Thursday night was a statement win. The short-handed Green Bay Packers were given very little hope against an undefeated Arizona Cardinals team and still came away with an incredible upset.
Both teams were operating on a short week, but the Packers had to battle unforeseen COVID issues to make the task of beating a tough team even more difficult. They were without their defensive coordinator and star wide receiver. However, this Green Bay team battled until the very end to come away with a 3-point win to improve to 7-1.
With the odds stacked against them, this Packers team showed a lot of character. They never looked like the underdog, as they never trailed after tying the game at 7-7 in the second quarter. In fact, it didn’t appear they would lose until the last few seconds.
Good teams find a way to win, and this Green Bay team is very good even when they’re not at full health. The mini-bye should help them get back some key players, but in the meantime, they should try to enjoy this one. Thanks to the Packers, there are no unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL.
Here is a look at some of the standouts who helped dethrone a tough Arizona team.
RBs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon
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Both running backs did their part, so let’s combine them for the first standout. Green Bay rushed for over 150 yards as Dillon led the way with 78 yards on the ground. Dillon needed a bounce-back game following a rough outing against the Washington Football Team. He did just that by running through the Cardinals defenders for basically the entire game. Jones also played well in key moments and added a touchdown to go along with his 110 yards of offense.
WR Randall Cobb
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18).
Someone needed to step up in the absence of Davante Adams, and it wasn’t much of a shock to see the veteran deliver. Even at 31 years of age, Cobb can still be a reliable target, and his connection with Rodgers is unwavering. Cobb hauled in three passes for 15 yards, but two were for touchdown passes in the red zone. Somehow, he and Rodgers continue to have clutch moments after all these years.
TE Josiah Deguara
(AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Speaking of stepping up, it was Deguara who filled the shoes of an injured Robert Tonyan. Tonyan made a nice 33-yard grab over the middle but appeared to injure his knee at the end of the play. Tonyan did not return, and Deguara later caught two passes totaling 20 yards during key moments. Tonyan’s injury did not look good, and if he does end up missing time, Deguara’s role will continue to expand.
LB De’Vondre Campbell
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
The only thing missing from Campbell’s 2021 stat sheet was a sack. He got it tonight, and it came against a mobile quarterback in Kyle Murray. Murray tried to evade Campbell as he stepped up in the linebacker, but there was no getting away from the linebacker’s strong grip. This defense has waited years to have an athletic linebacker with a versatile skillset, and Campbell fits the mold perfectly.
Defensive play caller Jerry Gray
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On a short week of preparation, you have to tip your cap to Gray for filling in for Joe Barry. The defense came prepared to face the No. 4 scoring offense, as they held the Cardinals to just 334 yards of total offense and 21 points. It was the second-worst output of Arizona’s season and their second-lowest point total. The Cardinals did not run the ball particularly well, and Murray finished with a passer rating of 67.0. Gray’s time as a defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans proved to be a valuable asset as he called a great game to help stifle a talented offense.
DL Dean Lowry
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Is it too early to say Lowry is having a career year? Besides the one penalty, Lowry had another productive day and is stringing together an impressive stretch. He has at least half a sack in four consecutive games and is now up to 3.0 on the season. Lowry bull-rushed his man into Murray’s lap more than once Thursday night, with one forcing the quarterback to fall to the ground. Lowry was credited with a sack on the play to reward him for his brute strength. Hopefully, he can continue to give Green Bay’s pass rush a noticeable lift.
S Henry Black
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This was a bit of a gimme as Black was responsible for one of the Packers’ three turnovers. Black made his first career interception on a tipped ball intended for Rondale Moore. Murray had his man open, but the ball sailed a little high and bounced off the rookie’s fingertips. Black was in the perfect position to make the grab. Green Bay’s offense took over at the Arizona 14-yard line and converted a fourth down before going up by double digits. Being able to turn turnovers into points will always be a deciding factor.
CB Rasul Douglas
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Of all people, it was Douglas who delivered the dagger against his former team. Douglas was a member of the Cardinals’ practice squad less than a month ago. The Packers signed Douglas on October 6th, and he is already proving what a great signing it was. In just a short time, he has played a significant role in a banged-up secondary. Douglas was tasked with covering AJ Green for most of the night and did a solid job for the most part. He had a nice pass breakup against Green earlier in the game and led the defense with nine tackles. However, the play of the game came with just 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s offense was orchestrating a 99-yard drive and got the ball down to the five. On second and goal, Murray looked tried to fit one into Green in the end zone, but the unsuspecting receiver wasn’t ready. Douglas managed to get a hand on the ball and corralled the pass for a poetic ending to the Cardinals’ 7-game winning streak.