After an MVP-caliber season, the amount of vitriol and doubt pointed toward Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer this offseason was downright surprising.
Of course, having by far your worst game of the season with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line will add to the “Palmer chokes in big games” club membership.
Choke or not, Palmer didn’t play well in the NFC Championship Game against the Carolina Panthers, completing just 23-of-40 passes for 235 yards and four interceptions in a 49-15 rout.
Palmer played through a nagging finger injury suffered in a Week 15 win at Philadelphia. Many have wondered how big a factor the injury was in not only the loss in Charlotte but the Cardinals’ NFC Divisional Playoff victory over Green Bay.
“The finger isn’t an issue, wasn’t an issue and won’t be an issue going forward,” Palmer told Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Palmer pointed to the fact that in January, everyone is playing with some level of injury and that can’t be and won’t be used as an excuse.
“Obviously, it didn’t go the way I wanted or we wanted, there was a handful of balls I missed in the Green Bay game but we were able to come out of there with a win,” Palmer said. “But I’m champing at the bit to play Carolina again. Obviously, that one’s hanging over my head. Can you win the big game — I got asked that the other day.
“The only thing to do is go out and win it. Can you get your team to the Super Bowl — those questions are going to be coming at me all season long. I’m not going to duck it. I look at that opportunity to play against Carolina as a great opportunity to bounce back and hopefully be back in that championship game again and win it and put that question to bed.”
The Cardinals travel to Charlotte, where they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, to face the Panthers on Oct. 30.
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