After a horrible start, the Arizona Cardinals picked it up and nearly came away with their 11th victory of the season on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. In losing to their NFC West rivals, they fall to 10-6 on the year and lock themselves into the last draft spot for non-playoff teams -- No. 20.
It was an exciting game filled with ups and downs. Kicker Jay Feely is the scourge of the Valley this morning, as he missed two key field goals that would have changed the situation drastically once Carson Palmer found Andre Roberts in the back of the end zone.
His awful day did not tarnish the season the Cardinals had, however. Join us one last time this season as we pick the Cards' player of the game.
Stats: 6 receptions, 113 yards, 18.8 YPC
Larry Fitzgerald went large against the 49ers twice this season. In two games, he had 12 receptions for 230 yards (19.2 YPC) and a touchdown.
On Sunday, he did what he does best, which is make difficult catches look routine. His best gained 49 yards and set up the offense for its first touchdown of the game. The over-the-shoulder grab had to be snared out of the air -- it was coming in hot off the hand of Palmer.
Stats: 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 QB hit
With a sack in the fourth quarter, defensive end Calais Campbell set a new career high for a season. He now has nine for the season, breaking his previous mark of eight, which he set in 2011.
Campbell helped contain quarterback Colin Kaepernick by holding the edge and keeping him in the pocket. The speedy signal-caller gained 24 yards on four carries (6.0 YPC). Still pretty good numbers for a quarterback, but it could have been worse for Arizona.
Campbell was also pivotal in limiting running back Frank Gore.
Stats: 28 of 49 (57.1%), 407 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 89.4 passer rating
In the first half, Palmer was off target too much and appeared out of synch with his receivers. But the second half was very different.
He was 18-of-29 passing (62.1%) in the second half for 292 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions for a 107.3 passer rating. With a different first half, who knows how the game would have turned out? A big reason the Cardinals had such success down the stretch this season was because of Palmer, and the same can be said of Sunday's game. He was very good in leading the team back from a three-score deficit.
Rashad Johnson/Jerraud Powers
Stats: 11 total tackles, 1 pass defended
This is a dual nomination because combined, these two all but completely shut down tight end Vernon Davis. You remember the first meeting, of course, when Davis went off for eight receptions, 180 yards and two touchdowns. He could not be stopped.
The story was very different on Sunday. Rashad Johnson and Jerraud Powers shared coverage of Davis, and he ended up with three receptions for 45 yards and a score. He did not beat anyone deep, and though allowing a touchdown isn't good, it came from four yards out following a big play to wideout Anquan Boldin.
Stats: 3 receptions, 74 yards, 24.7 YPC, 1 TD
In four seasons, eight of Andre Roberts' 11 touchdown catches either tied the game or gave the Cardinals a lead. That's 72.7 percent, which is astounding.
He caught the game-tying touchdown from Palmer on Sunday, and it could have been a potential game-winner had Feely hit his two very makeable field goals earlier in the game.