Arizona Cardinals over Philadelphia Eagles, 32-25
The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. Has a weird ring to it doesn’t it? The Arizona Cardinals? Are you sure? The same team that got blown out in the regular season every time they stepped out of the comfortable confines of the Arizona desert? What gives?
What gives is this is not the same Arizona Cardinals team we saw in the regular season. They still have the high flying offense lead by Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin. But they finally found that running the ball, and sticking with it enough to keep defenses honest, makes their offense even better. And the Arizona defense is playing better than it has all season and right in time for the playoffs.
They Cardinals offense is fun to watch. They put some very nice drives together, and throw in a big play or two, and it results in a 24-6 halftime lead.
The Philadelphia Eagles made a valiant comeback in the second half with tight end Brent Celek catching pass after pass, and DeSean Jackson making a great play on a tipped ball for a touchdown to take a 25-24 lead in the fourth quarter. At that point I suspect many people felt the Cardinals would fall apart and lose the game. Their offense had gone three and out a few times in the half and really didn’t have much of an opportunity to do anything. But Kurt Warner calmly lead the team on a 72 yard drive resulting in a game winning touchdown pass to Tim Hightower and a Super Bowl birth.
A few things of note in this game. Larry Fitzgerald continues to raise his game above his already Pro Bowl level. He has had a phenomenal postseason and is simply amazing.
On the other side of the ball, Donovan McNabb was awful. While he put up a great effort, he missed receivers on many occasions and was often inaccurate with this throws.
And the kicking game by both teams was atrocious. I have never seen so many kickoffs go out of bounds, so many lousy punts, and we even had a missed extra point by the Eagles. In fact, it was a game with maybe the poorest special teams play I have seen in quite some time by both teams.
But overall, this was an exciting game to watch.
MVP: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Pittsburgh Steelers over Baltimore Ravens, 23-14
Wow, these two defenses are good. Very, very good. This was one of the hardest hitting games I’ve seen in a long time. The key difference in the game was the Steelers defense was able to make more plays and get three interceptions off of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, which lead them to victory.
Pittsburgh basically just outplayed the Ravens by a slim margin. They got a big play on a touchdown to Santonio Holmes in the first half to take a 13-7 lead to the locker room. Then nursing a 16-14 lead in the fourth quarter, Troy Polamalu intercepted a Flacco pass and ran it back for a touchdown and sealed the deal.
This game, as expected, was about defense and hard hitting. It didn’t disappoint.
MVP: Troy Polamalu, SS, Pittsburgh Steelers
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offensive Player: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Defensive Player: Troy Polamalu, SS, Pittsburgh Steelers
Offensive Lineman: Lyle Sendlein, C, Arizona Cardinals
Special Teams: Jeff Reed, K, Pittsburgh Steelers