Each week, Press-Gazette Media will look at national stories involving the Green Bay Packers and their opponents.
Simple middle-school-level math is enough to demonstrate that the Packers “abandoned their best chance of winning by kicking the game-tying extra point at the end of regulation instead of going for it” with a two-point conversion attempt, argues Benjamin Morris of FiveThirtyEight.com. Morris cites league averages to make the case that the chances of Aaron Rodgers converting a two-point conversion (48.8 percent) were greater than the chances of the Packers making the extra point (95.9 percent) multiplied by their chances of winning in overtime (42.6), which comes out to 40.9 percent. As for coach Mike McCarthy’s concerns that the Packers would have struggled to convert due to the absence of the injured Randall Cobb, Morris counters that “anything that makes the Packers weaker relative to the Cardinals is likely to hurt their chances in overtime more than their chances of converting the two-point try.”
Aaron Rodgers hitting Jeff Janis twice in the final seconds – one for 60 yards on a fourth-and-20 from the Packers 4, the other a 41-yard Hail Mary on the final play – was “a microcosm of Green Bay’s disappointing passing game this season,” writes Andy Benoit of MMQB.com. “At that point, thanks to earlier ineptitude, the Packers were digging themselves out of a hole. The two desperation plays happened to work because Rodgers conjured magic outside of structure. It was enthralling, but it wasn’t good football. Green Bay had to rely on magic because its passing game had again been hindered by its receivers’ mediocrity.”
This play truly was a Hail Mary because it at first appeared to have no prayer of succeeding, writes Greg Cosell of Yahoo.com. Cosell notes that “at the moment Rodgers threw the ball Janis was 20 yards from the end zone and wasn’t even looking at Rodgers. This isn’t how you draw it up, but Rodgers did a fine job to get the ball to the end zone, and Janis adjusted quickly and made a nice catch for the score.”
Arizona’s 14-play, 80-yard march against Green Bay’s defense that took 7:09 off the fourth-quarter clock and culminated with the touchdown that put the Cardinals ahead 17-13 was their best in some time, writes Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians concurred, calling it “a great drive. That’s the best drive we’ve had in a while because that was what we were not doing in the first half. We talked about it at halftime. We weren’t getting them off the field on third down, the 15-play drives, and we were getting ourselves in unmanageable third downs with sacks and penalties.”
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