Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers saw his insane late-game heroics wasted when the Packers’ defense, very competent throughout the course of the game in their NFL Divisional matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, inexplicably disappeared on the Cardinals’ first possession in overtime.
Green Bay appeared headed for certain defeat in the fourth quarter of regular time when they got the ball back with under two minutes left in the game, trailing Arizona by seven points. Things looked exceeding grim for the Packers on their final possession, where they faced a fourth-and-20 from their own 4-yard line with 55 seconds left in the game.
The Cardinals pressured Rodgers into leaving the pocket and heaving the ball 60 yards to his receiver, all the way down to the Cardinals’ 36-yard line. A penalty against the Packers moved the ball back five yards, leaving them on the Arizona 41 with five seconds left in the game.
Again Rodgers was pressured by the Arizona pass rush before he heaved a desperation Hail Mary pass into the end zone that came down in the hands of Packer receiver Jeff Janis, who was only on the field because of the almost total depletion of the Packers’ usual receiver corps.
It would have appeared to give the Packers a huge emotional boost, but it was squandered on the first play of overtime when Arizona journeyman quarterback Carson Palmer, nearly trapped for a sack, found Larry Fitzgerald standing alone on the opposite side of the field for a short completion, which Fitzgerald then turned into a 75-yard gain when he ran through the Green Bay defense to take the ball all the way to the Green Bay five-yard line. Two plays later, Fitzgerald walked into the end zone with the winning score.