"Oh No..." Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

Larry Fitzgerald watched his second half surge slip into uncertainty. He mouthed two excruciating words "Oh no." The Cardinals played a Super Bowl for the ages, but the Pittsburgh Steelers went big and sent the Cardinals home without the Lombardi trophy. Santonio Holmes got over three Cardinals players to account for the final 27-23 margin.

Super Bowl XLIII packed every twist and turn and left nothing to the imagination. Two second half touchdowns by Larry Fitzgerald and a safety, imposed by a penalty in the end zone, put the Arizona Cardinals in the hunt for the Lombardi trophy.

In the end, the Cardinals defense, which shutdown two goal stances throughout the game, couldn't get the job done. Santonio Holmes received a 6-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger despite triple coverage.

The game-winning touchdown left just 42 seconds on the clock for Kurt Warner & Co.

The mentality: if any offense could get the job done it's the Cardinals.

But the Cardinals went out in horrible fashion when LaMarr Woodley knocked the ball out of Warner's hands for the game's only forced fumble. The turnover cost the Cardinals the game.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Steelers football is for 60 minutes. And he's right, it wasn't pretty but they are going home with the hardware.

Halftime Report

Unlikely hero tight end Ben Patrick made the most out of Edgerrin James' hard work in the Cardinals opening touchdown. The Cardinals trailed 10-0 courtesy of a 1-yard touchdown run by Gary Russell and a field goal by Jeff Reed.


Edgerrin James
(Getty)

But James put in the work to successfully move the chains when the Cardinals got the ball back after going four and out on their opening posession. James compiled 27 all purpose yards, which set up Kurt Warner for a deep pass to Anquan Boldin (45 yards). Patrick was the lucky man to receive the 1-yard pass in the end zone, no doubt the best yard of Patrick's life.

The Cardinals tight end corps has plagued Arizona all year, so the irony is deep that Patrick was the go-to guy.

Steve Breaston also contributed to the touchdown drive with 20 yards. He donated even more to the cause on a return that set the Cardinals up inside the Steelers 50.

But the opportunity fell flat, and Ben Graham was called to punt.

When one door closes another one opens.

Karlos Dansby breathed new life into the second quarter when he picked off Ben Roethlisberger.

The turnover created an opportunity for Larry Fitzgerald to get the ball in his hands for the first time in the half.

But a bad throw ended up in James Harrison's hands, and he made the Cardinals pay with a 100-yard interception return to end the half, 17-7.


Ben Patrick
(Getty)

The Cardinals head into the locker room with plenty to talk about.

Patrick's touchdown appeared to be the Cardinals' saving grace. The Steelers' defense successfully kept the Warner and his offense off the field in the first quarter. Pittsburgh dominated possession 11:28 to 3:32. Warner went four and out on the Cardinals first try.

Ken Whisenhunt was the hero of the first quarter, as he profitably challenged Roethlisberger's touchdown leap. The refs gave the Steelers quarterback the benefit of the doubt, but Whisenhunt's seen that show and erased what could have been the Cardinals first giveaway on the opening drive in quite some time.

Jeff Reed gave the Steelers a 3-0 lead with an 18-yard field goal.

The Cardinals defense showed plenty of promise in the first 30 minutes. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie used his speed to make up for lost yards and bat away a possible touchdown pass. He was stupendous in coverage throughout the first half.

Keys to the Second Half: Warner needs to get on his momentum horse. The Cardinals get the ball back after the break and need to make something happen. Trite but true.

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