Defining Moments. Thatʼs what the Arizona Cardinals Week 4 match-up against the visiting Miami Dolphins was all about. In a game that would have, should have crushed a team, Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals came out victorious once again.
After taking a 14-13 fourth quarter lead, Patrick Peterson hauled in rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehillʼs first fumble and ran it back 61-yards to the Miami 3-yard line. Then disaster struck.
Intending to hit Larry Fitzgerald for his second touchdown of the game, Kolb didnʼt see him get pushed off route until it was too late.
The interception was absolutely brutal, Kolb called it ʻthe worst throw of [his] careerʼ but that wasnʼt the end of it. On the very next play Tannehill connected with Brian Hartline for an 80-yard touchdown. Then followed it up with a 2 point conversion.
This would be the moment of truth for Kevin Kolb. His ability to emerge from the pressure of such a colossal mistake could define his career. Would he be the same old Kolb from last season? ʻSkittishʼ, unsure and forcing plays. Or the $63.5 million franchise Kolb? Confident, committed, accurate, and worth every penny.
With less than three minutes remaining in the game, the Dolphins had the ball, their fans were in celebration mode and people were heading for the exits. Right on cue, the Cardinals defense exploded as Daryl Washington sacked Tannehill who fumbled the ball for the second time in the quarter. Recovered on the Arizona 49 by Vonnie Holliday, Kevin Kolb had 2:29 left on the clock to make it happen.
He did; and it was incredible. Kolb completed the 51-yard drive in spectacular fashion with a poised and perfect 4th down, 15-yard touchdown reception to Andre Roberts to tie the game at 21 at the end of regulation.
Overtime in the desert (and a strange feeling of deja vu). After a Cardinals punt, the defense exploded again on Miamiʼs first possession as Paris Lenon knocked Tannehill mid-throw causing a Kerry Rhodes interception. Kolb and his offense moved the chains another 19 yards to set up Jay Feelyʼs 46-yard game-winning field goal to the thunderous roar of the Birdgang. It was another exhilarating overtime victory and the 10th time in Cardinals history that the team has overcome a 13-plus point deficit.
The facts are simple. The undefeated Arizona Cardinals have won 11 of their last 13 games, including 5 overtime thrillers in 8 straight home wins, and are one game shy of tying a franchise record of 9, going back to 1925. Although Kolbʼs statistics bucked his previous 3-game trend, he ended the day 29 of 48 for 324 yards, 3 touchdowns, 2 turnovers, and 8 sacks. His best yardage and touchdown performance since coming to the desert. And despite his quarterback rating of 30.6, his 4-week average of 97.6 is the ninth best in the NFL. Heʼs thrown 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and his passer rating on third downs of 120.2 is the second highest in the league.
Itʼs time to take notice: Kevin Kolb is better that you think he is. And so are the 4-0.
Next up: the St. Louis Rams on Thursday Night Football.
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