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Green Bay Packers never had chance in OT

By The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 17, 2016 at 11:00 AM
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Neither the Green Bay Packers nor the Arizona Cardinals were doing any backflips over the coin flip that wasn't Saturday night when referee Clete Blakeman tried to toss a medallion end over end before the start of overtime in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

That's because the coin never actually flipped after the Packers called tails.

"He went to flip it and it went straight up and straight down, then it bounced, and it never flipped," said Cardinals long snapper Mike Leach, one of the team captains who was on the field for the flip. "It just landed like a pancake flat on the ground."

The coin came up heads and the Packers immediately began to complain. Blakeman picked up the coin and told the players he had to flip it again, which he did. This time, the coin flipped, but once again it came up heads and the Cardinals chose to receive the kickoff.

Three plays later, quarterback Carson Palmer's 5-yard shovel pass to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald resulted in a 26-20 win for the Cardinals, who advanced to next Sunday's NFC Championship Game against Carolina or Seattle.

"I've never seen it before, not even a half of a revolution on a coin flip," Leach said. "I never saw that before."

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, like most NFL players react when their team loses in overtime without a chance at getting the ball, said he wouldn't mind seeing the rules changed.

"Yeah, let's go college rules," he said. "Start at the 25-yard line or whatever it is and go at it. I'm sure it will be talked about, but it sucks we didn't have an opportunity. We could've stopped them on their side of the field and forced a punt, then kick a field goal to win, but we didn't do that and it sucks. When you are on the losing side, you want to see it changed."

NOTES

-- The Packers lost two key players during the second quarter when wide receiver Randall Cobb suffered a chest injury and safety Micah Hyde suffered a hip injury. Neither player returned.

-- Coach Mike McCarthy said he was thoroughly impressed with the way receivers Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis stepped up in the wake of losing Cobb and also playing without injured fellow receiver Davante Adams (knee). "I'm very proud of those young men," McCarthy said. "They worked their tails off all year to get an opportunity." McCarthy singled out Janis, noting how Janis overcame injuries that forced him to miss most of training camp and limited him again at midseason. "Jeff Janis, he's taken advantage of some opportunities and he's just a young man that needs to play," McCarthy said. "He's got a lot of raw ability and he made some huge, huge plays tonight."

-- Most teams usually never take the bait when they're asked which team they'd prefer to play when they're waiting for their opponent in the NFC Championship Game. Cardinals rookie running back David Johnson didn't mind offering up his opinion, to be determined. "Seattle," he said. "I definitely want to see Seattle again. Another redemption." The Seahawks pummeled the Cardinals 30-6 in Week 17 at University of Phoenix Stadium. If the Cardinals were to meet Seattle, Arizona would get to host next Sunday's game at home. If the Panthers win, the Cardinals have to travel to Charlotte. "We want to play in front of our fans," Cardinals running back Andre Ellington said. "We want to do it for them. ... To win a game like that inside here, it'll be amazing."

-- Saturday night's 26-20 victory marked the first career postseason win for Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer, now in his 13th NFL season. "It feels good," he said. "It feels better than I thought. But in no way are we done or satisfied. We're excited, but we're excited about what's ahead of us."

-- The winning touchdown came on a 5-yard shovel pass from quarterback Carson Palmer to Larry Fitzgerald. It's the first time all season that Fitzgerald had his number called on that play. "Yeah, we've been working on the shovel for I don't know how long," said Fitzgerald, who finished the game with eight catches for 176 yards. "I can't tell you how many times I've run that shovel in practice and have just been waiting for my opportunity and lo-and-behold, the second round of the playoffs you get your number called on a shovel. My eyes lit up in the huddle."

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