Fitzgerald falls to 0-6 in hometown as Cards lose to Vikes
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Larry Fitzgerald found his friend Adam Thielen for a postgame hug at midfield following yet another loss for the Arizona Cardinals in Minnesota .
The embrace shared by these summer training and golfing partners could have served as a symbolic torch-passing from one star wide receiver born and raised in Minnesota to the next .
Fitzgerald, in his 15th and perhaps final NFL season, fell to 0-6 in his career in his hometown after the 27-17 victory by the Vikings. The Cardinals managed just 269 yards, went 0 for 12 on third and fourth down conversions and turned the ball over twice.
“It’s frustrating,” said Fitzgerald, who was targeted by rookie Josh Rosen eight times and had five receptions for 39 yards. Fitzgerald added: “You’ve just got to keep chugging along. We have four days to rest, and then we’re back at it again.”
The Cardinals (1-5), who host the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, have been outscored 42-0 in the third quarter this season.
“You hope you can change quickly, but all you can do is just keep working at it,” said Fitzgerald, who is 175 receiving yards away from passing Terrell Owens for second place on the NFL’s all-time list behind Jerry Rice. “It’s not like we’re not putting in the effort and time and film studying and things of that nature.”
The game was tied until a field goal by Dan Bailey put the Vikings in front with 7 seconds left before halftime. Then the Vikings scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the second half to move ahead 27-10.
With the Cardinals facing third-and-6 at the Minnesota 49, Rosen threw to Fitzgerald — and Vikings safety Anthony Harris jumped right in front of him for the interception. Then on Arizona’s next drive, a fourth-and-2 pass by Rosen from the Minnesota 32 for Fitzgerald fell incomplete with Mackensie Alexander in coverage.
“It happened fast. I lost it in the lights,” Fitzgerald said. “I can’t tell you what happened right now. Obviously, I would’ve loved to make the play.”
As a player who grew up learning the game on park grass in Minneapolis and served as a ball boy for the Vikings when Cris Carter and Randy Moss were the star wide receivers, Fitzgerald still has “a little purple running through my veins,” as he put it this week on a conference call with Minnesota reporters.
Thielen, meanwhile, has long looked to Fitzgerald as a player to emulate for not only his tie to the same state but his work ethic, community service, football instinct and exceptional skills. With 123 yards and a touchdown on 11 receptions, Thielen became the first player in the NFL since 1961 to post a 100-yard performance in six straight games to start a season. With 58 catches, Thielen also has the most in league history over the first six games of a season.
“I’m really happy for him,” Fitzgerald said. “Every single week he continues to raise his level of play. He makes tough plays and consistent plays and does a great job in the run game. He’s been a sparkplug for his team all season.”