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. Rick and Tom podcast: Big sigh of relief for the Bucs


    The Bucs got good news on Jameis Winston's throwing shoulder as x-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day with a chance to play this weekend in Buffalo. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom …

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) throws incomplete under pressure during Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Exposé 'Champions Way' uses FSU to illustrate bad behavior in college programs


    While the entire college football universe was focused on a sexual assault allegation against quarterback Jameis Winston during Florida State's 2013 national title run, another off-field scandal was playing out quietly.

     Jameis Winston (5) warms up before the game between Florida State Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013.
  3. Charlie Strong, Gulf High and the best (old) Jon Gruden-Tennessee rumor


    As Butch Jones keeps losing, Tennessee Vols fans are turning to one of the media's favorite pastimes.

  4. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  5. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated


    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.