There's nothing like a good thrumping, I always say. Watching your home team absolutely obliterate an opponent can be fun. Well, maybe. After a season plagued by injuries to starters and backups to starters, it was good to see Matt and the gang hand it out to the Cardinals in bruising fashion...for the first half. Coasting into the second half with a 31-0 lead, I was feeling pretty good. 31 points would be a heck of a deficit for Arizona to come back from. But Belichick didn't let up. 13 points in the third quarter and 3 in the fourth would put the Patriots at a 47 point lead. With 6:30 left in the fourth quarter, Matt Leinart, the guy Cassel carried a clipboard for in college, connects with Fitzgerald for a 78 yard TD. Finally, the Cardinals were on the board.
I say finally because 'round about the third quarter, the game started getting uncomfortable for me. When is it enough? When should Belichick take the pedal off of the floor? As an example, Hoodie was furious at Hobbs for letting Fitzgerald by him. That is not a conversation I'd want to have with a man who's coached his team to 3 Super Bowls. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that's how the man wins. Whiners and people who don't know football will think he was running up the score and is an insane sadist for calling Hobbs on the carpet. That's exactly the reason why the man wins. His team plays 60 minutes whether they have a 47 point lead or they're behind with 2 minutes left. Never EVER stop. This business of letting up so you don't embarrass a team and their head coach is complete nonsense. Field a defense that can stop the onslaught. Until then, STOP WHINING!! Running up the score...what a joke.
Back to the Cardinals. After that bruising loss, sophomore coach, Ken Whisenhunt, used it as a lightning rod for the team. Even though they had their division wrapped up, it was about attitude:
I was pretty angry with the way we played," Whisenhunt said recently. "That set the tempo with how I handled the team and how we practiced that week. I said, 'You better be ready to practice this week to play, because if you're not, you're not going to play in the playoff game.
It didn't matter that a 7-9 record in a very weak NFC West could've clinched the division. Whisenhunt went all Belichick on his team and worked them like they would be playing in February. Guess what? They are. In an odd twist of fate, one could say our 47-7 thrumping is the impetus behind their success. That and Ken Whisenhunt is no dummy. He knows how to use a moment to motivate his people.
The Kurt Warner/Larry Fitzgerald connection is becoming one of the most dangerous in football. Brady/Moss comes to mind. Yes, I think it's that dangerous. Before Philly knew what hit them, Warner had connected with Fitzgerald 3 times for TDs by the end of the first half. One of them was a beautiful 62 yarder. Yup, Brady/Moss comes to mind. Egerrin James is a dangerous back. Whether or not he can put up some yardage against the #1 D remains to be seen, but he's a weapon no doubt.
If Arizona gets good weather and can get it in the air, it'll be a game. If they try battle it out toe-to-toe, Pitt will eat them alive; they're too tough of a team to play that game. As much as I can't stand Warner for whining about his loss to NE in our first SB win, I'd like to see him succeed. He doesn't have too many years left in the league. I also like Ken Wisenhunt. He seems like a good guy and has worked hard to put his team in this position.