Even after wins over Atlanta at home and Carolina on the road, the Arizona Cardinals were still underdogs at home against Philadelphia. There were still doubters. That was just fine with the Cardinals and now, they hope you doubt one more time.
That would be because YOUR Arizona Cardinals are on their way to Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa two weeks from today.
This game was a tale of two halves. The first half was mostly Cardinals, however in the second half, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb led the charge back from 18 points down and eventually took a one point lead with just under nine minutes remaining. Then the Cardinals took the ball on a 14 play, 72 yard, and almost eight minute drive that resulted in a touchdown and a two-point conversion to give the Cardinals a 32-25 lead and eventual win.
The Cards came out on offense hotter than the Phoenix pavement on a July afternoon. They took the opening drive down the field for a touchdown and for the most part, kept the Philadelphia defense on its heels in the first half to eventually take a 24-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Kurt Warner had three touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald in that first half, including a 62 yard pass from Warner on a trick play. The play developed after a pass to J.J. Arrington who then in turn threw a perfect pass back to Warner and found Fitzgerald down field who jumped up to catch the ball and got himself free for the second touchdown of the half.
As the third quarter began, it was almost a different game. The Cards defense started out hot by forcing McNabb to fumble early in the third and it looked like the Cardinals would continue keeping the pressure. It was not to be though as Philadelphia was able to get the ball back and then McNabb took his team down the field for three scores between the second half of the third and first half of the fourth quarters, taking a 25-24 lead.
The Cardinals mentally it seemed to be, giving in to the Eagles pressure. It may have been the best thing though for the Cards to give up the lead and then respond the way they did with the long fourth quarter drive. That proved the Cardinals could regain the mental and physical toughness needed to win the big games.
Now that they are going to Tampa, it gets even tougher. At least I won’t have to read about any more ridiculous Philadelphia writers who lacked the respect for this Cardinals team. The Philadelphia fans and players though for the most part had the utmost respect for the Cardinals and that was what allowed this to be such a great game. Now those writers can go back to Philadelphia with their mouths full of crow and trying to figure out a way to explain to their readers why they ended up being so wrong.
For the Cardinals, it’s time to go back to practice and then next week pack for a trip to Tampa.