After weeks and weeks of disappointing Thursday Night Football games, everybody got a good one. The Green Bay Packers escaped with a victory against the Arizona Cardinals on a last-second interception with Kyler Murray’s team threatening to score and win the game.
Ultimately, even with the COVID-19 issues in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers showed once again why he’s one of the best to ever do it by leading them to a victory and spoiling the Cardinals’ undefeated season. But make no mistake: both teams are excellent and could be in line for a playoff rematch down the road.
At least, that is the hope for everybody.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals watch their undefeated start end
Through seven weeks, the Cardinals looked like the best team in the NFL. Murray’s MVP-level play, the emergence of the Arizona defense, the talented receiving corps of DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and the revitalization of AJ Green have done wonders. Oh, and let’s not forget the touchdown-runner James Conner, who added two more to give him eight on the season — two behind Derrick Henry for the NFL lead.
Even with the loss to the Packers, this team should have no problems making the playoffs. The NFC has the Cardinals, Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Los Angeles Rams all with only one loss, so there is quite a cluster at the top of the conference.
Murray will return to his MVP form, and the short weeks always provide weird outings for teams. However, the loss of J.J. Watt will be tough for this defense to overcome after it was announced he was undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
This team isn’t going away, and Rodgers’ postgame message to Murray shows that these teams might meet again.
Aaron Rodgers delivered a nice parting message to Murray after the game
As usual, after the game the players and coaches meet midfield and exchange words with one another. The cameras swirled around Rodgers and Murray. One quarterback is the reigning NFL MVP, and the other is in the running for this year’s MVP award.
As always, Rodgers offered some kind words to the young star quarterback and hinted at a possible rematch while praising Murray’s talent (h/t Ryan Gaydos of Fox News).
“I said I respected the way he plays. He’s started off with some incredible years he’s putting together. He’s so talented – arm talent. Obviously, he runs all over the place. I said, ‘We’ll see you in the playoffs.’”Aaron Rodgers’ message to Kyler Murray after the game
That would be a thrilling matchup if these two teams met in the playoffs. It is quite possible, too, that Murray and Rodgers end up facing one another en route to a Super Bowl trip.
These two teams should stay toward the top of the NFC in what will become an absolute mess with the Cowboys, Bucs, and Rams playing terrific football to start the year.
Thursday night’s game was thrilling, and a Murray-Rodgers playoff rematch would be another jam-packed game of entertainment.
Packers defy the odds and once again lean on the arm of Rodgers
Davante Adams missed the game. Allen Lazard missed the game, and defensive coordinator Joe Barry missed the game. Just being without Adams — the Packers’ top pass-catcher — is a big enough blow. But now add that Rodgers’ top option was veteran Randall Cobb and recent call-up Juwann Winfree.
It didn’t matter. Rodgers led the charge (to no surprise) and delivered another huge performance, throwing for just 184 yards but with two scores — both to Cobb.
The defense turned it up on Thursday and frustrated Murray all game long, disrupting his rhythm and sealing the deal with an interception in the endzone.
It was a team effort, and as long as #12 is out there, Green Bay will remain competitive and push for a return trip to the NFC title game with a flight to LA on their minds.
Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference