With the 38-10 win over the Detroit Lions, it ended a nine-game losing streak. But that wasn't all. It separated the team a bit from the experience a week ago in Seattle, when the Seahawks demolished them 58-0 and hopefully changed the talk of the fans about how the players quit.
"There was a lot of talk about if our team had quit," said head coach Ken Whisenhunt after the game. "It was 7-0 and we were punting the ball there, I didn't see any quit in our guys. I'm proud of them for that."
With only that, he had a point. The team fell apart last week in all phases. The offense did nothing. The defense gave up almost 500 yards. Special teams lost fumbles. Not this week.
Comments from the players show how much they wanted to get rid of last week.
Adrian Wilson, who reached a personal milestone with a sack, becoming the sixth player in NFL history to have 25 interceptions and 25 sacks in a career, said, "We had to bounce back from what we did last week."
Rashad Johnson, who intercepted a pass returned it 53 yards for his first career touchdown, said, "It was big for us, and not just from last week. We went on a bad skid, losing nine games straight, so it was really big for us to come out here and get a win."
Kerry Rhodes said "it was a big deal" to win after losing the way they did. "I wouldn't wish it on nobody," he said about the streak.
The defense, which really looked bad a week ago, stepped up. With three interceptions of Matthew Stafford, they allowed 228 net passing yards to the league's top passing offense that averages over 300 yards per game. They held Detroit to 6/18 on third down. They allowed just the one touchdown. They scored two on their own, as Johnson and Greg Toler had interceptions returned for touchdowns. Toler's was a record 102 yards. The previous high for the team on a pick was 99 yards, which both Adrian Wilson and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie both accomplished.
Patrick Peterson, charged with covering Calvin Johnson, picked off another pass, his seventh of the year, his sixth in the last 10 games and the fourth straight game he has had an interception.
Special teams came up big as well. Dave Zastudil had a team record six punts downed inside the 20. Michael Adams all but caused that Stefan Logan muff when he made the cover guy run into the returner. Then Adams recovered the ball at the five.
Even offensively there was improvement. They didn't have to do much. They were still awful on third down (2/12) and Ryan Lindley did have the one interception, but they capitalized on the opportunities the defense gave them.
Beanie Wells scored three touchdowns, and on his final score in the fourth quarter, when he reached the end zone from 31 yards out, you could tell he wasn't quitting. He wanted to score.
Maybe we were all wrong when we said that the Cards quit. It certainly looked like it. I also personally called for Whisenhunt's job because the players had quit. If they did, they got back to fighting. Maybe Whiz didn't lose the players. Otherwise, why would they have fought back so hard after falling behind against the Lions.
Sure, a win actually might not be the best thing for the team because they will not land that higher draft pick by beating the now 4-10 Lions. But winning is so much better. Players are happy, coaches are happy and fans are happy.
"Christmas came early in the desert," said receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "Santa made a delivery at University of Phoenix Stadium and we are all happy with the gift we received today. It feels good."
It feels good for the fans as well.