Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Superbowl XLIII: a final rinse

On the eve of training camp for the 2009 NFL season, let us give thanks and a final rinse.

Previous posts traced the playoff paths of the Steelers and Cardinals and the Superbowl's first half. LB Marvin Harrison's heart-attacking 100 yard interception return on the last play of the first half gave his Steelers a 17-7 lead. What play could possibly be more exciting than that? Hint:

Third Quarter
The Cardinals were still stunned when they received the second half kickoff. Relying on vets QB Warner and RB James, Arizona dinked to midfield before LB Farrior crushed Warner and Harrison pounced on the ball. The play was challenged and reversed; the Cardinals were lucky to be able to punt.

The Steelers stuffed the ball into RB Wee Willie Parker's gut. The Cardinals defended the line of scrimmage well, but they borrowed the dunce cap of stupid penalties from their offense to help the Steelers get down to inside the five for the third time in the game. Arizona made a stand and the Steelers kicked another short field goal making it 20-7 at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter
With grim malice did the terrible towels whip the steamy Tampa night. The Cardinals offense bounced off the Steel Curtain, spazzing out with a holding penalty and a shanked punt.

The Steelers took over at midfield with 13:41 left in the game. They had their cleats on Arizona's naked throats. Arizona's defense committed a penalty and allowed a six-yard gash by RB Parker that seemed to foretell doom.

But then monster DT Darnell Dockett took down Parker for a four yard loss. The next play, Dockett sacked QB Roethlisberger and the Steelers had to punt.

Starting at their own thirteen, the Cardinals went no huddle. Warner nailed eight passes in a row, gaining 87 yards in under four minutes while hitting five different receivers. It was a brilliant drive which culminated in a alley-oop catch by WR Fitzgerald and the Cardinals were back 20-14 with 7:41 in the game.

The Pittsburgh drive was exploded by a third sack by Dockett, tying the Superbowl record. Arizona accepted the deep punt. Both teams traded major penalties. Though the Cardinals made it as far as the twenty-six yard line, they had to punt. And what a beauty punt it was, downed on the Pittsburgh 2. A questionable roughness penalty pushed the Steelers back to their own 1 with 3:26 in the game.

The Steelers got nothing on their first two downs, then hit WR Santonio Holmes for nineteen yards and a first down ... except they held Dockett and got nailed for a safety to make it 20-16 with three minutes left.

The Cardinals received the ball. Warner hit Fitzgerald on a slant across the middle. Fitzgerald burned straight up the field, outrunning the flashbulbs, for a sixty-four yard touchdown. The Cardinals took the lead for the first time, 20-23, with two and a half minutes left.

Pittsburgh started on their 22 and were immediately called for holding. Holmes made a tough catches to get them a first down. With one minute left, Holmes took a short pass for 40 yards. The Steelers took their last timeout with 49 seconds left on Arizona's six yard line.

WR Ward and TE Miller were both covered; Roethlisberger fired a hot rocket to Holmes at the back edge of the endzone. The ball screamed through the defenders until it was snared by Holmes who tapped his toes for the game winning touchdown.

With 35 seconds left, the Steelers had their 27-23 Final Score.

The Cardinals valiant comeback was stripped away by the defense, a fitting end to a blood-frying Superbowl. Holmes earned his MVP and the Steelers are officially the best franchise in the NFL.


Anonymous said...

How can anyone remained unmoved by this recount of a brilliant Superbowl ... a game so long marred by pundits proclaiming that the conference championship games were always better ... outrageously good football at the highest level, and it makes me hungry for MORE.

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

Anonymous, usually our Anonymous commenters are Huge Douche Bags who we quickly grow to hate.

But I like that you got what this was all about--recounting a great Super Bowl, and getting excited for the quickly approaching season.

It's so rare that I agree with an Anonymous Commenter that I'm unsure what the protocol is. I, Big Blue Monkey, agree with you. Nice work, sir or madam!

Anonymous said...

No, you don't understand ... I was being ironic.