GLENDALE – Receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s goal is to one day be regarded as one of the finest receivers in NFL history.
His more immediate motivation is to avoid the wrath of quarterback Kurt Warner.
“I want to make sure I’m accountable,” Fitzgerald said, “and if I’m not, I get that death stare from Kurt, and I try to stay away from that as much as possible.”
He’s not getting many of those looks these days. Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns in the victory Sunday over the Eagles.
He set an NFL record for most receiving yards (419) in a postseason. Fitzgerald has gained more than 100 yards receiving for five straight games, and his three in the playoffs tie an NFL record.
His three touchdowns against the Eagles tied the NFL record for most in a playoff game, which he now shares with five other players.
“I see it every day,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said of Fitzgerald’s ability. “In some situations, we have to throw the ball up to him because he is pretty darn consistent making those plays.”
Not everyone was congratulating offensive coordinator Todd Haley on his play calling Sunday.
On the team’s game-winning drive, the television broadcast showed receiver Anquan Boldin in a heated exchange with Haley.
Boldin declined comment about it after the game, and Haley called it “a heat of the moment” situation.
“We changed personnel groups out there and I put Steve Breaston in for (Boldin),” Haley said, “and he was upset about it.”
Back in the big game
Warner is going back to the Super Bowl, a sweet journey for a 37-year-old quarterback considered washed up not so long ago.
Warner engineered Arizona’s 32-25 victory over Philadelphia on Sunday in the NFC championship game, the culmination of an unlikely playoff run for a Cardinals franchise that had been the joke of the league for years.
Arizona will play Pittsburgh in two weeks in Tampa for the title after the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-14 in the AFC championship later Sunday.
Warner has been to the Super Bowl twice, in 1999 and 2001, as the ringmaster of the “Greatest Show on Turf” of the St. Louis Rams, and his cool leadership and ageless arm were perhaps the biggest reasons for Arizona’s climb from the NFL’s depths.
Warner threw four touchdown passes Sunday, three to the phenomenal Larry Fitzgerald.
Warner completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards with no interceptions. When he left the field, he hugged his wife, Brenda.
He broke down when he talked about it later.
“She’s been one of the few people who’s been with me from the beginning,” Warner said. “It was amazing. It was just joy, telling each other and it was unbelievable. There’s nobody I’d rather share it with.”
The Associated Press