Peterson puts words into action with two INTs
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Patrick Peterson vowed the second half of the season would be different. He vowed that no matter how many times the officials flagged him — he led the league in penalties entering Sunday’s game — he had to stay calm and collected.
On three plays in the fourth quarter, Peterson put those words into action with his first and second interceptions of the season.
"I guess since I have so many (penalties) under my belt now, it’s just automatically on (No.) 21," Peterson said smiling. "At the end of the day, like I told you guys early in the week, I can’t let those flags get under my skin. Obviously, I was a little heated at the moment, but once the next play came back around, I have to put that out of my mind and go out there and play football."
The Rams went right back at Peterson on the next play, but the ball was underthrown and he intercepted it. One drive later, Rams QB Austin Davis tried to hit receiver Kenny Britt on a crossing pattern but the ball was high and a step behind Britt, who tipped it into the air.
Peterson reached around Britt to tip it forward, grabbed it and returned it 30 yards for a game-clinching pick-6.
"For the first time in a long time I felt 100 percent," said Peterson, who battled an ankle injury and a concussion earlier this season. "I just got tired of hearing all the criticism, people not really knowing the situation, but at the end of the day, being an athlete, those are some of the things you have to do, fight through injuries."
The Cardinals’ injury-decimated defense entered Sunday’s game with just eight sacks, which was tied for the second fewest in the NFL. It left with 14, after defensive end Calais Campbell spearheaded a six-sack effort with his second and third sacks of the season.
"Sacks, they’re great plays. They can take teams out of field goal range and they can give you opportunities," Campbell said. "You always want to get them but the game is bigger than sacks."
Campbell’s second sack came late in the third quarter with the Rams in field goal range and already leading 14-10. Campbell sacked Davis for an 11-yard loss at the Arizona 47, forcing St. Louis to punt.
Campbell missed two games this season with an MCL strain suffered on an illegal chop block form Denver’s Julius Thomas. He’s been wearing a brace to protect the knee, but he said Sunday’s game was the best he has felt since returning to the lineup.
"Oh yeah," he said with a big grin. "I left it all on the field today, but we all did."
Chandler Catanzaro tied Washington’s Kai Forbath for the most consecutive field goals (17) to begin a career, when he connected on a 43-yarder in the second quarter. But Catanzaro couldn’t grab the record for himself.
With the Cardinals trailing 14-10 early in the fourth quarter, Catanzaro came onto the field to attempt a 53-yarder right after QB Carson Palmer went down with an apparent ACL injury.
He missed wide right.
"Obviously, I’m very sad for Carson," Catanzaro said. I tried to make sure I was focused on my job and putting it through for the team. I’m not sure if that played any factor. It was a miss."
At least Catanzaro noted, he won’t face the pressure of maintaining the streak any more.
"Success or failure on one kick doesn’t mean success or failure on the next kick," he said. "You have to move on."
John Brown is developing a flair for the dramatic. For the second time in three weeks, he caught the game-winning touchdown pass on a bomb. This time, it was a 48-yarder from backup QB Drew Stanton.
"It looked like Cover-3 to me, but once I ran in and came back out Larry (Fitzgerald) came out and the safety ran over to cover Larry and the cornerback ran down to cover him," Brown said. "I was open right in the middle."
Brown had to catch up to the ball, but it wasn’t because Stanton overthrew him.
"I actually kind of slowed down when I saw the safety running up because I wasn’t sure if the throw would be short," he said. "But then I sped up and it was perfect, right into my hands."
Brown leads the team with five TD catches this season.
— Fitzgerald had nine catches for 112 yards to move past Michael Irvin into 24th place in career yards (11,992), and move past Keenan McCardell into 19th place in receptions (890). It was the 38th time in his career that Fitzgerald has surpassed 100 yards receiving.
— The Cardinals allowed 43 St. Louis rushing yards in the first quarter, but surrendered just 70 in the game. Arizona entered the game as the NFL’s third-best run defense at 79.6 yards per game.
— The Cardinals’ 14 interceptions lead the NFL.