Around the NFC West: Cards can exhale

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
8:35
AM ET
The Arizona Cardinals should not need a 99-yard punt return in overtime to win a home game against a 1-6 St. Louis Rams team.

They were not complaining Sunday.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic captured the significance as the Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak in getting to 2-6: "Ken Whisenhunt and his staff needed that in the worst way. Now, we can all focus on the positive, the one-game winning streak and the young players on defense. John Skelton was good enough to make plays when necessary but raw enough to keep people from screaming about the incumbent, Kevin Kolb. Perfect. ... It's a stretch to claim the victory gives the Cardinals new life. But it gives them some currency and some credibility. For the next six days, that will be a welcome change."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the usual rules for punt returners do not apply to Patrick Peterson. Somers: "Peterson, the youngest Cardinals player, scored the winning touchdowns via punt returns in both of the team's victories. He did it Sunday by violating the cardinal rule of punt returning, but with Peterson, the Cardinals are re-writing their rules. Before the season, Whisenhunt hated his punt returner catching a ball so deep. But he's operating under the Peterson Principle now."

Also from Somers: an update on where Skelton stands after offsetting errors with timely scrambles and the tying touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Whisenhunt: "He was poised. I think that was the most important thing today. He'll get even better with more time."

More from Somers: a few things this game revealed about the Cardinals.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic breaks down Calais Campbell's key play in blocking the Rams' attempt at the go-ahead field goal in the final minutes. Campbell credited Darnell Dockett, David Carter and Clark Haggans.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com anticipates hearing from people who think Skelton should remain the starter even if Kolb is healthy enough to play against Philadelphia in Week 10. Urban: "The Cardinals need to find out, over an entire season, what they have in Kevin Kolb. Kolb, if healthy, needs to play. John Skelton played a decent game Sunday. He won, and he is 3-2 as a starter. All that is true. Kolb, in my opinion, still should play. I’m pretty sure that’s how the Cards will approach it." Noted: I'd be stunned if the Cardinals took any other approach if Kolb were healthy enough to start. But if Kolb remains significantly limited by his turf-toe injury, giving him another week to recover could make sense.

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