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Pitt in the NFL: Fitzgerald continues resurgence in week nine

By Brandon Duerr / For The Pitt News

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Sunday’s week nine NFL games started out with a thriller in Houston as the Philadelphia Eagles won 31-21 with a backup quarterback.

When starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his collarbone in the first half, former Pitt running back LeSean McCoy stepped up to help lead the Eagles to victory. McCoy finished with 23 carries for 117 yards in the win, and he had his longest rush of the day go for 26 yards, helping to set up a second half scoring drive. With his performance, McCoy moved himself to fourth in the league in rushing, and he is second only to DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC in that category.

Another big game involving NFC playoff contenders came when the Cowboys hosted the Arizona Cardinals and former Pitt wideout Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals, who now boast the best record in the NFC at 7-1, have increased their offensive production over the past five weeks since quarterback Carson Palmer returned from an injury.

One of the main reasons for this is the connection that Palmer has had with Fitzgerald. A week removed from a 160-yard and one-touchdown performance against the Eagles, Fitzgerald was again Arizona’s leading receiver, catching five passes for 70 yards, including a 31-yard play that keyed Arizona’s first touchdown drive.

Fitzgerald also extended his impressive streak of games with at least one reception to a remarkable 157 straight games. The Cardinals did not give up an offensive touchdown until the final minutes of the fourth quarter in the 28-17 win.

The St. Louis Rams and former Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald took the field against the San Francisco 49ers yesterday in a divisional matchup in San Francisco. The Rams stunned last year’s NFC runner-up with a goal-line stand in the final seconds, forcing quarterback Colin Kaepernick to fumble on third down after halting his progress with a good push from their defensive line, led by Donald.

To go along with the push in the final seconds, Donald posted solid numbers again in his “push” to become defensive rookie of the year. He had two tackles, a sack, another tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries, giving the 49ers and Kaepernick fits all day long. The Rams now sit at 3-5 after the impressive 13-10 win.

Former Pitt defensive back Darrelle Revis and the New England Patriots foiled the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning’s thoughts of coming into Foxborough and stealing a win Sunday night. Revis covered star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas most of the night and held him without a touchdown, though Thomas did end the night with 127 receiving yards. Revis also tallied five tackles and a pass defended in the game.

The Browns improved to 5-3 with a 22-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Linebacker Jabaal Sheard helped to hold the Bucs offense to a minimum, going for two tackles and a deflected pass at the line of scrimmage. Defensive back K’Waun Williams played some key moments on special teams as well in the victory.

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Pitt in the NFL: Fitzgerald continues resurgence in week nine