Cardinals vs. Packers: Packers Ground Game Hands Cards Their 5th Straight Loss

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterNovember 4, 2012

Nov 4, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA;  Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) rushes with the football during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals have now dropped five games in their last five attempts. After starting the season 4-0 for the first time since 1970, Arizona is now 4-5. On a short week, Ken Whisenhunt's club was unable to stop Green Bay's balanced attacked.

Even though Aaron Rodgers only completed 46 percent of his passes, he made up for his low completion percentage by tossing four touchdown passes. Not to mention he did a really nice job of escaping pressure when need be. His 33 yards rushing on eight attempts helped push the Packers' rushing numbers over the 170-yard mark.

Sunday's 176-yard performance was by far Green Bay's best output of the season. A familiar face, James Starks, led the way with 61 yards, but it was Alex Green who provided more bang for your 'back. He was limited to 11 carries, yet he managed to rattle off 53 yards on those 11 carries.

Arizona's effort against the run just wasn't good enough. Inside runs up the middle washed out the Cardinals' interior defensive. When coverage was tight in the secondary early in the game, Rodgers would improvise and gash Ray Horton's defense right up the gut. 

In my Friday game preview, I mentioned that Darnell Dockett's matchup against the right guard and Calais Campbell's matchup against the left guard needed to be watched closely. At first glance, it was clear that that both Campbell and Dockett had underwhelming performances.

Of the 20 first downs the Packers amassed in Sunday's game, eight of them came on the ground. There hasn't been an opponent who has had a better performance on the ground against Arizona than Mike McCarthy's Green Bay Packers.

It's unfortunate that a strong effort in the secondary was overshadowed by poor play from the front seven. Not everyday do you hold the reigning MVP to 218 yards through the air. The fact that the Cardinals secondary did it with an anemic pass-rush makes the minimal output from Rodgers even more impressive.

Horton's defense only notched one quarterback sack and three quarterback hits by game's end. Campbell and Dockett split a sack in addition to their quarterback hits. Outside linebacker Quentin Groves was the only other defender who notched a quarterback hit.

For the fifth game in a row, Arizona has allowed over 100 yards rushing. Only twice this season have the Cardinals held a team under the century mark on the ground. That's what happens when your offense doesn't sustain drives—your defense tires and spends the whole fourth quarter with their hands on their hips.

Heading into their bye week, Coach Whisenhunt's club will have plenty to think about. They will need to ask themselves how they can generate more pressure off the edge and how they can stop getting gutted up the middle.


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