Arizona Cardinals dominate Green Bay Packers 38-8
By Scott Allen
Domination. The Arizona Cardinals were the pure definition of the word on Sunday in victory over the Green Bay Packers. In a game that was 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, it was all Cardinals after that point. They led 17-0 at halftime. In the end the Cardinals defeated the Packers 38-8.
Quarterback Carson Palmer had 230 yard passing by halftime and finished with 265 for the day with two touchdowns and one interception. Happy 36th birthday Carson! He found receivers Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown for first-half touchdowns. Running back David Johnson was quiet on the ground but made noise receiving with 88 yards in the first half.
The Cardinals came out on fire on the defense in the second half. On the first play by the Packers offense, James Starks fumbled thanks to a hit by safety D.J. Swearinger. Two plays later Johnson ran 14 yards for a touchdown. The game was essentially over at that point.
The Cardinals didn’t let up though. They had a season-high nine sacks of Green Bay Quarterbacks on Sunday. Linebacker Dwight Freeney had three sacks and defensive end Calais Campbell had two and a half sacks to lead the way.
The Cardinals defense had two fumble returns for touchdowns. The special teams played well, especially Justin Bethel, who also had an interception of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the end zone late in the first half.
That interception was a takeaway right after a Palmer interception inside their own 20-yard line. The interception happened with 57 seconds left in the half and the Cardinals drove down 80 yards for a touchdown in just 51 seconds. Efficient the Cardinals were on Sunday afternoon.
By the time the fourth quarter came rolling around, Rodgers was pulled after running for his life most of the afternoon. Backup Scott Tolzien came into the game and the Cardinals defense treated him no better. They sacked Tolzien at the one-yard line. The Cardinals challenged the call thinking it was a safety however the call was upheld, saying the ball was fully across the goal line before Tolzien was sacked.
The Cardinals brought Drew Stanton in with about eight minutes left in the game. The best drive with Stanton in ended with a Kerwynn Williams fumble. Those are the things the Cardinals will need to clean up to be successful in the playoffs.
The victory clinches at least the second seed and a first-round bye for the Cardinals. The Carolina Panthers lost on Sunday to the Atlanta Falcons, so next week the Cardinals can still clinch the overall number one see with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks and a Panthers loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.