NFL Playoffs: Cardinals thrill Packers in overtime

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Arizona Cardinals 51 45 Green Bay Packers
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The presentation of the flag and singing of The Star-Spangled Banner before the start of the Packers vs. Cardinals Playoff Game.

After a very close offensive battle throughout the game, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers 51-45 in an overtime thriller today in the wild card round of the NFL Playoffs. The game was won after Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers fumbled the ball during overtime, resulting in Arizona’s Karlos Dansby recovering the ball and returning it for a touchdown, giving the Cardinals the sudden death victory. Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt called the contest “…Probably one of the best games ever played in the playoffs”, while Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said that it was “The toughest loss I’ve ever been a part of.” Both team’s strong offenses were evident throughout the entire game. The two team’s offensive totals combined to reach a massive 1,024 yards, with the Cardinals gaining 531 and the Packers 493.

In the first quarter, the Cardinals got out to a quick start, when cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted an errant Rodgers throw and returned it for a touchdown. On Green Bay’s very next possession, wide receiver Donald Driver fumbled, setting up another quick Arizona touchdown and making the score 14-0 in favor of the Cardinals. An Arizona field goal by Neil Rackers made it a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Packers began to show some of their offensive firepower in the second quarter. To start the quarter, Rodgers led the team down the field in a 52-yard drive that lead to a Rodgers sneak at the goal line to give the Packers their first points of the game. However, the Cardinals quickly countered with a scoring drive of their own, capped off by a 15-yard passing touchdown from quarterback Kurt Warner to receiver Early Doucet. At the end of the half, Green Bay kicked a field goal to cut into the deficit which was still quite large, a 24-10 halftime edge for Arizona.

Warner and Rodgers both showed explosive passing throughout the next half. In the third, both quarterbacks threw two touchdown passes to make the score 38-24, the Cardinals still holding the edge. Green Bay began to mount their comeback in the fourth quarter. They began with two touchdowns, tying the game at 38. Warner again countered with another passing score for Arizona, giving them a one touchdown edge with under 3 minutes to play. Then, Rodgers led the Packers in a quick drive, scoring and tying the game at 45 all. The match now had to be decided in overtime.

Green Bay won the overtime coin toss, giving them the advantage of having the ball first in the sudden death period. However, the key mistake of the game came here. On the Packers’ third play, Aaron Rodgers fumbled, creating a Karlos Dansby recovery which he returned for a touchdown, ending the offensive shootout with a final score of 51-45.

After the win, Arizona is now focused on advancing further in the playoffs, as well as rumors on Warner’s possible retirement. “I don’t think you every want to stay too long, but you never want to go out before it’s time,” said Warner. “The hard part is trying to figure that out, but right now it’s about another playoff game. It’s about New Orleans and then we’ll go from there.”

The Cardinals play the New Orleans Saints in next week’s divisional round.

Bracket

                                   
January 9 – Cowboys Stadium   January 17 – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome          
 6  Philadelphia  14
 3  Dallas  
 3  Dallas  34     January 24 – TBD
 2  Minnesota    
NFC
January 10 – University of Phoenix Stadium      
January 16 – Louisiana Superdome
         
 5  Green Bay  45 NFC Championship
 4  Arizona  
 4  Arizona  51*   February 7 – Dolphin Stadium
 1  New Orleans    
Wild Card Playoffs  
Divisional Playoffs
January 9 – Paul Brown Stadium  N    
January 17 – Qualcomm Stadium
   A    
 5  N.Y. Jets  24 Super Bowl XLIV
 5  N.Y. Jets  
 4  Cincinnati  14     January 24 – TBD
 2  San Diego    
AFC
January 10 – Gillette Stadium      
January 16 – Lucas Oil Stadium
         
 6  Baltimore  33 AFC Championship
 6  Baltimore  
 3  New England  14  
 1  Indianapolis    
  • Conference Championship Home Field goes to the lower-numbered seed remaining.
* Indicates overtime victory

Sources

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