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Running Diary: Cardinals @ Saints, Divisional Playoff Round

It’s been far too long since I’ve written anything regarding the Arizona Cardinals, so I figured how about a running diary to get me right back into the swing of things. Yes, I realize that I’m taking a page out of the book of Bill Simmons and countless other sports writers- but I figure if they can, why the hell can’t I?
I made a bold prediction last night on Pacific 106’s Bill and Bo Show that the Cardinals would take this one 38-37 (my one playoffs reverse jinx was used up last week versus the Packers), so let’s see how this thing turns out…
Darnell Dockett’s final pre-game tweet: “BirdGang in the Building LIVE in the N.O. Mindset like -->"There only 2 men I fear when it comes to a battle god and my shadow"! Leeeah GO!” Fantastic. I don’t exactly know what that means, but I’ll take it. By the way, that man has as degree from Florida State University.
The line on this game opened at Saints -7 and hasn’t moved once all week. Vegas has the money split 51/49 on the spread in favor of the Saints. What does this mean? Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve read arguments for both sides, and the Vegas sharps are split between the teams. I guess we’re looking at a close matchup. Maybe my 38-37 prediction wasn’t so bad after all.
2:20pm - Even the FOX NFL Pregame show is making fun of Jay Leno. When is this going to stop being funny? Hopefully very soon, followed by Leno going away. Give the job to Kimmel. Problem solved.
2:23pm - FOX Pregame show predictions: Terry, Howie, and Jimmy all take the Saints. Strahan takes the Cardinals. This is a VERY good thing for the Cardinals. These guys combined are barely over .500 in picking games. Plus the media is terrible and rolls with the popular vote (Saints, “Who dat” Nation, the resurgence of Drew Brees) because it makes for good television.
2:28pm – Who told Daryl Johnston that his shirt-tie-jacket combination goes together? Is he colorblind? It looks like he’s trying to be the next Craig Sager. Please let the game start soon, my retinas hurt.
2:30pm – Tony Sarigusa is on the sideline! Maybe he’ll try and rival Troy Aikman for “Most Pointless Comments Made Throughout a Broadcast.” His analysis included this quote: “I believe the defense that plays the most unorthodox is going to lead their team to the Super Bowl.” What?!?!
2:34pm – The Superdome is LOUD! Cardinals return the kickoff to the 30-yard line and don’t fumble. Small victories here.
2:35pm – AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Running play? 70 yards? The Cardinals? First play of the game? I can barely type. Was that Ray Rice? Who in their right mind would have thought the Cards would score on the first play of the game, even more so on a running play. Whisenhunt is a genius. Cards 7, Saints 0
2:39pm – Who brought in the B-Squad commentators? I don’t think they’d even sat down for that first play. Thanks for bringing your best FOX. These guys make Buck and McCarver look like geniuses.
2:44pm – Reggie Bush with another 1st down run. What’s the over/under on number of shots of Kim Kardashian if he has a good game? 25?
2:45pm – Shockey makes a catch with no one around him at the Cardinals 5 yard line. This look vaguely familiar. Oh yeah, it was when Rodgers carved up the Cardinals secondary for 500+ last week. This is not promising.
2:46pm – Touchdown Saints. It looks like the same Cardinals defense that showed up last week. New game: First team to 50 wins. Ready… GO! Cards 7, Saints 7
2:51pm – Jeremy Urban fumbles on the first play on what was a guaranteed 25-yard play. Early turnovers have killed the Cardinals this season. I’m sick to my stomach. Saints ball on the Arizona 37.
2:58pm – Another Saints touchdown. Four plays. I don’t think Brees is going to miss another receiver all game. Cardinals’ secondary is getting cut to pieces. Cardinals cannot afford any more turnovers, or this game is over. Saints 14, Cardinals 7
3:02pm – Botched handoff between Warner and Beanie. Is the dome noise getting to them? Whatever it is, none of this is a good sign. I’m terrified to keep watching.
3:09pm – The defense is sucking wind after 2 Saints possessions. That shot immediately followed by Henderson’s 15-yard play out of the backfield when we had him lined up for a loss. Open field tackling is the Achilles heel of the Cardinals right now, because you can expect to see that play about 8 more times today in one form or another.
3:11pm – DRC gets blocked and subsequently injured. Cardinals secondary is in shambles. Can we wave a white flag to Drew Brees?
3:12pm – Reggie Bush breaks about 6 tackles to run it in 46 yards for a touchdown. And we get our first shot of Kim Kardashian. This is ugly. I don’t like this game. Saints 21, Cardinals 7
3:16pm – Warner gets sacked and we see a shot of his concerned wife. Telltale sign that he’s gone after this season. Let’s just hope this isn’t his last game.
End of the 1st quarter. Saints 21, Cardinals 7. Saints have the ball at their own 34 and are marching like a Mardi Gras band over the Arizona D.
3:23pm – Saints first punt of the game. Apparently miracles do happen.
3:26pm – Cardinals get bailed out on a roughing the quarterback call after throwing a pick. Commentators apparently “don’t agree” with that call, as the replay shows Warner’s facemask being turned around. Great analysis, guys.
3:30pm – Fitzgerald’s trademark play is incomplete as he can’t come down with the jump ball in the end zone. If that ball is a foot higher it’s a touchdown.
3:31pm – Former LSU WR Early Doucet gets the first down after a beautiful hurdle, followed by Beanie Wells punching one in for a score. No one touched him. This has to help our defense’s confidence, right? Right? (I’m trying to talk myself into it) Saints 21, Cardinals 14
3:38pm – Where did Reggie Bush come from this game? He has 4 rushes for 70 yards already. He didn’t do this all season. Is our defense really that bad?
3:40pm – Flea flicker goes for a touchdown for the Saints. Looks like they took a page out of the Cardinals 2009 Playoffs Manual. Good adjustment by Colston to make that catch. That was way too easy for the Saints. Saints 28, Cardinals 14 (We might as well have played this game on Madden 2010)
3:48pm – Warner gets intercepted at the line of scrimmage and goes down looking dazed after taking a huge hit. This does not look good. Could we have just witnessed the last play of Warner’s career?
3:52pm – Reggie Bush with 2 straight catches to convert the first down for the Saints. I’m going to go ahead and say the Cardinals defense didn’t prepare too well for Reggie’s speed.
3:55pm – We see Warner leaving for the locker room with 2:20 left in the half. Leinart has his helmet on. Get ready for the young gun. Immediately after we see Warner leave, a Saints TD gets taken away due to holding. The way our defense has been playing, does it really matter? The Saints touchdown here almost seems inevitable.
4:00pm – Two plays later the Saints get their touchdown. Do we even pay our cornerbacks? Because we shouldn’t. The Saints receiving crew is doing whatever they want, and Brees is a smart enough quarterback to know where he can exploit them. Saints 35, Cardinals 14
4:05pm – Leinart is 5/5 for 47 yards, and then Rackers goes on and misses a 51-yard field goal to end the half. Story of the game so far. If this game comes down to Rackers lining up a field goal to win it, I don’t think I could watch. He’s that bad.
Halftime Analysis: Cardinals defense can’t stop anything. Saints offense is scoring at will. Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart came out of nowhere (granted Leinart only played for 1:10, but still, he hasn’t thrown a pick yet). The Cardinals need whoever it was that lit a fire underneath the Packers last weekend to rally them here. They have to come out and get a big stop of the Saints offense, and immediately come back for a score. Cardinals’ offensive line is getting crushed, and Warner was getting killed in the pocket. Can our defense stop anyone right now? I guess we’ll see in the second half.
4:23pm – It takes the Saints one play to get into Arizona territory. Way to come out with confidence, Cardinals' defense…
4:26pm- As FOX rolls into a commercial, we get a shot of Kurt Warner running back onto the field ready to go. Now the question arises: Who do we see more for the remainder of the game, a joyous Kim Kardashian or a concerned Brenda Warner with her hands on her head? I’m going with Brenda.
4:33pm – Reggie Bush with another 15-yard run. I’m getting tired of typing that sentence.
4:36pm – More Cardinals defensive players are injured. At this point in the game, do we have more starters in or more reserves? I honestly don’t know. I can’t blame Brees for going after the reserve secondary guys, because apparently it’s working.
4:38pm – Saints tack on a field goal. Talk about adding insult to injury. Neil Rackers watched that from the sideline wondering how Hartley makes FGs in the postseason. Saints 38, Cardinals 14
4:41pm – Fitzgerald drops a first down pass near the sideline. That’s not like him. The stars just didn’t line up for the Cardinals today. Talk about a depressing game.
4:46pm – Reggie Bush = stud. That punt return for the touchdown was sick. Just plain sick. The commentators haven’t stopped talking about his “focus” before the game. My guess is his “focus” is a little better than Leinart’s. They both have a Heisman Trophy, and I’ll give you one guess as to which one is going to be more successful in the NFL. Saints 45, Cardinals 14
4:50pm – Fitzgerald gets a big reception for the first down. WE CAN BUILD ON THIS! Who am I kidding, this is disgusting. The Saints might score 70 points.
4:52pm – Someone please explain to me why we didn’t switch to the no huddle offense sooner. Warner is perfect, our receivers are getting open, and the Saints defense seems frantic. This works. Why didn’t we do this before…
4:55pm – Cardinals are unable to convert a fourth down after Hightower drops a certain 3rd down run toss. Nobody can hold onto the ball. This Cardinals team looks like the one that lost to the Panthers and 49ers this season. This is not a playoff team.
End of the 3rd quarter. Saints 45, Cardinals 14. What draft number do we get after losing this game? Will there be any All-American defensive backs left at the end of the first round? Because we need them. All of them.
5:07pm – Kim Kardashian has officially won the “Who’s going to be on TV more” battle versus Brenda Warner. Final score: Kim 24, Brenda 4. Kind of resembles the Saints-Cardinals game itself.
5:10pm – If we know that they’re running the ball EVERY SINGLE PLAY just to run down the clock, how do they still get 10-12 yards per run? I don’t understand it. Offseason tip: Work on the defense. Look at Packers and Saints game film for examples of what not to do.
5:12pm – Nine minutes left in the Cardinals season. When’s the first time we’ll see Whisenhunt on the golf courses around Phoenix? Monday? Tuesday? My guess is he already has a few calls in for tee times that he made during the commercial break leading into the 4th quarter.
5:19pm – Warner is out, Leinart is in. Is this a preview of next season? I expect we’ll know Warner’s future in the NFL very soon. As I’m typing, Leinart tries his best to throw an interception, but the safety wasn’t used to a ball being thrown directly at his numbers, so he drops it. Could we trade up for Tony Pike from Cincinnati?
5:22pm – This game is so boring the announcers are all talking about their kids’ birthdays. My hand almost reached for the mute button.
5:27pm – Beanie Wells has a nice run to the left side. Wells and Doucet make me extremely hopeful about next season, as they’re two very young guys that can make a huge difference. And when you already have a guy like #11 on your team, having two more key offensive players always helps.
5:31pm – The Reggie Bush Highlight Reel shows him shredding the Cardinals defense. Who knew he had it in him. Remember earlier this season when he said that he was going to win an NFL MVP Award sometime in his career? Doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it.
5:33pm – Victory formation is taken by the Saints. This one is over. Final score: Saints 45, Cardinals 14