Cardinals stun fading Packers at Lambeau
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Arizona Cardinals were joking and yelling in the visiting locker room at Lambeau Field as if they didn’t believe what had just happened.
“We did that! We did that,” some emotional players yelled.
Zane Gonzalez kicked a 44-yard field goal with 1:41 left, Green Bay’s Mason Crosby missed a 49-yard attempt as time expired and the Cardinals braved wintry conditions to hold on for a 20-17 win over the Packers on Sunday.
“It’s hard to win in this league and it’s been a long time since we won a football game,” coach Steve Wilks said.
It was October 28, to be exact, when the Cardinals (3-9) beat San Francisco at home. Until Sunday, their only other victory this season came on the road against the 49ers.
Consider the Packers stunned.
Crosby pushed his kick wide right, with the flags atop Lambeau blowing in toward the field at the time of the play. Green Bay’s playoff hopes took another significant blow.
“It was clearly a very disappointing loss, it was a game we needed to win,” coach Mike McCarthy said.
Gonzalez just joined the team this week after Phil Dawson was placed on injured reserve. The Cardinals had a patchwork offensive line, which didn’t bode well for what had been the league’s worst offense coming into the day.
“All the things that were said on the outside, these guys circled the wagons and came together,” Wilks said.
The season is falling apart in Green Bay (4-7-1), which has lost three straight and five of six.
Aaron Rodgers was 31 of 50 for 233 yards and a touchdown. A couple throws looked off, especially in the first half, and receivers had a few drops.
The offense regained some swagger after Rodgers orchestrated a 95-yard drive that led to Aaron Jones‘ 8-yard touchdown run with 5:26 left, tying it at 17. Davante Adams tip-toed the sideline for a 19-yard catch to extend that drive.
But too many missed opportunities and drops caught up with the Packers in the end. They struggled on third down, going 3 for 14 in the continuation of a season-long theme.
“We’re just not executing well, it’s the same things over and over,” Rodgers said.
Rookie Chase Edmonds ran for two touchdowns for Arizona. Rosen was 11 of 26 for 149 yards, making just enough plays in front of a makeshift offensive line.
“Other than (center Mason Cole), I don’t think a single one of those guys start the season,” Rosen said. “They’re doing a hell of a job.”
Fitzgerald’s 32-yard reception gave him 1,281 for his career, matching Hall of Famer Jerry Rice for most receptions in NFL history with one team.
“I’m not big on the records,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a difficult place to get a win and we needed it badly. It’s been a rough year. Mostly, I’m just happy we were able to come out victorious.”
Rosen’s 32-yard completion to Fitzgerald sapped momentum from the Packers after Arizona was pushed back to its own 12. Dean Lowry sacked Rosen on first down, and Rosen threw an incompletion on second-and-18 following a botched snap. Wilks said he likes how Rosen shook off earlier struggles.
Cardinals LG Mike Iupati was carted off the field in the third quarter with a knee injury. Arizona was already starting rookies at center and right tackle.
Cardinals host the Detroit Lions on Dec. 9.