Green Bay at Arizona

Dansby's fumble return for TD helps Cards oust Packers in OT

CBSSports.com wire reports
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Old master Kurt Warner and playoff newcomer Aaron Rodgers staged a passing duel to rival any the NFL has seen. And when the highest-scoring postseason game in league history ended abruptly in overtime, Rodgers flung his helmet to the sideline in disgust.

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He can blame the Arizona defense for his misery.

Karlos Dansby returned Rodgers' fumble 17 yards for a touchdown to give the Cardinals a 51-45 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Rodgers, who started the game with an interception but was marvelous after that, was stripped by Michael Adams. The ball careened off Rodgers' foot and into the hands of Dansby, who ran untouched for the score.

"He made a sack, the ball went in the air, I just made a play on the ball," Dansby said.

The reigning NFC champion Cardinals (11-6) rushed the field to celebrate.

"That's probably one of the best games ever played in the playoffs," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

Warner, who improved his playoff record to 9-3, completed 29 of 33 passes for 379 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. The five TDs matched the 38-year-old's career best.

Rodgers, in his first playoff start, was 28 of 42 for 422 yards and four TDs. All but two of Rodgers' yards came after the first quarter.

"It's clearly one of the toughest losses I've been a part of," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "I'm very proud of our football team and fight. This is a hard game to swallow."

The previous high for combined points in a postseason game was 95 in Philadelphia's 58-37 win over Detroit on Dec. 30, 1995.

"Whew," Warner said at his postgame news conference, "anybody else tired?"

The NFC West champion Cardinals play at New Orleans on Saturday.

It was the most points scored and allowed by the Packers (11-6) in their storied 41-game playoff history.

Dansby started and ended the game with big plays. He broke up Rodgers' opening pass and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted. The next time the Packers got the ball, Dansby stripped Donald Driver and Arizona's Alan Branch recovered.

With Anquan Boldin sidelined with ankle and knee injuries, Warner threw two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald, two to Early Doucet and one to Steve Breaston, who caught seven passes for 125 yards.

The previous playoff game to end on a defensive touchdown was Jan. 4, 2004, when Al Harris returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown in Green Bay's 33-27 win over Seattle.

Neil Rackers missed a 34-yard field goal at the end of regulation for Arizona.

The teams combined for 1,024 yards. Arizona had 531, including 156 rushing, against a Packers defense ranked No. 2 overall, No. 1 against the run.

Green Bay entered winners of seven of its last eight, including a 33-7 victory against the Cardinals on the same field a week ago.

But the team with the fewest turnovers in the NFL (16) started the game with two of them and ended it with another.

In between, Green Bay rallied from a 21-point second-half deficit to twice tie the game.

After Rackers missed the field goal, the Packers won the toss. Since Arizona hadn't stopped them since the first half, it didn't look good for the home team.

But on third-and-6 at the Green Bay 24, the 5-foot-8 cornerback Adams came through on a blitz and stripped Rodgers. On a bad bounce the Packers will remember for a long time, the ball caromed off Rodgers' foot and right to Dansby.

"We had the play called earlier, but we missed the sack," Dansby said. "With the game on the line, we called it again. ... See you in New Orleans, baby."

Rodgers said he should have just taken the sack.

"I was trying to unload it," he said. "I should have held on to the ball. I was looking at the front side for Driv [Driver]. It looked like he was getting grabbed a bit. Then I was looking for James [Jones] and they were driving in on him as he was running a little in cut, so I kind of pulled the ball back and someone hit my arm."

The Cardinals took the second-half kickoff and drove 80 yards for a touchdown to go up 31-10, Warner throwing 33 yards to Fitzgerald, who has nine TD catches in his five playoff games, at least one in each contest.

But the Cardinals just couldn't stop the Packers.

After Rodgers' 6-yard pass to Greg Jennings cut the lead to 31-17, the Packers caught Arizona off guard with an onside kick, then drove for another score. Rodgers' 10-yard pass to Jordy Nelson trimmed the deficit to seven.

Arizona got another score on Fitzgerald's diving grab of an 11-yard pass, but the Packers scored two more in a hurry, tying it at 38 on John Kuhn's 1-yard run with 10:57 to play.

Each team scored again, Green Bay tying it at 45 when Rodgers threw 11 yards to Spencer Havner with 1:52 to play.

That was plenty of time for Warner to drive the Cardinals downfield, but Rackers -- 16 of 17 for the season and 10 of 10 inside 40 yards -- booted it well left of the upright.

Green Bay called "tails" and won the toss. Three plays later, it was over.

"Man," Warner said, "what a football game."

Warner took a victory lap around the field, leading some to wonder if all that speculation about his impending retirement was true.

"Everybody relax," he said. "That was my way of saying thanks to the fans because we're not coming back here this year."

As for retirement, Warner said that decision would be made later. He has a year left on his contract.

"I don't think you every want to stay too long, but you never want to go out before it's time," he said. "The hard part is trying to figure that out, but right now it's about another playoff game. It's about New Orleans and then we'll go from there."

Notes

  • Rodgers completed passes to 10 receivers, Warner to seven.
  • Arizona's Beanie Wells rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries, 6.5 per attempt, outgaining Green Bay's Ryan Grant, who had 65 on 11 attempts.
  • The Packers' playoff passing record was 332 yards by Lynn Dickey at Dallas on Jan. 16, 1983.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Sun. Jan. 10Final OT
OT
Green Bay
(11-6)
0101421045
Arizona
(11-6)
177147651
PackersCardinals
Pass: A. Rodgers (28-42, 422) K. Warner (29-33, 379)
Rush: R. Grant (11-65) B. Wells (14-91)
Rec: J. Finley (6-159) S. Breaston (7-125)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDTim Hightower, 1 Yd run (Neil Rackers kick is good), 11:04. Drive: 7 plays, 40 yards in 3:38.
TDEarly Doucet, 15 Yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good), 9:16. Drive: 2 plays, 22 yards in 0:48.
FGNeil Rackers 23 Yd, 0:34. Drive: 9 plays, 54 yards in 5:20.
2ND QUARTER
TDAaron Rodgers, 1 Yd run (Mason Crosby kick is good), 6:52. Drive: 6 plays, 52 yards in 4:14.
TDEarly Doucet, 15 Yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good), 2:16. Drive: 8 plays, 79 yards in 4:36.
FGMason Crosby 20 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 8 plays, 73 yards in 2:16.
3RD QUARTER
TDLarry Fitzgerald, 33 Yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good), 11:15. Drive: 6 plays, 80 yards in 3:45.
TDGreg Jennings, 6 Yd pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick is good), 7:20.
TDJordy Nelson, 10 Yd pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick is good), 4:07. Drive: 8 plays, 57 yards in 3:13.
TDLarry Fitzgerald, 11 Yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good), 2:34. Drive: 3 plays, 73 yards in 1:33.
4TH QUARTER
TDJames Jones, 30 Yd pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick is good), 14:08. Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:26.
TDJohn Kuhn, 1 Yd run (Mason Crosby kick is good), 10:57. Drive: 3 plays, 67 yards in 0:56.
TDSteve Breaston, 17 Yd pass from Kurt Warner (Neil Rackers kick is good), 4:55. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards in 6:02.
TDSpencer Havner, 11 Yd pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick is good), 1:52. Drive: 7 plays, 71 yards in 3:03.
OT
TDKarlos Dansby, 17 Yd fumble return, 13:42.
Players of the Game

K. Warner
Att 33
Comp 29
Yds 379
TD 5
Green Bay

A. Rodgers
Att 42
Comp 28
Yds 422
TD 4
 
Green Bay
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
A. Rodgers28/4242241
RushingATTYDSTDLG
R. Grant1165020
A. Rodgers313113
B. Jackson2604
A. Green3504
J. Kuhn1111
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Finley6159044
G. Jennings8130135
J. Jones350130
D. Driver443028
R. Grant21809
S. Havner216111
J. Nelson110110
B. Jackson1-10-1
J. Kuhn1-30-3
Arizona
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Warner29/3337950
RushingATTYDSTDLG
B. Wells1491042
S. Breaston128028
T. Hightower71919
L. Stephens-Howling118018
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
S. Breaston7125126
L. Fitzgerald682233
E. Doucet677216
B. Patrick342022
T. Hightower32109
L. Stephens-Howling319012
J. Urban113013
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
BAL 33 Final
NE 14
PHI 14 Final
DAL 34
NYJ 24 Final
CIN 14