January 4, 2009
The Cards came out running, which served them well. The Falcons battled back and took a lead, but a fumble by Michael Turner that Arizona returned for a touchdown completely changed the momentum of the game. Atlanta had some key errors (dropped passes and defensive breakdowns) that inevitably led to their demise.
At key times in the game, Arizona went to the run and was able to eat up large portions of clock, keeping the ball in Kurt Warner's hands and giving the Cards their first playoff victory since the '90s in their first home playoff game since the Truman administration.
Ron Winter and his crew might be the story of this game. The Chargers final drive in overtime was made possible by three first downs gained by penalties. However, as much as the Colts might whine, they were all good calls. Outside of the officiating, Darren Sproles had a hell of a game.
The Chargers defense played an inspired game against Manning, using a solid strategy of not lining up until there were only a few seconds left on the play clock. Mike Scifres, San Diego's punter, showed anyone watching the game what an asset a good punter is. After what the Steelers have been through this season with their punting, we can only hope Sepulveda can have similar performances next year. MV-who??
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