Top Ten Cardinals Games of the Decade
By Scott Allen
As we close out 2009 and the first decade of the 21st Century, I thought it would be a great time to list the top 10 Arizona Cardinals games of this decade. Many of you will probably agree on the top ones, however I’m sure there will be some debate on most of the list.
10. Arizona 9 Dallas 6 – October 20, 2002
It wasn’t a pretty game. In fact this one was rather sloppy. However a field goal in OT put the Cardinals in first place in the NFC West at 4-2 and headed towards better things this late in October. Unfortunately things fell apart after this game and the Cards only managed one more win the entire season.
9. Arizona 21 Pittsburgh 14 – September 30, 2007
It was coach Ken Whisenhunt’s first opportunity to play the team he left after the Super Bowl to coach the Arizona Cardinals. A low scoring affair in the first half suddenly turned into a great game in the second half, propelled by Cardinals receiver/returner Steve Breaston’s 73-yard punt return for a touchdown.
8. Arizona 34 San Francisco 27 – September 10, 2006
In the first game in the new Cardinals Stadium (later name University of Phoenix Stadium), the Cardinals showed off their new offense with the addition of running back Edgerrin James. James helped the Cards to a victory in what clearly was the loudest Cards game ever at home thanks to the new dome.
7. Arizona 26 Seattle 20 – November 16, 2008
The Arizona Cardinals, already in first place in the NFC West, officially became the new king of the block with a road victory in Seattle, a place the Cards historically had trouble playing in the past. Rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie stole the show and showed exactly why the Cardinals were so high on him.
6. Arizona 30 Atlanta 24 – January 3, 2009
The first step to last year’s Super Bowl run. The stadium was loud and trick plays, such as the flea flicker touchdown pass from quarterback Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald propelled the Cards to their first playoff victory since Dallas in 1998.
5. Arizona 24 New York Giants 14 – October 25, 2009
Sunday Night Football on NBC. National TV. The Cards were still trying to establish who they were but were riding high after demolishing Seattle the week before. They didn’t have a great Sunday Night Football regular season debut a month earlier against the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants only had one loss at the time and that was to the New Orleans Saints. The Cards played ball control and picked off Giants quarterback Eli Manning three times en route to the biggest regular season road victory in recent memory. It also silenced many critics who said the Cards couldn’t win a game on the East Coast.
4. Arizona 18 Minnesota 17 – December 28, 2003
The Cardinals were about to finish out another horrendous season. The crowd at Sun Devil Stadium was sparse. The Minnesota Vikings had everything to play for. They needed a win to make the playoffs and keep the Green Bay Packers out. The Cards quarterback Josh McCown happened. On the last drive, he led the Cardinals down the field and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to receiver Nate Poole as the Cards defeated the Vikings and sent the Vikings home and the Packers to the playoffs. After the game, Poole and his family were invited by the City of Green Bay to watch their playoff game from a suite. They were forever grateful for his amazing catch that not only put them into the playoffs, but also kept their rival Vikings from getting in.
3. Arizona 33 Carolina 13 – January 10, 2009
In every way possible, the Cardinals dominated the Carolina Panthers in Carolina on a clear night in Charlotte. The Cards fell down 7-0 quickly after failing to stop Carolina on their first drive. It was all downhill for the Panthers from there as the Cards shocked the world by winning a playoff game on the road that would send them to the NFC Championship game. Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme threw five interceptions and he’s never been the same since.
2. Arizona 32 Philadelphia 25 – January 18, 2009
Talk about shocking the world! The Cardinals, who jumped out to a 24-6 lead only to see it dissipate in the second half and allow the Philadelphia Eagles to take a 25-24 lead, didn’t give up. They took a long eight minute drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to defeat the Eagles and send the Cardinals to their first ever Super Bowl.
1. Pittsburgh 27 Arizona 23 – February 1, 2009
So how do I make a game Arizona lost as the number one game of the decade? When it is the Super Bowl, the only in Cardinals history, and it ends up being a great game! A game of back and forth. Things didn’t look good at the end of the first half when the Steelers James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown. Pittsburgh seemingly was taking the game over in the third quarter, however the Cards saved the best for last. In the fourth quarter the Cardinals eventually took the lead 23-20. The Steelers had less than two minutes to take the ball down the field to tie or win the game. Then Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and receiver Santonio Holmes broke Cardinals and Cards fans hearts with a touchdown catch that sent the Steelers to their sixth Super Bowl win.