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Packers Are Stranded in the Desert

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals were feeling the heat after an 0-2 start but not as much as the Green Bay Packers did Sunday at Sun Devil Stadium.

Dexter Jackson, last year's Super Bowl MVP, saved the Cardinals' 20-13 upset victory over the Packers by intercepting Brett Favre's pass in the end zone at the finish.

Jeff Blake and the Arizona offense wore out the Packers in record heat that reached 106 degrees by the start of the fourth quarter.

It was a stirring victory for an Arizona team that had lost 10 of 11, the latest a 38-0 home beating by Seattle a week ago.

To add to the embarrassment, most of the 58,784 on hand Sunday were rooting -- loudly -- for the Packers.

"People got their money's worth today," Blake said. "I heard somebody in the stands say last week that we were robbing them. Well, we're even now."

Blake, knocked out of last week's game in the first quarter with a bruised left heel, completed 20 of 31 passes for 273 yards, including a one-yard pass to James Hodgins for the decisive touchdown with 3:59 to play.

Blake scored Arizona's other touchdown with a one-yard run.

He directed a field-goal drive of 7 minutes 29 seconds in the third quarter and used up 7:09 of the fourth with the 11-play, 68-yard drive for the winning score.

Arizona had the ball for 19:59 in the second half, to Green Bay's 10:01.

"I think that their defense got a little tired, because we had the ball for a while," Blake said. "If you can sustain a 12-, 13-play drive in that heat, it's going to wear anybody down."

Emmitt Smith gained only 50 yards in 20 carries, but he was a crucial element in Arizona's ball-control game.

Favre, 23 for 33 for 226 yards and a touchdown, drove the Packers (1-2) to the Arizona seven in the final seconds. But on third and goal, his pass was picked off by Jackson, who helped Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl last year. He returned it to the Arizona 22.

"I know Favre can make plays that normal people don't make because he's a great quarterback," Jackson said. "He puts the ball in spots where a lot of people wouldn't dare take that chance. I was just reading his eyes, and he didn't have much room."

Said Favre: "I thought I could squeeze it in there, but when it was picked, I wasn't all that surprised. You have to take a chance."

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