Arizona Cardinals' Triumph: Old Man Warner Teaches Matty Ice Playoff Lessons

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2009

The Arizona Cardinals made Matt Ryan sweat. Kurt Warner showed him how to remain cool under the playoff pressure.

Don't get me wrong, Ryan showed resiliency to bring his team within six points, but Warner was just better.

Ryan's nervousness and lack of experience showed when he threw an interception on Atlanta's first drive. 

He did not immediately respond well to adversity.  After the fumble that was returned for an Arizona touchdown, the next five drives resulted in punt, punt, interception, punt, and safety. 

None of those five drives lasted more than three plays or netted more than five yards. 

Warner responded like the Super Bowl champion that he is. 

After a missed field goal to begin the second half and only up four, Warner marched his team on a 14-play drive that ended in a touchdown.

After Atlanta closed the gap within six points with four minute left, Warner engineered a game-ending drive that ran out the clock.

Admittedly, Warner had more help than Ryan.

The Cardinals ran the ball and pass protected better than the Falcons.

Oh, and they have that Fitzgerald guy.

Despite the loss, Ryan and the Falcons can learn a lot from this game.  Now everyone on this roster has playoff experience.