Arizona quarterback Chris Streveler got his first snap in the NFL at that position early in Sunday’s must-win game against the Los Angeles Rams and made the most of it.
Streveler completed a 3-yard pass to wide receiver Trent Sherfield on first down, then hit running back Jonathan Ward on a shovel pass for an 11-yard score on the next play to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead. It was Ward’s first touch in an NFL game.
Arizona could not get much going offensively after that and lost to the Rams, 18-7, which sent the Rams and the Bears into the NFC Playoffs. The Rams (10-6) are the No. 6 seed, the Bears (8-8) are No. 7. The Cardinals (8-8) were knocked out of the playoffs with the loss.
Streveler, a 2013 Marian Central graduate, was signed as a free agent in the offseason after helping Winnipeg win the CFL’s Grey Cup championship last season. He previously had one touch in a game, a 3-yard run.
Streveler (6-foot-1, 216 pounds) drew interest from NFL teams because of his versatility. The Cardinals saw him as a player they could use in different packages as a runner and receiver.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was injured on an 8-yard sack on third down of their first drive, which sent Streveler into the game for the next series.
Arizona linebacker Jordan Hicks picked off a pass from Rams quarterback John Wolford at the Los Angeles 20-yard line and returned it to the 14 to set up the Cardinals’ score.
Murray suffered a right ankle injury and left for the locker room after the injury. He later returned to the field, tried to walk off the injury, but then was sent back to the locker room.
Murray returned early in the fourth quarter, but the Cardinals did not score again.
Streveler finished with 11-of-16 passing for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He rushed three times for 12 yards.
Rams defensive back Troy Hill picked off Streveler in the second quarter and returned the ball 84 yards for a touchdown.
Streveler was the first area player to be selected as Northwest Herald Player of the Year twice (2011, 2012). He played at Minnesota and finished his degree, but still had two years of eligibility remaining. Streveler played his last two years at South Dakota and was one of the to offensive players at the FCS level.
Streveler played two seasons with Winnipeg in the CFL, where he was a backup and often utilized for his running ability.
Streveler grew up in Crystal Lake, as did another Arizona player, Dennis Gardeck, a 2012 Crystal Lake South graduate. Gardeck has been a special teams standout for the Cardinals, but also earned time in situations as a pass rusher. Gardeck had seven sacks this season, but was lost with a knee injury for the final two games.