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First quarter: Steelers 3, Cardinals 0

February 02, 2009|Athan Atsales

First quarter: Steelers 3, Cardinals 0

PASSING LEADERS

Steelers

Roethlisberger...7-8, 118 yards

Cardinals

Warner...1-2, 10 yards

RUSHING LEADERS

Steelers

Parker...7, 26 yards

Cardinals

James...2, 3 yards

RECEIVING LEADERS

Steelers

Miller...3, 43 yards

Cardinals

Breaston...1, 10 yards

Momentum: Pittsburgh opened with an apparent touchdown drive before Arizona challenged Ben Roethlisberger's scoring run. He was ruled short and the Steelers settled for a field goal. A holding penalty thwarted the Cardinals' only possession, and Pittsburgh followed with another drive to the Arizona five as the quarter expired. Most of the half was played in Arizona territory, not good news for a Cardinals team that ran six plays before a punt.

Did you notice? Mike Gandy's away-from-the-play holding penalty nullified Tim Hightower's second-down run, killing Arizona's only drive. . . . Arizona's Gerald Hayes had four tackles.

Unanswered question: Why would the Cardinals, an explosive offensive team that thrives on playing with a lead, defer on the kickoff?

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Second quarter: Steelers 17, Cardinals 7

PASSING LEADERS

Steelers

Roethlisberger...4-6, 12, Int.

Cardinals

Warner...11-16, 125, TD, Int.

RUSHING LEADERS

Steelers

Parker...1, 8 yards

Cardinals

James...2, 7 yards

RECEIVING LEADERS

Steelers

Davis...1, 6 yards

Cardinals

Boldin...3, 56 yards

Momentum: The Cardinals answered Pittsburgh's touchdown with a 10-play, eight-pass drive for a score and out-gained the Steelers, 132 yards to 27. After a Mike Gandy interception set up Arizona in Pittsburgh territory, the Cardinals drove to the one before James Harrison intercepted a pass intended for Anquan Boldin and ran 100 yards for a touchdown as time expired. Momentum back to Pittsburgh.

Did you notice? Larry Fitzgerald was pulling down Harrison on the touchdown return before the Cardinals' Steve Breaston banged the Steelers' linebacker toward the goal line.

Unanswered question: On Gary Russell's one-yard scoring run, why did the Cardinals set up with wide gaps between the linemen and the linebackers three yards deep into the end zone?

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Third quarter: Steelers 20, Cardinals 7

PASSING LEADERS

Steelers

Roethlisberger...4-7, 32

Cardinals

Warner...5-6, 18

RUSHING LEADERS

Steelers

Parker...7, 13 yards

Cardinals

James...5, 23 yards

RECEIVING LEADERS

Steelers

Holmes...2, 21 yards

Cardinals

Boldin...3, 11 yards

Momentum: After stopping Arizona on its first possession, Pittsburgh virtually erased the third quarter with a 16-play, 8:39 drive that resulted in a field goal with 2:11 to go. Face-mask, roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness penalties extended the Steelers' scoring drive, and helped keep the Cardinals' offense off the field.

Did you notice? The Steelers were keeping their safeties so deep, Warner had no other option but to throw underneath against a persistent pass rush.

Unanswered question: Why did the Steelers go conservative when given a second chance for a touchdown after Adrian Wilson's penalty on the field-goal attempt? Given a chance to take a three-possession lead, and starting at the four, they didn't throw a pass into the end zone.

Fourth quarter: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

PASSING LEADERS

Steelers

Roethlisberger...6-9, 94, TD

Cardinals

Warner...14-19, 224, 2 TD

RUSHING LEADERS

Steelers

Parker...4, 6 yards

Cardinals

Arrington...1, 0 yards

RECEIVING LEADERS

Steelers

Holmes...4, 73 yards, TD

Cardinals

Fitzgerald...6, 115 yards, 2 TD

Momentum: Pittsburgh finally paid for trying to sit on the lead when the Cardinals controlled the ball for more than 12 minutes and took the lead with 2:38 to go. That woke up the Steelers, who drove for the winning score behind the combination of Roethlisberger-Holmes.

Did you notice? Holmes slipped behind triple coverage -- Ralph Brown, Rodgers-Cromartie and Aaron Francisco -- for the deciding score. . . . On Justin Hartwig's holding penalty that cost the Steelers a safety, teammate Max Starks was also holding.

Unanswered question: Why wasn't there a review of Arizona's last play? Warner was clearly in a throwing motion when he lost the ball. They could have had one more shot at a touchdown.

-- Athan Atsales

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