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Wins, TDs Bolster Larry Fitzgerald's Season

Posted Dec 26, 2013

Notebook: Receiver sees year as "average"; Palmer chases 4,000; SF game sells out

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald races downfield for a 75-yard touchdown during the Cardinals' loss in San Francisco earlier this season.

With a game to go, Larry Fitzgerald called his season “an average year.”

The wide receiver has become a dangerous red-zone target again with 10 touchdowns and has 76 receptions, although with 841 yards he likely will fall short of the 1,000-yard plateau for a second straight season.

“But I think about where we are as a team, as opposed to where we were the year before, playing meaningful games in December,” Fitzgerald said. “A chance to win 11 games … it’s an impressive year.”

Fitzgerald’s lone 100-yard game this season happened to come against the team that the Cardinals will play in the finale Sunday. Bolstered by a 75-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, Fitzgerald had 117 yards in San Francisco against the 49ers in October.

The veteran came into the season adjusting to a new role in coach Bruce Arians’ offense, with multiple responsibilities and a goal of reestablishing him as a major red-zone threat following his four-touchdown season a year ago.

The hope was that Fitzgerald could echo Reggie Wayne’s Indianapolis success in a similar spot of Arians’ offense.

“He’s gutted it through half the year hurt,” Arians said. “Learning a variety of new positions, I think he’s done extremely well. I would have liked to see him get that 1,000 yards for sure, but his touchdowns are up where we want them to be. I’d like to see him get a few more. We’d like to have about a 15-touchdown year out of him. Hopefully we’ll have at least 12.”

Fitzgerald would love to get two more against the 49ers. It was a Fitzgerald fumble as the Cardinals were driving in San Francisco – inside field-goal range already and down two points – that turned the tide of an eventual loss.

“You don’t need any extra motivation to play against the 49ers,” Fitzgerald said. “If we could only win two games the whole season, I would pick both to be the 49ers. They have beaten up on us the last few times.”

PALMER SEEKING 4,000

With 133 yards passing Sunday, quarterback Carson Palmer would become the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 4,000 yards with three different franchises – not that the veteran really feels like talking about it now.

“I think it will mean something later when you think about things like that,” Palmer said. “Statistics don’t matter right now. Getting a win, and sending (the 49ers) into the playoffs with a loss, is what matters.”

Fitzgerald joked that Palmer actually should get more credit for passing for 4,000 yards last year with the Raiders, a topic Palmer deftly sidestepped when asked about comparing throwing for 4,000 for Oakland and Arizona.

“That’s a good (offense) when we hit 4,000,” Arians said.

ABRAHAM A GAME-DAY DECISION; WASHINGTON HURTS ANKLE

Linebacker John Abraham (groin) sat out practice for a second straight day and Arians said the veteran’s availability will be a game-day decision. Linebacker Daryl Washington was also added to the injury report as limited with an ankle injury. Backup quarterback Drew Stanton was added with a knee injury, but he practiced full.

Safety Rashad Johnson (ankle) returned to practice as limited, as was guard Daryn Colledge (back).

For the 49ers, center Jonathan Goodwin (not injury related), linebacker Dan Skuta (foot), defensive tackle Justin Smith (shoulder) and receiver Mario Manningham (knee) didn't practice. Tight end Vance McDonald (ankle), guard Mike Iupati (knee) and running back Frank Gore (knee) were limited.

FINALE OFFICIALLY A SELLOUT

The home finale against the 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium is officially a sellout, the 83rd straight game the Cardinals have sold out in their building. The game will be televised live locally on Fox, with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa with the broadcasting duties.

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