GLENDALE, Ariz. - Kurt Warner was completing pass after pass in a flashback to his heady MVP and Super Bowl days.
“When you have one of those days when everything’s clicking and you feel like you can’t be stopped, it brings back a lot of memories of those great years,” he said.
This performance came at age 37 for an Arizona team that may finally be escaping its sorry history after a 31-10 victory over Miami that has the Cardinals 2-0 for the first time in 17 years.
Anquan Boldin had six receptions for 140 yards, a franchise record 22nd time he’s passed the century mark. He caught all three of Warner’s TD passes. Larry Fitzgerald, meanwhile, caught six for 153 yards, his 14th 100-yard game. It was the sixth time the pair had topped 100 yards in the same game.
Warner had a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the third time in his career, tying Peyton Manning for the NFL record.
Arizona’s Edgerrin James gained 55 yards on 18 carries to become the 14th player in NFL history to surpass 15,000 career yards from scrimmage. The Dolphins (0-2) lost their 11th straight road game.
“You’re always going to hit some adversity,” Miami’s first-year coach, Tony Sparano, said, “and we’ve hit some adversity right now.”
The Cardinals, who have won four straight dating to last year, led 14-0 in the first quarter, 24-0 early in the third and 31-3 in the fourth.
Boldin says he wants to be traded because the Cardinals didn’t give him a new contract, but he vowed to continue playing hard. He’s lived up to that promise, catching eight in the second half last week at San Francisco, then having an even better day in Week 2.
“I’m a Cardinal,” he said, “and every time I go out on that field I’m going to give it my all. I’m not going to deviate from that.”
Warner completed his first nine passes for 221 yards, including two touchdowns to Boldin, and Arizona had a quick two-touchdown lead.
“The game was slowing down,” Warner said. “I was putting the ball where I wanted to put it, and it felt good.”
The Cardinals felt coming in that they could exploit some matchups in the passing game. Boy, did they ever.
The completions included a 79-yarder to Boldin for the first touchdown and a 75-yarder to Fitzgerald to set up the second score.
It was the second time in Cardinals history that the team had two passes in a game of 75 yards or longer. The other came for the then-St. Louis Cardinals against Dallas on Oct. 13, 1974.
Warner, who beat out Matt Leinart for the starting job, had completed his last four passes in the team’s 23-13 victory at San Francisco last weekend. That made his string 13 straight, third-most in franchise history and two shy of the team record.
After two penalties pushed Arizona back to its 21, Boldin ran past linebacker Akin Ayodele and was alone down the middle. Warner found him for a 79-yard touchdown play that put the Cardinals up 7-0 just 2:40 into the game.
The next possession brought another big play. This time, Warner threw to Fitzgerald, who broke one tackle and spun away from another on a 75-yard gain to the Miami 5. Three plays later, Warner threw to Boldin for the score and it was 14-0 with 5:40 still to go in the first quarter.
“We still had a chance to dig ourselves out of that hole and still make some plays,” Miami nose tackle Jason Ferguson said. “What we did was pretty much duck our heads, and they kept rollin’.”
Leading 17-0, Arizona took the second-half kickoff and went 71 yards in 10 plays, culminated by Tim Hightower’s 1-yard touchdown run that made it 24-0 with 10:29 left in the third quarter.
The drive was aided greatly by three Miami penalties. Arizona was stopped, and Neil Rackers’ 47-yard field goal try was wide left. But the Dolphins were called for 12 men on the field.
Then a pass interference call on Andre Goodman against Fitzgerald in the end zone put the ball on the Dolphins 1. Miami again held but Joey Porter was called for a facemask on a sack of Warner.
Boldin’s most remarkable catch was an 8-yarder for his third touchdown. The ball was thrown behind him but he somehow grabbed it between two defenders, and the Cardinals led 31-3 with 1:27 left in the third.
Pennington’s backup, rookie Chad Henne, directed Miami to its lone touchdown, an 18-play, 89-yard drive that ended with Ronnie Brown’s 1-yard TD run on fourth down.
Pennington struggled to a 10-for-20 day for 112 yards.
Boldin’s 22 100-yard receiving games ties Jackie Smith for the franchise record. … The Cardinals have the longest active streak of 20-point games in the league at 10. … Arizona lost starting RT Levi Brown with a strained knee. … Warner’s passing yards were the most against the Dolphins in five years.