GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Larry Fitzgerald knows what his standard is, so when he wasn't playing at that level late in the third quarter of Sunday’s win over the Detroit Lions, the All-Pro receiver told his coaches he couldn’t go any more.
For the rest of the game, Fitzgerald watched from the sidelines with his left hamstring wrapped as the Cardinals mounted a comeback to top the Detroit Lions 25-21.
“I just didn’t have it late in the game,” Fitzgerald said. “I tried to go out there and fight it out early but I just didn’t run the routes the way I’m capable of running them and that’s not where I wanted to be.”
Adrenaline masked whatever pain lingered during pregame warm-ups, when he appeared to run through a series of routes with relative ease.
“I would’ve been good if I was 80 percent,” said Fitzgerald, who caught two of five passes thrown his way for 33 yards.
Yet by the second half, Larry wasn’t Larry. He was fatigued and couldn’t get separation from the Lions’ cornerbacks.
Fitzgerald, who was questionable heading into the game, didn’t want to abandon his teammates and miss the fifth game of his career, so he tried to fight through it.
“I’m not going to lay down,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s never how I was raised. I knew I could help in the run game. I knew I could run some guys off and thought I’d attract some coverage and help some other guys get free and that’s what I tried to do the best I could.”
Fitzgerald’s replacement, Kerry Taylor, may have given the Cardinals another productive option at receiver. Taylor was promoted from the practice squad Saturday afternoon and caught three passes for 40 yards.
A corner route that resulted in a pass interference call with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter was the last straw for Fitzgerald. After the game, Fitzgerald said he could’ve scored a touchdown on that play if he was healthy. He lasted the rest of that series and a couple into the next before pulling himself out just before the end of the third.
“At that point I knew I didn’t want to be the guy in the clutch where I couldn’t separate to get open,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald believes he’ll be healthy for next Sunday's game in New Orleans.
“Larry gutted it out,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “I am very proud of him. We’ll see how the hamstring is next week. But I don’t think it’s too bad.”