Short-handed Packers pull together toppl

  • GLENDALE, Ariz. -- wasn't interested in faking it. In a league where coaches and players hide their excitement behind a worn veil of detachment -- the Packers' star quarterback openly acknowledged how he is taking in each victory, the most recent being Thursday's defeat of the Cardinals in a showdown between NFC powers."I enjoy the hell out of them, I really do," he said in a cramped media gathering at State Farm Stadium. "I adjusted my perspective last year and did some things off the field that put me in a really good head space, and I've just really been enjoying life and football at a whole new level. I just have a greater appreciation for moments like this, a greater connectedne s to my teammates. I told them in the locker room after the game to just savor these moments because these are the type of things you think about and talk about 20 years from now when you're done playing -- the special locker room celebrations, the elation on the sideline after a big play that seals the game. There is nothing like this game."Onlookers might be hard-pre sed to find an ending more bizarre than Thursday's. Trailing by three with 15 seconds left to play, the Cardinals had the ball at the Green Bay 5-yard line. A field goal to force overtime was a virtual but Arizona decided to take a shot at the touchdown -- which is where things went haywire.According to one source familiar with the sequence, coach Kliff Kingsbury called for a pa s play to the left, but quarterback saw a more favorable matchup to the right, where veteran was one-on-one with journeyman cornerback . Murray then signaled for a back-shoulder fade to Green, but, the source said, Green did not see the change and failed to turn around while the ball was in the air, believing the pa s was going to the other side of the formation.Douglas deflected the end-zone pa s with one hand, before stepping out of bounds for his first interception since Dec. 30, 2018."I honestly don't know -- ," Murray said when asked what happened. "I couldn't tell you, but we've just got to be better."Added Kingsbury: "Miscommunication, obviously. I mean, we feel like it's a safe throw if he knew the route to run. 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."The lo s ended the Cardinals' reign as the league's last unbeaten team and left them tied with the Packers (7-1), Buccaneers (6-1), Rams (6-1) and Cowboys (5-1) for fewest lo ses in the league. They knew going in it was a statement game for them in the sense that some were questioning their viability as an NFC power. Those doubters are likely to remain, although Arizona repeatedly made a game of it on a night when so many things were going wrong.They committed three turnovers which resulted in 10 points. They were held to four plays or fewer on four of their first five offensive po se sions. Star wideout was in and out of the lineup (mostly out) , and a couple of other regulars went down to injury in the game.Through much of the first two-plus quarters, the Cardinals could not find a rhythm offensively because the Packers, aware that Murray was a significant threat with his legs as much as his arm, played a lot of umbrella coverages in the secondary and had their ends rush conservatively upfield in pa sing situations. When Murray did attempt to run up the middle, the ends and linebackers typically closed quickly, limiting his ability to make yards.But Murray found his way in the third quarter, after the Packers went up 17-7. He drove the unit 81 yards in 12 plays, with . And after Rodgers answered with a 91-yard drive that culminated with , Murray responded with a 75-yard drive that ended with , this one from 9 yards out to make it 24-21.

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