The Cardinals tried to give it away, but they made the big plays in the end that allowed them to start off the season 1-0 against the Carolina Panthers.
Here are plenty of links going over the win, along with the rest of what happened in the NFL in this extra large post game link dump.
Arizona Cardinals defeat Carolina Panthers in season opener
If the roof at University of Phoenix Stadium had been open Sunday afternoon at around 4:30, the 60,000 or so sighs of relief would have been strong enough to produce a haboob. Depending upon your viewpoint, the Cardinals escaped, persevered, or maybe both, to beat the Carolina Panthers 28-21 in the season opener. What's not debatable is that victory was neither easy nor attractive. The Cardinals were nearly done in by a litany of miscues, and by Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who passed for 422 yards in his NFL debut. The Cardinals preferred to view Sunday's test as one they would have failed a year ago, when they went 5-11.
Debuting With An Emotional Win
Cards make mistakes but also big plays in 28-21 victory over Panthers
Carolina Panthers vs Arizona Cardinals Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Rookie defensive back Patrick Peterson returned a punt 89 yards for the go-ahead score, as the Arizona Cardinals downed the Carolina Panthers, 28-21, in a frenetic regular-season opener.
Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals - Recap - September 11, 2011 - ESPN
Cam Newton began his NFL career on the same field where he ended his collegiate one and was spectacular. His 422 yards passing are a record for any rookie in his NFL opener. Yet he didn't leave a winner. A rookie on the other team made the game-winning play. Patrick Peterson brushed off a long afternoon at cornerback with an 89-yard punt return for the go-ahead touchdown and the Arizona Cardinals escaped with a 28-21 victory over Newton's Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Peterson's Highs And Lows
Notebook: Rookie's eventful first game; Beanie gains 90 against Panthers
Cardinals' defense struggles vs. Panthers' Cam Newton
The Cardinals blamed communication failures for most of their defensive problems a year ago, and judging from their struggles Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, they still are dropping calls. Cam Newton passed for 422 yards, an NFL record for a rookie in his first game. He completed two touchdown passes to Steve Smith, a 77-yarder and a 26-yarder. Newton also found tight end Greg Olsen for a 43-yard gain. The Cardinals did sack Newton four times, but overall, the Panthers did a nice job of picking up blitzes.
Panthers' Cam Newton makes an impressive NFL debut
He sat in his chair and didn't move for the longest time. Every few minutes, a Carolina Panthers teammate would walk by on his way out of the locker room and pat him on the shoulder or offer words of encouragement. Still, Cam Newton just sat there and silently stared straight ahead.
Wrap-up: Cardinals 28, Panthers 21 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' 28-21 victory against the Carolina Panthers in their Week 1 matchup Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium:
Cam Newton’s 422 yards not quite enough in debut | ProFootballTalk
It’s not often that the starting quarterback for the losing team is the biggest story in a game. But Cam Newton authored a debut unlike any the NFL has seen before.
Word From the Birds Blog - Panthers aftermath
I kept thinking, standing down on the field around the 10-yard line after watching the Panthers’ final offensive play Sunday, it reminded me of the final play of the Rams-Titans Super Bowl – the one where Rams linebacker Mike Jones grabbed Kevin Dyson and stopped him a yard short of the end zone. Obviously, the gravity of Sunday’s Cards’ win wasn’t quite the same. But seeing linebacker Paris Lenon stop running back Mike Goodson’s reception for four (plus an inch or two) instead of the five needed for a first down or the six needed for a touchdown was an echo. Certainly, the Cards have to revel in Lenon’s play. To fall short in what was really an odd game would have been a gut punch. The way the Cards blew chances to score hurt, but they really would have left a mark if it would have meant a loss.
Cardinals-Panthers play of the game
Patrick Peterson's punt return for touchdown gives Cardinals the lead for good
Arizona Cardinals can breathe a sigh of relief after opener
Someday, football players will understand the absurdity of premature celebrations. Patrick Peterson learned the easy way. The rookie cornerback found redemption, the end zone and a pat on the back for his game-winning touchdown Sunday, leading the Cardinals to a 28-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers at University of Phoenix Stadium. He did not receive an earful for styling on his way down the sideline, for almost getting chased down from behind, for having to dive across the goal line in desperation. That will tell you how relieved coach Ken Whisenhunt was to escape the ramifications of an opening-day loss to one of the NFL's worst teams.
Cardinals rewind: What we learned vs. the Panthers
Kent Somers breaks down what we learned in Arizona's 28-21 victory over Carolina in the season opener.
Four Down Territory: Cardinals vs. Panthers - ArizonaSports.com
Here are my four main thoughts on the Cardinals/Panthers game as we enter four-down territory.
Word From the Birds Blog - Hitting 400
Let’s start with this disclaimer: The Cardinals need to play better defense. Everyone knows that, acknowledged that. "We let them get some first downs, move the ball on us," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "Cam Newton played a great game. He’s a lot better quarterback than a lot of people thought, I’m sure. But we found a way to get it done at the end." But — and there is always a but, right? — a bit of perspective on Cam Newton’s 422 yards passing, best pointed out by Campbell again. "We still got the ‘W’ and that’s what it is about," he said.
Things are looking up for the Arizona Cardinals after win - ArizonaSports.com
Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb said he woke up at 6 a.m. Sunday morning, staring up at the ceiling going over plays. While not everything in Sunday's game with Carolina happened the way it was drawn up -- on his ceiling or anywhere else -- as far as debuts go, this one would have to be considered a success.
Newton has record breaking day in Week 1 loss to Cardinals - ArizonaSports.com
Cam Newton's NFL career started exactly where his college career ended. The stadium was full of Cardinals red rather than college orange and yellow but Cam Newton was still Cam Newton. The result? Not exactly the same as the Carolina Panthers lost to the Arizona Cardinals 28-21. Newton's play? More impressive. Yes, it's true.
Cardinals' Peterson gets many 'Welcome to the NFL' moments in Week 1 - ArizonaSports.com
For Patrick Peterson Week 1 had many 'Welcome to the NFL' moments. The Arizona Cardinals first round pick, No. 5 overall, had to chase Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith around for much of the day and scored himself a touchdown on a punt return. The former, not so successful, the latter -- the game winning touchdown. What a whirlwind of emotions for a Sunday afternoon.
Cards Daily: Postgame Reaction Carolina
Coach Whisenhunt and players talk about winning a wild season opener against the Panthers.
Arizona Sports News:
Arizona Diamondbacks unable to complete comeback against San Diego Padres
Normal for the Diamondbacks is becoming downright eerie. Down by seven runs, their reasoning goes, the game still is within reach. And it was Sunday, and though a 15-game winning streak at home came to an end, their comeback added a little solace to a 7-6 loss to the San Diego Padres in front of 36,369 at Chase Field. Still, even with a victory by the second-place San Francisco Giants, the Diamondbacks have an 8 1/2-game cushion in the NL West standings with 15 games remaining.
Phoenix Mercury drop season finale against Minnesota Lynx
In the end, the Mercury's 96-90 loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday didn't mean much. Both teams' playoff scenarios already were set entering their regular-season finale at US Airways Center. The Mercury (19-15) are third in the Western Conference and will begin the postseason Thursday at Seattle. And the Lynx (27-7) are the conference's top seed. Mercury coach Corey Gaines said his team used the game as an opportunity to work on new schemes.
Arizona State breaks into AP poll at No. 22
After its 37-30 overtime victory over Missouri on Friday, the Sun Devils cracked the AP poll ranks at No. 22 this week, and moved up to No. 18 in the USA Today coaches poll.
Week One Monday 10-pack | ProFootballTalk
A look at the ten biggest stories from last night.
Rapid Reaction: 49ers 33, Seahawks 17 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' 33-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in their Week 1 matchup Sunday at Candlestick Park:
Wrap-up: Eagles 31, Rams 13 - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 31-13 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles in their Week 1 matchup Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome:
Jon Beason's Injury May Put Him Out For Year, According To Reports - SBNation.com
The Panthers lost on Sunday to the Cardinals but that may not be the worst thing to come out of the game. The team reportedly fears LB Jon Beason has tore his Achilles' tendon which would end his season after just one week.
PHOTO: Danny Amendola Elbow Injury Leaves WR Possibily Out For Season - SBNation.com
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola dislocated his elbow in yesterday’s 31-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. While not exactly routine, dislocated body parts often make an appearance in the rough and tumble world of the NFL. However, the gory details are usually hidden inside a pile of players.
QBR ranks: Alex Smith leads NFC West - NFC West Blog - ESPN
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh sounded generous when saying quarterback Alex Smith played "exceptionally well" against Seattle in Week 1. Smith had passed for only 124 yards without a touchdown, after all, and his offense converted just once in 12 third-down chances. Harbaugh was not alone in his appreciation for Smith. Our weekly QBR rankings placed Smith 10th among 29 quarterbacks in overall performance Sunday, the highest ranking in the NFC West. That comes as a surprise to me given Kevin Kolb's far superior traditional passing stats for Arizona. Kolb passed for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Chris Johnson a non-factor in first game after holdout | ProFootballTalk
Maybe it was the holdout. Maybe it was just the new Titans offense struggling with a stout Jaguars run defense. Whatever the reason, Chris Johnson was a total non-factor in his first game since his training camp absence. Johnson finished with 24 yards on nine carries. It was third worst game of his career.
Luis Castillo Injury: Broken Leg Ends Season For Chargers' Defensive End, According To Report - SBNation.com
The San Diego Chargers are already battling attrition this season. Defensive end Luis Castillo is reportedly out for the season with a broken leg.
Steven Jackson Injury: Rams RB Has MRI On Strained Quad - SBNation.com
Steven Jackson underwent an MRI on a strained quad suffered Sunday. The results will be known on Monday.
Nate Kaeding Injury: San Diego Chargers Kicker May Have Torn ACL - SBNation.com
Chargers K Nate Kaeding might be done for the season as initial tests have revealed he has a torn ACL, according to a report. P Mike Scifres filled in for Kaeding during the Chargers' season opening victory.
Andy Dalton Injury: Bengals QB Out With Wrist Injury - SBNation.com
The first half of Andy Dalton's NFL debut went about as good as anyone could have possibly imagined. He completed 10-15 passes, threw a touchdown pass, and didn't turn the ball over to keep the underdog Cincinnati Bengals right there with the Cleveland Browns at halftime. However, he suffered a wrist injury in the last play of the first half and has not returned to the game.
VIDEO: Jim Cornelison's Stirring National Anthem On 9/11 Anniversary - From Our Editors - SBNation.com
Having Jim Cornelison sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Soldier Field is nothing new: he's been singing the national anthem at Chicago-area sporting events for a while now. But his national anthem rendition, always stirring, was particularly poignant before Sunday's Bears-Falcons tilt on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America.
Sam Bradford Injury: Rams QB Leaves Game with Throwing Hand Finger Injury - SBNation.com
The St. Louis Rams are having a nightmare of a season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles’ "Dream Team." After losing running back Steven Jackson in the first quarter, the Rams lost QB Sam Bradford in the fourth with a finger injury on his throwing hand. They also lost their leading receiver from the season before, Danny Amendola, with a dislocated elbow. Amendola might be done for the season, according to the Rams’ official Twitter feed.
Mort: Peyton told agent to protect Colts | ProFootballTalk
In the first missive from the new man-cave style set (fine, but they don’t have a stand-up desk), ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter machine-gunned several nuggets from around the league. Mort led off by explaining that, while Colts quarterback Peyton Manning will make $26.4 million this year even if he doesn’t take a snap, Manning instructed agent Tom Condon to protect the team via the inclusion of next year’s option bonus.
Manning chooses surgery that could lead to faster, but painful, recovery | ProFootballTalk
For his first regular-season report of the year, FOX’s Jay Glazer shared some intriguing details regarding the surgery performed last week on Peyton Manning’s neck.
Cam Newton Sets NFL Rookie Record For Passing Yards In Debut - SBNation.com
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has already joined Peyton Manning in the records book for his Week 1 performance. Newton passed for 422 yards in his pro debut, smashing Peyton Manning's record from 1998. Manning threw for 302 yards against the Miami Dolphins that Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys Give TE Jason Witten Five-Year Contract Extension - SBNation.com
The Cowboys have given TE Jason Witten a five-year, $37 million extension that will keep him in Dallas through the 2017 season.
Austin, Cromartie share catch in end zone. Who gets possession? - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
The details of a pivotal play in the Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Jets game could have read like an SAT question: "Miles, a receiver, goes up for a ball. Antonio, a defender, goes for the same ball. Both land in the endzone, each with their arms wrapped around the ball. Who is awarded possession?"
NFL Game Recaps:
Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
There appears to be a clear changing of the guard in the AFC South. Without an injured Peyton Manning, the perennial division champion Colts were simply dreadful and the playoff-starved Houston Texans looked like true contenders in a 34-7 rout to open the season at Reliant Stadium.
Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 97 yards and a touchdown as the Jacksonville Jaguars took down the Tennessee Titans, 16-14, in the season opener for both teams.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Cleveland Browns Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Rookie wide receiver A.J. Green caught a 41- yard touchdown pass from Bruce Gradkowski late in the fourth quarter for the lead, as the Cincinnati Bengals earned a 27-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Atlanta Falcons vs Chicago Bears Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Jay Cutler finished with 312 yards and two touchdowns, while Matt Forte contributed 158 total yards of offense as Chicago rocked Atlanta, 30-12, in the 2011 season opener from Soldier Field.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs Baltimore Ravens Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Joe Flacco passed for 224 yards and three touchdowns and the swarming Ravens defense forced seven turnovers in a 35-7 rout of the Steelers on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills vs Kansas City Chiefs Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Ryan Fitzpatrick matched a personal best with four touchdown passes, Fred Jackson rushed for 112 yards on 20 carries and the Buffalo Bills opened the 2011 season with a resounding 41-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Philadelphia Eagles vs St. Louis Rams Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Michael Vick threw for 187 yards and two touchdowns while running for 98 yards, leading the Eagles to a 31-13 victory over the Rams in their much-anticipated season opener.
Detroit Lions vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
A new season has sparked new hopes in Detroit, and Matthew Stafford and a strong defense led the way in the Lions' season- opening 27-20 win over Tampa Bay.
New York Giants vs Washington Redskins Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Rex Grossman threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns against a patchwork Giants defense, and Ryan Kerrigan returned an interception for a touchdown, leading the Redskins to a 28-14 victory on Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings vs San Diego Chargers Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Fullback Mike Tolbert accounted for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter that sent the Chargers to a 24-17 victory over the Vikings.
Seattle Seahawks vs San Francisco 49ers Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Ted Ginn Jr. picked up San Francisco's anemic offense with two scintillating special teams touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, helping the 49ers pull away from the Seattle Seahawks, 33-17, in Jim Harbaugh's debut as an NFL head coach.
Dallas Cowboys vs New York Jets Recap - September 11, 2011 - NFL - SB Nation
Darrelle Revis' late interception led to Nick Folk's game-winning 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining, as the New York Jets scored the final 17 points to stun the Dallas Cowboys, 27-24, in the season opener for both teams.