GLENDALE, Ariz. – All the main focus was on who the Inexperienced Bay Packers didn’t have on Thursday night time on the Arizona Cardinals: no Davante Adams, no Allen Lazard, no Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
No likelihood, proper?
Sure, the Packers have been lacking their top-three receivers – Adams and Lazard on the COVID-19 checklist and Valdes-Scantling not fairly able to return from a hamstring damage. That was along with the three Professional Bowlers – left deal with David Bakhtiari, outdoors linebacker Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander – who have been by no means going to play on Thursday.
However all of the Packers thought of was who that they had.
And it was sufficient for a 24-21 victory that handed the Cardinals their first lack of the season and left the NFL with out an unbeaten crew. Each groups walked out with 7-1 data.
And the man who clinched it wasn’t even on their crew till 22 days in the past. Cornerback Rasul Douglas, who was on the roster due to accidents to Alexander and Kevin King, picked off a Kyler Murray cross ultimately zone on a cross from the Packers’ 5-yard line.
“Because of this I like this squad,” Aaron Rodgers stated on the sphere after the sport. “The man who made the choose was with them for 4 weeks [the Packers signed Douglas off the Cardinals’ practice squad]. He was on the road, we introduced him in, he’s beginning for us. He’s an awesome dude, and he’s actually meshed properly with our crew, and to provide you with a play like that with 15 seconds left is unimaginable.”
Coach Matt LaFleur put Rodgers in a run-the-clock mode, and whereas it left Rodgers with an uncharacteristic stat line – simply 184 yards passing — they have been content material to win a bit ugly, or no less than uglier than they’re used to.
“We ran the ball properly, we knew we may,” Rodgers stated. “It was robust within the passing recreation at occasions, however [Randall] Cobb got here up with a pair massive landing catches.”
Regardless of the important thing gamers who could not play Thursday, the Packers nonetheless had a lot going for them:
Cobb, who has caught 71 % of his targets from Rodgers in his profession (Rodgers’ highest to any receiver with no less than 60 makes an attempt), had his second multi-touchdown recreation of the season. Earlier than his return season to Inexperienced Bay this yr, he had not scored twice in a recreation since 2015.
AJ Dillon, who averaged 2.37-yards per rush after contact the final two seasons (sixth-best amongst gamers with 90 rushes, in accordance with ESPN Stats & Data), rushed for 78 yards.
Aaron Jones, one in every of 2 gamers with 1,500 yards speeding and 500 yards receiving because the begin of the 2020 season, caught seven passes for 51 yards.
Robert Tonyan, who has 13 landing catches the final two seasons (second-most amongst all tight ends), hauled in a 33-yard catch to arrange Cobb’s second landing.
And naturally, Rodgers, whose regular hand proved extra essential than any single play, stored his passes brief, averaging 4.8 air yards per try, which was the third-lowest of his profession. And he was eliminating the ball rapidly, averaging 2.25 seconds from snap to launch, which was his quickest time since Week 2 of 2016.
In a recreation maybe solely an offensive lineman may love, the Packers rushed 34 occasions for 151 yards.
The one offensive points got here close to the aim line, once they did not get in from the 1-yard line within the ultimate minutes, which allowed the Cardinals to drive all the best way down earlier than Douglas performed the hero.
“It is a scrappy crew,” Rodgers stated. “It is a robust, bodily gritty crew. I’m so pleased with our guys. I’m so pleased with our line.
“I like this soccer crew. I’m having a lot enjoyable with these guys.”