Before I get to the wildcard game between the Atlanta Falcons at the Arizona Cardinals, held at the University of Phoenix Stadium, read this:
The 2008 US Army All-American Bowl ended in an East win. When I got myself to TV, the fourth quarter still had a minute left. I believe the East won it again this year. Click here, here, and here for more info.
Back to the playoffs. An interview between Tiki Barber and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan aired in the pregame segment. Between the two of them, I don’t think more than five to seven words per second leave their mouths. The. way. that. they. speak. is. n’t. punct. uated. per. se, but…every. single. word…receives a very deliberate escorting.
Televised by NBC, the first quarter plunked out an interception…Matt Ryan’s third pass (?) and into the hands of Cardinals cornerback Ralph Brown. The result of that turnover? Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner throwing forty-two yards to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown. Arizona 7 and Atlanta 0. Agh. Groar.
The second quarter got the Falcons on the board with a thirty-yard Jason Elam field goal. The Cardinals leaped away numerically with a seventy-one yard touchdown run by wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Arizona 14 and Atlanta 3. Fast-forward to the bottom of the quarter, after Matt Ryan successfully connected with wide receivers Michael Jenkins, Roddy White, and Brian Finneran, and running back Michael Turner sauntered into the end zone. Arizona 14 and Atlanta 10. During the Cardinals’ next possession, one of Kurt Warner’s passes bobbled off of its target receiver’s hands and into the grasp of Falcons cornerback Chevis Jackson. As the quarter came to an end, Falcons tight end Justin Peelle and Matt Ryan linked arms for a TD. Atlanta 17 and Arizona 14.
The third quarter spat out a turnover and Cardinals cornerback Antrel Rolle ran twenty-seven yards for a TD. Arizona 21 and Atlanta 17. The Cardinals Neil Rackers missed a fifty-one yard field goal shortly thereafter. Would the Falcons do with another offensive go in the top of the quarter? Niet. The quarter trimmed down with a Cardinals touchdown by running back Tim Hightower. Arizona 28 and Atlanta 17. How do the Falcons react? Matt Ryan threw another interception…into the cradle of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The fourth quarter started with a safety for the Cardinals. Alors, Arizona 30 and Atlanta 17. The Cardinals were awarded an excessive celebration penalty. With under five minutes left to tango, Roddy White got his body into the end zone. Arizona 30 and Atlanta 24. Alas. final score.
Observations & Miscellania:
1. Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond were the commentators.
2. Anquan Boldin put a hand to his left hamstring after making the second quarter TD.
3. Towards the bottom of the second quarter, after Matt Ryan had completed a series of passes, Cris Collinsworth remarked that Ryan does better when he throws to his left.
4. The camera took a few shots of Matt Ryan after Michael Turner and Justin Peelle made TDs in the second quarter. His hair has grown out quite a bit. When did that happen? Obviously it happened over the course of sixteen weeks, but compared to last week? It’s as if two inches came out of nowhere.
5. Matt Ryan’s older brother Mike received some screen-time during the middle of the fourth quarter. They definitely look related.
6. One of the cameras got a medium shot of Falcons linebacker John Abraham after Kurt Warner took a knee. Methinks I saw tears about to well up in Abraham’s eyes?
Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.