Another week, another nail-biter for the Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
The way this season has gone, would you come to expect anything else?
The Cards (7-7) extended their win streak to four when Jay Feely nailed a 22-yard field goal in overtime to lift Arizona to a 20-17 comeback win over the Browns (4-10). After starting 1-6, the Red Birds have won six of their last seven and still have an outside chance of making the playoffs with some help down the stretch.
“Obviously, it was a big win for us today,” head coach Ken Whisenhunt explained after the game. “We haven’t won four games in a row since I’ve been here, so that is a pretty significant deal. We have a lot of things to clean up…but with all that being said, finding a way to win is something pretty special and I’m proud of our guys.”
The Cards certainly didn’t look like a team fighting for their playoff lives after the Browns took the opening kickoff and marched 76 yards on seven plays capped by a Peyton Hillis one-yard run to make it 7-0. They eventually pushed the lead to 17-7 when backup quarterback Seneca Wallace scrambled and hit Greg Little in stride down the sideline for a 76-yard strike late in the third quarter.
Arizona pulled to within 17-14 on Beanie Wells one-yard plunge before O’Brien Schofield sacked Wallace on consecutive plays, forcing a fumble on the second which was recovered by Calais Campbell deep in Cleveland territory. The Cards settled for a field goal, but gained momentum heading into sudden death.
“Different guys are stepping up every single week,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “Today (O’Brien) Schofield made some huge sacks. “He put us in a position to get it going. There were a lot of guys making plays and that makes it even more special.”
Again the Red Birds relied on backup quarterback John Skelton’s late game heroics. After the Cards defense forced a Cleveland punt to start overtime, Skelton found Fitzgerald on a 32-yard connection down to the Browns four before Feely gave the Arizona fans an early Christmas gift with the game-winner. Skelton finished 28-46 for 313 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.
“As soon as the fourth quarter comes on, he takes his cape off and comes out there,” Fitz said. “We know there is something special about the guy. Everyone talks about Tim Tebow and his record as a starter, but you look at (his) record and it’s pretty good, too.”
With the victory Whisenhunt notched his 43rd win, most in franchise history.
After three-straight home games, the Cards hit the road next weekend when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals (8-6) on Christmas Eve.