"If anyone said you want to be 4-0 in the beginning of the season, I don't care how you do it," said Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt after this team came back from 13 points down and seven points down to beat the Miami Dolphins 24-21 in overtime. "If you can find a way to win, that's what is important."
And win games is what the Cardinals have done since the midpoint of last season. They have 11 of 13 regular season games dating back to last season. Five of the team's last seven games have been decided by the last play of the game. They have won five overtime games, all at home, in the past two seasons. Excluding last week's 27-6 win over the Eagles, the Cardinals have not won a game by more than seven points since they beat the Denver Broncos 43-13 in 2010.
Obviously, the team should be used to it, right?
"I don't know if you ever get used to it," answered Whiz. "I think it says a lot for our team and our approach that we have been that successful. It's not luck, I'll tell you that,"
Larry Fitzgerald had a little more fun with the topic. "This is what the fans pay for," he said. "This is exactly why the NFL fans keep tuning in to see games like this. It's a lot of fun to be a part of it, especially when you come out on the winning side."
This was a game that very much looked in doubt for the fans, but the team never stopped believing. Here are some quotes that sum it up.
"I think we've seen so many miracles happen in this stadium that we just don't ever give up hope. It happened last year. It happened with Seattle and then it happened today."
Kicker Jay Feely:
"Look at all the games we won last year. Four overtime games, games at the end, and finding a way to make plays, and the will to win. You can look at all those things, but I just think it's the character of this team that shows through in those moments. We don't give in, we don't get mad and we don't start pointing fingers. We just buckle our chinstraps and go find a way to win it."
Safety Kerry Rhodes:
"when you win games like that, later on it can help you out. It makes it look good later on down the line. This game was a game where we didn't play our best. We know that. We were able to fight, still claw and have a chance to win at the end. That's what happened. We pulled it out."
Safety Adrian Wilson:
"i just think the team showed character and heart. We didn't give up. We've been in games like this before. It's not uncommon for us...Like I said, this is not our first time in games like this.
"I think that it is the biggest difference on this team over the past few years compared to the past. If we would've been in that situation in the past we would have seen guys hanging their heads, the atmosphere on the sideline would have been different. But now there's not a guy on the sideline who didn't believe we could go out there and win this ball game."
There were plenty of mistakes. Ryan Tannehill looked like a superstar, throwing for 431 yards. Receiver Brian Hartline set a team record with 12 catches and 253 yards receiving. On the other side, Davone Bess had seven catches for 123 yards. Kevin Kolb was intercepted twice. Patrick Peterson muffed two punts, fumbled on another return and made an inexplicable fair catch inside his team's five-yard line. There was a miscommunication defensively that led to the 80-yard touchdown play to Hartline. The offensive line gave up eight sacks.
Yet despite all of that, The Cardinals pulled out the win. That is the best part. They have not played their best ball and they are undefeated. It is a great situation to be in.
The best part? Since they know they made big mistakes, they still have more to play for. They haven't played well for 60 minutes yet.
If this isn't the team's best, what will happen with this season?