FanDuel - WFBC

January 10, 2010

Cardinals win epic battle with Packers to advance: Arizona cornerback Michael Adams, scorched and penalized all day, waited until the final play to, well, finally make a play. He sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in overtime. The ball bounced off Rodgers' foot and into the hands of linebacker Karlos Dansby, who returned it 16 yards to a score to give the Cardinals a 51-45 victory over the Packers in the first round of the playoffs at University of Phoenix Stadium. It was the highest scoring game in NFL playoff history. The Packers scored touchdowns on all five of their second-half possessions to overcome a 21-point deficit, and tied the game with 1:52 left.

posted by tommytrump to football at 09:28 PM - 33 comments

On the Packers' second offensive play of overtime, the officials missed a direct helmet to helmet shot put on Rodgers as he was throwing.

The last play of the game, Adams had his hand up in Rodgers' face mask as the ball was coming loose. Again no call.

It looked to me like those two non-calls directly influenced the outcome of the game.

I wish the league wouldn't hire SEC-quality refs to officiate playoff games.

posted by beaverboard at 10:12 PM on January 10

I thought it was odd that both of those were missed too - he held on to Rodgers' face mask for what seemed like fifteen seconds.

posted by fabulon7 at 11:00 PM on January 10

Here's a photo of the final play of the game.

No mistaking Adams hand placement. Unless you're getting paid to see it if it happens.

posted by beaverboard at 11:08 PM on January 10

That was a fun game to watch, really the only exciting wild card game of the weekend. Great second-half comeback by the Packers. I rather enjoyed the wild finish.

posted by Hugh Janus at 11:52 PM on January 10

Well, if we're going to complain, let's not forget the first horse-collar tackle penalty against Arizona, which was completely incorrect and led to a Packers TD. Also, incidental face-masks are not a penalty anymore. It's only a penalty if you grab it and pull it, and I haven't seen a replay that gives a good view of that. (Perhaps he did...just saying I haven't seen it.)

Not sure whether the high scores on both sides can be attributed to great offense or atrocious defense. I guess we'll see if the Cardinals have anything left against the Saints.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:54 PM on January 10

atrocious defense

It would be that one. Some great throws by the QBs, but blown coverages and a few slips in the secondary. Was quite entertaining at least!

Re: Incidental facemask...having your hand on the facemask, as he's going down, is not incidental.

posted by jmd82 at 11:58 PM on January 10

From the article:

That was plenty of time for Warner. He deftly moved the Cardinals into field goal range, but Rackers' kick was like a stubborn liberal: It started left and stayed there.

Go Saints.

posted by cjets at 12:19 AM on January 11

As for the facemask picture, what the picture doesn't show is that the defender's hand went through the football (to knock it out of his hand) and then hit him in the facemask. I'm thinking the referee is watching the football more than the hand in his face at that point. Seeing that he was holding the football near his head when it was knocked out of his hand, and the play was to hit the football, it would be a tough call to say it was a facemask or blow to the head. It's possible, but I would say it would be very unlikely.

In any case, if you're a fan of the passing game, this game was a beauty to watch. Combining for 9 TD passes, 96 points and almost 900 yards of offense is great. If you like defense, this was not the game to watch.

posted by jjohn24680 at 12:34 AM on January 11

The defender held Rogers' facemask as he was pushing him away from the fumbled ball, making it impossible for Rogers to have a chance to get it back.

If I was officiating that game, I'd call the facemask after the fumble and nullify the touchdown runback. It was a pretty solid grab.

posted by rcade at 12:55 AM on January 11

If I was officiating that game, I'd call the facemask after the fumble and nullify the touchdown runback. It was a pretty solid grab.

How do you know? You mean, if you saw the penalty, right? Don't you think if the officials could see like we at home see, with 40 million camera angles in slow mo, they would call a completely different game? I'm pretty sure if one of the refs saw what we see in the replay they would have called it. But they didn't; get over it. It's part of every game. Every non-call changes the outcome of the game, not just those two.

The only solution I see is to allow officials' reviews for blatant missed calls.

posted by smithnyiu at 07:30 AM on January 11

It goes without saying that if I didn't see the infraction, I wouldn't call the penalty. I'm just basing my fantasy officiating on what the magic of Tivo revealed.

But they didn't; get over it. It's part of every game.

I take it you were rooting for the Cardinals? The fact that missed calls are a part of every game does not mean we should ignore them. That one was pretty blatant. I don't know what they do to refs when they blow calls, but I imagine the missed facemask comes up in their review of the weekend.

posted by rcade at 07:47 AM on January 11

At the point of the fumble, isn't the ref more likely to be watching the ball to make the correct call about who recovers it? They're not omniscient and omnipresent (and I wasn't rooting for anyone, except maybe for Rackers to miss an OT FG and prolong the madness).

posted by kokaku at 09:24 AM on January 11

I take it you were rooting for the Cardinals?

Yeah, it looks that way in my rant, but it was more of a rhetorical statement as much for myself as for anyone else.

If you look at it realistically, a penalty can be called on every play. So for some penalties to be missed is part of the game, and it took me a while to let that part of the game go. Sometimes they just go against my team. But last night ... they *ahem* went in my favor. Twice. Crazy.

posted by smithnyiu at 09:50 AM on January 11

I know it's been written and said by pundits elsewhere and thus hardly qualifies as an original thought (although it was original to me as I was watching the GB-ARI game), but man did Wild Card weekend need that game after 3 prior games that were pretty boring for a neutral (like myself) to watch.

Here's Peter King's take
on the facemask:

For a 15-yard facemask penalty to be called, there has to be evidence not just of a hand on the mask, but of twisting and pulling of the facemask. And there is a slight pulling of it, but not in a flagrant way. To me, it's a close call. But what complicates matters is this: The referee, Scott Green, is the official on the crew with the responsibility of watching plays involving the quarterback. Once the ball has been dislodged, Green has to watch the ball, not the contact on the quarterback. He has to see if the ball hits the ground and judge if it's a forward pass or a fumble, then he has to follow the live ball until the end of the play. So Green could not -- at least, he should not -- have seen the contact on the mask of Rodgers.


posted by holden at 10:42 AM on January 11

It was a fun game to watch. I love the Cardinals stadium which lends itself to great offensive football;. First the of course it is indoors which means perfect conditions for throwing the football. Second and even more important is that the field is natural planted grass, which allows the players to really stretch out and dive for passes.There were some fantastic catches in that game.

Well so much for Aaron Rodgers vs Bret Favre meeting later in the playoffs. It seems that Rogers was no better for Green Bay in the playoffs. He to made some very bad throws as well as missed a couple of sure touchdowns by missing wide open receivers.

As much fun as it was to watch, neither team could play any defense and because of that I suspect that Arizona will get knocked out of the playoffs in the next game as you just can't allow almost 50 points and win in championship football. Unless of course you manage to score 51.

posted by Atheist at 11:00 AM on January 11

It appeared to me on replay that Rodgers intentionally kicked the ball on the last fumble. If so, it was a very poor decision.

What's the over/under for next week's game between NO/ARZ?

posted by mjkredliner at 11:07 AM on January 11

Warner threw all day and only had four incompletions. That was amazing.

Bad or questionable calls happen the entire game. There were plenty in that game - missed holding, missed pass interference. They all matter - not just the ones at the end of the game. But, it is annoying that people choose only one bad call and decide that this was THE bad call of the game.

posted by bperk at 11:13 AM on January 11

If that ball hits the turf instead of being kicked in the air does it get called an incompletion?

At full speed I thought his arm was going forward.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:28 AM on January 11

If that ball hits the turf instead of being kicked in the air does it get called an incompletion?

I was wondering that myself. But it was ruled a fumble return not an interception return, so the ruling on the field was a fumble.

posted by cjets at 11:46 AM on January 11

What's the challenge rule in OT though? If I'm the Packers and that ball hits the turf as a fumble I have the red flag out and throw it against the Ref's head before the Zona player reaches the end zone.

All moot of course, as Rodgers decided to audtion for this summer's World Cup.

I had a ball watching this 51-45, mainly because it didn't feature Wesley Walker breaking my heart.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:11 PM on January 11

I was surprised that the play wasn't reviewed. However, from the replays I've seen, I think it was clearly a fumble. The contact with the facemask was clearly after the fumble, and did not involve twisting.

So, the best GB could have hoped for was a penalty being called on AZ after the fumble, so AZ ball deep in GB territory. The outcome is probably still the same. If you let a team score 45 points on you in regulation you have better things to worry about for next year. Tough to take if you're a GB fan, hard way to end the season.

posted by dviking at 12:35 PM on January 11

If that ball hits the turf instead of being kicked in the air does it get called an incompletion?

If the ball had hit the ground, the tuck rule could have been (but would not necessarily have been) invoked. But the fact that the ball never hit the ground makes that a moot point.

It seems that Rogers was no better for Green Bay in the playoffs. He to made some very bad throws as well as missed a couple of sure touchdowns by missing wide open receivers.

Rogers had a pretty outstanding game overall, and much better than Favre's recent playoff performance with the Packers taken as a whole (with the exception of the 2007 Seahawks game, where Favre had a higher QB rating (very flawed "stat"), but with significantly fewer passing attempts and yards). Yes, the outcome (loss) is still the same, but to suggest that a 28 for 42, 422 yard performance with 4 touchdowns against 1 interception was a something less than an outstanding performance can only be done by comparing it against Warner's otherworldly performance in the same game.

posted by holden at 12:57 PM on January 11

I was surprised that the play wasn't reviewed.

The play wasn't reviewed because the ball didn't hit the ground - which means if his arm was going forward it was an interception, if it wasn't it's a fumble.

We can only play what-if if Aaron doesn't play keepy-uppy.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:59 PM on January 11

I believe in overtime all reviews come from the booth -- at least I think that's what the referee said before the coin flip.

My first thought was the tuck rule, as Rodgers had changed his mind about the initial throw and was pulling the ball back down. My understanding of the tuck rule was that it applied only if the quarterback lost the ball of his own accord, but if that's true, it couldn't have been applied in the Patriots-Raiders game a few years ago, could it? And anyhow, as Mr. B. points out, the ball never hit the ground, so it's an interception if it isn't a fumble. The rule is here.

Here's a blog with a little animation of the play showing Rodgers kicking the ball right into Dansby's hands, along with a few other foot-related turnovers from this season. The Witten is my favourite.

posted by wfrazerjr at 01:03 PM on January 11

It seems that Rogers was no better for Green Bay in the playoffs. He to made some very bad throws as well as missed a couple of sure touchdowns by missing wide open receivers.

I feel that you're nitpicking what was a phenomenal performance by Rogers. He made some mistakes early on, but without him Green Bay doesn't even have the opportunity to win at the end of the game.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:07 PM on January 11

Yeah, Rodgers was pretty great. And that was his first-ever playoff game, so I think you could reasonably cut him some slack for the first quarter or so, at least.

If the Pack had have been able to cover any Arizona receiver even for one snap in the second half, he might have won that game.

Best stat of the weekend: Warner threw more touchdowns than Flacco completed passes.

posted by fabulon7 at 01:21 PM on January 11

Warner threw for more touchdowns than incompletions as well. Amazing.

posted by mjkredliner at 01:43 PM on January 11

And he threw 33 damn pass attempts! Not like he was 12 for 15 or some such. He was 29 for 33! It was a masterful performance by the Arizona offence. And the game featured about 6 one-handed grabs by both teams. (Grant Jennings had two within like 3 minutes.)

And I had the over. Beauty!

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:50 PM on January 11

What's the over/under for next week's game between NO/ARZ?


bet365.com opened at 56.5, now at 57.0 , pinnaclesports.com has 56.5 .

posted by tommytrump at 06:07 PM on January 11

I am taking nothing away from Aaron Rogers performance. I just found it interesting that his play included some game ending bad decisions. Very similar for what Green Bay used to blame Favre for. In my opinion a lot of his performance was due to some pretty loose defense and the fact that they had trailed by so much it was dictated to be gun slinging time from early on. Typically when a QB has those kinds of stats (as did both Rodgers and Warner) they wind up loosing. Defenses tend to allow that stuff when they have a big lead. Up until the onside kick was recovered, Arizona was playing as loose as can be.

What a fun game to watch, although I would not be encouraged if I were a fan of either team as they could not play defense for their lives. Arizona played defense for a half but then the wheels came off. Of course the GB defense was non-existent all game. Even after tying the game twice they gave up easy scores and had the AZ kicker converted it would have been over. Then in the end Rodgers gets the coin toss and cannot protect the ball when they were given a gift. He may have been responsible for the come back but he was the one who gave the game away in overtime. He holds the ball way too long.

As for that Flacco stat, its interesting but typical. When your team plays great defense and you control the game from beginning to end, the QB does not rack up stats.

posted by Atheist at 06:28 PM on January 11

I had a ball watching this 51-45, mainly because it didn't feature Wesley Walker breaking my heart.

Heh. For obvious reasons, I preferred the other one.

posted by cjets at 06:57 PM on January 11

And let's not forget that Green Bay had the game won on the first play from scrimmage in OT. A better pass from Rodgers (who was only one Kurt Warner short of being incredible) and that game is over. Rodgers was great but he made two more mistakes than Warner did. One interception and the above noted.

Of course, who misses a 36 yard field goal?

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:05 PM on January 11

Of course, who misses a 36 yard field goal?

Lately? Seemingly everyone.

posted by fabulon7 at 11:07 PM on January 11

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