NFL: Green Bay Hands Arizona First Loss In Thursday Night Thriller

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Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray needed 99 yards for the win. He got 94. 

Rasul Douglas intercepted Murray in the end zone, and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers moved to 7-1 while handing Arizona their first loss of the season in a 24-21 Thursday Night classic. 

With just over four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the Packers looked like they had taken a two possession lead, essentially putting the game on ice. But the referees felt that Green Bay running back Aaron Jones was down before crossing the goal line, reversing the call of touchdown on the field. 

Fox announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman felt that there wasn’t enough on the replay to reverse the call — rules expert Mike Pereira felt the same — yet the Green Bay offense was forced to head back on the field. Jones was stuffed on second and goal, Rodgers got to within inches of the end zone on third down, and Devon Kennard knocked down Rodgers pass on fourth and goal. 

Murray was then put in the position that we’ve seen Rodgers in countless times in his career, and he almost delivered the drive of his career.

After taking over at their own one-yard line with just over three minutes in the game, Murray completed three passes of over 20 yards, putting Arizona into position to either kick the game-tying field goal or send the Packers home with a shocking loss. 

With 15 seconds left and a second and goal from the five-yard line, Murray tried to hit A.J. Green in the endzone, but miscommunication between the seven-time Pro Bowler and Murray led to a game-winning interception by Douglas. 

“Miscommunication, obviously. I mean, we feel like it’s a safe throw if he knew the route to run,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “No question. … It was the right place to go with the ball. Just didn’t communicate on some level and then the guy made a good play.”

Green never turned around to locate the ball, leading Douglas — who was signed by Green Bay from Arizona’s practice squad just weeks ago — to have his Packers moment. 

“You’re in a crazy mental state being in the league five years, never been on a practice squad before, and then one day you’re just on a practice squad,” Douglas said. “You feel like you’re working for nothing, kinda. And then you get a call and you’re somewhere else, and you’re just playing. So I’m just thankful.

“That was probably the first time I’ve won a game like that. So it was like a shocking feeling, like, ‘Oh snap, we just won off that play.’ I was like kinda surprised.”

It was a disappointing end to the night for Murray, who threw for 274 yards and no touchdowns, ending Arizona’s undefeated season. 

“As far as the undefeated season, yeah, I think it’s a thing that you think about, but you’re going to face adversity,” said Murray. “This is the NFL. We knew it would come at some point. We fought the whole game. We just came up short. If we make the last play, we’re not talking about this. It is what it is.”

The conversation in the run-up to the matchup between two top-tier NFC teams focused on what the Packers would be without. 

Two of Green Bay’s top wide receivers were forced to sit out, highlighted by star receiver Davante Adams missing the game after testing positive for COVID-19. 

But when you have a head coach in Matt LaFleur and a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers under center, you don’t always have to be at full strength.  

Green Bay dominated the time of possession and outrushed Arizona 151 to 74 on the ground, and while Rodgers didn’t put up massive numbers — 22-37, 184 yards, and two touchdowns — he made enough plays to move Green Bay to 7-1 on the year. 

“Every year is so different,” said Rodgers. “You never know how the team is going to come together and the chemistry and the relationships and guys stepping up and dealing with injuries and all the adversity. We have a good group of guys. It’s a different feeling to the team even from the last couple of years. I’m not sure how it’s going to finish up, but I like the energy that we have in the locker room.”

Green Bay heads to Kansas City next Sunday while Arizona goes to San Francisco to take on the 49ers.

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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