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Week 13 Game Recap: Arizona Cardinals 20, Green Bay Packers 17


What you need to know

Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals pulled out the road win against the Packers, but t was a result of quality defense and key plays more than a sustained offensive effort. Josh Rosen made a handful of clutch throws but was erratic more than efficient. Chase Edmonds stole the running back show with 66 yards and two touchdowns on seven touches as David Johnson struggled through his 21 touches. With only 11 completions, it was a late-game catch by Larry Fitzgerald as the highlight moment standing out for the Arizona passing game. On the negative side, Christian Kirk landed on injured reserve after the game with a broken foot. Trent Sherfield has flashed on limited snaps as a potential uptick candidate in Kirk’s absence to close the season. Arizona all but eliminated the Packers from the playoffs and triggered the firing of Green Bay’s head coach Mike McCarthy.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 20-17, in what turned out to be Mike McCarthy’s last game as the head coach of the Packers. Aaron Rodgers was 31 for 50 for 233 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing three times for 20 yards. Aaron Jones carried the ball 11 times for 36 yards and a touchdown, and caught four balls for 16 yards. Davante Adams once again led the Packers in receiving, catching eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Marquez Valdes-Scalding caught two passes for 19 yards, while also rushing the ball two times for 29 yards. Randall Cobb made his return to the lineup, but only caught three passes for 25 yards. Tight end Jimmy Graham was much more involved in the game plan than he had been in recent weeks, catching eight passes for 50 yards.

Arizona Cardinals

QB Josh Rosen, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 26 - 149 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 32 - 0
Rosen was up-and-down against the Packers in cold, windy, and rainy conditions on the road. Rosen’s best handful of throws were of high quality, however, including a game-changing pass across his body to Larry Fitzgerald deep to convert third-and-23 in the closing minutes. Arizona finished the drive with the ultimate game-winning field goal, fueled by Rosen’s rollout throw. Rosen’s mistakes were not always exploited by the Packers defense as a late fourth quarter should-have-been interception was dropped by Green Bay. Rosen had a rare scrambling moment of impact this week, avoiding pocket pressure and escaping for more than 30 yards. The mistakes in scoring range have been consistent throughout the season and this week was no exception. Rosen took a critical third-down sack on the fringe of field goal range early in the game to force a punt. The Lions heading to Arizona in Week 14 presents another potential win next week.

RB David Johnson, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 69 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets)
Johnson had arguably his weakest game since Week 2 against the Packers. Despite the road win and 21 touches, Johnson struggled mightily outside of an opening carry for more than 10 yards, getting skinny through the line of scrimmage, and two quality runs late in the game through contact. Johnson was stuffed on his lone reception, a screen pass, as Johnson quizzically had his lowest receiving yardage total of the season. Johnson had no touchdown opportunities this week. Primary backup Chase Edmonds stole the show with a pair of touchdowns and decisive running especially in the red zone. While Johnson was the clear preferred option in terms of snaps and touches, Edmonds’ involvement in scoring yards and his effectiveness is noteworthy.

RB Chase Edmonds, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 53 - 2, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets)
Edmonds came out of nowhere with a highlight performance of his young career. In cold, windy, and rainy conditions in Green Bay, Edmonds set a career high in total yards (66) and was used frequently in the red zone. Edmonds pushed the pile (with the assistance of the Arizona offensive line) down to the one-yard-line on a red zone carry, following it up with the goal line touchdown. Edmonds exploited a huge hole for more than 30 yards down to the goal line again on a later drive. Edmonds’ contact balance and low center of gravity were on display, plowing through a defender for another red zone score. Edmonds also had a reception called back by penalty. Edmonds did not see a significant uptick in snaps, but enjoyed a career day in efficiency.

WR Christian Kirk, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (8 targets)
Kirk led the Cardinals in targets and receiving yards despite cold, windy, and rainy conditions in Green Bay. Kirk added a well-blocked end-around rushing attempt to his performance. Kirk’s best chance for a big play, getting wide open deep, was underthrown by Josh Rosen to thwart the opportunity. Rosen also overthrew Kirk on a middle screen and underthrew Kirk on a third down attempt. Kirk has been a fixture in Arizona’s weekly plans with multiple catches in each game since Week 1 and at least four targets over the span. Kirk landed on injured reserve after Week 13 with a broken foot. An already weak receiver group takes a huge hit for the final month of the season. Trent Sherfield as flashed on limited snaps as a potential uptick candidate.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 48 - 0 (6 targets)
Fitzgerald had a quiet game against the Packers until the closing minutes. Fitzgerald’s lone significant opportunity through three-and-a-half quarters was a seam target woefully overthrown by Josh Rosen. However, the pair connected for the biggest play of the game by Arizona’s offense. In a tie game and faced with third-and-23 from deep in their own territory Rosen rolled right and found Fitzgerald on a deep completion. Fitzgerald corralled the pass near the ground in a highlight moment and Arizona rushed to the line of scrimmage to avoid a Green Bay challenge. Arizona went on to kick the game-winning field goal for the surprising road win.

TE Ricky Seals-Jones, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (3 targets)
Seals-Jones has shifted from relevant to forgettable in recent weeks, logging his third straight game with 10 yards or less through the air and a single reception in each game. Seals-Jones’ lone catch was a contested play on third down, but his snaps have waned since the return of Jermaine Gresham and Seals-Jones has gone 19 receptions, spanning nine games, without a touchdown this season.


Green Bay Packers

QB Aaron Rodgers, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 50 - 233 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 20 - 0
Aaron Rodgers completed 31 of 50 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing three times for 20 yards. This performance was really a microcosm of Rodgers entire season, as he completed only 62% of his passes, and averaged a meager 4.6 yards per attempt. The Cardinals defense has been competitive at times this year, but should not have posed the problems they did for a quarterback of Rodgers stature. Rodgers and the Packers offense could not get anything going early, punting on their first three drives and seven of their first nine possessions. While Rodgers was sacked only once, it would be incorrect to say that the Cardinals pass rush didn’t have a big influence on this game. They were constantly in the backfield and forcing Rodgers to step up in the pocket, or get outside the pocket where had to throw to receivers who were covered. It is not a stretch to say a less accurate (and less savvy) quarterback would have thrown several interceptions, but Rodgers was able to throw the ball away on many occasions, while giving his receivers a small, but fighting chance to make tough catches. The problem was his receivers were not making many plays for him, although to be fair, even if you put DeAndre Hopkins, Antonio Brown or Julio Jones on the field, they were not coming down with the type of passes that Rodgers was throwing. Rodgers only touchdown pass on the day came with the Packers at the Cardinals 13 yard line, facing a 4th and four. It was a curious decision given the score was tied 0-0, and the Packers had barely moved the ball up until that point, but it turned out to be a good one for Green Bay. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun formation and immediately looked to his left at Valdes-Scalding who was running a fade route. The Cardinals had him covered well and safety help to boot, so Rodgers ran through his progressions before ultimately directing Adams across from the right side of the field to the left. Rodgers threw a very accurate pass to Adams crossing to the back left side of the end zone, and Adams was able to make a nice catch and get both of his feet just barely down short of the end line.

RB Aaron Jones, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 36 - 1, Rec: 4 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)
Aaron Jones rushed 11 times for 36 yards and a touchdown, while also catching four passes on four targets for 16 yards. In Mike McCarthy’s last act of defiance against Jones, he managed to split carries between Jones and Jamaal Williams, 17 for Jones to 11 for Williams. Anyone who has watched the Packers this year knows that Jones has been the real engine of this offense, and talent wise, Williams just not does compare to Jones. In a 20-17 game where Rodgers threw the ball 50 times, it is pretty easy to see where the Packers went wrong with their game plan. Jones only averaged 3.3 yards per carry on 11 rushes, but given the game-flow, he should have had 20+ carries. Jones averaged 4.5 yards per carry on first downs, but only saw four opportunities. For some strange reason, with the Packers struggling to move the football, McCarthy started giving first down carries to Williams, who predictably did absolutely nothing, averaging only 1.9 yards per carry on the day. As much as Jones had a disappointing outing, it is hard to blame him because McCarthy did a poor job of giving him advantageous opportunities on early downs. Jones did salvage his day with a fourth quarter touchdown that came on a first and goal from the Cardinals eight yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and handed off to Jones who got a nice seal and ran inside the left tackle. With a head of steam, Jones encountered two Arizona defenders at the four yard line and literally ran right over one of them, flattening him on his back while keeping his legs moving hard and pushing the second defender back towards the end zone. Another Arizona defender came over to help but Jones just kept pushing them back until he crossed the end zone. It was a great display of power running for Jones, who has proven this year that he has much more than speed and quickness in his arsenal.

RB Jamaal Williams, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 13 - 0, Rec: 4 - 14 - 0 (4 targets)
Jamaal Williams rushed seven times for 13 yards, while also catching four passes for 14 yards on four targets. Williams had combined for five touches in his last three games, so the 11 total touches was a surprise, especially in a game where the Packers had trouble moving the football. With Jones having a breakout season, it has become apparent that Williams is not an NFL caliber starting running back, but it has gotten to the point where he will be lucky to be anything more than a #3/4 string running back who makes his living on special teams. Williams averaged 1.9 yards per carry in this game, and four of his seven carries went for a total of two yards.

WR Davante Adams, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 93 - 1 (13 targets)
Davante Adams caught eight passes for 93 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets in the Packers loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Adams was the lone bright spot on an otherwise struggling Packers offense, which is really what could be said of his performance all season. Even with Rodgers having trouble completing passes, Adams was able to bail him out several times, making tough catches along the sidelines that were desperate attempts Rodgers made to avoid being sacked. One of those catches came with the Packers facing a 2nd and seven at the Cardinals 27 yard line, down 17-10. Rodgers took the snap out of shotgun and the Cardinals rushed only four men. The Packers offensive line did a fantastic job on this play, as Rodgers danced around the pocket for 10 seconds, yes, 10 seconds! Rodgers was able to keep the play alive by moving side to side and eventually directing Adams to the left sideline. Rodgers threw a dart, and Adams was able to make a toe-tapping catch as he was moving back towards Rodgers and towards the left sideline, and he made the catch wit the ball out of bounds but his feet inside the sideline. It was the type of catch that few receivers in the NFL can make, and it kept the Packers hopes alive as Jones scored the tying touchdown a few moments later. Adams touchdown catch came with the Packers driving at the Cardinals 13 yard line, facing a 4th and four. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun formation and immediately looked to his left at Valdes-Scalding who was running a fade route. The Cardinals had him covered well and safety help to boot, so Rodgers ran through his progressions before ultimately directing Adams across from the right side of the field to the left. Adams had initially run what looked to be a go-route from the inside left slot position, but managed to curl his route along the back line towards the left side of the end zone. Rodgers threw a perfect pass and Adams was able to make a nice snag and get both of his feet down in the back of the end zone.

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 29 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (7 targets)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught two passes on seven targets for 19 yards, but managed to gain 29 yards on two carries, which nearly made him the leading rusher for the Packers on the day. Valdes-Scantling saw the third most targets on the day for the Packers, but was unable to make much of a difference as a receiver. His big play of the day came on a play-action reverse with the Packers facing a first and 10 at their own 20 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center, faked the handoff to Jones and then pitched the ball to Valdes-Scantling who was coming across the field from the left outside hash mark. Scantling was able to find a nice crease and cut inside his blockers, accelerating up the field and reaching the second level of the Cardinals secondary. Unfortunately for him, he lost his footing, tripping over his own feet, which was brutal because there were no Cardinals defenders in front of him and had he managed to stay upright, this most likely would have gone for an 80 yard touchdown run.

WR Randall Cobb, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (5 targets)
Randall Cobb caught three passes on five targets for 25 yards in the Packers loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. It was Cobb’s first game back since getting injured in week nine, and he has now found himself in a timeshare with Valdes-Scantling (the preferred #2 option) and Equanimeous St.Brown. Cobb’s day could have been a bit better, but he had a 24 yard catch negated by a holding penalty in the 2nd half. Outside of Davante Adams, no receiver in the Green Bay offense can be trusted on a week to week basis, and it really comes down to whomever is going to break that one big play. The Packers offense is no longer the juggernaut that we have seen in years past, so Cobb can be left on the waiver-wire as we head into the fantasy playoffs.

TE Jimmy Graham, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 50 - 0 (11 targets)
Jimmy Graham caught eight passes for 50 yards on 11 targets in the Packers 20-17 loss to the Cardinals. It was the first time since week six that Graham had caught five or more passes, in fact, Graham had only caught nine passes in the Packers last five games. Graham finally looked healthy, so it was good to see him get back on track as he had been battling thumb and knee injuries and the Packers really need another reliable pass catcher in the middle of the field. Graham was Rodgers safety blanket against the Cardinals, which resulted in a lot of short targets as Arizona was consistently getting pressure on Rodgers. With the tight end position being so shallow this season, a healthy Graham with Rodgers throwing him the football, remains a startable asset going into the playoffs. This is especially true in week 14, as the Packers have a juicy matchup at home against an Atlanta secondary that has provided advantageous matchups to opposing offenses all season.