GLENDALE, Ariz. -- All season the Arizona Cardinals have tried to bring the best out of wide receiver Andre Roberts, and on Sunday may have figured out how as the second-year receiver had a career day. Unfortunately for them, they can't play the Dallas Cowboys every week.
Roberts set a career high in receiving yards Sunday with 111. That's one more than his previous best, set in a win against the Cowboys last season. The two games mark the only instances in Roberts' career he's gone over 100 yards receiving.
"Something about the Cowboys, I don't know," Roberts joked after the Cardinals 19-13 overtime win.
Lately it's not just the Cowboys, though, and Roberts is starting to display the talent the Cardinals have believed was there all along.
"He's blossoming in front of your eyes," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the game. "You can see his confidence growing every week. He made a number of big plays for us todayand he's done that the last couple weeks."
Roberts is amid the best streak of his young career, having compiled more than 50 yards in four of the Cardinals' last five games. Previously, Roberts had only two career games of 50 yards or more, and both came last season.
When the Cardinals let Steve Breaston leave via free agency in the offseason, Roberts was suddenly the team's No. 2 receiver. Replacing the 718 receiving yards Breaston compiled in 2010 would not be easy, but the Cardinals believed Roberts could do the job.
In the early goings, that belief didnt pay off much. Through Arizona's first seven games, Roberts caught just 13 passes for 133 yards. In two of those games, he had not a single catch. But then in week nine, something clicked.
"He got a game ball in the first St. Louis game a couple weeks ago and it seems like ever since then he has been building off that," Whisenhunt said. "(I'm) really excited to see Andre develop that way."
Roberts caught five passes that day for 55 yards, and now has 20 catches for 286 yards in the Cardinals' last five games. He's still without a touchdown this season but with quarterback Kevin Kolb back under center, Roberts should get even more chances during the Cardinals' four remaining games.
"Larry (Fitzgerald) is on the other side being double and triple teamed, even with defensive linemen on him one time (on Sunday)," Roberts said. "Kevin looked to my side a little more this game."
Without a doubt, Roberts' greatest contributions Sunday came in the final moments of the game. First, Roberts made his sixth catch of the day, tying a career high, on a low pass to keep the ball moving. Then two plays later, on a second down with 19 yards to go, Roberts drew a defensive pass interference to give Arizona an automatic first down.
Roberts' most key contribution, however, may have been the one that didn't show up in the box score. As running back LaRod Stephens-Howling caught a short pass at the Cardinals' 45-yard line, Roberts was on the sidelines, throwing the block that made Stephens-Howling's 52-yard, game-winning sprint to the end zone possible.
It was unsung contributions that lifted Arizona on Sunday, and Roberts' was chief among them. He didn't make any flashy highlight reel plays, but he made plays when the Cardinals needed it most. Still, he hardly gave himself a sliver of credit after the game.
"It's a team effort," Roberts said. "Of course, as a receiver, I want the ball as much as I can, but it's a team effort.
"On LaRod's last play, you don't know it, but everybody was down field blocking. It never would have happened. LaRod is definitely lethal in space, but everybody on the same page at the same time is what made it happen."
Roberts' performance is just one game, and certainly doesn't guarantee he'll keep improving. But if his career-best performance is a sign of his continued evolution, opponents may soon find themselves paying a little less attention to Fitzgerald.