The Morning After: Arizona Cardinals pound Packers


The Arizona Cardinals dominated the Green Bay Packers from start to finish on Sunday in Glendale

As I was sitting in the stands with a bunch green and yellow jerseys, hoodies, hats, cheese capes, cheese hats, a random Colts fan all in blue and white, and still more than half red, black and white, you can’t help but feel bad for the Cardinals fans who missed this.

It was loud on both sides of the ball, for the first quarter, maybe a bit into the second, but after that, there wasn’t much to celebrate if you were a Packers fan than Rodgers getting the ball out without getting obliterated by the defensive pass rush. The “Go, Pack, Go” chant slowly waned, a “Go, Cards, Go” chant picked up steam, and after the second strip-sack of Aaron Rodgers, the place went absolutely nuts.

The game was a display and a clinic put on by the defense, playing without two of their best players in Rashad Johnson and Tyrann Mathieu, the sacks were coming in droves, Rodgers was hit on nearly half of his drop backs, and some questionable calls that didn’t award the defense with more kudos in that safeties that should have been called, weren’t. How that last tackle in the endzone was not a safety, I’ll never know.

What this was, was a message to the rest of the NFL: You underestimated us for 15 weeks, and we’re coming for you all.

One thing that was impressive about the overall performance was the complete game that the team played. The offense used the short field and the defensive scores to solidify the game going into the fourth quarter (where neither team actually scored), the defense was lights out, the Pro Bowl players played like them, especially Justin Bethel.

Now I won’t say that he’s the best cornerback on the roster, we know he isn’t and the Packers knew he wasn’t either, with Rodgers picking on Bethel all day long covering James Jones, but whereas Jones made a catch here or there for a first down, the big play came in the end zone to nearly end the first half when Bethel made them pay with a pick and a touchback, setting up Carson Palmer and Michael Floyd to have a field day.

That drive was ever bit as impressive as the drive that ended the Bengals game on Sunday Night Football as it showed the poise that the team has, with less than a minute to go, accurate passing, smart players and great position on the ball lead to a touchdown to put the team up 17-0 at the half, and it wasn’t even that close.

Dec 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) carries the ball after a catch as Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) defends during the first half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Truth be told, the game wasn’t as close as the 38-8 score shows. Palmer just barely overthrew another touchdown, and the missed safeties could have added another few points, and settling for a field goal instead of a touchdown, this game could have been even worse for the banged up Packers.

Still, the game meant nothing for Green Bay, it meant a lot for the Cardinals as they were able to knock another checkmark off of the list, secure a bye, now, with the Panthers loss, the Cardinals can take over the first overall seed and home field throughout the playoffs with a win next week and a Panthers loss to Tampa Bay.

The Cardinals have now set a franchise record with 13 wins, Carson Palmer beat his career touchdown mark and still has a game to go, and Larry Fitzgerald tied his own reception mark with 103 for a season with a game to go. Most impressive, is that this team has 57 touchdowns total or the season, and only 55 punts. Let that sink in.