A.J. Green never saw it coming.
A pass into the end zone from Kyler Murray whizzed past the Cardinals wide receiver’s helmet and into the hands of Packers defensive back Rasul Douglas. Green, clearly, did not think he was the primary target on the play, because he had his back to the ball.
The mixup ended Arizona’s bid for a game-winning 99-yard touchdown drive in the closing seconds and, by extension, a perfect season. The Cards (7-1) walked off 24-21 losers to the Pack (7-1) in a “Thursday Night Football” thriller to open Week 8.
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So, who, exactly was at fault? No blame was assigned postgame, but there were enough hints that Green didn’t run the right play.
Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters that he got what he wanted from the play call, except for Green not running a route. In fact, it appeared as if Green was blocking Douglas downfield.
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“We didn’t run the route and the guy (Douglas) made a good play,” Kingsbury said. “Like I said, it wasn’t a route, but we thought we had it checked. We’ve got to communicate better in those situations.”
Murray didn’t take direct responsibility for the turnover.
“I honestly don’t know. Miscommunication, I couldn’t tell you. But, you know, we’ve just got to be better,” Murray said. “Obviously after the fact we both know we weren’t on the same page and it cost us. But we’ll be better because of it.”
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Green was the only Arizona principal who didn’t communicate after the game. He was not made available to the media.
Douglas saw exactly was going on as his former teammates failed to connect. The fifth-year pro was on Arizona’s practice squad for the first four weeks of the season. He signed with Green Bay on Oct. 6 and made his second first start for the team Thursday.
“We’re in an all-out blitz. It’s me (and) A.J. Green. I see Kyler Murray is looking at A.J. Green. What was it, about 15 seconds left? Something like that? I know they’re well in field goal range so right now it’s like, ‘Let’s try to see if we can get seven and end it.’ So I’ve got to make a play,” he said.
“That’s probably the first time I’ve won a game like that, so it was, like, a shocking feeling, like, ‘Oh, snap, we just won off that play.’ I was kind of surprised,” he added.