The Cardiac Cardinals Strike Again: Arizona Strips Green Bay in OT Win

K. D. JamesCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Linebacker Karlos Dansby #58 of the Arizona Cardinals walks off the field after defeating the Green Bay Packers 51-45 in the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.   (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Boy, what a game!

If this wasn't as exciting as a college football bowl game, then someone needs to convince me otherwise.

You don't see too, too many high-scoring affairs in the league playoffs these days, not since the heady days of the AFL back in the 1960s and '70s.

But there was definitely one that was broadcast on Sunday night!

At first, I thought that Arizona was going to own Green Bay, the same way the Pack owned Arizona in Week 17 (33-7 in Arizona), with a 31-10 score at one point in the NFC wild-card game.

After Arizona displayed the dominance in the first half that led the way to an appearance in last year's Super Bowl, the second half was a wake-up call, as Green Bay clawed back with a smooth Aaron Rodgers in the pocket and the dangerous receiving corps of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and Jermichael Finley.

From the third quarter to the two-minute mark in the fourth quarter, around the time that Green Bay last had possession before the end of regulation, the legend of Rodgers grew, as he and the rest of the Packers countered every Kurt Warner-Larry Fitzgerald connection.

With the score tied at 45-45, and Warner finding Fitzgerald and fellow receiver Steve Breaston with relative ease, it was only a matter of getting perfect field-goal distance to win the thrilling game at home in Glendale, Arizona.

But showing that the football gods have a wicked sense of humor, Arizona's normally accurate kicker Neil Rackers missed an easy, 34-yard field goal that went wide left and forced the Cards and Pack into overtime.

With Green Bay's defensive captain Charles Woodson choosing the right side of the coin toss (tails), Green Bay was given first possession.

Unexpectedly, on the Green Bay third down, Cardinal Michael Adams sacked and stripped Rodgers on a cornerback blitz, with the football slipping out of Rodgers' throwing hand, then off of his leg—and right into Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby's hands for the game-winning, 17-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Arizona 51, Green Bay 45.

Both quarterbacks were phenomenal, more so Warner (9-3 in playoffs) than Rodgers (first playoff start), although the two combined for a ridiculous  57 of 75 for 801 yards passing and nine touchdowns.

Was it a defensive coordinator's nightmare? Yes. But was it also a fascinating game to watch? Absolutely.

What did you think?