The game looked like it was over in the third quarter, and even during the beginning portion of the fourth. Then, all hell broke loose. The Cardinals scored a touchdown, and then got two more points via a safety. On the ensuing possession, Kurt Warner hit Larry Fitzgerald for what looked to be a short gain from a slant route up the middle, however Fitzgerald took the ball the distance for a touchdown, giving Arizona a slight edge. The Steelers then marched back down field, and Santonio Holmes had a few big catches, including a TD catch with :30 left on the game clock. Arizona made it to mid-field, however Kurt Warner was hit and sacked, and fumbled the ball with 0:15 left, giving the Steelers the ball and the win. The biggest play of the game, perhaps, came on the last play of the first half, when James Harrison returned a Kurt Warner throw 100 yards for a TD, giving the Steelers a 10 point lead going into halftime. If that had not happened, and even if the Cards had just ended up with a field goal, the score would have been tied 10-10, and the outcome would have been changed. But, the Steelers defense came up big, just as it has been doing all season.
It really reminded me of the Patriots-Giants Superbowl last year, as after the Pats gave the ball to the Giants with just over 2 minutes in the game, the defense could not come up with a big stop, and the Giants scored the game winning touchdown. The Cardinals’ defense could not stop the Steelers on the final drive, and similar to the David Tyree catch last year, Santonio Holmes made a great, could be considered miraculous, touchdown catch to win the game.
It was a tough game to digest, rooting for the losing team because they had the opportunity to win the game at the end of the game, as well as the opportunity to make the stop to prevent the Steelers from scoring; again drawing parallels to last years’ Super Bowl. However, if you’re a Cardinals fan, you should look at the positives. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin are still going to play for you next season, and Kurt Warner may not be as good, but he’ll be effective. They all increased their legacies after their great performances. Also, you have Matt Leinart as your back up quarterback. Steve Breaston is clearly emerging as a great receiver too, who is a reliable target after Boldin or Fitzgerald. Your running back Tim Hightower is improving, as well as the defensive line, who came alive in the postseason. We have seen what the Cards are capable of, and while they may not return to the Super Bowl, they are certainly a playoff team. The Pittsburgh defense however, was just just too good, and their offense made the big plays when it mattered most. Santonio Holmes had a huge game, and thoroughly deserved his MVP award.
We don’t need to feel bad that the Cardinals lost. I mean, we’re Patriots fans, and while we can root for different teams in the Super Bowl, it really does not affect us. And if you feel bad for Fitzgerald or Adrian Wilson (the Cardinals’ Safety) or any one person in particular, there are many legends who never won any Super Bowls, like Joe Hannah or Deacon Jones for instance. Kurt Warner, he’s already won his Super Bowl. They get paid the big money too! We should feel happy for Mike Tomlin as well as respect him for what he has done, and we should feel happy for Santonio Holmes, who before this season was unanimously hated by Steelers’ fans, who thought that he was a huge draft bust. This game will also add some controversy to the NFL’s officiating, as James Harrison was not ejected for punching the Cardinals’ Aaron Francisco, and the Kurt Warner game ending fumble was not reviewed. The Steelers were heavy favorites and still the Cards poured their hearts out, coming back after being down by 13, but were just not able to pull off a victory. They’re a great team, and will certainly improve in the future, now with a growing fan base and better players.
I’m looking forward to writing an article next season about how the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and if everybody comes back healthy, I think that is a very legitimate possibility.
All in all, a tough loss for the Cardinals, however they have a bright future. The Steelers were the better team in this game, and deserved to win. They had the toughest schedule out of all teams, and won the hard faught games. They battled all year, and earned their title. Rodney Harrison said before the game, “Unlike last year, the better team will win,” and Pittsburgh was just the better team.