Warner's hot start leads Cards to blowout of Jaguars
With a huge lead, an NFL record and a sore right shoulder, Kurt Warner headed to the bench late in the third quarter against Jacksonville.
He never expected he might have to re-enter the game.
Warner completed his first 15 passes and broke the NFL's single-game record for completion percentage, and the Arizona Cardinals dominated the Jaguars in a 31-17 victory Sunday.
"Kurt's found the fountain of youth somewhere," teammate Larry Fitzgerald said. "I don't know where it is, but we're blessed to have his services. He played error-free football to put our offense in a great position. When he's back there in that kind of rhythm, it's hard to deal with him."
Jacksonville trailed 24-3 after two quarters -- the largest halftime deficit at home in team history — and was down 28 points before mounting a mild comeback.
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The only good news for the Jaguars? Hardly anyone in Jacksonville saw it. The game was blacked out on local television, and the stands were half full.
They missed Warner put on quite a show for Arizona (1-1). He was 24 of 26 passing for 243 yards, with two touchdowns, no turnovers and no sacks. He was much sharper than he was last week, when he threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.
"It was nice the way I played last week to come back and have this kind of game," Warner said.
Warner tied Jake Plummer's franchise record by opening the game with 15 consecutive completions. By completing 92.3 percent of his passes, he broke the previous NFL record set by Vinny Testaverde in 1993. Testaverde, playing for Cleveland, completed 21 of 23 passes against the Los Angeles Rams.
"We didn't let nothing go over the top," Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "If he would hit 20 balls deep, then that's something we don't want to be a part of. But we wanted him to check the ball down. We just have to tackle better."
Warner hooked up with Jason Wright for a 5-yard score late in first half, then found Larry Fitzgerald for a 22-yarder to make it 31-3 late in the third.
Not wanting to risk injury, coach Ken Whisenhunt replaced Warner with former first-round draft pick Matt Leinart. But Leinart struggled, and Jacksonville rallied.
David Garrard found Marcedes Lewis for a touchdown on third-and-long, then hooked up with Mike Sims-Walker for a score on a fourth-down play that made it 31-17.