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Cardinals Crunch Carolina to Move to NFC Title Game 33-13

It was as if they were playing as the favorites. Nevermind what has happend in the past, no matter what you may have thought – these are not the same old Cardinals. Playing loose and free on defense with an aggressive nature, and again putting forth a running game that was nowhere to be found for almost the whole season, the Cardinals laid a whoopin on the Carolina Panthers Saturday night 33-13 to advance to the NFC Title game.

For the second straight week in the playoffs the Cards outrushed their opponent, putting up an impressive 145 yards to just 75 for the Panthers. After allowing a first drive TD to Carolina, the Cardinals dominated till the final whistle, as they scored 33 straight points until the Panthers scored a meaningless TD with 50 seconds left.

Larry Fitzgerald played out of his mind, pulling in 8 catches for 166 yards and a TD. Kurt Warner was solid, going 21-for-32 for 220 yards with two TD’s and a pick and in the nd didn’t hurt the team. Tim Hightower and Edgerrin James combined for an impressive 133 yards on 37 carries.

The story though was the defense, as they forced Panthers QB Jake Delhomme into five interceptions and also knocked the ball out of his hand once for a turnover early that evenually resulted in a Cardinals TD. They put pressure on Delhomme all night, and while they recorded just two sacks it didn’t tell the story of how good the unit played.

The Cards also controlled the time of possession, holding the ball in an almost 2-1 ratio, 39:49 to just 20:11 for Carolina. By holding the ball and getting an early lead, it stoppped the Panthers run game of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. The two had just 75 yards between them, and after their first TD were really never heard from again.

So now they have made it past test 1 and 2, and test three awaits with a matchup next Sunday vs either the Giants or Eagles. If the run game and defense plays as well as they did vs Carolina, there is no doubt they can make it to Tampa Bay on Febuary 1st for the big dance.

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One Response to “Cardinals Crunch Carolina to Move to NFC Title Game 33-13”

  1. […] I will evaluate four phases of the game and wrap up the posts with a prediction on Saturday.  One caveat to keep in mind: this is not the Arizona Cardinals team the Eagles played on Thanksgiving.  That game means nothing in the context of this game.  Erase it from your memory.  Different […]

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