by: John Linn
The Packers (11-5) dominated the Cardinals (10-6) 33-7 in a game that in actuality meant nothing to either team after the Minnesota victory earlier in the day. However, that did not make it any less exciting to watch in my opinion. Aaron Rodgers led a commanding offense against Arizona’s starters and the game continued well as starters rotated in and out.
Game Review: Aaron Rodgers finished merely 25 yards shy of Lynn Dickey’s all time season passing yardage record, and ended up playing through the first three quarters before letting Matt Flynn finish the game. Donald Driver went over the 1,000 yard mark on the season, which made the Packers the only team to have back to back years with a 4,000 yard passer, a 1,200 yard rusher (Ryan Grant), and two 1,000 yard receivers (Driver and Greg Jennings). Rodgers picked apart the secondary all game. The interesting thing is that it is now assured that the Packers and Cardinals will play again next week in the first round of the playoffs and in the beginning of the game it was starters against starters for both sides and teams and the Packers looked utterly dominant, something that most people (myself included) did not expect to happen. Ryan Grant looked strong to start the game and Brandon Jackson and Ahman Green finished the game well. The initial drive lasted nearly seven minutes.
The defense took advantage of the beleaguered Arizona offensive line, harassing first Kurt Warner, then Matt Leinart, and finally Brian St. Pierre. The only scoring came against from St. Pierre leading a final drive just to end the shutout, against a defense that was a hodge-podge mix of starters and backups. Clay Matthews had his way with the line and was all over causing problems. Brad Jones was disruptive from the other side as well. Nick Barnett laid numerous powerful hits on people all through out the game. Charles Woodson had an outstanding first half including another INT return for TD and a good performance against an amazing receiving core. However Woodson went down with an injury at the end of the first half, however it is possible he would have been pulled anyway. The run defense held strong against a lately surging run offense.
What I Saw:
-The number one offense of the Packers dominated the number one defense of the Cardinals and the number one defense of the Packers dominated the number offense of the Cardinals.
-Donald Driver went over the 1,000 mark again, marking another year of high-octane offense.
-The Packers did not take this game lightly and played their game the whole game.
-Both teams left their starters in for at least most of the first half, which proved costly as the Cardinals lost Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Anquan Boldin and the Packers lost Charles Woodson, however none of the injuries looked threatening.
-Rodgers almost set the single season passing record, missing it by only 25 yards.
-Woodson’s INT gave him 9 including three for TDs, his case for MVP is very strong.
-Matthews and Jones were dominating on the outside.
-McCarthy left his starters in a surprisingly long time, especially Rodgers who played well into the second half.
-The run defense set a new record for least yards allowed in a season for the Packers
-Crosby looked strong again and seems to have set himself back onto the right path with these last two games.
-The coaches did not give away any specific plays or anything new which will help for the next game.
Ratings (out of 5):
QB: 5. Rodgers was on top of his game even against the first team defense, which made their first team defense look like their backups.
Receivers: 5. Jennings, Driver, Finley, they all had great games. Nelson caught some good ones from Flynn and Rodgers. An overall dominating performance.
Running Backs: 4. Nothing special from the running game, they played well but there were no shocks or huge runs, just a solid hardworking game from all the backs.
O-Line: 4.5. Rodgers had good time all game, but there were no big holes for the running backs.
D-Line: 5. The D-Line was unstoppable against the run and helped take up blockers for the rushers.
Linebackers: 5. Matthews was all over the backfield as was Brad Jones. Nick Barnett was up making stops, as was AJ Hawk. Even the backups did well.
Secondary: 5. The Cardinals have one of the best receiving cores in the entire NFL and the Packers secondary held them. Unfortunately Woodson went down an injury, but it did not look bad.
Special Teams: 4. The return game was average but the coverage game was very good.
Coaching: 4. The coaching staff did not reveal anything specific, which will help when the teams play again next week, however I felt they left the starters in far to long.
Team as a whole: 5. Overall one of the best games the team has played this year, except for the game last week against the Seahawks.
MVP: Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was outstanding, hands down amazing all game.
Final Thoughts: The teams look ready for a good game next week when they meet again. Rodgers was devastating against their defensive starters. Our defense was devastating against them. Nothing specific was revealed which will help if there are any tricks up Capers and McCarthy’s sleeves. However, lets hope Charles Woodson isn’t
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