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Quarterback steps in with success for injured Kolb
Quarterback John Skelton delivers a pass during Sunday's 21-19 win over the 49ers.

John Skelton may have uttered the word “prepared” more oftenthan any player in the NFL this season.

The Cardinals’ No. 2 quarterback mentioned it every interview he did during the weeks when he was starting and Kevin Kolb was constantly questionable becauseof toe and foot injuries. Then Sunday, it meant something – after Kolb was drilled in the head on the Cards’ third offensive play, ending his day and forcing Skelton into the lineup against SanFrancisco.

“That’s the role of a backup quarterback,” Skelton said. “You never know when or where or how.”

Given how poorly Skelton played the first time he faced the 49ers, there were questionsabout how Skelton would respond.

But he was prepared, and on the other end of a 21-19 win – in which Skelton threw three touchdown passes and finished with a career-high passing rating of 106.5 –earned deserved praise.

“It’s nice to see him, especially after the way he played against San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, bounce back and play well,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We have toeliminate those interceptions. That was more decision-making than anything, but he is doing a nice job of staying in the pocket and moving when there’s pressure. All those things are very good, and he madesome very good throws as well.”

Suffering from concussion-like symptoms, there are a few tests Kolb must pass before being cleared to play. Whisenhunt said Monday he didn’t have a timetable forKolb’s return. Given that, Skelton will be readied this week for the Browns, too.

Whisenhunt said that the Cards stuck with their game plan Sunday attacking the 49ers rather than adjust to Skelton afterKolb went out, creating matchup issues with sub-packages. There was a hope to spread the stout San Francisco defense out.

“I think you have an expectation that John has been in there enough and...