Floyd re-emerges in big way with two TDs
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Wide receiver Michael Floyd was not so much the next man as the previous man anxious to re-up Sunday, when he returned to a starring role after a month of relative inactivity.
Floyd's resurgence included 42- and 12-yard touchdown receptions in the first nine minutes that gave the Cardinals a lead they never lost.
His 42-yarder came on a sight adjustment, when he turned what was supposed to be a route over the middle into a fade into the front right corner of the end zone. Stanton also read the adjustment and Floyd outjumped Cassius Vaughn for his third touchdown catch this season. Floyd made the catch even though Vaughn was called for pass interference.
"It was dig route by me, but the safety wasn't over the top," Floyd said. "I saw a wide open field and Drew gave me a chance to make a play."
Floyd doubled his touchdown total for the season after getting one against Washington and another against Oakland, but the latter signaled the start of a drought. He had five catches in his last three games, being shutout against Philadelphia on Oct. 26. Part of it might have been four dropped passes.
"It is frustrating not getting the ball," Floyd said. "I go back to the Philly game when I had a chance to make plays and fell short. Since then, practice is where I want to do it and make sure I do everything right to feel good on Sundays. This week I made a big emphasis of making sure that Drew is comfortable and with all our wide receivers, too."
Floyd has 26 receptions for 454 yards after setting career highs with 65 receptions for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns last season, his second in the league.
"Everybody takes turns stepping up," fellow receiver Larry Fitzgerald said.
On third-and-11 at midfield with a 14-6 lead and 2:32 remaining, some coaches would have run the ball to run the clock. Maybe most coaches.
But they are not Bruce Arians, who called a pass play to Larry Fitzgerald that gained 11 yards and effectively ended the game. The game was over after Drew Stanton took a knee the next three plays.
Arians' go-for-it style is a big selling point with his players.
"He always keeps his foot on the gas pedal, and as a player you love that," Fitzgerald said. "You love to have the pressure on your shoulders and execute it."
Fitzgerald lined up in the right slot and was able to get inside leverage on his defender, getting between him and the ball.
"I just beat him across the face. I wasn't open, but Drew trusted me and put it on me and we were able to move the ball and close the game out," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald had two catches for 33 yards, giving him 12,025 career receiving yards. At 31 years and 77 days, he became the second-youngest to 12,000. Randy Moss did it in 30 years, 306 days.
"I don't really look at the milestones. It is a long journey," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald went to the locker room late in the first half with a knee injury but was back on the field on the Cardinals' first possession of the second half.
"Larry came back and played, so we'll see how sore he is Monday," Arians said.
Cornerback Justin Bethel made a touchback-saving play early in the fourth quarter when he grabbed a punt at the 1-yard line, although it took an official review to sort things out.
Bethel caught the ball with his back to the end zone and tossed it back into the field when he felt himself losing his balance. Had he carried the ball into the end zone, it would have been a touchback. Lions return man Jeremy Ross grabbed the loose ball and returned it to midfield, but the Cardinals challenged the play and it was reversed, the critical point being that Bethel had gained possession and control on the catch.
"I knew I had possession, but at first I wasn't sure my feet were in" the field of play, Bethel said. "I was darn, my big feet. I hung onto it as long as I could. I'm glad we got the call."
Once the review determined Bethel had possession of the ball before releasing it, the call was simple.
"When the kicking team possesses the ball it is dead by rule. (Bethel) had possession and threw it back. Different than batting it back," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said it a tweet.
Rookie kicker Chandler Catanzaro signed as a free agent for a $1,500 bonus, and his big expenditure was a $300 pair of headphones. He might be the best bargain on the team.
With two extra points Sunday, Catanzaro became the leading rookie scorer in Cardinals history with 75 points, breaking a tie with kicker Bill Grammatica, who had 73 points in 2001.
"It's all good. They gave me an opportunity, and I'm appreciative of that," Catanzaro said. "I just try to take advantage of opportunities. As a rookie free agent, a non-drafted guy, it is pretty amazing, pretty awesome, to play with these guys. I'm just really happy with where we are as a team. I have to keep it rolling next week at Seattle."
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians turned down possible 53-yard field goal attempts twice in the fourth quarter, opting to play field position with a defensive unit that kept Detroit out of the end zone. Catanzaro would have done the same thing.
"My competitive edge sets it. I definitely wanted to put it away for the team ... but I understood the situations in the context of the game," Catanzaro said. "I'm just here to do whatever the coaches ask of me."
Patrick Peterson, who covered Calvin Johnson almost exclusively, limited Johnson to five receptions for 59 yards. Johnson was targeted a whopping 15 times. "Am I surprised that 81 (Johnson) didn't get off a little more? Yes I am. But that's why Patrick Peterson makes the big bucks," said Cardinals inside linebacker Larry Foote said, who was named a midseason all-league player by Sports Illustrated. ... Safety Rashad Johnson's third interception of the season tied him Antonio Cromartie and Jerraud Powers for the team lead. Powers dropped a potential interception in second quarter. Johnson, in double coverage against Calvin Johnson with Peterson, said he and Peterson diagnosed the deep ball before Matthew Stafford even threw it. "We were both pointing at each other like 'They're going to take a shot,'" Rashad Johnson said. "That's what they did. We were both in position to get that ball. He got up after the play and it was like 'You stole my interception.' We laughed it off, as long as one of us makes the play."