NFC Wild Card Live-Blog: Falcons @ Cardinals, 1st Half

Michael Turner, who garnered 4 MVP votes this year, is ready to run all over the place today.

That DP-Matt Millen interview had to be one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever seen on sports television. It’s remarkable that Millen admitted to sucking in so many words. Anyway….

Matt Millen just picked the Falcons, so I’m confident the Cards will win this. – Bazooka Jones

That did make me a bit less comfortable with my Falcons pick, but the NFC West is so atrocious.

I cannot be the only one who thinks it’s incredibly lame that Arizona somehow thinks it’s clever to put “RED ZONE” in humongous lettering over the end zones, as if Cardinals fans are so bad with football that they need it explained where the red zones are. (Of course, this is football in Arizona; that is entirely possible. Is there an actual Arizona Cardinals fan among us here? We would love to hear from you.)

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Collinsworth: “Boldin is one of the toughest players in all of football”.
Hammond: “You know he’s a wide receiver, don’t you?” (via Mal)

Thank you Tiki and NBC, for teaching me something I didn’t know: they roll the grass at the stadium outside to grow and water it, then roll it back in. That’s pretty damn cool.

J.J. Arrington picks up the kickoff and is knocked out at the 12 yard line. The KW-1300 Cybernetic Quarterback throws the first pass of the game high for Larry Fitzgerald. This QB model hides his mechanical enhancements under the gloves. KW-1300 gets whacked as he lets it go on 2nd down, and it’s obviously short, as Keith Brooking tried to maul him. 3rd down pass underneath to Ben Patrick, three yards short for a 3 and out.

Edge picked up that blitz like a man ready to leave town. – Mal

Harry Douglas gets the punt at the 30 and returns it 21 yards past midfield for some fine field position to start. Matt Ryan rolls out for three yards and slides after his options are well covered to start. Turner the Burner starts with only a couple yards rushing. Matty Ice fires….and gets picked right away by Ralph Brown. Cards will start at about their own 36.

Edgerrin James picks up about four or five yards on his first carry of the series. He gets a first down by heading past midfield. Another Edge run for 6. One more handoff to Edge — ooh, we got ourselves a flea flicker — KW-1300 aims, fires, and Larry Fitzgerald back flips into the end zone with the catch! TOUCHDOWN, CARDINALS. Kick is up and good by Rackers, 7-0, Arizona.

Seriously, double coverage, leaping, back flip, that’s major highlight material.

You know how you can sense a disaster approaching. That mall cop movie just pinged every sensor I’ve got.

“He’s like Spider-Man.” – Collinsworth on Fitzgerald.

Falcons will start at the 20 thanks to a touchback. Nothing for Turner on first down. False start, then Turner gets about four of those back. Ryan hits Roddy White at the 30 for a first down, and I love Cris breaking down the plays super quick on replays like that. Next throw on first down goes out of bounds. Turner loses a bunch on 2nd down, because Arizona, for some reason, is pegging on the run hard. The Cards have the Falcons on the run right now, and they call time out.

Yep, that was a blown offsides…but it doesn’t matter, as Ryan’s sacked on 3rd and long. Michael Koenen will come on to punt. Cardinals start at the 24. More Edge, out to the 29.

“Are you sure the Falcons and Cardinals didn’t switch uniforms?” – Collinsworth.

KW-1300 then hits Fitzgerald again, who gets out to the mid-40s with some yards after the catch. James inside the 35 of the Falcons. Arrington gets stuffed on his first carry on 2nd and 3. KW-1300 throws it through Anquan Boldin’s hands, and this will be a punt, apparently…and it’s downed at the Atlanta 5….well, 7 yard line.

Turner gets three on the first carry. Ryan drops back, aims deep for Michael Jenkins, and Rod Hood knocks it away. Bertram Berry takes Ryan down for the second sack of the day, and Koenen will be punting out of his end zone. Left tackle Sam Baker got completely burned. Steve Breaston backs off on the ball, picks it up, and is taken down in good field position.

Fitty gets tied up with the Atlanta defender on first down, ball falls incomplete. KW-1300 gets nailed by Lawyer Milloy as he lets the ball go. 3rd and 10. Warner throws through the hands of Keith Brooking, who should have come up with that.

“Even the defensive players with the bad hands ought to catch that.” – Collinsworth

Douglas gets nailed inside the 10 for no return on the punt. Tuner gets two yards, up to the 10. Ryan to White at the 20 for a first down; White is quickly developing into a good wideout. Turner gets leg-tackled by Hood when it looked like he was about to break for 5-10 yards. Norwood gets very close to a first down, busting through for 8…and he’s got it to end the first quarter.

I guess Ryan will be added to the QB slurping tree or a replacement for Favre, Brady, Peyton – JG

That ain’t new, man. That’s been going on all damn year. Turner gets his first good run of the day, 13 yards and another first down. Another first down pass out to Michael Jenkins, who gets 13 more and into Arizona territory. Check down pass to Turner for 7, as Ryan has to bring everyone in around him to get the play call out. It’s rather Peyton-esque. Turner hits another first down on the rush. Ball at the AZ 32. Swing pass to Douglas — and Rod Hood just decked him.

Harry Douglas, you just got KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT.

2nd and 11 on the swing to White, gets a first down near the 24. Ryan to the TE Pollard, completes, and it comes lose, but the Falcons keep the ball.

“One of the things they told Gerald Hayes, I don’t want to say this; it sounds bad, but it was: ‘Don’t think. Just go get the guy!'” – Collinsworth, after Hayes takes Turner down in the backfield. Hood falls down on 3rd and long, and Jenkins winds up being a yard shy on the first because he didn’t realize Hood had fallen. 4th down, and a tough call coming.

Kicker and noted author Jason Elam tries a 30-yarder, and it’s good. 7-3, Cardinals.

Arizona starts at the 27. KW-1300’s pass gets tipped by an airborne D-lineman, and we get our first Leinart shot. The cyborg hits Boldin for his first catch, and he’s down after a yard gain. Out to Boldin on the side, the corner misses a tackle, and Boldin is GONE. He burned Lawyer Milloy, badly. Rackers’ kick is good, 14-3, Cartdinals. 71 yards all the way. Yeowch.

“I guess that would qualify as some run after the catch.” – Collinsworth (via Mal). Norwood returns the kick out to the 23 yard line. 7 yards on the first pass to White, and he gets it again for a first down. Ryan goes all the way across the field for White, who manages not to bring it in. Another throw wide for Jenkins. Jenkins then brings in a pass from Ryan, who had very good protection and the receiver does a great job to come down in bounds.

Turner gets nothing in the backfield again. Arizona’s stopping the run very well. Ryan to White again for a first down.

“Have any explanation for that, Cris?” – Hammond
“No, I’m not smart enough to come up with one for that!” – Collinsworth, on why Ryan is more successful throwing to his left than his right.

Ryan to White again for another 12 yards, and they’re in the red zone. Ryan scrambles, gets up to the 18.

Atlanta is going all Philly on us and is going pass happy. – SSR
Mularkey’s channeling his inner Andy Reid it looks like. – James Craven

Burn. Turner gets up to the 15…..and eventually Turner just walks into the end zone. Kick up and good, 14-10, Cardinals.

Warner faces a 3rd and 10 after having to throw a pass away…and 3rd down is deflected and picked by Cheivous Jackson! Turner rushes up and is just short of the first down….never mind, he got it. Offsides on AZ, first and 5, Ryan overthrows White when he didn’t have to at all. 1:12 left to go int he first half.

Ryan to White again just inside the first down. 2 yard line. Ryan to Justin Peelle, easy TE pattern, TOUCHDOWN. Kick up and good, 17-14, Falcons take the lead.

Warner to Fitzgerald for a small screen pass to end the half at that score. See you in the 2nd half thread.

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