for this game

Cardinals blow out Panthers

Jan 11, 2009 - 11:04 PM By Brian Joura PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- The Arizona Cardinals had no problems even without star wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

Quarterback Kurt Warner shook off the loss of one of his favorite targets to throw for 220 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Cardinals to a 33-13 victory over the turnover-riddled Carolina Panthers in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday night.

Larry Fitzgerald made up for the loss of Boldin, setting a playoff franchise record with 166 yards receiving and a touchdown on eight receptions as Arizona avenged a 27-23 defeat at Carolina in the regular season.

"We always count on Larry to make some big plays," Warner said. "He is our big playmaker and he didn't disappoint again today. Without Q (Boldin) being out there, they were going to have to focus on him and we were going to have go go to him to make some big plays. And it didn't matter. He stepped up big and made play after play for us."

It was a brutal game by Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme on his 34th birthday. He finished 17-for-34 for 205 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions, tying a postseason record.

Delhomme also lost a fumble as Carolina (12-5) suffered its first home defeat of the season.

"To come out and put us in a bind like I did tonight, I'm at a loss for words," Delhomme said. "I didn't give us a chance."

"In a nutshell, we picked a bad day to have a bad day," Panthers coach John Fox said. "I think any time you turn the ball over six times against a good football team in the playoff level, you don't have much of a shot."

The Cardinals (11-7) move on to the NFC Championship game, where they will take on the winner of Sunday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. This marks the first time in franchise history the Arizona has won two playoff games in the same season.

It also will be the first championship appearance for the Cardinals since 1948, when the team was located in Chicago.

Fitzgerald was spectacular, particularly in the first half when he has six receptions for 151 yards. Included among them was a leaping catch to set up the first touchdown and a 29-yard catch and run that made it 27-7 with 3 1/2 minutes left in the first half.

"No, we didn't do anything different," Fitzgerald said of playing without Boldin. "Carolina, they are a really good football team. We came here excited about what we were able to do. It was a good team effort. We were able to run the ball effectively and it was a great balance.

"We knew we were going to have to do some big things today. Jump on top of these guys and we did."

After spotting the Panthers a quick touchdown lead on the opening possession, Arizona capitalized on a flurry of turnovers by Delhomme to reel off 33 unanswered points.

The Cardinals took the lead for good in the first quarter when they scored twice in a 56-second span.

Warner capped a 60-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tim Hightower to tie the game at 7-7 with 2:47 to play in the opening period.

The big play of the drive was a beautiful leaping catch by Fitzgerald against double coverage which resulted in a 41-yard catch to Carolina's 10-yard line.

"Larry's been that force the last three weeks," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "When we've needed a big play to get us going early, Larry has stepped up and done that. That's one of the things we talked about going into this game.

"He's an outstanding football player in this league, and everybody knows that, I think. When you get into the playoffs you have to have your best players make plays, and Larry did that for us today."

On the ensuing Panthers drive, Cardinals defensive Antonio Smith came up with the pivotal play of the first half. He swatted the ball away from Delhomme and recovered the fumble at the 13-yard line.

Two plays later, Edgerrin James scored on a 4-yard run for a 14-7 lead. James rushed for 57 yards on 20 carries while Hightower had 76 yards on 17 rushes.

The Panthers seemed poised to tie the game on their next possession, but rookie Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came up with an interception at the goal line on the first play of the second quarter to snuff out the drive.

The Cardinals extended their lead to 17-7 when Neil Rackers booted the first of his four field goals, a 49-yarder with 10:16 remaining in the half.

Following a 30-yard field goal by Rackers, Delhomme turned the ball over for the third time in the half and once again it led to points for Arizona.

"It wasn't our night," Delhomme said. "It wasn't mine, for sure."

On the third play of the drive, Warner hit Fitzgerald on a crossing pattern and the Cardinals' wideout stretched the ball over the goal line for a 29-yard touchdown and a 20-point lead at 27-7.

Warner completed 15-of-19 passes in the first half for 200 yards and he had a 145.6 quarterback rating in the opening 30 minutes. He finished 21-of-32 for 220 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

The Panthers got on the board first after Mark Jones opened the game with a 39-yard kickoff return to put the ball at midfield. DeAngelo Williams broke a 31-yard run, which set up a 9-yard touchdown rush by rookie Jonathan Stewart and a quick 7-0 lead.

But the Panthers, who in their previous two games scored the first three times they had the ball, could do no more damage thanks to the turnovers.

"The proudest I was," Whisenhunt said, "when we got down 7-0, we responded. That was big for this football team. We've gone through a lot, and we're playing pretty good football right now, and that's what's important."

The turnovers continued to mount in the second half. Carolina caught a break when Jon Beason returned an interception to the Arizona 31-yard line, but the Panthers came up empty when Delhomme threw his third interception of the game.

He also threw an interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

"Jake had a great year for us," Fox said. "I told those guys to walk out of here with your head held high just like I will. It's not where we wanted to end up, but it's reality. I think Jake is a hell of a quarterback who had a rough night."

Panthers wideout Steve Smith, who scored two touchdowns in the regular-season matchup, was held without a catch until 0:36 in the third quarter, when the score was 30-7. He finished with two catches for 43 yards, including an 8-yard TD pass with 57 seconds left in the game.






  • 79
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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Cardinals 33, Panthers 13  FinalJan 19 1:35 PM
  • mark i dunno about that. they've proven me wrong twice in a row, but i just don't seem 'em beating the G-men on the road.

    Cardinals 33, Panthers 13  FinalJan 11 1:27 AM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 14 13 3 3 33
    CAROLINA 7 0 0 6 13 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CAR - TD, JONATHAN STEWART 9 YD RUN (JOHN
    KASAY KICK), 3:04. Drive: 5 plays,
    50 yards in 3:04. Key plays: M
    Jones 39-yard kickoff return to
    midfield

    Jan 10 11:26 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD CAR
    STEVE SMITH 8 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME
    (TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
    ARIZONA 33
    CAROLINA 13 0:50 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals 33, Panthers 13  4th - 0:50Jan 10 11:23 PM
  • savbyroy Cards/Chargers Super Bowl anyone?

    Cardinals 33, Panthers 7  4th - 1:37Jan 10 11:18 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 20 YD
    ARIZONA 33
    CAROLINA 7 3:10 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Cardinals 33, Panthers 7  4th - 3:10Jan 10 11:11 PM
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    Cardinals 30, Panthers 7  4th - 14:04Jan 10 10:52 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 14 13 3 30
    CAROLINA 7 0 0 7 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CAR - TD, JONATHAN STEWART 9 YD RUN (JOHN
    KASAY KICK), 3:04. Drive: 5 plays,
    50 yards in 3:04. Key plays: M
    Jones 39-yard kickoff return to
    m

    Jan 10 10:39 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 33 YD
    ARIZONA 30
    CAROLINA 7 4:40 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Cardinals 30, Panthers 7  3rd - 4:40Jan 10 10:27 PM
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    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  3rd - 11:20Jan 10 10:13 PM
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    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  HalfJan 10 10:01 PM
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    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  HalfJan 10 9:51 PM
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    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  HalfJan 10 9:50 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL MISSED FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 53 YD ATTEMPT SHORT
    ARIZONA 27
    CAROLINA 7 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Jan 10 9:48 PM
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    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  HalfJan 10 9:48 PM
  • mark wow. i had this REALLY wrong.

    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  2nd - 1:52Jan 10 9:34 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD ARI
    LARRY FITZGERALD 29 YD PASS FROM KURT WARNER
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 27
    CAROLINA 7 3:32 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals 27, Panthers 7  2nd - 3:32Jan 10 9:27 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 30 YD
    ARIZONA 20
    CAROLINA 7 5:28 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals 20, Panthers 7  2nd - 5:28Jan 10 9:21 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG ARI
    NEIL RACKERS 49 YD
    ARIZONA 17
    CAROLINA 7 10:16 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Cardinals 17, Panthers 7  2nd - 10:16Jan 10 9:04 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    ARIZONA 14 14
    CAROLINA 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: CAR - TD, JONATHAN STEWART 9 YD RUN (JOHN
    KASAY KICK), 3:04. Drive: 5 plays,
    50 yards in 3:04. Key plays: M
    Jones 39-yard kickoff return to
    m

    Jan 10 8:52 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD ARI
    EDGERRIN JAMES 4 YD RUN
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 14
    CAROLINA 7 1:47 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals 14, Panthers 7  1st - 1:47Jan 10 8:46 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD ARI
    TIM HIGHTOWER 3 YD PASS FROM KURT WARNER
    (NEIL RACKERS KICK)
    ARIZONA 7
    CAROLINA 7 2:43 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals 7, Panthers 7  1st - 2:43Jan 10 8:40 PM
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    Cardinals 0, Panthers 7  1st - 2:49Jan 10 8:39 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD CAR
    JONATHAN STEWART 9 YD RUN
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    ARIZONA 0
    CAROLINA 7 11:56 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals 0, Panthers 7  1st - 11:56Jan 10 8:38 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    ARIZONA 0
    CAROLINA 0 7:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals 0, Panthers 0  1st - 7:00Jan 10 8:32 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD CAR
    JONATHAN STEWART RECOVERED BLOCKED PUNT IN END ZONE
    (JOHN KASAY KICK)
    ARIZONA 0
    CAROLINA 7 11:56 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Cardinals 0, Panthers 7  1st - 11:56Jan 10 8:20 PM
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    Cardinals vs. PanthersJan 10 8:31 AM
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    Cardinals vs. PanthersJan 8 8:03 PM