GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It was sick, eye popping, inexplicable, stunning, beautiful, outrageous, inspiring, ridiculous, grand ... and that was just in the third quarter.
|Kurt Warner (379 passing yards, five TDs) does more than his part to electrify every football fan on Sunday afternoon. (AP)|
This was the kind of game where after watching you light a cigar, prop up the feet and consume a goblet of something alcoholic to help you digest the just witnessed craziness. The 96 points set a record for the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history and the skyrocketing blood pressure for those who watched made every medical journal in the nation.
"I'm still in shock at what I just saw," linebacker Karlos Dansby said.
The whole sports world is. This was man bites dog and UFO lands in Central Park great. Shocked? How's totally, completely, dumbstruck?
The 13 touchdowns were a playoff high and there were over 1,000 yards of total offense. Quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Aaron Rodgers combined for 801 yards passing and nine touchdowns. Other than that, nothing to see here, folks.
Green Bay and Arizona on Jan. 10, 2010: one of those "where were you" games. In it, Warner demonstrated why if he isn't put into the Hall of Fame the building should be burned to ground and Rodgers showed why he'll one day be better than Brett Favre.
Most of all, in what might be the most entertaining NFL postseason game in the modern era, a group of men played with such passion and guts it made you forget just how much athletes sometimes annoy us.
To add a contrasting sprinkle on top of The Shootout in the Spaceship the game ended on a defensive play. Dansby returned a Rodgers fumble 17 yards for a touchdown in overtime to win it for Arizona. An ironic ending on what was a juggernaut of an offensive afternoon.
This was the best game I've witnessed in over two decades of covering the sport. Something like this may not happen again for another 20 years.
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"I don't know if I could take any more of these games," Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
Coaches need an EKG after this while fans need a good plastic surgeon to remove the smiles permanently etched on their faces (unless they're Packers fans).
By far the two most compelling components in the game were Warner and Rodgers.
Two Cardinals players confirmed to CBSSports.com that Warner is seriously considering retiring after this season. Although the players also admit this is something Warner has done each year for the past two or three seasons. But if he's tiring of the game it isn't showing. He was just about flawless against the Packers. He tossed five touchdowns, which was one more than the number of incomplete passes he threw. When Warner is this accurate, this untouchable, this undeniable he is without question one of the most complete quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.
The final stats of the Arizona offense are staggering. Warner missed just four of his 33 pass attempts, passed for 379 yards and had a 154.1 passer rating while spreading the ball to seven different receivers. The Cardinals amassed 531 total yards.
Warner was hit in the head, grabbed by the facemask, hit hard in the back, and overall took a nice beating but was unfazed by the punishment. On at least four different occasions his passes neatly threaded two Green Bay defensive backs with a John Elway-like zip. Each time the Packers responded Warner would in return and vice versa with Rodgers.
"He didn't want his team to lose," Rodgers said of Warner. "We got on a roll there and really got things going and Kurt just kept making plays. You've got to give him a lot of credit."
Rodgers shouldn't feel bad. If Warner was Mick Jagger, then Rodgers was Roger Daltrey. In his first playoff start, Rodgers threw for 422 yards and four touchdowns and hit 10 different receivers. Rodgers led the Packers to touchdowns on each of their five second-half possessions to fight back from a 21-point deficit. If there were ever any Packers doubters about Rodgers' talent and abilities there shouldn't be now.
"I think it's not any different than the way he's played for two years," Warner said of Rodgers. "Everything he's done since he came onto the scene is impressive from handling the [Favre] situation to the way he's played in the games that he's played. Today was no different."
Some will mock the game for the lack of defense. In fact, so little true defense was played the word was like an expletive.
That's because of the proficiency of the quarterback play. Both throwers had help with acrobatic catches -- particularly from trapeze artist Larry Fitzgerald -- but the level of play from Warner and Rodgers was so high the defenses truly didn't have a chance. Charles Woodson is playing cornerback on a stratospheric level and several times Warner made him looking like a 300 pound lineman. Deion Sanders would've been burned the way Warner and Rodgers were throwing the football.
"Ray Charles could see I was having a rough day," said Arizona defensive back Michael Adams, who was torched by Rodgers. Adams atoned for his mistakes by blitzing and causing the fumble that led to the game-winning score in overtime.
"After the game I was so emotional," Adams said. "I couldn't believe the game and after my rough day to make that play it was great. I went to my knees and cried. It's been a long time since I cried in football."
That game caused a lot of people to cry for different reasons.
After it was over, the fans at University of Phoenix Stadium were partly ecstatic but mostly in a state of shock. Warner added to the euphoria when he took an extended lap around the stadium and greeted fans.
Was the lap longer because this might be the last time Warner plays here?
"Everybody relax," Warner said. "That was my way of saying thanks to the fans because we're not coming back here this year."
Relax? Relax? After that game? Relax?
Some of us may not sleep for days.