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First call: Larry Fitzgerald throws a TD pass; Aaron Donald sets sack record |
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Larry Fitzgerald throws a TD pass; Aaron Donald sets sack record

Tim Benz
| Monday, December 24, 2018 7:27 a.m
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) throws a touchdown pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) greets Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Rams won 31-9. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

In Monday’s “First Call,” the Hartford Whalers are reborn! Larry Fitzgerald throws a TD. And a kicker channels his inner Mike Singletary.

Did you know he could throw?

It may be a little late in his career to go down this path. But Pitt product Larry Fitzgerald is trying to lay claim to being the best Panther alum to play quarterback in the NFL.

Aside from Dan Marino. Maybe.

Check out this throw from Larry Fitz on a trick play by the Cardinals.

That was for 75 yards to David Johnson. It was his first touchdown pass in the league. It was the 10th by a non-quarterback in 2018. That’s the most in the NFL since 2002.

What are your thoughts, Pam Oliver?

And afterwards, Fitzgerald caught up with another former Pitt superstar.

I don’t know if Donald can throw a TD. But a goal line run or two sounds good to me.

Donald also set a record — of sorts — in the game. His 18 1⁄2 sacks are a record for a defensive tackle.

How about the style points, though?

Remember when I bestowed DeAndre Hopkins with the “Best Catch of the Year That Didn’t Count” award back in October for this gem against the Dolphins?

Perhaps, I was premature. Check out Deontay Burnett of the Jets against Green Bay.

Nah. Burnett still wins. But at least Hopkins stayed in bounds and completed the catch. It was just wiped out by an offensive pass interference call.

Actually, after this play in New Orleans, I might put Antonio Brown in second place.

Baker being Baker toward Hue


Sunday was the second time this year that the Browns played the Bengals with former Cleveland coach Hue Jackson on the Cincinnati sideline. Baker Mayfield wasn’t exactly warm toward Jackson last time.

And he took some guff for it. Mayfield was unapologetic, though. I guess Mayfield wasn’t fond of ol’ Hue as a head coach and doesn’t like the fact that he went to Cincy after he was fired this season.

Mayfield continued rubbing Jackson’s nose in it with this stare down yesterday after a 66-yard completion to David Njoku in the final minutes of the game. Cleveland won 26-18.

Mayfield gave a typically smug non-answer answer after the game when asked about the stare down.

“That’s all right. We won. David did not score on that play,” the rookie QB said.

OK. Not sure how that’s an answer to anything. But, whatever. Beat Baltimore.

Hit of the year?

I know the NFL tries to flag every hard hit these days. Even if the hits appear legal. But you can’t do that to a kicker.

Can you?

Atlanta’s Matt Bosher is glad they didn’t.

For the record, Bosher is 6-foot, 208 pounds. Kenjon Barner, the Carolina return man, is 3 inches shorter and 13 pounds lighter.

What in the name of Kevin Dineen is going on?

As a misplaced Penguins fan growing up in Connecticut, my first chances to see Mario Lemieux were in the Hartford Civic Center.

The dearly departed Whalers were our state’s only pro team. Sports fans — those who weren’t wise enough to root for Pittsburgh teams as my family did — glommed onto the New York or Boston clubs.

So, it brought a tear to my eye to see the return of the mighty Whalers jerseys yesterday in Carolina against the Bruins. That’s where the franchise moved before the 1997-98 season.

After goals, the Hurricanes Jumbotron even played the Whalers famous Brass Bonanza goal song.

The only thing that wasn’t like a Whalers game … is that the new Whalers won 5-3.

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