The day after, waiting for a few hours before the Vikings and Eagles determine the travel plans of the next week (UPDATE: And we have an answer), a few thoughts after the Cardinals' 30-24 playoff win:
-- It will take a fortuitous turn of events for the Cardinals to have another home game at University of Phoenix Stadium this season, but my guess is the roof will be closed, regardless of the weather. "I've been telling (team president) Michael (Bidwill) that all year, 'Just keep it closed every week, just do it for me, and I know it's beautiful and we love the stadium and we love all that stuff but just keep it closed for me,' " said quarterback Kurt Warner, the ultimate dome player. Not only does it make Warner feel more comfortable (really, is it a surprise for a guy who started his career in the Arena Football League?), but clearly, it's louder when the roof is shut.
-- The most amazing stat of the game? After the Falcons held an overwhelming 21:19 to 8:41 edge in time of possession in the first half, the Cards actually won TOP, 30:02 to 29:58. It underscores how the offense played, while not a perfect game, what turned out to be a pretty perfect second half.
-- I went up to tight end Stephen Spach – the improbable target of the game-sealing third-down catch -- after the game and said, "In crunch time, everyone knows you go to Stephen Spach." He chuckled and said, "I think that was the only reason it was there – because they don't know."
-- Between DRC's interceptions and the fact Antrel Rolle seems to score every time he ends up with the ball, that's playmaking the Cards can use. Now, if the Cards' defense can continue to play in that zone they were in Saturday – disciplined in their roles, yet emotionally ready.
-- The offensive line has promised all along they could be effective in the run game if given the chance. They certainly were proven right against the Falcons. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley and a couple of the linemen came to a meeting of the minds on that point – Haley said he'd run more after they asked, and they basically said "Put your money where your mouth is." It just changes how many will feel about this team going forward. The offense was relatively balanced. As Larry Fitzgerald said, the flea-flicker was impossible if the run game wasn't working.
-- Seeing Anquan Boldin hurting again wasn't good. It's impossible to know if Boldin can play this week, but it's got to be a big concern. I know there are those who think the Cards can win without Q and that can and does happen, but I guarantee the coaching staff would rather have him on the field.
-- The pass rush looked re-energized. Veterans Bertrand Berry and Chike Okeafor played arguably their best games of the season.
-- The New York Daily News is reporting that Cardinals assistant head coach/offensive line coach Russ Grimm will interview for the Jets' vacant hed coaching job. I wouldn't be surprised if Haley gets some attention as a possible head coaching candidate either.
The players are off today (although I don't see them on the couch, munching potato chips watching Vikings-Eagles). No presser from coach Ken Whisenhunt either. Everything will start up again Monday, and the Cards will gear up physically, mentally, emotionally all over again.