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Fitzgerald Erupts Against Secondary

Posted Sep 23, 2012

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald entered Sunday's game against the Eagles with just five catches for 67 yards and no touchdowns on the season.

With the Pro Bowl tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback, the Eagles hoped to continue the trend. Instead, Fitzgerald's success against the Eagles was the trend that continued as the All-Pro wide receiver caught nine passes for 114 yards including a 37-yard touchdown in the Cardinals' 27-6 win over the Eagles on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

"We had a good gameplan coming in. It didn't work as we planned," said former Cardinal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie following the game. "We just have to get back to the drawing board. The one thing about it, it's a long season."

It was the third straight time against the Eagles in which Fitzgerald topped the 100-yard mark dating back to the 2008 NFC Championship Game. In five career games against the Eagles, including playoffs, Fitzgerald has 35 receptions for 570 yards and nine touchdowns.

The gameplan at the start of the week called for Nnamdi Asomugha to man up against Fitzgerald and follow him around the field. Asomugha said that secondary coach Todd Bowles figured that the Cardinals would plan for that, so the cornerbacks instead stayed in their regular positions. Even rookie slot corner Brandon Boykin took on Fitzgerald when he was lined up across from him.

The Cardinals moved Fitzgerald all over the formation - left side, right side and in the slot. Fitzgerald caught everything from screens to deep passes. The Cardinals even executed a few pick plays to spring Fitzgerald. The problem for the Eagles came in the execution of the gameplan. Asomugha noted a lot more errors from a communication standpoint than in the first two weeks of the season.

The big play for Fitzgerald came in the second quarter. Fitzgerald was lined up to the left of the formation across from Asomugha. On the opposite side of the field was wide receiver Andre Roberts. Quarterback Kevin Kolb took the snap from under center. Roberts ran a deep in which was covered by Nate Allen. Asomugha followed Fitzgerald, but was defending anything between him and the sideline since he expected help over the top. Kolb's pass went down the numbers away from Asomugha and with no help Fitzgerald caught the ball falling down at the 2-yard line and rolled in for the score.

"It was my fault," said free safety Kurt Coleman, who came up in run support on the play-action fake before dropping back. "I’ll take the heat for that. We’ll get better next week. We’ll come back stronger." 

An efficient Kolb was 17-of-24 for 222 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a quarterback rating of 127.4. Kolb's two first half touchdown throws coupled with two critical turnovers by the Eagles offense gave Arizona a 24-0 halftime lead. Asomugha admitted that the team came out a little flat.

"What was the score at halftime? Yeah, I think we were a little flat," he said. "It's been a while since we've been that flat."

Rodgers-Cromartie was "mad" after the game, but not because he wanted to have a big game against his former team. He wanted to get the win.

"I'm mad because it's a loss," Rodgers-Cromartie said.

Asomugha said that the team is not going to let the sting from the loss linger.

"It's gone. It's gone. We're talking about this next game already," Asomugha said. "We're playing for first and against a rival. It's gone. We take it out of our system."

The Eagles will need to as the Giants come to Philadelphia with two of the league's top wide receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. A bounceback game will be necessary.

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