Calais Campbell celebrates after the victory over the Rams on Sunday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS by Ross D. Franklin
NFC WEST CHAMPS!!
Ahh, life is good. For now. The Arizona Cardinals defeated the St. Louis Rams on Sunday 34-10 to win the NFC West. Let’s enjoy the moment though, shall we? Why not. After all, in the end only about 20,000 people actually saw the Cardinals clinch the division after 40,000 people decided to leave with 10-12 minutes left in the game. It amazes me still that people would rather beat traffic than watch their team win their first divisional championship since 1975. Actually, not everyone that left wanted to beat traffic. Many just wanted to go back out to their vehicles to tailgate some more. C’Mon Cardinals fans! Is that the best you got?
Well, I have more commentary on that later, however, the Cardinals were good enough on Sunday to win the division that was clearly theirs for the taking from week one.
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner had another workmanlike day, going 24-33 and 279 yards. He had one touchdown pass and one interception. The Cardinals once again failed to find the balance that I am most certain they will need more of once they reach the playoffs. For the fifth consecutive game, they failed to reach 100 yards rushing as a team. Tim Hightower broke the franchise rookie record with 10 rushing touchdowns, breaking Ron Moore’s mark set in 1993. Even Edgerrin James got into the mix, with 3 carries. I can’t help but think though they really could find more work for him than that. To me, it almost seems like they are giving him the carries just because they are paying him, so why not send him out there for a few plays of little or no consequence.
The offense was the story in the first half, however it was all defense in the second half. The defense did give up a lot of yards, but they maintained their bend but don’t break mentality. Darnell Dockett recovered a fumble and returned it for a touchdown and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who in my estimation is quickly becoming a great player and appears to be a steal at the 15th pick of the first round, if you can call a 15th pick a steal, returned an interception of Rams quarterback Marc Bulger 99 yards to cap off the game with an exclamation point.
The Cardinals acted like they had been there before and didn’t go wild after the game as if they had just won the Superbowl. I’m not sure really though if they did know how to act, but they did the right thing. The fans that stuck around till the end should be commended. I looked over to my buddy and he and I could not believe our eyes as there was a mass exodus for the exits with about 12 minutes to go. This was history in the making. Maybe the fans were just acting like they had been there before. That tells me these fans aren’t true die-hards then. They are transplants from somewhere else. Someone like me though that has lived here his entire life, this was something to savor. Sure the Cardinals still have a lot of work to do in the regular season. They can now work on getting to 10 wins for the first time. Then they can move on to the playoffs and host a game on January 3rd or 4th.