The Arizona Cardinals defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 32-25 in the NFC Championship Game Sunday. They didn’t take long to score points, going up 24-6 before halftime. A comeback did come for Donovan McNabb and the Eagles, who shortly took the lead 25-24 with a McNabb pass to DeSean Jackson. But the Eagles defense could not hold Kurt Warner and the Cardinals pass offense, and the Cardinals reached the endzone in their final meaningful drive to win the game in the desert.
Kurt Warner, the 37-year-old ageless wonder, had an outstanding game for Arizona. He was 21-of-28 with 279 yards and 4 TD passes against a secondary that had not allowed a TD through the air in 20 quarters before the game. Larry Fitzgerald had an equally clutch day, with 152 of Warner’s passing yards, while he was on the receiving end of 3 of Warner’s 4 TD passes. Tim Hightower caught the 4th and game-winning TD pass. Anquan Boldin, who was Warners go-to guy all season long, was not very effective, catching only 4 passes for 32 yards. Edgerrin James had another good playoff game, with 16 carries and 73 yards rushing. The Cards Defense also did its job, coming up with 2 fumble recoveries, an interception, and a key stop on 4th down in the Eagles’ final legitimate drive.
Donovan McNabb also had a great game under center; he was 28-of-47 with 375 yards, 3 passing TD’s, and 1 INT. McNabb’s biggest 3 targets all had field days as well. Kevin Curtis caught 4 passes for 122 yards, DeSean Jackson caught 6 passes for 92 yards, including a 62 yard TD pass. Brent Celek caught 10 passes from McNabb, for 83 yards and 2 touchdown receptions. Brian Westbrook, who was looked at as one of the keys to Philadelphia winning in pre-game analysis, had only 45 rushing yards on 12 carries. He added 26 yards on 2 receptions, and fumbled the ball once, although it was recovered by the Eagles.
With the victory over Philadelphia, the Cardinals will play either the Baltimore Ravens or the Pittsburgh Steelers in Superbowl 43, their first ever Superbowl. The last time an NFC West team made it to the Superbowl, it was the Seattle Seahawks in the 2005-2006 season. The Seahawks lost to the Steelers in Superbowl 40, and it may be those same Steelers that the Cardinals will face in early February.