What a thrill it was to sit in the press box Sunday afternoon at University of Phoenix Stadium!
I picked the game right but I don’t take much credit in being right. I thought the Cardinals would control the whole game and the Packers might score a late TD but still lose by 14-17 points.
It’s OK to be up in arms about the defense considering what happened. The catch is to be upset and greatful at the same time. Zero home playoff wins before Ken Whisenhunt. Three home playoff wins in three years with him.
The defense has to tackle better. Michael Adams and Bryant McFadden must improve their performance dramatically in six days. Larry Fitzgerald can’t fumble and call arbitrary time outs. These are absolute facts. However, there’s only two questions that matter in the post-season: 1) Do you have another game? 2) If number one is no, are you world champions?
The most important stat of Sunday’s game isn’t Rodgers’ passing yards or even Warner’s QB rating. It’s this one: 51-46.
The greatest thing for me Sunday was watching Early Doucet. It seems like two years ago but in July and August of 2009 I was living in an RV in Flagstaff. I was kneeling on the sideline and in front of me lied Early Doucet. He was fighting to make the 2009 Cardinals roster. He went over the middle and completely sold out to make an incredible catch. He came down on his shoulder. I heard two noises: ooh’s and aah’s from fans and players…moans and grunts of pain from Doucet.
I was an instant Doucet fan and wrote about it at the time.
One simple Flagstaff pattern mattered so much to Doucet that he went airborn over the middle in a morning training camp practice. You truly practice how you play. Maybe that play convinced Ken Whisenhunt the Cardinals are a better team with Early Doucet pushing the starting wide receivers. Maybe that decision to keep him won Ken Whisenhunt his fourth playoff game.
Even better would be if it wins him his fifth.