By Danny Cox
With time winding down and the Green Bay Packers down by seven, highlights were shown of a game earlier this season where Aaron Rodgers defeated the Detroit Lions with a Hail Mary as time expired. Mere seconds later, fate showed its face as Rodgers did it again, but it was just enough to send the game to overtime.
That was when Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took over for his team and almost single-handedly eliminated the Packers from the playoffs. When all was said and done, Green Bay lost a heartbreaking 26-20 game and now they are done for the season.
It just never seemed like the Packers were totally with it or able to get things going. The same explosiveness and energy shown in last week's win over the Washington Redskins wasn't there until the final two minutes. Eddie Lacy had 89 yards on the ground, but 61 of it came on one carry. James Starks was rather invisible all game.
Aaron Rodgers completed just 54 percent of his passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception and was sacked once. The final two minutes of regulation were all he needed though as he and Jeff Janis took matters into their own hands and got the Packers into overtime.
Green Bay's defense played well throughout as they hounded Carson Palmer, forcing him into two interceptions and sacking him three times. The Cardinals had a mere 40 total yards rushing and all was going pretty well.
The only person the Packers couldn't stop is Fitzgerald and it wasn't just on the lone overtime drive where he had 80 yards and the winning touchdown. During the rest of the game, Fitzgerald caught six more balls for 96 yards and was a one-man wrecking crew.
Special Teams: B
Mason Crosby did his job by hitting both of his field goal attempts on the day and both extra point attempts including the crucial one that sent the game into overtime. Tim Masthay punted four times and didn't have the greatest of nights, with a long of just 37 yards.
Mike McCarthy seemed to have some trouble getting the Packers started again, and this time, they couldn't get far enough ahead like they did last week. The Arizona Cardinals are a better team than the Washington Redskins and it showed.
Injuries played a big part in the troubles that the Green Bay Packers had this season, and after their hot start, things just began to fall apart. Near the end, it was almost as if they were crawling into the playoffs, but they certainly didn't exit without a fight, and they fought to the very end. Next season, health needs to be a priority and Aaron Rodgers needs to have some better protection on the offensive line. That will have to be an offseason focus when free agency and the draft come around.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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