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12-20-11: Arizona Cardinals Bird Droppings - Cardiac Cards

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 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Time for todays links, with a focus on the streak the Cards are on right now and all the close games they play.

Arizona Cardinals News:

The Cardiac Cardinals
Late victories starting to reach record territory

Arizona Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt has team believing
Ken Whisenhunt has more in common with Don Coryell than just having surpassed him as the winningest head coach in Cardinals' team history. After all, much of Whisenhunt's core philosophy on how to attack opposing defenses and the very base offensive system his Cardinals run today come straight from his Coryell connection. "It's kind of ironic you would bring that up today," Whisenhunt said Monday, a day after Arizona defeated Cleveland 20-17 in overtime for his 43rd career win, one more than the late Coryell.

Arizona Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt will have to choose: Kevin Kolb or John Skelton
Like many coaches, Ken Whisenhunt is a superstitious soul. When things go well, he doesn't alter his routine. The hunch here is that philosophy may apply to the use of his quarterbacks, too. It is possible Kevin Kolb could be cleared to play at Cincinnati this week. It is also possible that if Kolb is cleared, John Skelton could start anyway. Fine with me.

Arizona Cardinals' Kerry Rhodes solid in return from injury
Free safety Kerry Rhodes returned for the Cardinals on Sunday after missing the previous eight games following surgery to repair a fracture in his foot suffered Oct. 9 against the Vikings. Rhodes was on the field for about half the snaps the defense took, which was the plan. "Once I got out there I was fine," he said. "You never know going into the game how your body is going to react or how you're going to feel, but yeah, I was fine." Head coach Ken Whisenhunt liked what he saw from Rhodes after such an extended time off.

QBR ranks: John Skelton, the closer - NFC West Blog - ESPN
John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (55.6 QBR, 79.3 NFL rating): Skelton completed 28 of 46 passes for 313 yards with one touchdown, one interception, four sacks and two runs covering seven yards. He did not fumble. Skelton completed passes of 21, 23 and 24 yards during a roughly two-minute period of the fourth quarter. His longest completion, a 32-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald, set up the winning field goal in overtime. Skelton completed no passes longer than 12 yards to his running backs or wide receivers before the fourth quarter. Tight end Todd Heap played a more prominent role.

Fitzgerald breaks down Cardinals quarterback situation | ProFootballTalk
Larry Fitzgerald joined Florio for a great segment Monday on PFT Live. Fitz complimented Florio by saying that Mike is one of the only people from West Virginia Fitzgerald knows that still has his teeth. At least we think it’s a compliment.

Word From the Birds Blog - The unknown starting QB and other Whiz wrapup
Here’s what we know about who is going to start at quarterback this week against Cincinnati: He’ll get the vast majority of the practice reps. That’s a lesson learned for coach Ken Whisenhunt, on the idea that he could split reps between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. "I think that’s a fair assessment," Whisenhunt said. "We tried to (split) a couple of weeks ago and neither one of them were comfortable with that. I’m not going to say either one of them couldn’t play without getting most of the reps, but as far as trying to prepare them, I think that’s the fairest way to do it."

Where NFC West stands in 300-yard games - NFC West Blog - ESPN
John Skelton's 313-yard performance for Arizona against Cleveland was the latest 300-yard game in the NFC West. It was Skelton's second of the season and the Cardinals' third. They're 3-0 in those games, but the rest of the NFC West is 0-4. blogs - Kent Somers - Campbell contract talks continuing
The Cardinals continue to talk with the agent for defensive end Calais Campbell about a new contract, and General Manager Rod Graves is hopeful a deal can be reach "sooner rather than later." blogs - Kent Somers - A tale of two seasons
The Cardinals lost six of their first seven and have won six of their last seven. If a team is going to go through those streaks in a single season season, it's better to do it in that order. Can you imagine if the Cardinals had started 6-1, then collapsed? Ken Whisenhunt can. It's better to overcome than succumb. blogs - Kent Somers - Charitable actions
Defensive linemen Darnell Dockett and end Calais Campbell are trying to make Christmas a little more special for underprivileged kids.

We're going streaking! Cards' 4-game streak a rarity -
A four-game winning streak in the NFL doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you consider that four games is one- quarter of a team's regular season, it definitely is a distinct accomplishment. For the Arizona Cardinals, that distinct accomplishment has been a very rare one.

Cardinals quarterback controversy just won't go away -
Of the Arizona Cardinals' seven wins this season, John Skelton has been the quarterback of note in five of them. Skelton's lone loss came November 20th at San Francisco, a game where he completed just 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards and three interceptions. Since then the second-year pro has completed 59 of 97 passes for 709 yards, with four touchdowns against five interceptions. While not great, Skelton has gotten better, and the Cardinals keep winning. So that begs the question: assuming both Skelton and Kevin Kolb are healthy, who is the team's starter?

Cardinals 'one-game-at-a-time' approach working -
As sports fans, we've all heard the phrase "one game at a time" before. It's a staple in sports, a go-to line for coaches and athletes. But head hoach Ken Whisenhunt says this Arizona Cardinals team had to focus on "one game at a time" when they were sitting at 1-6 -- otherwise it would've been too overwhelming.

Can you see it? The Arizona Cardinals are growing -
Can you see it? Over in Glendale (and, most of the time Tempe), the Arizona Cardinals are growing. The seeds were planted in the offseason, when the team hired Ray Horton to run the defense and decided to enter the season with promising youth rather than established veterans at many key positions. A 1-6 start gave the impression that it was not the way to go, as the team struggled to compete and made it tough to believe that the young players could improve to the point where the Cardinals started winning games. Then the rest of the season happened.

Cards Daily - Finding a Way to Win
The Cardinals have found many different ways to win close games after not being able to finish the tight ones early in the season.

In the Red Zone with Ken Whisenhunt - CLE Review
Ken Whisenhunt joins The Doug and Wolf Show on Arizona Sports 620 to talk about the Cardinals ovetime win over the Cleveland Browns.

Arizona Sports News:

ASU basketball falls to Southern Miss at buzzer
Favored Southern Mississippi survived a scare from Arizona State and a skirmish resulting in two ejections Monday night for a 64-61 win at Wells Fargo Arena. Darnell Dodson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the game winner. The Golden Eagles erased a 34-26 deficit with an 8-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by guard LaShay Page.

NFL News:

Rapid Reaction: 49ers 20, Steelers 3 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' 20-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Monday Night Football" at Candlestick Park in Week 15:

NFL Power Rankings, Week 16: NFC Controls Top Three Spots -
The Packers remain No. 1 in SB Nation's Week 16 NFL power rankings despite losing to the Chiefs last weekend while the 49ers move on up after an impressive performance against Pittsburgh. The Colts? They're still holding up the bottom.

NFL Playoff Picture: Who's In, Who Has A Chance, And Who Has A Chance But Not Really -
Through Week 15, 22 of the NFL's 32 teams are still in the NFL playoff picture. Take a gander at how your team's chances look, if inevitable disappointment is your thing.

Steelers Vs. 49ers: Power Outage At Candlestick Park Delays Monday Night Football -
The Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers game on Monday Night Football was supposed to kick off just a minute or so ago. But the game hasn't kicked off because the power has gone out in Candlestick Park. As you can see in the lower left corner of ESPN's aerial shot, it appears that a nearby transformer blew, taking out the power in and around the stadium:

Steelers Vs. 49ers: Another Power Outage Delays Game In Second Quarter -
The Monday Night Football match up between the San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers was delayed for 20 minutes due to a power failure from a blown transformer. The officials were able to get some back up power going so the game could get started. A little ways through the second quarter however, the power went out again.

The Dark Knight Rises Trailer, Featuring Hines Ward For Some Reason - From Our Editors -
After hundreds of red herrings and bootlegged videos, The Dark Knight Rises' trailer finally hit the internet Monday, and among lots of explosions and some chilling background music, it also features Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. "How did they possibly work Hines Ward into a Batman movie", you ask? Well he's outrunning an imploding football field, obviously.

Cynics have a field day with Candlestick blackout | ProFootballTalk
So with the lights going out — twice — last night at Candlestick Park, some folks who scratch deeper than the surface are wondering what was really happening.

James Harrison knows why the lights went out at Candlestick - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
James Harrison wasn't with his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates during Monday night's multiple blackouts in San Francisco. The star linebacker is serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit last week on Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy. The way Harrison sees it, his absence contributed to the lights going out at Candlestick Park. During the evening's second power outage, Harrison took to his Twitter account to post the following message to his 180,000 followers.

Johnny Knox's Season Over After Back Injury; 3-4 Month Recovery Ahead -
Johnny Knox underwent back surgery Monday, and has been ruled out for the season by Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith. Knox absorbed a punishing hit against the Seattle Seahawks while diving for a fumble that bent him backwards and sent him off the field in the stretcher. Despite the scary scene and the wideout's prognosis for the season, Smith was optimistic that Knox would recover.

Rivals High - Runaway cart mows down coach after game
In a bizarre episode that you have to see to believe, the winning coach and several others were plowed into by a runaway, unmanned electrical cart during an interview near the 50-yard line following a victory in a state title game Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.