For Real? Seeing Is Believing

The Cards have won two in a row and now suddenly look like the team we thought they were going to be. Is it for real? thinks so. Does it mean Denny should stay? No, thank you, but give credit where credit is do, and Managing Editor James Renwick does.

For real.

This was the team we thought we were going to see all season. 

A scrappy, oportunistic defense.

A young, smart quarterback who trusted his receivers to make plays.

A Hall Of Fame running back getting the majority of his yards after contact.

This was the team we expected, then hoped for, then forgot about. 

No, a two game winning streak is not the stuff of legend, but it is the first time since Denny Green took over the team that the Cardinals have done it.  Edgerrin James continued to be a good luck charm when he gains 100+ yards (he's 45-6 now when he hits the century mark), and Matt Leinart threw only one interception and completed 62% of his passes. 

This team, which we expected to be explosive on offense, started the game off with a 56 yard touchdown pass to the very good receiver nobody talks about, Bryant Johnson.  This team, which we hoped would grow a spine at some point, came up big when they forced a fumble in the third quarter, right when the announcers were saying the momentum was all Seattle's and the Cardinals looked flat. 

It really was the defense that did it, forcing four fumbles and limiting Shawn Alexander to 76 yards on 22 carries.  Karlos Dansby, who has been called everything from an underachiever to a failure to a whiner had 10 tackles.  The front four created pressure, sacking Matt Hasselback three times and while Antrel Rolle still has to figure out a way to tackle a running back without grabbing his facemask, he played well, forcing a huge fumble that turned a first down into a second and eight.

And the much maligned special teams stepped up as well.  Though Neil Rackers missed another field goal he hit the big one in the fourth quarter that forced the Seahawks to go for the end zone late.  Troy Walters, who's punt return style had until today been to catch the ball and immediately fall down, came up with a big 37 yard return, and Green finally remembered that franchise running backs appreciate being given the opportunity to score touchdowns as well, allowing Edge to stay in the game instead of inserting Marcel Shipp to finish off the long drive. 

It was fun to watch, and gave a hint of what next year might be like.  Could the Cards make it three in a row?  With Jay Cutler and Denver coming to town its possible, as Leinart will undoubtedly be looking to prove he deserved to be taken one spot ahead of Cutler.

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