It’s safe to say that the Green Bay Packers really were not supposed to win this game.
But winning games that we are not supposed to win seems to be a given in the Aaron Rodgers era, and the Thursday night affair against the once-undefeated Arizona Cardinals fits perfectly into that category.
After putting together a masterpiece of offensive play-calling without their top three wideouts, and after having two defensive coordinators combine on the play-calling efforts with DC Joe Barry out, Green Bay was commonly written off for this game. Not to mention, playing out west, especially in Arizona, has been a house of horrors of sorts, not providing much faith for this team to pull out its seventh win.
But on the back of the run game, a short passing game, and a solid defensive approach, the Packers were able to end the final undefeated team’s streak this year, all the while putting themselves firmly back on top of the NFC.
Both Arizona and Green Bay traded touchdowns in the first half, as Chase Edmonds and Aaron Jones both took it in for their respective teams. By adding in a short field goal before heading into halftime, the Packers were able to take a slim 10-7 advantage going into break.
After recording an interception of Kyler Murray deep in AZ territory, the Packers turned the short field into Randall Cobb’s first touchdown of the night, extending their lead to 17-7.
That TD drive was the first of four consecutive TD drives (two by each team), as the Cardinals rode James Conner into the end zone on two consecutive double-digit play drives, while the second scoring drive of the half for the Packers also saw Cobb haul in a short pass for a score.
A detrimental turnover on downs on the AZ 1 yard-line gave the Cardinals the ball back with Green Bay only holding a three-point lead. Needing to put up points to at least send the game into overtime, the Cardinals calmly and quickly drove down the field into the Packers’ red zone, with the likely outcome an AZ touchdown that would ruin the GB lead.
But Rasul Douglas had other plans, as he corralled an end-zone target to A.J. Green for an interception to end the game and any plans of a last-second comeback for the Cardinals.
With both teams sitting at 7-1 on the year, the Packers hold the tie-breaking advantage, which could come in handy later on this year for postseason seeding. After their trip to Green Bay, the Packers enjoy a mini-bye before traveling out to Kansas City to face the middling Chiefs for their Week 9 contest.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23