Anquan Boldin didn’t play on Sunday because of his ankle and knee injuries, but it was hard to notice.
Reserve wide receivers Early Doucet and Steve Breaston made the most of their increased opportunity, combining for three touchdown catches as Arizona’s high-powered offense hit on all cylinders.
Doucet had only one touchdown reception all season, but corralled two balls for scores by the second quarter. He finished with six catches for 77 yards.
Breaston led the team with seven receptions for 125 yards, and his 17-yard touchdown catch with 4:55 remaining gave the Cardinals a 45-38 lead. He also had an end-around rushing attempt that went for 28 yards.
“It’s just what you come to expect with those guys” quarterback Kurt Warner said. “It just seems like that’s what this team is about. I’ve been on some teams that have made runs and, every time someone gets nicked, someone gets banged up, some of your starters can’t play in all of the games, you have to have someone step up. That continues to be the case with this team.”
Tim Hightower, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Ben Patrick also pitched in with three catches apiece as Warner spread the ball around.
WARNER RETIREMENT RUMORS
A report from ESPN said Warner will likely retire following the end of this season.
Warner, who was 29-of-33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns in the victory, said postgame that he hasn’t yet made a decision.
“When (the playoffs) are over and everything is said and done, that’s when you can step back and make a decision on your future and what’s best,” Warner said. “I never want to make an emotional decision and I think that’s easy to do, whether it’s after a game like this to say ‘I’m going to play forever,’ or after a bad day to say, ‘I’m done’. I don’t want to do that.”
Warner said there was too much read into his postgame victory lap around University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals will not play at home again this season because they are the lowest remaining seed in the NFC, and the Super Bowl is played at a neutral site.
“Everybody relax,” Warner said. “That was my way of saying thanks to the fans because we’re not coming back here this year. I appreciate them.”
FITZ BEING FITZ
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald passed Randy Moss for the most receiving yards by a player in his first five playoff games.
Fitzgerald had six catches for 82 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers, giving him 628 yards in his five-game postseason career, besting Moss’ previous mark of 584 yards.
He also has a touchdown reception in five consecutive postseason contests, which is tied for third best all time. The record is eight.
Defensive end Calais Campbell (hand) was limited against Green Bay, but defensive backs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (knee) and Antrel Rolle (calf) played the majority of the contest.
Rodgers-Cromartie picked off a pass on the first play from scrimmage, and Rolle had a team-high 13 tackles.
If you’re looking for good omens, the Cardinals intercepted Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the first play from scrimmage. During their Super Bowl run last year, Arizona opened the postseason by intercepting Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on his first pass attempt of the game.
The Cardinals will face off with the Saints in New Orleans on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. local time. New Orleans is the top seed in the NFC but has lost three in a row.
EXTRA POINTS: Warner’s first third quarter touchdown pass to Fitzgerald was his 29th career postseason touchdown throw, moving him into fifth place in NFL history. He added two more passing touchdowns and has 31 in his career.
The Cardinals have now won four straight home playoff games (Atlanta and Philadelphia last year, and Philadelphia again in the 1947 NFL championship game).