GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sometime in the second quarter Sunday, Cardinals receiver Andre Roberts put a little piece of knowledge in quarterback Kevin Kolb’s back pocket: Roberts had his defender beat on one particular play if Kolb had time to get it there.
It was a subtle heads-up early in the game, but Kolb knows Roberts well enough to take such a tip to heart.
“He’s just quiet and subtle,” Kolb said. “So usually when he says it, I know he means it. Sure enough, he did.”
Kolb connected with Roberts for a touchdown on the play with 22 seconds left in regulation Sunday, tying the score to force overtime in a game the Cardinals would win 24-21 over the Dolphins and providing an exclamation point on the best game of Roberts’ career.
“The funny thing is we had run that play twice in those four plays (on the drive),” Roberts said. “I guess (Cardinals coaches) saw on the sideline I was open the first time. It was a double move that we thought we could get (Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith) on, and we scored.”
Added fellow receiver Larry Fitgerald: “Andre was giving good feedback to coaches about the routes he was running. We were all talking, and we knew we might have him on a double move. And he made a heck of a route and Kevin made a heck of a throw.”
The touchdown was Roberts’ second of the game, giving him his first career two-touchdown game. His six catches tied a career high, and his 118 receiving yards set a new personal best. His previous best of 111 yards came in one of the nine games Kolb played in last season, a win over the Cowboys at home.
Kolb, it seems, has been able to bring the best out of Roberts, a former third-round draft pick now in his third professional season. In four games this year, Roberts has topped 50 yards three times. He did so six times in 16 games last season. Roberts also reeled in five or more catches on just four occasions last year but has done so twice already this season.
The season is young, but if Kolb and Roberts keep playing well, Roberts could be in for a big year. To this point a year ago, Roberts had 89 yards on nine receptions. This year, he has 229 yards on 15 catches.
“I think Andre’s a really special player,” Kolb said. “He always keeps his cool over there.”
Kolb called his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Roberts the most special of his career. As it turns out, the play had been in the works for a couple days. Kolb said after Sunday’s game he missed Roberts on the very same route during practice Friday and approached him about it afterward.
“I said, ‘That’s a game-time throw. I’ll put it in the same spot, you’ll make it,'” Kolb recalled. “So he said, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to hit one of those. If we hit one of those, I’ll hug you.'”
The hug happened, of course, and the Cardinals marched into overtime, a situation with which they’ve become intensely familiar. Roberts’ career day was overshadowed by the Cardinals’ latest wild ending, but the win meant more to Roberts than his own stats.
“I don’t know what it is with us that we have to take it to the last moment of the game, Roberts said. “But we’re winning, and that’s all that matters.”