Despite building a 17-3 and 23-17 lead at one point Sunday in Carolina, once again the road woes of the Arizona Cardinals reared its ugly head again as they lost to the Panthers 27-23. Kurt Warner had another monster game for the Cards, throwing for 381 yards and two TD’s on 35-for-49 passing. His one interception was costly, as it came early in the 4th quarter with the Cards driving at the Panthers 15. Jon Beason picked off Warner and went 44 yards.
The pick set up a John Kasay 50-yard field goal with 9:09 to go that extended the Panthers one-point lead to a four-point lead that in the end would hold up. The Cards got the ball just once more in the fourth quarter, and drove to the 45, but on 4th-and-13 they punted, and the Panthers were able to run out the final 5:47 with three third down conversions.
Arizona dominated the first half, putting up a 10-3 lead at the half after Warner hit Anquan Boldin for a five-yard score to make it 10-0 with 11:16 left in the first half. After the Panthers made it 10-3 at the half, the Cards went up 17-3 on their first drive of the third quarter. The 8-play, 64-yard drive ended with a short TD run from Tim Hightower to make it 17-3.
The Cards D though was unable to shut the door. They let the Panthers come right back, as they drove 80 yards in six plays to make it 17-10. The big play was a completion from Jake Delhomme to tight end Jeff King for 31 yards. Three plays later Deangelo Williams went 15 yards for a TD that made it 17-10. The Panthers then held the Cards as Edgerrin James fumbled and Travis Davis recovered to set up Carolina at the Cards 22.
Delhomme made the Cardinals pay, as the next play he found Steve Smith for an 18-yard score to make it 17 all. Warner came back, hitting Boldin for a two-yard score to make it 23-17 when Neil Rackers missed the extra point. It would be a big play in the end, in that it made what would have been a 27-24 game to a 27-23 game.
The back breaker came on the next series, as Delhomme hit Smith for a huge 65-yard score with two seconds left in the third quarter that made it 24-23 after the extra point. Kasay’s 50-yard bomb of an extra point closed out the scoring. The Cards drop to 4-3 on the season, but maintain a lead in the NFC West.
The Panthers improve to 6-2, and get a week off before they head to the Black Hole of Oakland in two weeks on November 9th for a game vs the Raiders.