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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Revitalized Arizona Cardinals in position for Super Bowl run

Seattle+Seahawks+running+back+Christine+Michael+carries+the+ball+during+the+fourth+quarter+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+3%2C+2016%2C+at+University+of+Phoenix+Stadium+in+Glendale%2C+Ariz.+%28Bettina+Hansen%2FSeattle+Times%2FTNS%29
BETTINA HANSEN
Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael carries the ball during the fourth quarter on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times/TNS)

Though the Arizona Cardinals are experiencing a run of success, it is easy to forget the direction this franchise was headed three years ago.
Larry Fitzgerald was coming of his worst season since his rookie year, Carson Palmer was coming off of a forgettable stint with the Raiders, and the Cardinals as whole were only 4-12.
Enter Bruce Arians, an offensive coordinator with the Colts who become an interim head coach in 2012 and led the Cardinals to a 9-3 record to finish the year at 11-5. He would win Coach of the Year that year and his success earned him the Cardinals coaching job.
Under Arians, the Cardinals have improved every season with a 10-6 record in 2013, an 11-5 record and playoff berth last year and this season the Cardinals won the NFC West in a division by 13-3. In their playoff opener, the Cardinals seemed to be cruising to a victory up 20-13 with under a minute left until Aaron Rodgers happened.
After the reigning MVP converted on both a fourth and 20 from his own 2-yard line and a Hail Mary to send the game to overtime with heaves to their fifth-string receiver, it seemed bad, but the Cardinals remained composed.
Larry Fitzgerald added another insane play to his incredible playoff highlight reel with a 75-yard catch and run and then the game-winning score a few plays later to win it for the Cardinals.
Carson Palmer rebounded from his second knee injury by putting up an MVP-caliber season with over 4,600 yards and 35 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions. After going 12-28 from 2010 to 2012, he has flipped the switch and gone 29-9 since coming to Arizona, including 25 out of his last 30.
Fitzgerald earned a trip to his ninth Pro Bowl with 109 catches for 1215 yards and nine touchdowns, but just like old times, he saved his best for the postseason.
Over the span of eight playoff games, Larry Fitzgerald has recorded 53 catches for 912 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 114 yards per game is a whole 42 yards more than his regular season average, which is hall of fame worthy by itself.
Their playoff rematch against Carolina should be much more intriguing than last year’s nightmare that was only watched due to fan obligations.
In case you need a reminder, the Cardinals only recorded eight first downs and 78 yards of offense with the team losing the lead after halftime.
The only thing standing between them and a Super Bowl berth is a Panthers team featuring likely MVP Cam Newton and possible Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly, this year’s game will not be any easier, but with Carson Palmer playing lights out this season, this could be the game of the year.
This season has been a revival for Palmer, Fitzgerald, and even the Kangol hat. All that is missing is a return to the Super Bowl.

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