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From Dead To Redemption

Posted Oct 1, 2012

Cardinals' rally against Miami emphasizes ability to overcome mistakes

Safety Kerry Rhodes celebrates his overtime interception Sunday, as the Cardinals fought back for an improbable win.

His game-winning field goal was fresh on everyone’s mind, including his own, and Jay Feely wore a wide smile.

The kicker’s odd personal foul penalty from earlier in the game, at a time when it could have devastated the Cardinals, was just a footnote. For that, Feely was glad. But it underscored the way the Cards rallied and have been rallying as a team of late.

Mistakes were plentiful against the Dolphins, but so too was the redemption.

“I think that speaks to the character of this team,” Feely said. “We don’t give up when we make mistakes, we don’t point fingers on the sidelines. Everyone just kind of expects that someone will pick them up.”

Quarterback Kevin Kolb topped the list. His interception in the end zone took away what looked like it would be the slam-the-door moment and opened up the possible loss when the Dolphins threw their 80-yard touchdown bomb on the very next play. All Kolb did was deliver the clutch game-tying drive at the end of regulation, including a 15-yard fourth-down touchdown strike to Andre Roberts.

Patrick Peterson struggled in punt returns all day, nearly coughing up the ball multiple times. But he jumped on the fumble and ran it back 61 yards to give the Cards their chance to put the game away. The offensive line struggled to keep Kolb upright, but protected him enough to come up with two fourth-down completions at the end of the game. The defense gave up more than 20 points for the first time this season and more yards than they’d like – 480 all told – but forced four turnovers, including the crucial two late in the game to set up the game-tying and game-winning points.

“It speaks to the resolve of this team that they never give up,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday, a few hours before his team took the field for their first practice of the short week. “In order to become the team we want to be, we’ve got to eliminate the mistakes we’re making and play a little bit more consistently.”

Whisenhunt isn’t going to let his team get overconfident, and if there is a benefit to winning the way the Cardinals did, it’s the knowledge they did it while stepping into a few potholes of their own making.

“We didn’t play our best,” safety Kerry Rhodes said, “but we still fought and clawed to have a chance to win at the end.”

Sunday morning, after reading a tweet about how his touchdown catch back in 2004 in Miami beat the Dolphins and snapped a 17-game road losing streak back then, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald tweeted out “thank goodness that’s behind us.”

But long losing streaks aren’t just what is behind the Cardinals these days. Steeled by last year’s six-game losing streak – which, don’t forget, started with losses of one, three and four points in games the Cards felt they should have won – the team suddenly can’t lose when it’s close late.

“If we would’ve been in that situation in the past we would have seen guys hanging their heads,” Fitzgerald said. “The atmosphere on the sideline would’ve been different.”

The difference is palpable.

“We’ve seen so many miracles happen in this stadium that we just don’t ever give up hope,” Kolb said.


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