Josh Rosen overcomes struggles as Arizona Cardinals get first win


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — A week ago, Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen said he wouldn’t mind throwing 10 interceptions in a game if it meant getting a win.

While he didn’t play nearly that badly Sunday, Rosen struggled at times after throwing a 75-yard touchdown on Arizona’s first play from scrimmage against the 49ers but still got his first career victory — and the Cardinals’ first win of the season — 28-18 at Levi’s Stadium.

“I’ll take this every time,” Rosen said.

Was he foreshadowing after last week’s game?

“Maybe,” he said. “We all got things to work on. It’s a long road ahead but hopefully this is the first win of many.”

It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pretty for Rosen, who finished with 170 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-25 passing while getting sacked just once. He struggled with overthrown passes and incompletions in the first quarter after his initial toss for the touchdown. Following that throw, Rosen went 1-for-5 for 5 yards. He rebounded with a strong second quarter, in which he threw for 80 yards on 6-of-9 passing. Rosen then completed just two passes in the second half.

Rosen couldn’t connect all of his missed throws, saying it was likely something different happened on each play, but he’ll know for sure after watching the film Monday.

“All I care about is this win,” he said after Arizona improved to 1-4. “I’m pretty happy. Got the first one.”

He was able to keep his composure and his head through his mishaps by “not getting too high, too low” and trying to always stay positive and consistent, which he’s become known for among his teammates.

But even Rosen wasn’t able to stay positive all the time.

“I got a little frustrated at times on the sideline,” Rosen said. “Some stuff I know I can do better. It is what it is. It’s a win, so we’ll move on, watch the film tomorrow and get the 24-hour rule and move on.”

Rose said he gets grumpy when he gets frustrated. But he’s asked his teammates to tap him on the shoulder and try to encourage him, just like he does with them.

“I love how he hits the reset button,” coach Steve Wilks said. “You have to do that at that position. Some throws that he would like to have back, but there were some that he did an outstanding job putting on the receivers.”

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald said the offensive struggles — which included the Cardinals going 2-for-12 on third down and rushing for 56 yards, part of 220 total yards they compiled while holding the ball for just 19 minutes, 48 seconds — can be “discouraging at times.”

But Fitzgerald was happy to see Rosen get his first win.

“They’re so difficult to come by in this league,” Fitzgerald said. “To be able to see him do it and take everything in stride the way he does and how accountable he is, it’s really fun to see a guy that young with his poise and his work ethic and the things that he does on a day-to-day basis, you just appreciate him a lot as a teammate.”

Rosen didn’t throw an interception for the second consecutive start and helped this year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks go 4-0 in the same week for the first time in the Super Bowl era, according to Elias Sports Bureau research.

All told, his coach isn’t concerned.

“I think he’ll be fine moving forward,” Wilks said.

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