After last week's game it's time to cinch up the belt and prove the naysayers wrong that the Arizona Cardinals "are who we thought they were", NFC Champions and the favourite to take the NFC West in '09. This is a "synopsis" of the game, part play-by-play, part random comments. This allows for Revenge of the Birds users to relive the game through the subjective view of one individual (the opinions of said individual do not necessarily reflect the position of cgolden, Andrew602, CardsFan08, or Pyromnc, the Arizona Cardinals or even Hawkwind the morning after); this also offers a "diary" of the game for users to comment upon key parts of the game. Read, comment, criticize, cringe, and enjoy!
Pregame Prediction (Negative Nancy): Jaguars 24 Cardinals 10
Pregame Prediction (NFC Champions Please): Cardinals 31 Jaguars 17
Steve Breaston and Anquan Boldin are dressed. Chris Myers and Trent Green on TV, it could be worse. Warner vs. Garrard, I have to think Kurt is clearly the superior QB...right? Bueller? Bueller? Looking forward to seeing more of the running game and if the Cards' run defense is "for real". Oh crap, Pats game is an AM game too...hope the wife doesn't expect me to switch between games...
Cards First Drive: Elected to receive...deferring is so last year. Empty stadium, Cards still aren't a draw on the road. LSH to the 25 on return. GO CARDS! Hightower goes nowhere on the first play, "Slap Me" Henderson nailing him quickly. WR screen to Q on the left for a first. Warner gets nailed but connects with Q to midfield. Timmy carries for a couple...hmmm. 2nd and 8 from Jags 48...pressure on Warner but Kurt hits Q for six. Warner is looking much better this week. Huge Boldin contigent in Jax...Warner to Fitz for seven, first down! You guessed it, Timmy for no gain on first down. ::sigh:: Wells is in, holy spit! Nice run for 17 yards! Now that's what I'm talking about!!! From the 18...TO. Wells carries nine. Wells again and FUMBLE! Crap...PHEW, Becht recovers the ball. Wells was nailed in the back and the ball just popped out...PROTECT the BALL. First and goal from the one yard line...TIMMY for the TD. Crap, I sat him on my FFL team didn't I? Cards 7 Jags 0
Jags First Drive: Rackers on the tackle for the kickoff...stop it Neil. Really. Someone is going to figure out they need to block you and lay you out. Graham might be able to drop kick the field goals and XPs but I don't want to find out. Long ball to Mercedes Lewis...ball pops out when he hits the ground. Phew. MJD carries, cuts back and takes off for 36 yards. I did start him on my FFL team. Bittersweet. Garrard to Holt to the Cards' 20. Crap. Too easy. Holt eats Cardinals for breakfast. Jones-Drew has a couple of carries is on the 12. Third and two. Come on D! WR screen to the right and DRC is there for the stop. 31 yard FG attempt...crazy hook but good. Cards 7 Jags 3, bend don't break Cards D.
Cards Second Drive: Deep kick, LSH takes a knee. How will the Jags adjust on D? Can Warner stay clean? Nice dump to Becht as Warner moves to the right for 11 yards. Stephens-Howling has his first NFL carry for a couple yards on the delay. Exact same play to Timmy but a nice gain to the Jags' 45. Warner is pressured and throws the ball to Levi Brown who nearly catches it. Ooops. Levi, for once that penalty isn't your fault. 1st and 15. Warner hits Breaston on a slant to the 33 yard line. Cards are looking GOOD! ::knocks on wood:: Too late, Timmy smothered for a one-yard loss. Warner hits Q but he gets nailed and ball is out! The Cards are very fortunate the ball rolled out of bounds. Third and nine. Short completion over the middle to Q (5th catch already!), Rackers is out. 45 yard attempt is good! Three seconds left in quarter. Cards 10 Jags 3
Jags Second Drive: Nice coverage on kick. Jags will start the next quarter at the 19. End of First Quarter
Jags Second Drive: Wife just asked for the Pats' score...crap, I don't know. Whoah, old school Falcon uniforms. I haven' seen those in a couple of decades... (Red Zone Channel is a commercial break's best friend). False Start to start. First and 15. MJD for 3, Robinson on tackle. Another False Start on Jags. Second and 17 and pass is batted down by Calais Campbell. CC is looking strong. CC gets to Garrard but David spins out...runs along goal line and connects to Holt for a short gain. Long punt...Antrel lets the ball bounce which hits Greg Toler...Jags recover. ****!
Jags Third Drive: Garrard scrambles...fumbles...Berry recovers out of bounds...Jags ball with a two yard gain. MJD is stuffed on the nex carry. Third and 12. Pass towards Holt and McFadden is "perfect" on the coverage (lots of boos as Holt and Garrard think it's early contact). 46 yard FG attempt... BLOCKED!...Rolle catches the ball in the air and goes....TOUCHDOWN!!!! (Hawk's baby disapproves of screaming Daddy.) Campbell blocks the kick with his head and Rolle is gassed out as he scores but **** yeah!!! Unsportsmanlike penatly on Scobee. Cards 17 Jags 3 Don't relax Defense!
Jags Fourth Drive: Well, Warner & Co. should be well-rested, let's hope that doesn't mean poorer play. Rackers kicks it through the endzone. Garrard does his best Steve Young impersonation but Dockett and Campbell don't give him anywhere to run while the secondary blankets the receivers. Second and six...MJD flashes up the the 40. Illegal Motion....phew, thank you Estandia. Second and 11...Garrard throws behind Holt, Dansby clogging the throwing lane. Big push towards Garrard but connects with Williamson for a first down. Ball on the 32. Holt drops the first down ball. MJD for a couple with Watson clogging the middle. Third and seven. Short pass to right. Punt time. Rolle to receive the punt, hits the ground again but Toler stays away this time. Illegal Touching on Jags gives the Cards some extra yards.
Cards Third Drive: Cards start on the 29. Nine yard completion to Boobs. Hightower takes the delay through the A-gap for five yards. First down. Wells takes the next play for 13 yards but Lutui is flagged for holding. First and twenty. Only two penalties so far...an improvement. Quick pass to Fitz on the left for five yards. Nice play by Jags' safety Mathis. Ugly play that gains a yard on a pass to Timmy. Third and 14. Warner is 11 for 11 for 91 yards so far. Connects with Urban who gets one guy to miss but is short of the first by a yard. Oh crap, Levi Brown is down. Big time oh crap. Jeremy Bridges is in (brilliant pick-up!) on fourth and one, Warner dumps to Timmy for the FIRST DOWN! (More worried looks from Baby Evelyn) Nice play call, Whis. Wells carries the ball and FUMBLES again after a 12 yard gain. Mathis recovers and takes a convoy down the sideline. Jags ball, just a debate of where with a challenge. Becht touched him at the Jags' 21. I love Wells' running, I hate his ball protection. This is the pros, rook. Cards are -2 on turnovers which is usually an assured loss for them. Up by 14 still...
Jags Fifth Drive: Hayes is Offsides. First and five. Screen play to MJD for a couple. Completion to MJD, first down. Going to a hurry up offense. Nice connection to Lewis over the middle for a big gain to the Cards' 48. Garrard is scrambling, should have been brought down several times but David scrambles for 12 yards. ****! (More crying baby) Garrard connects to Williamson but DRC strips him of the ball, AW recovers! PHEW! Adrian Wilson is holding the ball out and is barking with the Side Judge. Don't be stupid, Adrian. Cards ball! Troy Williamson was hurt on the play, appears to be his shoulder/arm.
Cards Fourth Drive: Warner pass to Timmy on the left sideline for eight yards. Derrick Cox is hurt on the play as Hightower went over him and put a knee into his head. Warner is one pass away from tying Jake Plummer's franchise record of 15 consecutive passes completed. Jinxed? Two-minute Warning Warner completes to Breaston for a big gain to the Jags' 39. Tied the record! Ball gets tipped at the line of scrimmage and is incomplete. Plummer stays in the books. A bit of pressure on Warner this time but connects with Urban who uses a nice block and gets the first down on the Jags 26. Short gain by Timmy in the middle. Ball is tipped again and flutters into Boldin's hands. SWEET! Time out. One minute left, ball on the four yard line. Warner drops back and hits Jason Wright in the end zone. ::BIG SMILE:: Cards 24 Jags 3 I like the adjustments for week two, coaches.
Jags Sixth Drive: Ball falls off the tee. Rekick. That was weird. Ball is dropped at the goal line, only out to the 14. Fifty seconds left in the half. Quick pass to Holt for nine yards, TO. Garrard is 10 of 15 for 87 yards thus far. Skips ball off the turf on next play. Running play is caught for a loss by Haggans. TO Cards. Punting with 34 seconds left. Rolle makes a mess of the punt and nearly turns it over to the Jags. Where is Breaston?
Cards Fifth Drive: Kneel down. End of First Half
First Half Musings: Phew. I'll take my finger off the panic button. Cards have looked strong on offense, thank gawd! Defense has looked good as well. Special teams has looked shakey due to Rolle's erratic punt coverage...Graham as looked the best because he hasn't been on the field to punt. Jimmy Johnson stated "put a fork in the Cardinals, they are done" in the pregame show and is now eating crow. Why does every pregame show have the same make-up of hosts (old ex coach, chubby lead host, goofy dufus, edgy former player)? Warner was nearly flawless in the first half.
Jags Seventh Drive: Seeing a lot of Cards fans in the stadium, lots of empty seats too. Why did the NFL expand to Jacksonville to begin with? LA Jaguars in a few years? Kick off at the back of the end zone. First down on the 20. Mercedes makes a nice catch over the middle for 19 yards. Incomplete on next play. MJD for three on second down. Bryant McFadden makes contact as the ball arrives, incomplete! Nice play. Punt....Michael Adams just misses blocking the kick. Breaston is back and the ball takes a Cardinal bounce. Umpire was ran over on the play too.
Cards Sixth Drive: Levi Brown is back in. Good! LSH takes a pass in the flat for a 12 yard gain. Timmy carries for seven yards to the Jags' 48. Hightower has 39 yards on the day, Wells has 40. Warner to Breaston who found a soft spot in the zone. First down from the 29. Wells carries for a couple...and holds on to the ball!!! Warner is rushed due to Offsides on Jags. Second and third. Timmy loses a couple yards on his next carry. Hmmmm. Whisenhunt cannot get the play in on third and five and calls a time out. Name an OC coach and manage the game. Warner audibles and Levi False Starts. Third and ten now from the 30. Warner over leads Urban. Rackers is out for a 48 yard attempt...and missed it badly wide right...double the width of the goal and he would have missed it.
Jags Eighth Drive: Bertrand Berry dances with Garrard for a sack! Berry's second. Second and 12. False Start, their seventh penalty. Holt makes a sliding catch for 15 and the Jags hurry up to give MJD the ball for a four yard gain. First down from midfield. Clark Haggans comes around the corner and sacks Garrard, fumble! Recovered by MJD. Second and 15. Pass to MJD is nearly intercepted. All out blitz, Garrard avoids the first wave but Rolle sacks and strips the ball. Berry recovers!!! Nice. Rolle's second sack of the season.
Cards Seventh Drive: Play action and connection to Spach for seven yards at the Jags' 31 yard line. Pass to Q for nine yards. Short pass to Fitz for no gain. Warner catches Fitzgerald on the right side who dives for the pylon for the TOUCHDOWN!!! Cards 31 Jags 3 If I have to pick against the Cards every week in the Pick'em League to get a score like this, consider it done.
Jags Nineth Drive: Short kick by Rackers is returned to the 36 yard line and Rackers gets dinged on the tackle. Play safety, Neil! Jags come out with the hurry up. MJD for four yards and then gains three. Third and three from the 43. Garrard scrambles to the right and floats a ball to MJD who is interfered with by Haggans. Ball at Cards 39. Alan Branch blows up Montel Owens for a two yard loss. Nicest play I've seen out of Branch...ever. Garrard skips one off the turf. Third and 12. David hits Sims-Walker for a nice completion for the first down at the 25. Garrard misses in the end zone with Rolle nearly getting the pick. Short play in the flat for no gain. Garrard hits Lewis on the right and Ali Highsmith misses the tackle allowing Mercedes to get to the end zone. Cards 31 Jags 10 I'm glad to see the second team getting some experience on defense...apparently Matty will get some action too as he's got the helmet on and Warner is getting fresh with a towel.
Cards Eighth Drive: LSH has a nice return to the 28 yard line. Leinart is in. Sucks for us Warner owners in FFL. Boldin takes the hand off and avoids initial contact and gains four yards. Wells carries for no gain but protecting the ball. End of Third Quarter
Cards Eighth Drive Continued: Third and six as Leinart hits Breaston for a nice gain to the 48 yard line. Wells carries to the Jags 49 with the ball hanging loose. Scary. Hightower carries for a nice gain negated by a Spach Holding penalty. Second and 17 from the Cards' 42. Leinart connects with Boldin for a short gain. Third and 11. Leinart throws a jump ball for Fitz who comes down with the ball but it pops out. Ben Graham is in for his first punt which is coffin kicked to the 15.
Jags Tenth Drive: Garrard's pass to Holt is well defended by McFadden. Eight yard completion with Rashard Johnson making immediate contact. On third and two Garrard hits Holt for the first down (thought that ball skipped off the ground). MJD carries for six and is then held short of the first down on the next play. Third and two. Garrard takes a QB draw up the middle for a first down at the Jags' 48. Screen pass to MJD that Rolle sticks after a five yard gain. MAN! That is one empty stadium. I'm having flashbacks of Sun Devil Stadium. Garrard his Sims-Walker who puts a move on DRC that makes him look bad. Big gain to the Cards' 30. Connection to Holt for 11 yards. First and ten from the 19. The Cardinals' defense is looking a little tired due to the heat and humidity. A Keilen Dykes sighting! One incompletion is followed by another, the last with a lot of scrambling by Garrard before throwing it away. The Cards have had a couple of sacks avoided by Garrard's physicality. Is that a word? Another incompletion. Jags are going for it, fourth and ten. Sims-Walker catches the ball two yards short of the first down but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie cannot hold on to the speedster who scores easily. ****! Cards 31 Jags 17
Cards Nineth Drive: Warner doesn't appear to be going in which may be dangerous. Kurt currently has set a new NFL record for a single game completion percentage of 92.3% beating Vinny Testaverde's record of 91.3 with the Browns. Jags kick it deep and LSH takes a knee with 7:11 left in the game. Leinart throws the ball a little high to Becht who drops it. Hmmm. Another high pass to Stephens-Howling for no gain. Third and ten..."the game is getting interesting" says Trent Green. No **** Trent. Leinart gets pressured and does not connect with Urban. Oi. Three straight incompletions, barely a minute off the clock after the punt. BRILLIANT!!
Jags 11th Drive: Starting at the Jags 38, Garrard connects on a sweet bomb to Sims-Walker with Rolle late on the coverage to the Cards' 28 yard line. Dear lord... Warner is warming up on the sideline. Running play is stuffed for a three yard loss. Garrard is tackled for no gain on second down. Third and 13. Jags have to call a TO. Sloppy. Garrard tries to hit Hughes in the end zone but Ralph Brown is on the coverage. Fourth and 13...Garrard scrambles and releases the ball just as he's getting tackled and the ball hits Hughes in the helmet in the endzone. Incomplete. Phew!
Cards Tenth Drive: Leinart is back in. Hightower has a nice carry for to the 47 yard line for a gain of 16. Timmy carries the ball again to the Jags' 49. TO by Jags. Then they have 12 men of the field for a penalty. Wow. Second and two. Timmy spins and dives for five feet and is a full yard short. Hightower again and is short by a couple feet. ::sigh:: Graham is out to punt. They take a Delay of Game to give Ben more room. Ball hits at Michael Adams' feet but he cannot stop it inside the five yard line. Bummer.
Jags 12th Drive: Under three minutes left. Garrard is pressured but hits Sims-Walker for 21 yards. A deep shot into triple coverage is broken up. Oi. Too close to be strutting McFadden. Garrard misses Hughes with a floater. Dockett chases Garrard around who tosses it to Rodgers-Cromartie who came back to the ball better than Sims-Walker. DRC's first INT!
Cards 11th Drive: From the Jags' 41 yard line, Hightower carries the ball for 13 and stays in bounds. Two-minute Warning Victory formation three times and that's the game. Final Score: Cardinals 31 Jaguars 17
Post Game Thoughts: The media talked as if the Cardinals were dead all week and the Redbirds proved themselves to be a team that can break trends, winning on the East Coast in the early games. The offense looked like the offense of last year as Breaston's return gave Warner better options and allowed "Ol' Greybeard" to break the NFL record for single-game completion percentage. The Cardinals' defense was strong and held better on third downs and kept Jones-Drew in check for the most part. The Cardinals special teams took a small step back, particular with their punt teams. Rackers missed his first kick of the year (badly). Most importantly a 1-1 record going into next week's Sunday Night Football game is going to keep the "same ol' Cardinals" talk in check (I hope!). Great game, Cards! Post your "Cardinal of the Week" nominations below.