Packers 20 Cardinals 26
My game notes read “long game,” as the Packers and Cardinals headed into the fourth quarter of what would transform into an instant classic.
The two biggest keys in the game were Carson Palmer’s jacked up finger that no tape job was going to help, and the return of Sam Shields to the Packers defense.
Arizona got on the board first with a Palmer to Michael Floyd TD. 7-0 Cardinals.
Green Bay was setting a fast pace with their offense early but were down to using equipment managers as wideouts. DaVante Adams was inactive, and Randall Cobb went out of the game in the first half with a chest injury after spitting up blood after a deep incompletion.
Green Bay scored a field goal after getting lucky on a flag that nullified a Patrick Peterson pick six that totaled 100 yards. 7-3 Cards.
Carson Palmer would have a rough night evading the Packers rush that hurt his performance as the game wore on. Aaron Rodgers was hurt by all his wide receivers missing in action. James Jones ended the game with zero catches, but it was two unknowns in Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis who picked their quarterback up, making big catches over and over.
The Packers made it 6-7 with another field goal as they were totally ball hogging in the first half, with both FGs coming at the end of 17 play drives! That score stood until the third quarter.
Both quarterbacks threw an interception to start the third.
Eddie Lacy provided the biggest play of the game so far when he burst up the middle for 61 yards. That set up an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Janis to give the Pack a 13-7 lead.
Arizona answered with a field goal as their offense looked out of sync with David Johnson getting no room to run at all, rushing for only 2.3 yards per carry. 10-13 GB up still.
Carson Palmer entered the game with zero playoff wins and looked like he didn’t care to win this one as he lobbed up a softball in the endzone that was picked by Damarious Randall.
With Palmer’s confidence taking a hit he kept firing away and took his Cardinals into the red zone on their next possession. Palmer got lucky with a tipped ball landing safely in the hands of Michael Floyd for his second TD catch of the game. 17-13 Cards rip lead.
Rodgers failed to get his team a first down with four tries with 3:44 left. He would get the ball back after Bruce Arians was aggressive with the play calling after the Pack’s turnover on downs. Arizona hit a FG to increase the lead to 20-13.
Rodgers had the game in his hands with 1:55 left and went to working his magic. It isn’t magic though, dude is just the best in the game. After failing to get a legit PI call on the Cards’ defensive backs on 3rd and 20, Rodgers then found Jeff Janis on 4th and 20 for aroutine 60-yard catch!
If you had Janis on your fantasy team, you are not a genius. You accidentally clicked on him.
The Packers were hurt by a flag before they got off another play as time was wasted. Rodgers was left with just five seconds after an incompletion. That’s all he needed. #12 rolled out and avoided the blitz to heave a short hail mary into the end zone that was caught by Jeff Janis over two defenders. Janis actually located the ball by watching Patrick Peterson track the football in the air. 41-yard score, game tied at 20, overtime a reality!
Overtime would start and end with Arizona having the ball. Larry Fitzgerald is a football deity in cleats. He would catch a short pass on the very first play in overtime then proceed to evade eight Packer defenders on his way to the five-yard line. I hate “greatest play ever” talk, but this catch and run has to rank in the top 20 of postseason play.
Fitzgerald wasn’t done as Bruce Arians showed the utmost confidence in Palmer and Fitz, calling a fade on 1st and goal. It was out of reach so on second down, Fitzgerald was tossed a shovel pass up the middle to end the game in overtime.
Sudden death for the Packers’ upset hopes in a game for the ages. Just a tremendous finish.
Green Bay now has to deal with another offseason following a hard to stomach loss in the playoffs. Great effort though with a wrecked out receiving corps that played like All Pros.
Arizona awaits their fate as Seattle and Carolina battle for the last NFC Title Game spot.