GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the first time since he assumed the starting role late in Game 1 for the Arizona Cardinals, quarterback Kevin Kolb’s impressive run seemed ready to stop against the Dolphins.
And the adversity almost swallowed him.
A red zone turnover that parlayed into an 80-yard scoring play for the Dolphins flipped the lead, and the Cardinals trailed by a touchdown late into the fourth quarter.
But Kolb’s storybook journey managed to continue as he helped architect a come-from-behind 24-21 victory in overtime on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.
“That’s NFL football,” Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said. “There’s no script.”
In his jaunt as the No. 1 quarterback since John Skelton’s ankle injury against the Seattle Seahawks a month ago, Kolb has almost seemed invincible in guiding the unbeaten Cardinals.
But the pressure from the Dolphins defense on Sunday was steady. They sacked him eight times – a season high for the Dolphins.
That’s why the interception Kolb threw from the 2-yard line midway through the fourth quarter wasn’t surprising, especially since it was the second interception of the game that was a misfire to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
“We tried to run a play that I’d flank Sean Smith, and he did a really good job on that play,” Fitzgerald said of Smith who caught the interception. “He did a really good job all day. He did a really good job on that play running over the top and making the play.”
After the touchback, the Dolphins needed only one play to score with quarterback Ryan Tannehill slinging an 80-yard pass to Brian Hartline. With a two-point conversion, the Dolphins led 21-14.
“They didn’t expect him to be that wide open,” Tannehill said. “I think they had some miscommunication back there. We expected it to be open, but with somebody covering him. He was open, and we were able to make a big play.”
Both teams would trade possessions before the Cardinals took over one final time with 2:51 remaining. On fourth-and-10 with 29 seconds left, Kolb found wide receiver Andre Roberts for a 15-yard score to force overtime before a 46-yard field goal by Jay Feely in the extra period settled it.
“It was a game that I felt we gave away,” Hartline said. “I felt we had control of that game. I felt like we could have won that game. It slipped away from us.”
Maybe so, but the frenetic finish fit perfectly in-tune with the Cardinals’ 4-0 start. It was also another chapter in Kolb’s story of redemption.
“He is a fighter and a competitor,” Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The thing that I really liked on that fourth down that he threw the touchdown pass to Andre he’d been sacked a lot today. He stood in there, waited for Andre on the double move and threw it to him in the corner with an accurate, good throw.
“It says a lot about his competitiveness and his will to win.”
Many predicted Skelton to be the answer, at least for now, and had he not suffered that early injury this could have been him guiding the Cardinals past the Dolphins.
“They were executing better than us,’’ Kolb said. “I think we’ve seen so many miracles happen in this stadium that we just don’t ever give up hope.”