Cardinals can't hang with high-powered Saints
It was over when ...
(Aaron M. Sprecher / Associated Press)
The bye week was good to Bush, who looked as healthy as ever while juking defenders on his way to a season-high 84 rushing yards on five carries. Bush showed off his ability to make defenders miss on a 46-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and again on his punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter. Bush added four catches for 24 yards and had a 36-yard average on three punt returns.
The Cardinals just couldn't match the Saints, who scored touchdowns on five of their six first-half possessions. Kurt Warner and Co. couldn't stay on the field, as the Cardinals finished 1-for-8 on third downs.
The Saints reached the NFC Championship game for the second time in franchise history. Next week's NFC Championship will be the first played at the Superdome. ... Bush's punt return for a touchdown was the third longest in postseason history. ... Warner was on the receiving end of a violent hit from Saints DE Bobby McCray on an interception in the second quarter. Warner was replaced by Matt Leinart on the following drive, later returned to start the second half, and was then replaced for good with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. ... Cardinals CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was carted to the locker room in the second quarter with a left knee injury and did not return. Cromartie's teammate, Antrel Rolle, left with a head injury and also did not return. ... The Cardinals lost for the first time this season when recording at least 100 rushing yards. That total included a 70-yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower on the game's first play from scrimmage.