The Cardinals played a terrific, sound, team defense in the first quarter. No selfish plays. Staying in their lanes and sticking to their responsibilities. Overall the best defensive quarter, passing-wise, than they’ve played all year.
This play produced the two early turnovers that resulted in 14 points. First, DRC picked off Rodgers first playoff pass attempt. The next series, a LB Karlos Dansby strip-forced a fumble on a short pass to Donald Driver. Its was awesome to watch for those of us that absolutely love a good, solid, aggressive defense at work.
But then it seemed to me that guys were"trying to make plays" thereafter. They were "trying" to get turnovers, instead of letting them happen with the play. I was getting more and more upset (as anyone on the Cardinals/Packers live chat here on Blog Blitz can attest) as I watched defender after defender try to cut off a pass, only to let it get past them, and into the hands of a Packers receiver with all kinds of real estate before them.
Now, give credit where credit is due, and it’s certainly due here. Aaron Rodgers, as fans of the Pac-10 can tell you, is the real deal. His surprising first round pick when Brett Favre wasn’t even threatening to retire yet is paying off. Big time.
The former Cal Golden Bear is mobile, accurate, and has a strong arm. He picks up hot reads very well, and hit them almost at will in the 2nd half. Part of this was due to the...not sloppy, but suddenly undisciplined play of the Cards' secondary. But a big part too was Aaron Rodgers, TE Jermichael Finley (6 rec/159 yds), WR’s Greg Jennings (7/130/1 TD), James Jones 3/30/1) and Driver (4/43). This is a great offense with quality at every position.
The Cardinals D did manage to harass Rodgers more than anyone else this season. Green Bay’s OL has been downright studly during their 7-1 second half. Yet the Cardinals took him down for five sacks on the day, including two by OLB Bertrand Berry, possibly the most underrated Cards defender this year. LOLB Chike Okeafor had a sack, as well as Calais DE Campbell.
But none were bigger than that of CB Michael Adams. Adams was picked on all day, and was basically having a really crappy game. That is, until he streaked in from the left side and hit Rodgers as he was loading up to throw. The ball came out, was kicked into the air by a falling Rodgers, and into the awaiting mitts of Dansby. He took it 17 yards for the game winner in overtime.