The Arizona Cardinals' trend of playing mediocre-but-losing football continued for a fifth straight game, as the Cards lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-17 at Lambeau Field yesterday.
Even with the offensive line not playing at Pop Warner-level for once, the offensive unit was still meh, and as you can imagine, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was going to toss some touchdown passes no matter what.
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Perhaps the best news from the Packers game was the existence of the Cardinals' offensive tackle Nate Potter, a rookie out of Boise State. Potter was thrown into the game to replace one of the perpetually struggling tackles, D'Anthony Batiste, and we can only imagine what kind of encouragement coach Ken Whisenhunt had for Potter on his way in.
"Hey sport, here's your big chance, now go in there and don't let Clay Matthews touch John Skelton. Good luck!"
Whatever Whiz's words of encouragement were, they worked, because Skelton was sacked just twice throughout the entire game, which is bordering on "miracle" status. (Matthews also left with an injury in the third quarter.)
On the whole, though, the Cardinals got beat.
After forcing a three-and-out on the Packers' first drive, the Cardinals' defense let up a touchdown-scoring drive that started at Green Bay's own 16, and ended with a 13-yard TD pass from Rogers to Randall Cobb.
On the next Packers drive, William Gay intercepted a pass from Rogers, which will go down in the stat book as an interception, but it's hard to tell what actually happened (video here), as Cobb appeared to catch the pass, and Gay rolled over him, and somehow came up with the football. Moral of the story is, it counts.
The Cardinals turned that interception into points, as Skelton completed a 40-yard pass to Andre Roberts, and LaRod Stephens-Howling found the endzone on his second attempt from several feet away.
The Packers responded quickly, though, as Rogers threw another touchdown pass to Cobb -- that one for 21 yards on a third down.
After a Cardinals three-and-out, the Packers went on another touchdown drive, which ended with a 28-yard TD pass to James Jones with a couple minutes left in the second quarter to put the Packers up 21-7.
The Cards' two-minute drill ended up with a fourth-and-20 on their own 40.
Packers kicker Mason Crosby got the scoring going in the second half to put the Packers up 24-7, although the Cardinals did get a touchdown a couple drives later.
Skelton completed a short pass to Larry Fitzgerald, and Fitzgerald did the rest after catching the ball on a slant route, running it in for a 31-yard TD.
The Cards forced a three-and-out on the Packers' next possession, and drove the ball 74 yards to Green Bay's two yard-line.
On third-and-two, Stephens-Howling rushed for no gain, and down 10 points, the Cardinals opted for the 20-yard field goal to get within seven points.
On the second play of the Packers' ensuing drive, tight end Tom Crabtree caught a 72-yard touchdown pass to make it a two-score game as the third quarter expired.
The Cardinals got the ball three times in the fourth quarter, and did slightly more than nothing with it -- just slightly.
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The first drive was a three-and-out, as was the second. Faced with a similar situation on the third drive, the Cardinals had to go for it on fourth down as the clock was running low, and the Cardinals picked up a first down! The Cardinals would quickly run into another fourth down, and didn't convert that one, leaving the final score at 31-17.
After starting the season 4-0, the Cardinals are now 4-5 through nine.