The Arizona Cardinals dropped their first game of the season on Thursday night, losing to the Green Bay Packers thanks to an interception thrown in the final seconds. The result means there are no undefeated teams remaining in the NFL this season.
Cornerback Rasul Douglas was the lucky beneficiary of what looked to be a miscommunication between Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver A.J. Green, his interception with just 12 seconds remaining sealing the 24-21 victory for the Packers.
Running back duo Aaron Jones and A.J Dillion combined for 137 yards on 31 carries and a touchdown to grind the Cardinals down, while QB Aaron Rodgers threw for two more touchdowns.
The previously unbeaten Cardinals looked as out of sort as they have done all season on offense for the first three quarters, but two late TDs brought them within touching distance of the Packers.
However – after leading his team 94 yards in the final minutes from his own 1-yard line – on second-and-goal, Murray threw a pass intended for Green in the endzone, but the receiver didn’t turn around, allowing Douglas to complete the game-sealing interception – Murray’s second of the game.
“We weren’t on the same page,” Murray said. “And it cost us.”
As well as losing their first game of the season, there might be more bad news for the Cardinals, as Murray was seen limping at the end of this game – he said in his post presser he got rolled up.
Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins also suffered an injury on Thursday, aggravating his hamstring that kept him out of practice all week in the first quarter. He returned later in the third.
“We didn’t play very well in the first half, I didn’t call a very good game, couldn’t get into a rhythm, took some negative plays,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said afterwards in a press conference.
“In the second half, guys responded and they’ve done that all year when we’ve struggled, to be able to come back and answer the bell. We just weren’t able to finish this time.”
The result leaves both teams with a 7-1 record this season.
The Cardinals will attempt to return to winning ways at the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
The Packers were severely shorthanded on Thursday night.
Depleted, but not out
They were missing their top three receivers – Davante Adams and Allen Lazard on the Covid-19 list and Marquez Valdes-Scantling out with a hamstring injury. In addition, Pro Bowlers left tackle David Bakhtiari, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander were also missing.
But with reigning MVP Rodgers at the helm and a dynamic backfield, it proved enough.
Rodgers threw his two touchdowns to Randall Cobb, while the running game provided a solid backbone for the team.
It also allowed some role players the opportunity to shine, none more so than Douglas.
Twenty-two days ago, he wasn’t even on the Packers team. And the irony of him making the game-clinching interception was that the Packers signed him off the Cardinals practice squad.
“This is why I love this squad,” Rodgers said after the game. “The guy who made the pick was with them for four weeks. He was on the street, we brought him in, he’s starting for us.
“He’s a great dude, and he’s really meshed well with our team, and to come up with a play like that with 15 seconds left is incredible.”
The Packers face the Kansas City Chiefs next time out on Sunday.