Winners and Losers from Arizona's 31-17 Loss at Green Bay

Andrew Nordmeier@@AndrewNordmeierContributor IIINovember 5, 2012

Winners and Losers from Arizona's 31-17 Loss at Green Bay

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    In the NFL, there are many different ways to get to the 4-5 record the Arizona Cardinals have through nine games. Some teams will alternate wins and losses. Others might have two-game win streaks or drop three in a row.

    Following the 31-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the Cardinals have taken a nauseating ride up and down the roller coaster known as the NFL. They have become the first team in the last 10 years to start the season 4-0 (or better) and then drop their next five games in a row. 

    Whether they were the Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Cardinals or St. Louis Cardinals, the franchise has never won at Lambeau Field in seven trips.

    Even though the team has never won there, start the slideshow to see who the individual winners were in this game. 

Winner: Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers

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    Aaron Rodgers' aerial assault left the Cardinals searching for answers. His numbers were rather pedestrian, with 14-of-30 passes connecting for 218 yards, but it was the four touchdown passes that sent Arizona to its fifth straight defeat. He added 33 rushing yards on eight carries as well. 

    Rodgers has thrown 11 touchdowns without an interception in the last three games and has guided Green Bay to a three-game winning streak entering the bye. 

    Rodgers has gotten the Packers back into the groove on offense despite key injuries to wide receivers and poor play from tight end Jermichael Finley. 

    When Green Bay gets healthy, Rodgers will perform even better. That's a scary thought. 

Winner: Arizona QB John Skelton

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    The Arizona Cardinals got a strong effort out of quarterback John Skelton in the loss. Skelton only hit 23-of-46 passes, but was able to pile up 306 yards, his first effort of more than 300 this season. 

    Skelton did a good job distributing the ball as well. Six different receivers caught at least one pass, but four of them had at least four catches. 

    It's encouraging to see what Skelton can do when he has time to throw and make his reads. Skelton also showed that he doesn't have to rely on Larry Fitzgerald, as the Pro Bowler was the third-leading receiver for Arizona. 

    Andre Roberts led the way with 86 yards on four catches. Rookie Michael Floyd had his best game as a pro with five catches for 80 yards. Fitzgerald added 74 yards and a touchdown, while tight end Rob Housler chipped in 55 yards on five grabs. 

    This is the kind of balance that good teams have in the passing game. Perhaps the Cardinals can use the bye to recalibrate their passing attack and put on a second-half surge like they did last year.

Loser: Green Bay TE Jermichael Finley

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    Jermichael Finley used to be amongst the top tier of tight ends in the NFL. Now he's barely worth a mention based on the way he has played in 2012. 

    Finley caught one pass for six yards in the Packers' win over Arizona. He continues to scuffle along this season and has not scored since Week 1. Finley's numbers are also declining steadily, as he has not been able to get more than three catches nor 35 yards in any of his last five games. 

    It seems like Finley has difficulty playing in even-numbered years. In 2008, 2010 and 2012, he has combined for 54 receptions, 640 yards and three touchdowns-combined. 

    Yes, this was the same player who had 55 catches for 767 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago.

    Worse yet, fellow tight end Tom Crabtree reeled in a 72-yard touchdown catch on his only reception of the game.  

Winner: Arizona's Offensive Line

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    The Cardinals offensive line did something it hasn't done all season. It kept the quarterback primarily upright and let the offense be productive. 

    Skelton was given time to throw, and he succeeded. He only fell victim to the pass rush twice, which was a pleasant change of pace. 

    Although the Cardinals are mired in a five-game skid heading into their bye week, they should take a long look at the game tape and see how the line was able to work together. 

Loser: Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson

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    Green Bay's wide receiving corps was already down a critical part and could ill-afford to lose another one. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened in the first quarter Sunday. 

    Jordy Nelson went to the turf trying to catch a ball and appeared to get his right foot stuck as he was going to the ground. 

    Nelson left the game and didn't return. Green Bay is already without Greg Jennings, who will still be gone for another three weeks as he recovers from sports hernia surgery. 

    The good news is that the Packers will be on their bye next week, so he'll have additional time to heal, but the potential loss of another weapon will have a big impact on the Packers offense. 

Winner: Green Bay WR Randall Cobb

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    With the injuries to Nelson and Jennings, Randall Cobb has picked up the slack. 

    Cobb only caught three passes for 37 yards Sunday, but two of them were touchdowns. 

    He burst on the scene last season as a kick returner, but has really added the pass-catching element to his game when pressed into service. 

    Cobb added 90 yards on kickoff returns and 45 more on punt returns against Arizona, which makes him a real threat anytime he is on the field. 

Winner: Arizona P Dave Zastudil

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    Dave Zastudil has been one of Arizona's best weapons this season in the battle for field position. Sunday's loss to Green Bay may have been his finest performance of 2012. 

    Zastudil had eight punts and averaged just under 38 yards, but pinned Green Bay inside the 20-yard line four times. 

    It's no secret Arizona can win with defense, and field position is a big part of it. Zastudil has done his part to make the field as long as possible for Cardinals opponents. 

Loser: Arizona Defense

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    Arizona is a team that prides itself on defense, and it's the engine that's powered the Cardinals since the second half of last season. 

    That engine may need a trip to the mechanic after allowing a season-high 31 points to Green Bay Sunday. 

    There's no doubt Rodgers is one of the league's best quarterbacks, but Arizona also got gashed on the ground as well. James Starks picked up 61 yards, while Alex Green added 53 in the win. The Packers picked up 176 yards on the ground as a team and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. 

    Arizona has the bye in Week 10, but needs to be stronger in run defense going forward. It will tangle with backs like Michael Turner, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte and another round with Frank Gore this season.