Round II of GB @ AZ Goes to Warner, Cards

An Old-Fashioned Shootout in the Wild West

Wildcard weekend finished off with a bang. Multiple bangs, actually, and they all came from the final contest of a quartet of games in the opening playoff round. The Green Bay Packers destroyed the Arizona Cardinals in the final week of the season. If it were up to them, they would gladly take that loss instead of losing Sunday night. The Cardinals needed an extra session to defeat the Packers 51-45 in Glendale, Arizona.

After the Cardinals jumped out to an early 17-0 lead, everyone(including me) thought they were going to run away with this game. Instead, the Packers rallied behind their young stallion of a quarterback, who despite being conservative in the political realm, is absolutely cavalier on the football field. Rodgers routinely worked his way down the field against a jello-like Cardinal secondary. He exploited their defensive backs, who were so busy trying to make game-breaking plays that they forgot to wrap-up receivers or even make contact with them. Seriously, I don’t know how many times I saw them attempt to jump a route, but because Rodgers placed the ball so well they would miss the ball entirely and end up on the ground, completely out of position to make a play.

It was frustrating for me as I was rooting against the Packers. I didn’t like how undisciplined the Cardinals were playing defensively. It’s hard enough to keep Rodgers in the pocket, but to continually miss tackles down the field is unacceptable. If not for quarterback Kurt Warner, it might have been the Packers traveling to New Orleans to square off with veteran quarterback Drew Brees and the rest of the WHO DAT committee. Warner played what will most likely be the best game of his career, statistically, completing 29 of his 33 pass attempts for 5 touchdowns and a QB rating of 154.1. He was money all game, seemingly not missing Anquan Boldin at all as last minute fill-in Early Doucet did a great job replacing him and his production. Warner hit 7 different receivers, two of which had 2 touchdowns apiece, and Rodgers hit 10(count ’em, 10!) different receivers for 4 total touchdowns through the air. This is a quarterback-driven league, and these two QB’s gave us a shootout the likes of which haven’t  been seen since Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp took on the red-bandana gang.

Arizona can thank Cardinal Kurt for the opportunity to play the New Orleans Saints next week.

After the constant air-strikes, the Cardinals drove to within the Green Bay redzone and gave their kicker a chance to ice the game with 0:14 seconds left on the clock. Neil Rackers yanked the kick to the left, forcing the game into overtime. The Packers won the coin toss by choosing tails(something I will always do) and needless to say elected to receive the ball. After that completely deflating missed kick, the Cardinals looked like they were about to lose at home to the Packers. Everybody who thought so would have been within reason, especially with the way the game had gone up until that point. After Rodgers missed his receiver down the field, the offensive got a holding penalty against them, and Rodgers was sacked on a 3rd and short. He fumbled the ball, which was then recovered by the Cardinals’ Karlos Dansby and returned for a touchdown(By the way, that sack was totally a missed call. Michael Adams grabbed Rodgers face-mask to get him down. But, like Jordan’s shot on Russell in the NBA Finals against Utah, if the officials didn’t see it, it didn’t happen). Game. Blouses.

Side note, how could I have over-looked two important things when picking this game? Important Thing 1(for lack of a better title). The Cardinals are the perennial, Bill Simmons-dubbed “Nobody Believed In Us” team. These guys were underdogs in EVERY game in the playoffs last season. They ended up with road wins in Carolina, Philadelphia, and nearly upsetting the heavily favored Pittsburgh Steelers. 2. Ken Wisenhunt is the best coach in the playoffs. Now that Bill Belichick has been eliminated, the Cardinal coach is the lone alpha dog left standing of the remaining playoff coaches. First, look at what he’s done: the guy came from a strong Pittsburgh coaching staff two years ago, and led his 9-7 Arizona Cardinals to a deep playoff run. Second, his road wins are incredibly impressive, especially because of the playoff-tested opponents his team defeated en route to the Superbowl. Third, his team has played very well on the road this year and subpar at home, which is great news because the rest of their games figure to be on the road. That means that their team is tough-minded, and very dangerous.

The Cardinals are now the most experienced team left in the NFC playoffs(collectively). Their defense, while playing poorly today, is a play-making defense when at its best. At its worst, it gives up a ridiculous amount of points that the offense can make up for. Arizona’s the biggest hit or miss team left in the playoffs. If their defense isn’t clicking or their running game is stale, they can rely on the experience and arm of their All-Pro quarterback. They’ll go as far as he can throw them.

Till next time.

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4 Responses to “Round II of GB @ AZ Goes to Warner, Cards”

  1. Sina Says:

    Can you do a viewer post? What do you expect from the skins next seasaon?

  2. Gene Says:

    Man leave it to Warner to show what pigskin proficiency is.

  3. auburntigersfootball Says:

    hahaha, do you think you will?

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