The team that had never been there before looked like it for a bulk of the game. Untimely penalties, miscues in pass protection, and unable to sustain drives proved to be their undoing. I’ll give credit to the defense in the red zone. They held Pittsburgh to field goals when touchdowns were very likely. They also did a good job of getting to Roethlisberger, but who hasn’t this year? Their stands to hold Pittsburgh to field goals early kept them in the game. Too bad they couldn’t make a stop when it counted most in the last two minutes.
I thought Kurt Warner needed what got John Elway a couple of Super Bowl wins late in his career – the threat of a big time running game. I was wrong; my bad. For as good as James and Hightower looked at times, the Cardinal rushing attack was largely absent in the game. Warner had only a handful of attempts for more than ten yards downfield. But with solid performances by Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston, Warner and the Cardinal offense just generated enough to win it. Larry Fitzgerald solidified his status as a very special player. That fourth quarter performance is the stuff of legend, including two touchdowns. One was a great catch in the end zone. The other was a straight out burner down the field. You don’t get many moments like that. It is a shame his performance wasn’t enough to win the game and that this will probably be his only Super Bowl (if he stays with the Cardinals for his career). Oh well, Ahmad Rashad never won the big one either.
While it didn’t a have a ton of excitement in the first 3/4 of a game, the fourth quarter was well worth the wait as both teams put on a show that will certainly be the story of Super Bowl XLIII.