Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chuck the passing game in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Arizona Cardinals say no way.

Quarterback Kurt Warner had 4,583 passing yards this season, so the Cards aren’t about to ground that offense now.

Getty Images

Quarterback Kurt Warner had 4,583 passing yards this season, so the Cards aren’t about to ground that offense now.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Considering the way the Steelers' top-ranked defense has dismantled offenses across the league, it would seem logical to expect the Cardinals to be unable to conduct another air show in Super Bowl XLIII.

But that won't stop them from trying.

Arizona has no plans to deviate from its pass-heavy offensive scheme in the Feb. 1 game in Tampa. Now is not the time to depart from a script that has it one win from a world championship.

"You're going to hear about the numbers for two weeks," Cardinals guard Reggie Wells said. "But we have our numbers, too."

The Cardinals counter with an offense that was second in passing at 292.1 yards per game in the regular season. Arizona also was fourth in points (26.7), fourth in total offense (365.8 yards per game) and last in rushing (73.6 yards per game). While the Cardinals have certainly been more balanced in the postseason, they didn't get here by playing the wishbone, either.

"We got here playing the game the way we've played it and we have to go do that," said quarterback Kurt Warner, who threw for 4,583 yards this season — second most in his 11-year career.

"You have to say, 'Hey, this is our strength and we can put it up against their strength and (say), All right, here we go.' Two best teams, you put up your strength and whoever is better that day is going to win. I don't think you can go in and try to be something you're not."

Who are the Cardinals? They are a team that features a vertical (riskier) offense that is among the league's most enjoyable to watch. They are a team whose leading receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, has entered uncharted territory with an NFL-record 419 yards this postseason. They are a team that plays to win, not one that hopes to not lose.

The Cardinals' 13 pass completions of 40 yards or longer during the regular season ranked behind only the pass-happy Saints and the Packers. In the postseason, Arizona has four such completions.

Many of those came against defenses with reputations for preventing such plays. In a regular-season meeting against the Giants and their hard-nosed, fifth-ranked defense, the Cardinals weren't shy considering their 52 pass attempts. Against another stout defense, the Vikings, the Cardinals threw 50 times.

But the Steelers have a way of making it difficult for offenses to establish themselves. They stop the run against teams with great rushing attacks and they take passing lanes away from teams that thrive on throwing the ball.

Throwing against Pittsburgh exposes a quarterback to its wrecking ball pass rushers. And when the ball is airborne, few are better at takeaways than safety Troy Polamalu.

But the Cardinals are who they are, and there will be no identity crisis in this Super Bowl.

"I think you go out and say, 'This is what we are,' '' Warner said. "You go in there with a game plan and try to figure out weaknesses they may have and how that coincides with your strengths, and attack them accordingly.

"It's going to be fun, but it's going to be a huge challenge for us. It is a great football team we're playing."

Chuck the passing game in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Arizona Cardinals say no way. 01/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. LSU's Paul Mainieri defends FSU's Mike Martin; Gators play Friday


    OMAHA, Neb. — LSU coach Paul Mainieri says whether Florida State's Mike Martin ever wins a national championship should have no bearing on how his long career in college baseball is judged.

    MADE IT: TCU’s Josh Watson beats the tag of Louisville catcher Colby Fitch during Thursday’s late College World Series game.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  4. Peter Budaj loves 'vibe' with Lightning


    Two years ago, nobody was willing to give Peter Budaj a shot, the veteran goalie wondering if he'd ever play in the NHL again.

    Peter Budaj signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year.