Hot Start, Heartbreaking Finish

Hot Start, Heartbreaking Finish

Two quick touchdown passes had Cardinals fans believing they were witnessing a second coming of Joe Montana, but a missed field goal with :07 seconds left in the game would ensure that Matt Leinart's fairy tale start didn't have a happy ending.

From the very beginning of the game the Arizona Cardinals looked like a different team then in weeks past. The offensive line gave rookie Matt Leinart protection where they had failed Kurt Warner so many times before. Edgerrin James gained positive yards time and time again, eliminating the tackles in the backfield that had plagued them in weeks prior, and keeping the Cardinals in convertible short yardage situations. All in all, the 1-4 Cardinals looked like they belonged on the field with the Kansas City Chiefs, who were coming off a week 4 demolition over a San Francisco team the Card's just barely squeaked by in week 1.

The Cards got off to a quick start when, with only a 1:33 gone in the game, Matt Leinart, 22/35 for 253-yards, with 2 TD's and 1 INT, hooked up with Anquan Boldin for a 49-yard touchdown pass that gave the Cardinals an early lead over the Chiefs- but Leinart wasn't finished.

After Chike Okeafor recovered a fumble by Damon Huard, caused by a missed handoff to Larry Johnson, Leinart and the Cardinals went back to work on offense. On 3rd and goal from the Chiefs 6-yard line Leinart, who started the day completing his first six passes, delivered a 5-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald who then backed his way into the end-zone giving the Cardinals a 14-0 lead with 6:12 left in the 1st quarter of play.

Fitzgerald would leave the game with a hamstring injury and not return.

Damon Huard and the Kansas City offense would not be denied today and even though the Chiefs receivers continued to drop passes, Lawrence Tynes was able to get the Chiefs on the board with a 45-yard field goal with 12:01 left in the 2nd quarter.

The game took a large shift in momentum when, after back to back sacks on Leinart, the Chiefs Bernard Pollard blocked Scott Players punt and gave the Chiefs the ball on the Cardinals 9-yard line. On 3rd and goal to go, Huard passed to Johnson, after breaking a Karlos Dansby tackle attempt, Johnson rolled into the end zone to make the score 14-10.

After a fumble by Larry Johnson, recovered by the Cardinals Eric Green, the Cardinals Neil Rackers kicked a 41-yard field goal giving them a 7-point lead going into halftime.

The Cardinals came out strong in the second half and Rackers kicked a 45-yard field goal to make the score 20-10.

In the second half the Cardinals continued to stop Larry Johnson and the rush attack limiting him to only 28-yards through the 3rd quarter.

Regardless of the lack of a rushing attack Huard was able to connect with Samie Parker in the end-zone with 9:35 left in the 4th, a play that was originally ruled incomplete but subsequently overruled when Herm Edwards challenged the call on the field and won, making the score 20-17.

Leinart's first interception of the game came at an inopportune time when with only 5:58 left in the game and the Cards trying to protect a 3 point lead, Ty Law picked off a poorly thrown ball and fell out of bounds at the Cardinals 22-yard line.

The Cardinals defense did a good job of not giving up a touchdown but weren't able to stop the 40-yard game tying field goal by Tynes.

Arizona's ensuing drive stalled and the Cardinals were forced to punt the ball back to the Chiefs.

With 1st and 10 from their own 13-yard line Larry Johnson finally made his presence felt, Huard dumped the ball off on a short screen and L.J. scrambled 78 yards to set up Tyne's 19-yard field goal with 1:36 to play giving the Chiefs a 23-20 lead.

Down three Leinart was masterful in leading the offense down the field and into field goal range, but with time running out the one man Cardinals fans have learned to trust in finally let them down, as Pro-Bowl kicker Neil Rackers missed a 51-yard field goal, securing a Chiefs win, and another heart breaking Cardinals loss.

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