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(Sunday, September 20th)
Final Score: Arizona 31, Jacksonville 17
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Kurt Warner threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns, as the reigning NFC-champion Arizona Cardinals bounced back from a tough loss in Week 1 with a 31-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Warner, who completed 24-of-26 passes, connected on his first 15 attempts of the game to set a franchise record for most consecutive completed passes to start a contest. The 15 in a row tied a team mark set by Jake Plummer on November 8, 1998 against Washington. Warner also broke the NFL's single-game record for completion percentage by completing 92.3 percent of his passes.
Tim Hightower rushed for 72 yards and a score on 15 carries for the Cardinals (1-1), who lost to the 49ers last week. Steve Breaston caught five balls for 83 yards while Larry Fitzgerald caught a TD pass for Arizona, which went 0-5 in the Eastern time zone last season.
"The first win is so big," Fitzgerald said. "You had all offseason, all training camp, so much time built up, to finally get it on the road on the East coast it means a lot."
David Garrard connected on 23-of-43 passes for 282 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Jaguars (0-2), who lost to the Colts in Week 1. Mike Sims-Walker hauled in six passes for 106 yards and a TD. Maurice Jones- Drew had 66 yards on the ground in defeat.
"I anticipated us playing better than we did today for sure," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "I told the team we're 0-2 and you need to turn your ears off because you're not going to like what you hear."
The Cardinals marched down the field with ease during the opening drive of the game. A balanced mixture of runs and passes set up Arizona at the nine-yard line of Jacksonville. After the Cardinals recovered their own fumble, Hightower capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive when he ran into the end zone untouched from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.
The Jaguars responded with a drive that ended in a 30-yard field goal from Josh Scobee with 4:41 left in the period. Arizona finished the first quarter with an eight-play, 52-yard drive, which was topped off by a Neil Rackers 45- yard field goal for a 10-3 margin.
Jacksonville was forced to punt early in the second stanza, but Greg Toler muffed the catch on the return. Sean Considine recovered the fumble for the Jaguars at the Cardinals 26. Jacksonville, though, failed to get a first down and was forced to try for a field goal. During the attempt, Arizona's line got a good push up the middle and the ball deflected off the hand of an Arizona lineman and went straight up in the air. Antrel Rolle caught the ball and raced 83 yards the other way for a TD in a sudden change of events, expanding the Cardinals' lead to 17-3.
After each team fumbled late in the second frame, Arizona took over at their own 32 with a chance to increase their lead before half. Warner took the Cardinals down the field and on the seventh play of the drive hit Jason Wright with a five-yard TD pass with one minute until the half. The 24-3 scored held up heading into the locker room.
Rackers missed a 48-yard field goal wide right with 10:10 remaining in the third period. On the ensuing Jaguars possession, Garrard lost the ball when he was sacked by Karlos Dansby. Rolle recovered the fumble for Arizona, which took total control of the game when Warner connected with Fitzgerald on a 22- yard pass with 5:28 left in the period.
Garrard's 25-yard TD pass to Marcedes Lewis with 1:31 to go in the third and his 19-yard strike to Sims-Walker with 7:11 left in the fourth made the score seem closer than it really was.
Despite the loss, the Jaguars lead the all-time series with the Cardinals, 2-1...Cardinals QB Matt Leinart completed 3-of-6 passes for 22 yards, while Fitzgerald caught four passes for 34 yards...The previous completion percentage mark was set by Vinny Testaverde in 1993. Testaverde, who was playing for Cleveland at the time, connected on 21-of-23 passes versus the Los Angeles Rams.
09/20 20:56:15 ET