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12-12-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - 49ers Aftermath

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  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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After a great win by the Cardinals, time for some links

Arizona Cardinals News:

Defense Stymies Niners
Skelton's three TD passes help Cards grab 21-19 win

Fitz Does It All Against San Fran
Notebook: WR eclipses 1,000 yards; Kolb to be evaluated this week

Arizona Cardinals break five-game losing streak against San Francisco 49ers
Turns out, all it took for the Cardinals to break a five-game losing streak to the 49ers were three long pass plays, a "fake field goal, red flag challenge," a superlative defensive performance and a backup quarterback with a short-term memory problem. Who knew? The 2011 Cardinals are stubborn, creative and often maddening for their fans to watch. Their 21-19 victory on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium snapped the losing streak to the 49ers, and more importantly, was the fifth victory in six games for the Cardinals. At 6-7, the Cardinals remain in the playoff picture, even if they're in the fourth row, behind Aunt Edna.

Wrap-up: Cardinals 21, 49ers 19 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals after the Cardinals' 21-19 victory Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium:

49ers lose in Arizona, bye in jeopardy | ProFootballTalk
We should no longer assume the 49ers will get a playoff bye. After Sunday’s 21-19 loss in Arizona, the 49ers shouldn’t consider anything a sure thing. The 49ers have avoided losses like this all year, but their big weakness as a team showed up in the desert.

Stellar defense paving way to winning for Cardinals
Just 70 seconds remained in the game, but time seemed to stop as the 49ers faced a fourth-and-1 situation at their own 41-yard line. And when it did, it was as if San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith went back in time and turned into Fran Tarkenton. Just like the former mad scrambling quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings, Smith danced around and ran and ducked and eluded multiple defenders for about 13 seconds before finally throwing the ball down the right sideline. When it fell incomplete, a defense that had been stellar all day rejoiced. The Cardinals offense ran out the clock, and they walked off the University of Phoenix Stadium field on Sunday with a 21-19 victory.

Concussion symptoms sideline Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb
Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb suffered concussion symptoms after taking a knee to the head on the third play of the game against the 49ers, and his status for Sunday's game against Cleveland is unknown.

Arizona Cardinals-San Francisco 49ers play of the game
The setup: The Cardinals trailed 19-14. They had the ball at their 27-yard line. It was second and 5 and the start of the fourth quarter.

Arizona Cardinals making a remarkable turnaround
It was only 43 days ago. Forty-three days. The Cardinals had stumbled to 1-6 and the reports of their demise hadn't been greatly exaggerated. Coach Ken Whisenhunt met the media and insisted the losses weren't because his players "weren't working and weren't trying." We scoffed. Not anymore. The Cardinals are 6-7 and beat the team that had the second-best record in the NFL because all that hooey Whisenhunt spewed was true. The franchise, despite all its outwards cuts and bruises, was in far better shape than we gave it credit for.

Arizona Cardinals-San Francisco 49ers rewind: What we learned
Kent Somers breaks down what we learned following the Cardinals' 21-19 win over the 49ers, their fifth win in six games.

Blame freak blow to head for Kolb's exit - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Kevin Kolb's durability was a question mark when the Arizona Cardinals acquired him during the offseason. It's still a question mark after foot and toe injuries sidelined Kolb for four games. The injury Kolb suffered Sunday had less to do with durability than bad luck.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals - Recap - December 11, 2011 - ESPN
John Skelton was awful against San Francisco a month ago. This time was a far different story. Skelton stepped in for the injured Kevin Kolb and threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns, and the Arizona Cardinals rallied to hand the 49ers their third loss of the season, 21-19 on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals Recap - December 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Andre Roberts caught the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter, pushing the Arizona Cardinals past the San Francisco 49ers, 21-19, at University of Phoenix Stadium. Larry Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Fitzgerald went over the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his career and fifth consecutive season. John Skelton threw for 282 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 19-of-28 passing after starter Kevin Kolb was hurt on the first offensive series and left the game. blogs - Kent Somers - Post-game spread
There are unsung contributors in every game, but a few stand out to me for their peformances in the Cardinals 21-19 victory over the 49ers.

Word From the Birds Blog - Niners aftermath
The Cards hang a 21-19 loss on the 49ers Sunday, as satisfying of a victory as they have had all season – that’s 10 games decided by seven points or less, still tied with the Denver Tebows for most in the league, and the Cards have won six of them – but you could tell that hint of frustration from wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald afterward. OK, maybe it was more than a hint.

Cardinals: Beating a good team is nice, better when it's the 49ers -
When the Arizona Cardinals took a 7-6 lead over the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter Sunday, they led their rival for the first time since Week 1 of the 2009 season. San Francisco's dominance spanned 17 quarters and nearly three seasons, but Arizona finally broke through and not only took the lead, but won the game. And while head coach Ken Whisenhunt said he's more pleased with beating a 10-2 team - 49ers or not - the players in the locker room certainly took a little more from this one.

Skelton steps up, leads Cardinals to another win -
When we last saw John Skelton the Arizona Cardinals had improved to 4-7, with the QB having led the team to three wins in four games. Kevin Kolb's turf toe healed, though, and the second-year pro was sent back to the bench. Sunday against the 49ers his number was called again, and the Fordham product didn't disappoint.

Defense holds 49ers down, lifts Cardinals up -
Stop us if you've heard this before: the Arizona Cardinals defense is playing at an exceptionally high level. The San Francisco 49ers had the ball 14 times Sunday, and they gained more than 20 yards on a drive five times, and gained a total of 26 yards in the fourth quarter. That'll do, defense.

Cardinals' roll continues with win over 49ers -
John Skelton has had some success as a starter this season, and now he's had some success as a reliever as well.

Cardinals do part on record NFL Sunday - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals turned a 19-7 deficit into a 21-19 victory Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. Four other teams also overcame deficits of 12 points or greater, making Sunday the first day with five such games in NFL history, according to Elias Sports Bureau. There were six comebacks from at least 10 points behind, the first time since 1999 that had happened in one day.

Hawks-Cards for playoff spot in Week 17? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The Arizona Cardinals' victory over the San Francisco 49ers keeps alive a tantalizing scenario for NFC West fans. The Seattle-Arizona game in Week 17 could send the winner to the playoffs as the fifth or sixth seed in the NFC.

Fitz finds space for big TD
Cardinals QB John Skelton hits WR Larry Fitzgerald for a 46-yard TD to cut into the 49ers lead 19-14.

49ers vs. Cardinals highlights
Cardinals QB John Skelton, coming in the game after a QB Kevin Kolb injury, threw three TDs in Arizona's 21-19 win over the 49ers Sunday.

Cards Daily - Postgame Reaction SF
The Cardinals beat the division rival 49ers for the first time since 2008, ending a five game losing streak in dramatic fashion. Listen to sounds from the locker room.

NFL News:

Silver linings: 49ers vs. Cardinals - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The facts: The San Francisco 49ers fell to 10-3 with a 21-19 road defeat to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.

NFL Week 14 Debrief: Tim Tebow Is Unbelievable And Packers Continue Road To Greatness -
Tim Tebow does it again, the Packers cruise to 13-0 and the Texans clinch the first playoff berth in franchise history. It's all here in the Week 14 NFL Debrief.

NFL Week 14: Tim Tebow Does It Again, Jets Win Big, Patriots Hang On -
With just four games left, it's close to now or never for teams on the bubble. Stay here all day for NFL Week 14 highlights and analysis.

NFL Week 14 Highlights: Long Runs, TD Dances And Broken Records -
All the best highlights from the NFL's Week 14, including Rob Gronkowski's record-breaking touchdown, DeAngelo Williams' 74-yarder and more.

NFL Week 14 Injuries: Greg Jennings Suffers Scary Knee Injury -
Greg Jennings and DeMarco Murray were among the big name players injured in NFL Week 14. SB Nation's Medical Expert examines those and other injuries from Sunday.

Would NFC West QBs get Brady call? - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The NFL has told its game officials to err on the side of protecting defenseless players. Blatant erring, the league could do without. A roughing penalty Sunday against Washington Redskins linebacker London Fletcher for a hit on New England's Tom Brady played into perceptions the NFL offers special treatment for its prized quarterbacks. Would Alex Smith or Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson get such a call? I think they might, given the state of officiating. The seemingly clean hit Green Bay's Clay Matthews put on Minnesota's Christian Ponder comes to mind.

VIDEO: Tom Brady, Bill O'Brien Exchange Pleasantries On The Sideline - From Our Editors -
Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien exchanged some pleasantries following an end zone interception thrown by the Patriots' quarterback. Brady took wide receiver Tiquan Underwood to task. O'Brien found plenty to criticize his quarterback for on the same end zone pick. Hilarity ensued.

ANIMATED: Tom Brady, Bill O'Brien Hug It Out After Sideline Scrum - From Our Editors -
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien got into a shouting match following an end zone interception. Cameras caught the two exchanging words on the sidelines. They had to be separated and even Bill Belchick came over to limit the damage. Brady and O'Brien made nice at the end of the game.

Tim Tebow 'A Good Running Back', Says Brian Urlacher - From Our Editors -
I would expect the Chicago Bears defense to be a little upset about what happened on Sunday. After holding the Denver Broncos offense, and Tim Tebow, in check for three quarters, the wheels came off over the course of the final 15 minutes. The Broncos ended up rallying to tie the game with a 58-yard field goal with just seconds left in the fourth quarter before winning in overtime.

VIDEO: Chiefs Actually Score A Touchdown -
The Kansas City Chiefs managed to score a touchdown on Sunday, believe it or not. After picking up just four yards in the first half, Tyler Palko tossed his second career touchdown to bring the Chiefs to within 35-10 of the New York Jets. It wasn't necessarily pretty, but Jerheme Urban came down with a 24-yard touchdown catch in front of a gaggle over Jets defenders. It was the Chiefs second touchdown in the past four weeks. Of course, on the ensuing kickoff, they managed to perform one of the ugliest onside kick attempts in NFL history.

Tony Sparano Expected To Be Fired At End Of Season; GM Jeff Ireland To Return -
The Dolphins are not expected to retain coach Tony Sparano at the end of the season but GM Jeff Ireland will return, according to a report.

Greg Jennings Injury: Packers WR Suffers Knee Sprain -
Greg Jennings suffered a knee sprain during the Packers win over the Raiders. The severity of the sprain is not yet known.

DeMarco Murray Injury: Fractured Right Ankle For Cowboys RB -
DeMarco Murray reportedly suffered a fractured right ankle and high ankle sprain on Sunday.

VIDEO: Philip Rivers With The Most Philip Rivers Fumble Ever -
The San Diego Chargers had a solid 16-3 lead in the third quarter of their game against the Buffalo Bills. Rivers got the shotgun snap, taking it back to his own goal line. He then fumbled it just in time for Bills defensive back Bryan Scott to cover it up in the end zone for a touchdown.

ANIMATED: London Fletcher Hit On Tom Brady Draws Questionable Personal Foul Call -
Late in the first half, with the Patriots driving, Tom Brady scrambled out of the pocket, headed up the field, and slid to avoid a hit. Redskins linebacker London Fletcher hit him anyway, but not particularly hard and, seemingly, not maliciously. You can see that hit in the animated GIFs here:

Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith Taken Off Plane With Chest Pains -
Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith had to be taken off the team's charter plane after experiencing chest pains, according to a report on Sunday night.