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Monday, December 13, 2010
Around the NFC West: Jay Feely's day

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says Jay Feely's touchdown run was the play of the game for Arizona against Denver. Feely's 22-point performance against the Broncos stands out as one of the most refreshing stories in the NFC West this season. Feely scored 22 points in a row. When was the last time one player accounted for 22 consecutive points in a game? Ernie Nevers famously scored all 40 points for the Chicago Cardinals during a 40-6 victory over the Chicago Bears, but the Bears scored six points between 20-point runs from Nevers. The score was 20-0 and then 20-6 before Nevers scored the final 20 points.

Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic checks in with Feely, who reveals why he has worn gloves despite playing the game largely with his feet. Feely: "Yeah, I can stop getting all those questions from people about why I wear the gloves," said Feely, who also booted five field goals to help the Cardinals snap a seven-game skid and beat the Denver Broncos 43-13 at University of Phoenix Stadium. If you have the fake and you want gloves on to handle the ball, you don't want to tip them off by putting them on. It's for tackles as well as onside kicks, and it looks kind of cool, too."

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals weren't overly excited following their victory Sunday. But they were happy. Fullback Jason Wright: "It's like you've been holding your breath for two months."

Also from Somers, with McManaman: Larry Fitzgerald set two team records Sunday.

More from Somers: He used ESPN.com's Playoff Machine to find at least one way Arizona could still earn a playoff berth. Somers: "The Cardinals can go to the playoffs if they win out, the 49ers go 1-2 and Seattle and St. Louis lose their next two and then tie in their season finale. That way Arizona would be 7-9. Seattle and St. Louis would be 6-9-1 and the 49ers would be 6-10. It doesn't look like Arizona could win any tiebreakers within the division."

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says rookie quarterback John Skelton provided a spark for the Cardinals. Bickley: "Ken Whisenhunt is notorious for practicing tough love with his quarterbacks. He wouldn't even declare Skelton his starter for next week's game at Carolina. But in this case, I'm going to credit the player, not the coaches. Skelton is the first Fordham quarterback to take a snap in a NFL game since 1941, and yet he handled the moment with great maturity. He had no trouble falling asleep Saturday night, dozing off while watching a documentary on Vince Lombardi. And when the big moment arrived Sunday, television cameras caught him whistling on the sideline." I'm going to exercise restraint on this one. Max Hall's fearless demeanor helped spark Arizona to victory over New Orleans earlier this season. It's unrealistic to expect sustained success from most rookie quarterbacks.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Feely was enjoying a Pro Bowl-caliber year before Sunday. Perhaps this performance will help him get noticed.

Also from Urban: a closer look at Feely's touchdown run.

More from Urban: Skelton showed some steadiness. Urban: "Even-keeled is a phrase made for Skelton, and if the Cardinals learned anything Sunday, it was that Skelton would carry that personality into games. His first start ended in a 43-13 victory over the Broncos, and while Skelton wasn’t the reason for the win, he wasn’t doing anything to lose it either, and that was enough. He didn’t throw an interception. He didn’t blink at the end of the first half when center Lyle Sendlein’s thumb problems caused two straight botched shotgun snaps. He didn’t flinch when, in his first four pass attempts -- all incompletions -- he watched Fitzgerald, receiver Steve Breaston and running back Jason Wright make drops."