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America’s Bird?...Not the Eagle

Written By: Brian Welte

Before the kickoff, the big question that was left on the table was “which team wants it more?” It was clearly evident that the Arizona Cardinals wanted to win more than the Eagles did in the first half. Jim Johnson’s explosive defense was anything but that. They came out lackadaisical and heartless; missing tackle after tackle and giving up one big play after another. The first drive of the game ended with a nine yard touchdown by Larry Fitzgerald, and he continued to dominate the rest of the first half; recording a total of three touchdowns and over a hundred yards receiving. The score at the end of the half was an embarrassing 24-6.

The second half the Eagles came out strong on both sides of the ball. The passing game was very effective and Donovan Mcnabb had found his accuracy, which was nonexistent in the first half of the game. Mcnabb threw two touchdown strikes in the third quarter, both of them to Brent Celek. In the fourth quarter, Mcnabb threw an amazingly accurate pass to rookie, Desean Jackson, for a 62 yard touchdown. Astonishingly, the Eagles scored 19 unanswered points and have taken the lead for the first time in the game, with the score being 25-24. The momentum was now in the hands of Philadelphia and it was looking as though they were going to pull out a miraculous victory.

However, the leader of the Cardinals, Kurt Warner, had faced this kind of adversity before and he would not go down without a fight. With about six minutes remaining in the game Warner led the Cardinals down to mid-field; but came to a brick wall on third and one. He handed the ball off and the Eagles defense had stopped them in their tracks, making it fourth down and inches.

Every year you hear at least one football coach, no matter what level of play it is, say “this game is a game of inches.” This is exactly what the NFC Championship came down to. With about five and a half minutes remaining in the game and fourth and inches, the Cardinals handed the ball off to Tim Hightower. Hightower rushed for about five yards giving the Cardinals a first town. The future Hall of Fame quarterback, Kurt Warner, would handle the rest. Warner threw a shovel pass to Hightower with three minutes remaining and the result was a touchdown, and more importantly the lead. They then successfully converted a two-point conversion, making it a seven point game.

The Eagles had one more shot to tie the game but were unsuccessful. This “game of inches” was won by the Arizona Cardinals. They played with more heart and desire than the Eagles and that’s why they were victorious. They executed when they needed to, and played a very good football game. On the other hand, the Eagles failed to execute and only played well in the second half. Congratulations to the Arizona Cardinals as they are the NFC Champions and are heading to Super Bowl XLIII.

At the end of the game the question that was left on the table was “will Number 5, Donovan Mcnabb, return next year wearing black and green?”

To be continued…

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