We took a brief layoff from COTW after the Cardinals lost to the Packers in the final week of the season because frankly, I don't think there should be a COTW after a loss. This week was different as the Cardinals took part in one of the most exciting playoff games in NFL history. We all thought it was going to be a shootout, but in no way did anyone think it'd turn into the highest scoring game in NFL playoff history as well. There were plenty of players that contributed in the win, but none as much as these four:
Kurt Warner: 29/33, 379 Yards, 5 TDs, 154.1 rating
Kurt Warner - a 38-year old quarterback - entered the twelfth postseason game of his career, and likely played the best one he's every been a part of. Warner only missed four passes, completing 87.8% of his passes which ranked 3rd best all time in a playoff game. He also threw for 379 yards and oh yeah - tossed five touchdowns to three different receivers against the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL. While I could easily hand the COTW award to Warner right now without the poll, there were three other contributors that helped the Cardinals win the game.
Early Doucet: 6 catches, 77 yards, 2 TDs
Well, all the talk and concern about Boldin's status leading up to the game now sounds frivolous. Doucet filled in for the Pro Bowl receiver and there wasn't a drop off in production at all. Early caught six catches on the day, and two came in the first half of the game. The most notable catch came within the final minute of regulation, in which Early charged through the heart of the Packers defense to get within field goal range. We would be talking about that effort much more had Rackers actually made the field goal.
Larry Fitzgerald: 6 catches, 82 yards, 2 TDs
Larry Fitzgerald's successful run of playoff games continued on Sunday. Fitz caught 6 catches for 82 yards but made his money on a highlight-reel catch in the third quarter. As Kurt Warner was knocked to the ground, he heaved a pass in the air that only Fitzgerald could corral. Instead of making it easy, Larry snatched the ball from the air and continued to hold on with one hand till he fell to the ground.
Karlos Dansby: 4 tackles, 1 PD, 1 TFL, 1 FF, 1 TD
When you look over Karlos Dansby's stat line, not much stands out to the naked eye, but it was the things that aren't recorded on a stat sheet that Dansby did on Sunday. The interception by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was made possible by Dansby, who tipped the pass that landed in DRC's hands. He also forced a Donald Driver fumble on the Packers very next drive that was recovered by Alan Branch. The last, and biggest play, was in OT. Dansby's presense in the pocket forced Rodgers to hesitate just enough to absorb the hit by Michael Adams, and force the ball into Dansby's hands. All three plays resulted in touchdowns, meaning Dansby was responsible for 20 of the Cardinals 51 points. Don't tell me defense didn't do anything in the game.
It may be alarming that only four Cardinals were nominated for COTW, but realistically no other player would stand a chance to these four. I thought about nominating Michael Adams but that one play alone won't win over my vote. But if you're brave enough feel free to nominate any player you feel is deserving and they'll be added to the poll. Who did you vote for COTW and why?