With a disappointing performance from an offensive line that allowed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to get sacked eight times, plus the other struggles on offense (receiver drops/separation, non-existent running game), the Packers were embarrassed on the road and will play for the 2015 NFC North crown in the final week of the season.
Here is our recap of Sunday's blowout:
After forcing the Cardinals to punt on their first offensive series, the Packers defense was able to stop them once again even after running back David Johnson erupted down field on a 41-yard reception. Sacks on first (Mike Pennel) and third down (Mike Neal) moved Arizona out of field goal position and forced them to punt. Five short runs and two incompletions prevented the Packers from capitalizing on the ensuing drive.
Arizona took first blood and scored the next two times they touched the ball on offense.
First, the Cardinals put up seven after Carson Palmer led a 7-play, 50-yard drive down the field which resulted in Palmer finding Larry Fitzgerald three yards out for a score (7-0). Fitzgerald lined up in the slot and hauled in a pass on a quick slant route.
Second, the Cardinals added a 19-yard field goal the next time they touched the ball because of Johnson again. The rookie from Northern Iowa moved the Cardinals into field goal range after taking a pass from Palmer down the sideline for 29. The Packers defense ended up stuffing Johnson on the ground and forcing an incompletion on third down to stop a touchdown. It was 10-0 Cardinals midway through the second quarter at this point.
If you had Mike Daniels creating the first turnover of the game, pat yourself on the back. Daniels jumped a Palmer pass near the line of scrimmage in the second quarter and took it the other way for a short gain. Palmer stepped off his back foot and was looking to throw a short pass to a back or receiver, but Daniels was in position to make the catch after bursting through Arizona's offensive line.
Yet the Packers couldn't capitalize once again. Already in field goal range, the Packers gave the ball right back to the Cardinals as Rodgers threw a rare red zone interception. Rodgers was looking for James Jones in the corner of the end zone but defensive back Justin Bethel jumped the pass.
That interception resulted in the Cardinals going 80 yards in 51 seconds right before halftime. Palmer started the drive with a 47-yard pass to Michael Floyd, followed by a 12-yard pass to Fitzgerald before a 7-yard pass went to John Brown for Palmer's second touchdown of the game.
The Cardinals took a comfortable 17-0 lead at halftime as the Packers were left breathless on offense, only gaining 70 yards as a team.
The struggles for the Packers on offense shifted to an embarrassing level, turning the ball over in ridiculous fashion three times in the second session of football. A James Starks fumble, plus two fumbles from Rodgers all gave the Cardinals touchdowns. Starks' fumble came on the first offensive series for Green Bay, which eventually resulted in Johnson scoring on 14-yard touchdown run to the outside. On the next series, Rodgers was sacked and lost the ball before it was returned by Corey Redding for 36 yards into the end zone. Third, Jerraud Powers picked up Rodgers' fumble and ran seven yards into the end zone. Not counting their brief pair of snaps to kill the remaining time before the half, the Packers turned the ball over on three straight drives, ending with three Cardinals touchdowns, which made the score 38 zip.
It took until the third quarter for the Packers to finally get on the board. Rodgers threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Lacy, who took it the distance, but of course it didn't mean much of anything. A two-point conversion made the score 38-8, Arizona, which was the final score.
The Packers left Sunday's game battered on the offensive line. Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley and T.J. Lang all left with injuries. Rodgers was finally pulled at the beginning of the fourth quarter for backup Scott Tolzien.