Packers 44, Cardinals 37

The Green Bay Packers improved to 3-0 in the preseason by outlasting the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals 44-37 on Friday night. Dominant performances were turned in by Aaron Rodgers and the ballhawking defense.

Postgame notes

- Big-play receiver Greg Jennings was knocked out of the game on the first possession after hauling in a 25-yard pass to convert a third down. He was sandwiched between Bryant McFadden and Aaron Francisco. Jennings suffered a head injury but remained on the sideline joking with teammates.

- In other injury news, defensive end Michael Montgomery broke a thumb, Brandon Jackson had a bruised shin and Atari Bigby had a sprained thumb. Nick Barnett was held out as he comes back from a torn ACL.

- Punter Jeremy Kapinos got two chances against the Cardinals and had a big night, averaging 54.0 yards per punt with a net of 50.5. Durant Brooks remains out with a hip flexor.

- With Matt Flynn out, Brian Brohm played the entire second half at quarterback. With the Cardinals playing keepaway, Brohm had three series and failed to score any points, but his last drive included three consecutive completions amounting to 40 yards. He finished 4-of-5 for 45 yards.

"The three series he played, (he) really didn't have an opportunity in the first two," coach Mike McCarthy said. "He had the deep ball on the second third down and had zero protection, but I thought the third series he did a nice job leading that drive down the field. I thought he definitely played better than he did last week."

- Without Flynn, backup receiver Ruvell Martin was the holder on field goals. Mason Crosby hit just 1-of-3 attempts.

- The Packers have outscored their opponents 76-10 at halftime.

- Here's a stat you don't see every day: The Packers converted 2-of-8 third downs (25 percent) compared to 10-of-13 (77 percent) for Arizona.

Fourth quarter

Green Bay improved to 3-0 in the preseason with a 44-37 win at Arizona on Saturday night.

The Packers appeared to be coasting to the finish line until Matt Leinert dismantled a defense full of backups to mount a late rally.

The Cardinals pulled within a touchdown with 1:35 remaining and Neil Rackers recovered his own onside kick to bring the crowd to life. The Cardinals converted their seventh consecutive third down on a screen to Jason Wright that gained 21 yards to the 11 with 50 seconds remaining. Another screen to Wright scored a touchdown with 38 seconds to go. Arizona went for the two-point conversion and the win but Early Doucet dropped a well-placed lob against Brandon Underwood.

The Cardinals went for another onside kick, but Ruvell Martin fielded it on the run and ran it in for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but given a reprieve with an offsides penalthy, the Packers went for two but Tyrell Sutton was popped and driven back.

Green Bay rode a dominant first half to the victory, romping to a 38-10 advantage at halftime. The offense sputtered under Brian Brohm and the defense - minus backup cornerbacks Will Blackmon and Pat Lee and backup safeties Aaron rouse and Charlie Peprah - didn't play nearly as well in the second half.

Third quarter

The Packers took a 38-17 lead into the fourth quarter. Green Bay kept its starters on the bench out of intermission while the Cardinals played several starters, especially on defense.

Jeremy Kapinos had two terrific punts and Jarrett Bush had an interception in the quarter.

Aaron Rodgers played just the first half. In three games, he's 27-of-38 for 458 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a rating of 151.1.

Halftime

The exhibition of exhibition football dominance continued with the Packers leading 38-10 at halftime.

Charles Woodson's third strip of the game was returned by Aaron Kampman for a touchdown to make it 24-3, and Aaron Rodgers used a great play-action fake to Tyrell Sutton to hit Jordy Nelson with a 77-yard touchdown to make it 31-10.

Even when things went wrong, they worked out. Mason Crosby missed a short field goal late in the first half, but Anthony Smith intercepted Kurt Warner and returned the ball to the 11-yard line with 7 seconds remaining. On the next play, Rodgers hit Jermichael Finley with a back-shoulder throw for the touchdown.

First quarter

The Packers led 10-0 after the first quarter. Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings for 26 yards and Rodgers scrambled for 34 yards to set up a second-and-goal run by John Kuhn for the touchdown. Charles Woodson's strip set up a field goal that made it 10-0.

Arizona scored early in the second quarter to pull within 10-3. To that point, the Packers had ourscored their opponents 48-0 in the first halves of their games.

The pregame story

The third preseason game generally is a dress rehearsal for the regular season. That makes tonight's game against the defending NFC champions especially interesting. The Packers are 2-0 and have outscored their opponents 38-0 in the first half, while the Cardinals are 0-2 and have scored a total of 16 points.

What to watch for tonight?

1. The starters will play at least a half and probably into the third quarter. The new Packers defense has been sensational but it hasn't faced the likes of Kurt Warner and Co.

2. The Cardinals run a hybird 3-4/4-3 defense. How will the newly minted No. 1 offensive line handle the differing looks?

3. With Matt Flynn officially out, Brian Brohm gets another chance to potentially save his job.

4. Coach Mike McCarthy says undrafted running back Tyrell Sutton will get time with the No. 1 offense. If he's for real, we'll find out tonight.

5. First-round pick B.J. Raji will get extended playing time — somewhere between 20 and 25 plays. How big of an impact will he make against an explosive offense?

Lineup changes

Officially out for tonight are: punter Durant Brooks, Flynn, cornerbacks Pat Lee and Will Blackmon, safeties Charlie Peprah and Aaron Rouse, linebackers Clay Matthews III and Nick Barnett and defensive end Justin Harrell.

The big names out for Arizona are receivers Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston.

Live chat during the game

As he will do throughout the regular season, Packer Report publisher Bill Huber chatted live with subscribers during the game. For information on subscribing to Packer Report, click here. To join future gameday chats, which will begin shortly before kickoff, click here.



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