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Dansby Fumble Return Sends Cardinals To Second Round, Edge Packers 51-45

Michael Adams (left), Aaron Rodgers (center), Karlos Dansby (right)

Sunday afternoon’s game between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium, I predict, will go down as a game that will be classified as one of the best playoff games ever. That’s right. Ever.

Never mind the fact that both teams combined for a NFL playoff record 96 points. Or the fact that both teams combined for 1,024 total yards of offense, including a total of 778 passing yards by Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner. Granted, the game was an offensive shootout. Yet, it took a 17-yard fumble recovery by the Cardinals’ Karlos Dansby, which was ran in for the winning touchdown, that elevated Arizona past Green Bay 51-45. The win helped the Cardinals advance to the next round, scheduled for next Saturday.

The first quarter was all Cardinals as they scored three times – a 1-yard TD run by Tim Hightower, a 15-yard TD pass from Warner to Early Doucet and a 23-yard field goal by Neil Rackers – as they would take a 17-0 lead going into the second quarter. The Packers would respond with a 1-yard TD run by Rodgers, but another Warner-to-Doucet TD pass would put Arizona ahead 24-7. A 20-yard FG by the Packers’ Mason Crosby shrunk the Cardinals’ advantage to 24-10 at halftime.

Arizona would strike again, seeming to have gained control, as Warner connected on a 33-yard TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald, which put them up 31-10. But Green Bay would score on consecutive drives during a span of 3:13 on a pair of Rodgers TD passes – one each to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, bringing the Packers to within 31-24; an 11-yard TD pass from Warner-to-Fitzgerald two and one-half minutes later would boost the Cardinals’ lead to 38-24.

The Packers would score twice in the fourth quarter in a 3:30 span, once on a 30-yard Rodgers-to-James Jones TD pass and a 1-yard plunge by John Kuhn, which tied things up at 38-all. Arizona would pull ahead again on a Warner TD pass to Steve Breaston, putting them up 45-38, but Green Bay would knot it up at 45 on a 11-yard TD pass from Rodgers to Spencer Havner. The Cards had a chance to win the game in overtime, but a Rackers FG attempt at the end of regulation was wide left, sending the game into overtime.

The issue was decided when at the 13:42 mark of OT, Rodgers was stripped of the ball by the Cards’ Michael Adams; the ball was picked up by Dansby, who would run untouched into the end zone, sealing the win for Arizona.

Warner had the best playoff game of his career, going 29-of-33 for 379 yards with 5 TD’s while Rodgers did nearly as well, going 28-of-42 for 422 yards with 4 TD’s and an interception. The Cardinals’ rushing attack was led by Beanie Wells with 91 yards on only 14 carries while Ryan Grant led the Packers with 65 yards on 11 carries.

Breaston led all Cardinals receivers with 7 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown while Fitzgerald caught 6 receptions for 82 yards and 2 TD’s; Doucet caught six for 77 yards and 2 scores while Ben Patrick caught 3 passes for 42 yards. The Packers were led by Jermichael Finley with 6 receptions for 159 yards while Jennings caught 8 for 130 yards and a TD; Jones caught 3 for 50 yards and a score.

Arizona (11-6) will play again next Saturday when they visit the Big Easy to take on the New Orleans Saints while Green Bay ends their season 11-6.

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2 Responses to “Dansby Fumble Return Sends Cardinals To Second Round, Edge Packers 51-45”

  1. Mark says:

    And then there is Adams blatent facemask to Rodgers. Hope he is proud of that. It should have come back, first and 10! And the helmet contact the play before. A team advancing that shouldn’t. Thanks to the ref’s it was a gift!

  2. john says:

    The best NFL game I’ve ever seen. Truly majestic performance from both teams.

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