ATLANTA - Maybe this is the year Adrian Wilson will finally earn that Pro Bowl berth he covets so much.
The only bright spot of the Cardinals’ 32-10 loss to the Falcons Sunday came from their veteran strong safety, who snatched a Michael Vick pass at the Arizona 1-yard line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. The play set a franchise record for the longest interception return, and it briefly gave Arizona a 10-9 lead.
“It was one of those things, it could have been a momentum boost,” Wilson said.
It didn’t turn out that way.
“We had our back against the goal line and we took it 100 yards,” said linebacker Calvin Pace, one of the players that delivered a downfield block to spring Wilson. “That said a lot about us — but we needed more of that.”
Wilson admitted he ran out of gas on the long run — “Ninety-nine yards, you would too” — but said he was helped by his “little convoy,” which included Antrel Rolle and Pace. Vick had tried to force the ball to receiver Michael Jenkins when Wilson stepped in.
“He made a great play and to be honest with you, I made a bad play,” Vick said. “Before the play I told myself if I didn’t get the coverage I was looking for I was going to throw the ball away. (But) sometimes I get caught up in the moment.”
It was Wilson’s second interception of the season to go with two sacks, and a sign of progression for a player who has been taken to task for his spotty pass coverage.
“I don’t care what they say about my pass coverage,” Wilson said. “I know if there is an opportunity to make a play, I’m going to make it.”
Coach Dennis Green showed his lack of patience at his right cornerback spot, yanking starter Eric Green from the game and replacing him with David Macklin.
Macklin had started the season opener but was benched for Green after a missed tackle and dropped interception. Eric Green got a start before hurting his groin, and Matt Ware got a start while Green healed. Green was back in the lineup Sunday but ticked off the coaches by missing a coverage on Ashley Lelie on a short pass and then later getting beat by Lelie on a 51-yard bomb.
“I just think we were not playing the deep ball very well,” Dennis Green said. “As long as (No.) 25 (Eric Green) is standing out there they are going to throw it deep because he wouldn’t play the ball.”
Eric Green disputed the idea the Falcons were looking to throw deep on him, was clearly unhappy afterward and added he was surprised he was pulled.
“They are the coaches, they make the call,” Green said.
Kickoff returner J.J. Arrington struggled, averaging just 15.6 yards a return and looking on some of his returns that he was shying away from contact.
Dennis Green wasn’t happy about the lack of field position. The Cardinals reached their 20-yard line on only five on Arrington’s eight runbacks.
“We didn’t do a good job in blocking,” Green said, declining to assess Arrington’s performance. “(The Falcons) are number one in kickoff coverage, but I thought we’d do better than that.”
The Cardinals inactivated second-round pick Deuce Lutui, a guard, meaning four of Arizona’s seven April draft choices (along with defensive tackles Jon Lewis and Gabe Watson and linebacker Brandon Johnson) were inactive. One draft pick, receiver Todd Watkins, is on the practice squad. . . .
Falcons kicker Morten Andersen, who came out of retirement the week before, tied his career high with five field goals (Michael Koenen booted a sixth for Atlanta). Andersen extended his own NFL record by scoring in his 334th consecutive game.