The Arizona Cardinals, hoping to make a return trip to the Super Bowl this year, hosted the Green Bay Packers in a First Round game of the 2009 playoffs.
The hometown Cardinals won the coin toss and decided to immediately put the ball in the hands of their offense. The strategy paid off when Neil Rackers kicked a 41-yard field goal to put the Cardinals on top, 3-0. After a Green Bay punt, Arizona again drove the ball well and again Rackers provided the scoring with a field goal kick of 35 yards. Arizona controlled the ball well on their next drive, but came up short on a key third down run and ended the First Quarter with a 6-0 lead.
Green Bay managed to put together a solid drive of their own opening the Second Quarter. Jermichael Finley secured a first down with a shoe-string catch that led to Packer touchdown when Ahman Green carried a short Aaron Rodgers pass 10 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was added and Green Bay slipped into the lead, 7-6.
Quarterback Kurt Warner and All-Pro wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald moved the Cardinals ahead on their very next drive, connecting on a beautiful 22-yard touchdown pass. Rackers made the extra point. Arizona led, 13-7.
The Second Quarter wound down with a few key plays. Cardinal Adrion Wilson recovered a Packer fumble that led to a long Arizona possession that ended when Green Bay’s Clay Matthews sacked Warner for an 11-yard loss. Field position shifted and Green Bay moved into position to put more points on the scoreboard before the clock expired, but kicker Mason Crosby missed a 46-yard field goal try. The First Half closed with Arizona in the lead by a score of 13-7.
Third Quarter action began briskly. Green Bay rumbled down the field with a time-consuming drive. Rodgers rolled out to his right from the five yard line, chose not to run for the goal line and instead lofted the football to tight end Spencer Havner in the endzone for the score. With the extra point, the Packers led by one point again, 14-13.
Arizona responded in kind, with a solid possession of their own, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by running back, Beanie Wells. The extra point was added, and the Cardinals led once more, 20-14.
Green Bay’s next drive fizzled, and the Arizona took over. On a second down and 6 play, Warner tried to find wide receiver Anquan Boldin on a slant, but Atari Bigby jumped the route and came away with the interception. The Packer’s cashed in on the turnover, working the ball again inside the Cardinal 5 yard line. Rodgers rolled out once more, but this time carried the ball in himself - untouched all the way - for the touchdown. Crosby booted the extra point. The game was again a tight affair and the Packers were up 21-20 at the end of the Third Quarter.
Fitzgerald showed up large for the Cardinals on the team’s next possession. He snagged three Warner passes and kept a drive going with an acrobatic leap to secure a first down. Fitzgerald could not lead the Cardinals all the way to paydirt, however, and Rackers kicked another field goals, this one of 30 yards, to put Arizona in the lead 23-21.
Flashing his own dependable skills, Green Bay wide receiver Donald Driver carried the next Packer drive and somehow broke free of coverage from 22 yards out and streaked into the endzone with a pretty pass from Rodgers. The extra point was good. The Arizona fans grew restless, and Green Bay was ahead in the game 28-23.
The Cardinals had to punt on their next possession, leaving the Packers with fair field position. Adrion Wilson crashed into Rodgers on a blitz, and Rodgers was barely able to hold onto the ball. Wilson’s play, however, did force a Green Bay punt.
Warner orchestrated the next Arizona drive masterfully. The Cardinals pressed into Packer territory and would have stalled out completely at the 34 yard line if not for an “illegal hands to the face” penalty on the Green Bay defense. Given a reprieve, with the clock ticking down quickly, Warner again took charge. Under pressure each of the next two plays, Warner was only just able to get the ball away out of bounds each down. A third down pass brought the same relentless pressure. Warner stepped up in the pocket and tried to make a throw at the same time defensive tackle Ryan Picket swatted at Warner’s right arm. The football came out of Warner’s hand and found its way to the ground, Packer defensive end, Johnny Jolly, fell on the ball.
The Cardinals were long out of time outs. The Packers’ win was preserved.
Final Socre: Green Bay 28 Arizona: 23
2009 NFL Playoff Replay
Played using Downey Games' Momentum Football.
What This Is
A play through of the 2009 NFL playoffs. Write-ups are all original content.