Hits don't deter Roberts from making plays

ST. LOUIS -- Even though Andre Roberts has never been left out of a conversation about the Cardinals' wide receivers, he’s usually the third guy mentioned. It's Larry Fitzgerald first -- always -- then Michael Floyd and finally Roberts, who, last year, was second to Fitzgerald's first.

Even Roberts' quarterback has a habit of putting him at the end.

"He's kind of got to be the third amigo," Carson Palmer said after Sunday's 27-24 loss to the St. Louis Rams. "You got Mike and hopefully we get (tight end) Robby (Housler) back and obviously you got Larry."

But Roberts, a soft-spoken man, didn't play like a third amigo Sunday.

He showed his grit going across the middle all day, hauling in eight passes for 97 yards. Only a few of those catches didn't end with Roberts getting crushed by a Rams' defensive back. But, every time, Roberts bounced up, dropped the ball and jogged toward the huddle.

"It's great," Floyd said. "We always say us three are like the best three wide receivers in the game and we hold all three of us to high expectations. That's nothing ordinary by him. Just a great player making great plays."

Throughout Sunday's game, the receivers' roles in Cardinals coach Bruce Arians' new offense began to appear. Fitzgerald, a precise route runner, excelled in tight spaces, whether it was on a 5-yard slant or a 30-yard post pattern. Floyd returned this season more comfortable and confident. He can absorb more contact and overpower defensive backs, as he did on a 44-yard pass that led to a touchdown. And Roberts showed his courage, speed and agility.

He converted two third downs in the second quarter with receptions of 13 and 10 yards. On the first he was leveled. Then in the third, he caught a 16-yard pass while he was toeing the Rams’ sideline. As he was falling out of bounds, he took another punishing hit to the back.

"Andre’s a guy, when the lights go on he shows up," Palmer said. "He made some really tough catches. They were trying to get their hands on him, pushing him around, he kept his feet, kept his balance and focused on the ball.

"But he made some really, really good plays and I’m not surprised one bit. That's what I expect out of Andre."