Cardinals: Week 17 News & Notes

(Getty)

Arizona had several younger players emerge during a 27-26 win against Dallas.

--The Cardinals returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter, the first time that had been done in an NFL game since 1999. The Cardinals have 12 returns for touchdowns this season, one short of the record set by Seattle in 2003.

--Coach Ken Whisenhunt has been pleased with rookie receiver Andre Roberts for some time. Roberts looked horrible in training camp, but he has improved steadily. He had five catches for 110 yards and a touchdown last week. "He hung in there," Whisenhunt said. "That's what makes really good football players, when they can fight through that and believe in themselves. He doesn't look as much like a rookie anymore, and that's pretty exciting."

--Kicker Jay Feely has been one of the team's best free agent signings in recent years. Feely has missed only three kicks this season, and he had a game-winning 48-yard field goal against Dallas. "He's really been a great addition for us," Whisenhunt said. "It's nice to have a guy that makes those kicks in the clutch situation."

--Quarterback John Skelton grew up in El Paso, but he hated the Cowboys. His mother was an avid Dallas fan, as were some of his friends, but Skelton sided with his father, who rooted against everything Cowboys. "There's nothing better than beating the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Day," Skelton said.

--OLB Joey Porter could return this week from a triceps injury that caused him to miss last week's game. Porter practiced late last week but didn't have enough strength in the arm to return.

--RB LaRod Stephens-Howling could return this week after missing Saturday's game with a hamstring strain. Stephens-Howling is one of the better kick returners in the NFL, and the Cardinals missed that dynamic. Replacement Andre Roberts averaged just 21.8 yards a return.

--WR Andre Roberts caught five passes for a career high 110 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown pass. Roberts has come a long way since the preseason, when he dropped so many passes that it appeared the Cardinals had wasted another third-round pick.

--OLB O'Brien Schofield, a fourth-round pick, played in place of Joey Porter last week and made the first sack of his career. Schofield didn't play until the second half of the season because of a knee injury suffered in January.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald caught only one pass, a 26-yarder late in the game. The catch moved him over 1,000 yards for the season. Before Saturday, Fitzgerald had caught at least two passes in 97 consecutive games. He last was shut out in a game in 2004, his rookie season, when the Cardinals played in the wind and cold in Buffalo.

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