NFL Game Summary - Green Bay at Arizona|
(Sunday, January 10th)
Final Score: Arizona 51, Green Bay 45 (OT)
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - Karlos Dansby caught Aaron Rodgers' fumble out
of the air and returned it 17 yards to put a stunning end to the game, giving
the Cardinals a wild 51-45 overtime win against the Packers in the highest
scoring postseason contest in NFL history.
Michael Adams knocked the ball away from Rodgers, who then actually kicked the
ball in the air with his right foot. Dansby was in perfect position to grab it
and run unimpeded into the end zone, sending the NFC West-champion Cardinals
into next weekend's divisional round.
Arizona will try to take the next step to reaching the Super Bowl for a second
consecutive season on Saturday, when they visit New Orleans to play the top-
"When we lost the toss I thought our defense was going to make a play,"
Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "I don't know why I thought that,
but I just believed that because we missed the field goal where we had a
chance to win, then maybe destiny was going to smile on us this time."
The loss was crushing for the Packers, who got the ball first in overtime
after Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers missed a 34-yard field goal with just nine
seconds left in the fourth quarter.
But Green Bay saw its playoff hopes slip away just 78 seconds into overtime, a
crushing end for the Packers, who were down, 31-10, shortly into the third
quarter but made up the difference thanks to Rodgers.
Rodgers, starting his first-ever playoff game, finished 28-of-42 for a Packers
playoff record 422 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception. His
counterpart, Kurt Warner, was even better, completing 29-of-33 passes for
379 yards and five touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 154.1.
The two were the main proponents in turning the game, a rematch of last week's
regular season finale, into a shootout. The teams combined for 1,024 total
yards and 62 first downs, both NFL playoff records.
Helping Warner and Rodgers were the teams' receivers, who made numerous
skilled and acrobatic catches.
Steve Breaston had seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown for the
Cardinals, while Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet each had two touchdown
grabs. The performance of Arizona's receiving corps was all the more
impressive considering the Cardinals were playing without Anquan Boldin, who
was inactive with injuries to his left knee and ankle.
For the Packers, Jermichael Finley recorded a Green Bay playoff record 159
receiving yards, while Greg Jennings had eight catches for 130 yards and a
touchdown. Spencer Havner, James Jones and Jordy Nelson also had scoring
An interception and fumble recovery helped Arizona take a 17-0 lead after the
first quarter, and the Cardinals were ahead 31-10 after Fitzgerald's touchdown
reception just under four minutes into the second half.
But the Packers got back into the game by scoring four of the next five
touchdowns, as the second half turned into a series of amazing plays.
From the Arizona 38, Rodgers passed to Jennings by the right sideline as
Cardinals defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie went flying by. Jennings
stumbled and fell but was untouched and got back up to run to the three. Two
plays later, Rodgers went to Jennings again in the right side of the end zone.
Jennings had to twist but stretched to make the six-yard catch with his left
The Packers then surprised the Cardinals with an onside kick, as Brandon
Underwood slid to the grass to make the easy recovery.
After Green Bay converted a fourth down, Rodgers found Finley for a 43-yard
gain. A holding call on Donald Driver put the ball at the 21, but Ryan Grant
ran twice for 11 yards. On the next play, Rodgers scrambled and threw to
Nelson, who made the catch and sneaked into the end zone by the right pylon,
getting the Packers within 31-24 with 4:07 left in the quarter.
The Cardinals responded with their own touchdown, after Beanie Wells got free
for a 42-yard run to the Packers' 16. Later, as he was pressured, Warner
floated a pass over the middle to Fitzgerald for the touchdown.
But the Packers drew even with the first two scores of the fourth quarter.
Rodgers went to Jones on the right side of the field, and Jones turned past
Bryant McFadden to run for the 30-yard score just under a minute into the
After a Cardinals punt -- one of two in the entire game by both teams combined
-- the Packers struck again. Rodgers completed long passes to Finley and
Driver to set up John Kuhn's one-yard plunge, which made it a 38-38 contest
with 10:57 to play.
Arizona went back in front with a relatively long drive, which took up more
than six minutes. Breaston made a 26-yard catch over the shoulder with one
hand to gain the Green Bay 20, and two plays later he caught Warner's pass
over the middle for a 17-yard score.
"He didn't want his team to lose," Rodgers said of Warner. "We got on a roll
there and Kurt just kept making plays. You have to give him a lot of credit.
Kurt's a good friend and definitely a role model for myself, a younger
quarterback in the league and I respect it."
That came with 4:55 to play, but Rodgers was again up to the task. He
scrambled for a first down to bring the ball across midfield, then went to
Jennings for 22 yards before the Packers called timeout with 3:12 to go.
His pass later in the drive was nearly intercepted, but McFadden ran into
safety Adrian Wilson going for the ball, which fell to the ground. Rodgers
then converted a third down before passing to Havner, who ran it in on the
right side from 11 yards away to even the game, 45-45.
With 1:52 still on the clock, Warner had plenty of time. A 16-yard pass to
Doucet put the ball at the Green Bay 16, and the Cardinals called timeout with
14 seconds left before bringing Rackers out. But the kicker yanked the ball
wide left, and the game went to overtime.
"We knew we needed every play. It was going to take that kind of effort
against these guys," Warner said. "We knew how tough it was going to be on our
defense, with all the weapons they have offensively."
While the second half was a shootout, the first quarter made it seem like the
game would be a rout.
On the first play from scrimmage, Dansby tipped Rodgers' pass, and Rodgers-
Cromartie grabbed it. That led to Tim Hightower's one-yard touchdown run
nearly four minutes into the game.
Then, on the second play of the next Packers drive, Dansby ripped the ball
away from Driver, and the Cardinals recovered. That turnover led to Warner
finding Doucet over the middle for a 15-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Rackers later kicked a 23-yard field goal, as the Cardinals took a 17-point
advantage into the second quarter.
The Packers got on the board with just under seven minutes left in the half,
when Rodgers sneaked for a one-yard touchdown.
Warner hooked up with Doucet for another score on the next Cardinals drive,
but Mason Crosby kicked a short field goal with time expiring, bringing the
Packers within 24-10 at the break.
With his five touchdown passes, tying a career high, Warner moved into fourth
place all-time for career postseason TD passes. He has 31, as only Joe
Montana, Brett Favre and Dan Marino have more...The Cardinals totaled 531
yards, while the Packers had 493.
01/10 21:44:49 ET