In 2011, the Cardinals started the season with a 1-6 record. It looked like the year would be over for Arizona before the halfway point began. Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson changed all of that when he sparked the team with a 99-yard punt return for a touchdown in a Week 9 win over the St.Louis Rams.
Peterson’s efforts sparked the team so much that Arizona was riding a 5-1 record in their last six games. They entered their Week 16 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals with a 7-7 record, and it looked like a playoff berth was possible. This game against the Bengals sure didn’t start like that. By the time the fourth quarter had started, the Cardinals were facing a 23-0 deficit.
Touchdowns by Larry Fitzgerald and Jeff King got Arizona on the board, and a field goal would make the score 23-16 with a few minutes to play. Later on, the Cardinals were facing a 4th and 5 when quarterback John Skelton rolled to his right and fired a pass to a wide-open Early Doucet.
Doucet had actually turned around too early and in the process and fell down while the ball sailed over his head. Had he kept running a few more steps, it would have resulted in a touchdown for the Cardinals.
Instead, Arizona fell to the Bengals and then finished their season with an 8-8 record by beating the Seattle Seahawks in their season finale.
While the Cards didn’t have a chance for the wild card spot because the Detroit Lions somehow went 10-6, it still is one of the more agonizing moments in Arizona history. It would’ve been quite the feat to end the season with a winning record after that incredible rally.
Doucet was later released after the 2010 season.