The Arizona Cardinals remain on the periphery of the NFC playoff race with their 21-19 victory over the NFC West champion 49ers on Sunday.At 6-7, the Cardinals have now won five of their past six games, and they snapped a five-game losing streak to the 49ers -- the team they consider their biggest rival. The Cardinals also avenged a 23-7 loss to the 49ers three weeks ago.
Here is some of the reaction from the winning locker room:"They are so good with their front seven that we came in with the idea of spreading it out a little bit. I would have preferred to do better in the run game. But we made some big plays, some stretch-the-field plays that we thought we could attack them with."
--Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt"I didn't think it was a catch. That's why I threw the challenge flag . . . other than I suspected that they may try to run a fake field goal."
--Whisenhunt, laughing, on the challenge of a Kyle Williams reception that negated a 49ers fake field goal that would've resulted in a first down and possibly a touchdown"What I'm more interested in is beating a team that is 10-2 and has won their division. Say what you want to, that's a good football team. For us to beat them means we have made progress as a team. There's a rivalry with the 49ers because they have good players and they play a physical game. It's nice to get it from that perspective because our guys really wanted it."
--Whisenhunt on ending the five-game skid to the 49ers"It was an exciting day all-around for this ballclub. The last couple weeks have been great to be able to talk about the wins. Our defense played lights out again. To be able to hold a good football team in the San Francisco 49ers like they (the defense) did, it was impressive. We gave them some bad luck by turning the ball over three times. That's something you definitely cannot do against a good ballclub like them."
--Receiver Larry Fitgerald"I feel like every game is our Super Bowl. Every game is a playoff game for us and that's how we look at it. I don't know what the 49ers were thinking this week. That's still a great team. I wish them well in the playoffs. Right now, we're finding our identity and playing well."
--Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett"I think we just continue to stay within our scheme and believe in everything that the coaches tell us. We know we have been putting in the work continuously. It was too bad the way the game turned out in San Francisco but we knew what type of team we had. If we continue to play hards and for four quarters like we did (Sunday), it shows the type of team we have."
--Receiver Early Doucet"It is huge. They are our biggest rivals in my opinion. What makes it even sweeter is that they are the division champs. Our mindset is that we are going to go out and show that we can beat the division champs, try to make a run at this and hopefully get to the playoffs."
--Defensive end Calais Campbell"It's a big one. First of all, it's a division game and we just wanted to come out here and win the game. We are just trying to keep it going. We are going to let the chips fall where they may. . . I don't know if you could call it a rivalry if they kept beating us. We came out and took care of business."
--Receiver Andre Roberts"Coach Horton's defense (defensive coordinator Ray Horton) is really starting to come together for a lot of us. We are really starting to understand it and you can see it on the field. We gave up a few big plays, and you never want to do that. Now, the next step is trying to get some turnovers. I dropped an interception and we could have made a lot of big plays."
--Linebacker Sam Acho"Who knew? When we were 1-6, especially after winning the first game, we were thinking we were a good football team. We just had to find ourselves at some pint in the season. Going 1-6, we never kept our heads down. We stayed up. To win five out of six games, it has been amazing."
--Linebacker Darryl Washington"Hats off to the coaches for just staying the course. With the lockout and not being at minicamp and all the other stuff, we basically had to use Flagstaff (training camp), the preseason and even the season when it counted to try to get acclimated with the defense and where everybody fit in. I would say the last month-and-a-half or so, everything has come together."
--Linebacker Clark Haggans