Arizona Cardinals escape with win in 26-20 OT thriller


49. 26. 32. Final. 20

The Arizona Cardinals are on to the NFC Championship game next Sunday.  However for much of the night, we weren’t so sure that would become reality.  The Green Bay Packers came to play in what can now be considered one of the wildest endings to an NFL game ever.

It looked over after the Cardinals got the ball back in the red zone with less than two and a half minutes left in the game.  They couldn’t seal the deal though and settled for a field goal to go up 20-13 with just under two minutes left.  That left the door open for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers lead the team down the field, essentially throwing two Hail Mary’s to put send the game to overtime.  Without receivers Davonte Adams, who didn’t play, and Randall Cobb who left the game in the first quarter with a chest injury, the Packers relied on Jeff Janis.  Rodgers on 4th and 20 from his own end zone, hit Janis for 60 yards and then a few plays later hit him for a 41 yarder (extra yardage thanks to a penalty) to send the game to overtime.

The Cardinals wasted no time in overtime though.  On the first play Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer scrambled right to avoid a sack and then threw across his body to a wide-open Larry Fitzgerald, who scampered 75 yards down the field.  Two plays later Fitz got a shovel pass from Palmer for the game winner.

How do you explain this one though?  The Cardinals couldn’t get a running game going.  Palmer threw a couple of bad interceptions.  The Cardinals had a 100-yard interception return for touchdown by Patrick Peterson called back due to illegal hands to the face by defensive tackle Frostee Rucker.  Yet to come out on top at the end, hard to explain.

The Cardinals lead 7-6 at halftime but it felt like the Cards should have been down at least 10 at that point.  It wasn’t long though before Rodgers put the Packers up 13-7.  It wasn’t until 3:44 left in the game before the Cardinals regained the lead 17-13.  The game was just really beginning at that point.

So many twists and turns.  A lot to recap on this one.  For now, the Cardinals await the winner of the Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers game on Sunday.  If the Seahawks win, the Cardinals will be right back at University of Phoenix Stadium next week to host them.  If the Panthers win, off to Charlotte the Cards go next Sunday.  Oh boy.  Breathe.