Skelton-ing? No, just winning - East Valley Tribune: Fox Sports Arizona

Skelton-ing? No, just winning

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Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 2:16 pm

John Skelton needs a signature move so fans can officially say they are Skelton-ing. Either that, or we could all just take a deep breath. It might help us think more rationally than the folks living in mile-high thin air.

On a day when Denver's Tim Tebow, came back to earth with a mortal thud against the Patriots, Skelton upped his season record to 5-1, helping the Cardinals became just the second NFL team to win three overtime games at home in a season by beating the Cleveland Browns 20-17 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Cardinals backup quarterback wasn't always pretty. He wasn't always good. But he completed 28 of 46 attempts for 313 yards, and his 32-yard completion to receiver Larry Fitzgerald in overtime set up Jay Feely's 22-yard field goal for the Cards' sixth win in their last seven games.

"Don't let Jay tell you he's the big hero now," cracked coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team has reached the .500 mark with its first four-game winning streak in Whisenhunt's tenure. "All he had to do was kick an extra point."

Whisenhunt won't have to worry. After the game, nobody was focused on Feely's two clutch kicks. Nobody asked about Whisenhunt's 43rd victory as Arizona's coach, which gave him the franchise's all-time victories record. And when the media relations staff announced that Skelton was headed to the interview room, linebacker Paris Lenon noted (with a smile) how many reporters bailed on an interview with linebacker O'Brien Schofield, whose sack and forced fumble set up Feely's game-tying field goal with 5:40 left in regulation.

"Everybody loves the quarterback," Lenon said.

Skelton was all the rage in the postgame press conference for his Tebow-esque late-game heroics.

"Whoever coined the term Tebow-esque should probably trademark it," Skelton said. "I want to make my own legacy. I'd prefer Skelton-esque."

You might read elsewhere today about a certain vibe Skelton has created with this 5-1 run. But before you lose touch with reality like the folks in Denver, you should know Skelton doesn't put much credence in that notion.

"Not at all," he said. "I don't think it ever comes down to one individual on a team. Our defense has been playing that much better the past few weeks, and our offense, when it needs to, finds a way to get it done. It's never about one guy."

That might not be the sexy story today, but it's the truth.

"We had so many different guys make plays throughout the course of the game, especially in the second half," Whisenhunt said. "The way our team fights back is really something special."

The biggest plays of the game, mostly due to timing, were Schofield's sack and forced fumble - which defensive end Calais Campbell recovered - along with Patrick Peterson's 32-yard punt return in overtime and Fitzgerald's catch.

But the Cards also got six catches from receiver Andre Roberts, eight tackles and a pass defended by safety Adrian Wilson and some critical completions by Skelton.

About the only thing that didn't go right for the Cards - other than struggling for most of the game against a woeful opponent - was the Detroit Lions' late rally for a 28-27 win at Oakland. Had the Lions lost, the Cards would have pulled within a game of a wild-card spot with two to play. Instead, Arizona faces extremely long odds to the postseason, needing to win out while either the Lions or Falcons lose twice and the Bears, Cowboys and Giants also provide help.

It would have been the perfect ending to this Sunday script had Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed a lengthy last-second field goal to beat Detroit. But the Cards might have to settle for progress and momentum heading into next season.

"We would like to go to the playoffs, but all we can control is what we can control, and that's just to keep winning," Schofield said. "Hopefully something good will happen for us - in the offseason or the postseason."



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