to make the defense pay, looking like a true #2 wide receiver. A special thanks goes out to Jason Garrett for icing his own kicker at the end of regulation. What a swell guy he is. The Cardinals won by a score of 19-13 in overtime.
Week 14: San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
After putting on a dismal performance against the 49ers when the Cardinals traveled up to Candlestick Park, John Skelton was able to bounce back, throwing for 282 yards and three touchdowns in the friendly confines of University of Phoenix stadium. The defense played outstanding yet again and Larry Fitzgerald had 149 yards receiving. Beating the 49ers is always a good thing, but this victory was especially sweet.
Week 17: Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals
Even though neither of these teams had playoff aspirations heading into this game, they both played hard. This was a grind it out game from start to finish and it ended up being decided in overtime. Arizona went on to win by a final score of 23-20.
LaRod Stephens-Howling had an excellent day filling in for injured back, Beanie Wells. He carried the ball for 93 yards and allowed the Cardinals' offense to remain two-dimensional. The true player of the game, though, was Larry Fitzgerald. He made a series of unfathomable catches, prompting many to question whether or not the guy is a human being at all. His most spectacular grab came at the end of the game, when he caught a fairly inaccurate throw with just one hand, setting up the game winning field goal. The crazy part is, Fitz did all of this after bruising his lung in the third quarter, which made him throw up blood on the sidelines.
This game was definitely a a great to cap off the Cardinals 2011-12 season and it really embodied what their team is all about.
If I had to pick one game, it would be the Cardinals' victory over the Rams at home. Yes, the Rams are a lowly team, but with that win, the Cards were able to break a six game losing streak and get back to their winning ways. The offense looked ugly at times throughout that game, but the defense stepped up huge and Patrick Peterson made his way into the record books forever.
What was your favorite game? Which one do you think had the biggest impact on this Cardinals team? Leave your comments below and don't forget to vote in the poll.