In its first season without Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers have struggled to find a way out of their rut. However, the team is playing better under Mike McCarthy and Brett Hundley as they look to take home Super Bowl 51 in Atlanta this year.
Aaron Rodgers finally has a defense that can lead the Green Bay Packers to the Super Bowl. The team is led by Aaron Rodgers, who is considered one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. Read more in detail here: aaron rodgers number.
On Thursday Night Football, the odds were stacked against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers were facing an unbeaten Arizona Cardinals squad, and prominent players like Davante Adams, David Bakhtiari, Allen Lazard, Jaire Alexander, and Za’Darius Smith were unavailable. Joe Barry, Green Bay’s defensive coordinator, was also out due to a positive COVID-19 test earlier in the week.
Shorthanded and on the road in the desert for a short week, all the Packers had to do was travel to Glendale and beat Kyler Murray and the previously unbeaten Cardinals 24-21.
Green Bay is presently on a seven-game winning run and once again seems to be the best team in the NFC. The Cardinals, on the other hand, dropped to 7-1 after their first defeat of the season.
With only seconds remaining in the game, Arizona seemed to be marching down the field and on its way to staying undefeated, but Green Bay’s defense came up huge and secured the win for the Packers.
In the most crucial moments of the game, the Green Bay Packers’ defense came through.
With 4:46 left in the game, Green Bay running back Aaron Jones made a diving dash up the middle and seemed to score a game-winning touchdown, putting the Packers up 10 points. The play was initially scored a touchdown on the field, but it was later reversed because Jones’ backside came down directly at the one-yard line before the ball crossed the goal line.
At that time, Arizona’s defense deserves credit.
Rather than collapse and surrender to a hot Packers offense, the Cardinals forced Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to turn the ball over on downs. With 3:26 left in the half, a delay of game penalty pulled Green Bay back off the goal line, and Devon Kennard tipped Rodgers’ fourth-down ball to give the Cardinals an opportunity to tie or win the game.
Murray, who is an MVP contender in his own right, guided the Cardinals down the field in a methodical drive to the Green Bay five-yard line. Murray took a shot to veteran wide receiver A.J. Green in the end zone on a second down and goal with no timeouts remaining. Green never looked around, indicating that he either didn’t see the football or was executing a different play. Rather, Green Bay’s cornerback Rasul Douglas intercepted the ball and won the game.
Notably, and oddly, Douglas was signed off the Arizona practice squad by Green Bay earlier this month.
The Packers stepped up and shut down an explosive Arizona offense despite being without numerous top players.
Following an interception in the fourth quarter of a game against the Arizona Cardinals, Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers congratulates Rasul Douglas #29 | Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Arizona had the league’s second-best offense entering Thursday Night Football, behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kliff Kingsbury built his reputation as a college football offensive genius, and he’s bringing the same type of scoring explosion to Arizona that he did at Texas Tech. The Cardinals were averaging 32.1 points and 422.6 yards per game before their matchup versus Green Bay. Murray seemed to be a likely MVP contender, and Kingsbury appeared to be in charge of an overpowering offense. In six of their seven victories, the Cardinals had scored more than 30 points.
Not only did Green Bay win the game by intercepting Murray, but it was the Arizona quarterback’s second of the game. Murray threw an interception after second-year Green Bay safety Henry Black snatched a tipped throw that went off Arizona rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore’s hands to open the second half down 10-7. Green Bay took advantage of the fumble with a two-yard touchdown throw from Rodgers to Randall Cobb, who had three receptions and two touchdown catches in the game.
Murray and the Cardinals’ offense were completely shut down by Green Bay’s defense.
Murray threw for 274 yards on 22 of 33 passing attempts, but no touchdowns. Murray was also held in check by Green Bay as he attempted to flee. On six running attempts, the typically exceptional dual-threat quarterback managed just 21 total yards, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry.
Aaron Rodgers has finally found a defense capable of assisting him in winning another Super Bowl.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 walks the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals | Norm Hall/Getty Images
In the playoffs, Rodgers has never been a major issue for Green Bay. Since the Packers won the Super Bowl in the winter of 2011, the three-time MVP is 1-4 in NFC Championship games. In Matt LaFleur’s past two seasons as head coach, the team has lost two straight championship games, although those defeats aren’t really the MVP’s fault.
The Packers were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers 37-20 in 2020. Raheem Mostert, San Francisco’s backup running back, carried for 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers’ defense. Cornerback Kevin King let up an easy touchdown throw to wide receiver Scotty Miller with only a second remaining in the second half against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. Green Bay went on to lose the game 31-26.
The reality is that, outside of their Super Bowl-winning season, the Packers have regularly let Rodgers down on defense for as long as he’s been in Green Bay.
That might be because Rodgers has been so brilliant that Green Bay’s executive management hasn’t been compelled to concentrate on the defensive side of the ball. However, it’s possible that it was just poor luck, since general manager Brian Gutekunst has brought in guys like Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Adrian Amos, and De’Vondre Campbell in recent seasons.
Whatever the case may be, Green Bay’s defense is beginning to live up to the hype.
While their defensive coordinator was back at home and unable to call plays, the Packers’ defense looked surprisingly effective on the road against Arizona. Green Bay’s defense also did its part against the Cardinals, allowing the Packers’ offense to flourish.
The Packers’ defense went out and played the type of football that allowed Rodgers to keep up with the Cardinals despite throwing to players like Juwann Winfree and Josiah Deguara while Adams and Lazard were out due to COVID and players like Bakhtiari and rookie center Josh Myers were out due to injury on the offensive line. Neither player had played anything like the role they did for the Packers on Thursday Night Football, but Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur were able to trust these seldom utilized offensive weapons because Green Bay’s defense kept them in the game against a formidable Arizona attack. With Za’Darius Smith, Alexander, and King out, the Packers were able to do so as well.
Murray and the Cardinals were restricted to 334 total offensive yards by the Packers, who also won the turnover fight 3-0. Green Bay limited the Cardinals to 4-of-10 third-down conversions, and the Packers’ defense helped the club win the time of possession fight, 37.35 to 22.25.
Green Bay’s defense put up a Super Bowl-caliber effort. Imagine what the Packers will be able to do if they’re fully well.
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