We Needed This One - Cards over Dawgs

Antrel Rolle defending Kellen Winslow on game’s final play, from azcardinals.comFinally, the Arizona Cardinals were on the positive end of a call that ended a game. This one was a battle folks, I should now, I was RIGHT THERE watching and we definately had an equal amount of luck and skill in today’s victory over the Cleveland Browns.

What is it with us? Every time we are picked to lose a game, we end up coming up with a big victory. I mean, Seattle, Pitt, Detroit, Cinncinatti, Cleveland – the only game we have won that we were picked to win was the St Louis game!? Oh well, this win keeps us very much alive in the NFC playoff picture, with our NFC West showdown coming next weekend against the Seahawks.

Here were the keys to this one:

- Cards win the turnover battle

The Cards have won three out of their last four games, and in those 3 victories the Cards have forced 14 turnovers while only giving up 1. In our loss to San Francisco last week, we gave up 4 turnovers. It’s pretty simple, be efficient and careful with the ball and you will probably have a pretty good chance to walk away with the W. Arizona was able to generate 21 points off of those 4 takeaways. Cards QB Kurt Warner had one INT on the day, but that came off of a tipped pass, sometimes that just happens.

- Cards got back to the ground game

Edgerrin James rushed for 114 yards on 23 carries, only his second 100 yard game of the year. We’ve all seen the stat on Edge and the teams he plays for; whenever James rushes for over 100 yards, his team is 48-6, that means they have won the game 80% of the time. Now I don’t know about you, but that stat is significant enough for me to realize that I need to get him the rock as much as I can! On the final drive of the game for Arizona, Edge and the running game ate 5:00+ minutes off of the clock and forced the Browns to burn all of their timeouts. That is how the running the ball will win you a ballgame!!

- Special Teams didn’t give up the big play

The Cards special teams was huge today, limiting the impact of Browns star returner Josh Cribbs. Neil Rackers connected on all of his attempts and kept the ball out of Cribbs’ hands on kickoffs all but one time. Newly signed punter Berger was great today, allowing the Cards to dictate field position. Cards rookie returner Steve Breaston was huge today, averaging over 30 yards per return on kickoffs and setting up a scoring drive with a 59 yard kick return to open the fourth quarter. This kid was a great draft pick!

So here we are, 6-6, a better win total than both of the last two seasons. This win was exactly what the team needed to lift itself up and get their minds right for this weekend’s big showdown with the Seattle Seahawks. It’s been a long time since the Cards had anything to fight for in December, and they have a chance to do something really special here. LETS GO CARDS!!!

Mike Duggan

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