Rodgers sharp as Packers beat Cardinals 28-20
Working without a huddle in the second quarter of Friday night's preseason game against Arizona at Lambeau Field, Aaron Rodgers found Finley on three straight plays, softening up the Cardinals' defense for an eventual 20-yard touchdown strike to Greg Jennings.
The Packers went on to beat the Cardinals 28-20, making Finley's return to competitive football a successful one after a knee injury sidelined him for last season's Super Bowl run.
"I went full speed tonight," Finley said. "That's what you're going to see in the regular season. I felt great."
Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb looked pretty sharp, too — but the Cardinals' offensive hopes took a big hit when rookie running back Ryan Williams was carted off the field with a right knee injury early in the third quarter.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said the team was "pretty certain" Williams ruptured his patella tendon.
"If it is what we suspect, then, yes, it's a season-ender," Whisenhunt said.
A Packers player appeared to land awkwardly on the right leg of Williams, a second-round pick out of Virginia Tech.
"It's disappointing because we had such high hopes for him this season," Whisenhunt said. "But that's what happens in this game, and we have got to move forward."
Rodgers played into the second quarter, completing 9 of 12 passes for 97 yards. The touchdown came with the Packers' going no-huddle, a wrinkle the players seem to like.
"When we're up-tempo, that's when we move the ball the best," Finley said.
Matt Flynn took over for Rodgers and led the Packers to another score before halftime, a 2-yard run by rookie Alex Green.
Green, a third-round rookie out of Hawaii, clearly still needs work on his touchdown celebrations. Teammates had to point him toward the stands to perform a "Lambeau Leap" after his touchdown.
"I kind of froze up a little bit," Green said.
Kolb was 6 for 11 for 80 yards but the rest of the Cardinals offense didn't look ready for the regular season. Arizona was called for nine penalties in the first half, including several sloppy mistakes on offense.
"(Kolb) missed some things, but that was a product of getting a feel for our offense," Whisenhunt said. "The thing that I was most impressed about is that we had some mistakes, and we did some things wrong, and he kept his cool."
Packers defensive lineman C.J. Wilson was taken to the locker room for concussion testing in the first half. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he didn't have results immediately after the game.
Arizona backup quarterback John Skelton sprained his right ankle, bringing Richard Bartel into the game. Bartel threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Williams and Alfonso Smith added a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Cardinals the lead in the third quarter.
But Flynn threw a 97-yard touchdown to Chastin West on the first play of the fourth quarter, putting the Packers back ahead 21-20. Third-stringer Graham Harrell threw a 6-yard touchdown to Kerry Taylor in the fourth quarter.
Green Bay's Brandian Ross picked off a pass in the end zone to stop a late drive by the Cardinals.
The Packers were able to put up points, but their offensive line still needs some tuning up.
Rodgers was sacked twice, including one allowed by Derek Sherrod, the team's first-round draft pick. Sherrod played tackle at Mississippi State but is competing with veteran T.J. Lang for the starting left guard spot in training camp. The Packers are searching for a replacement for veteran Daryn Colledge — who lined up on the other side Friday after signing with the Cardinals as a free agent.
"I'm doing my best to give them exactly what they paid for," Colledge said. "It'll be my job every week to go out and prove myself. That's awesome. It's a great challenge, especially when you run into a brand-new offense."
Kolb, who arrived in a high-profile trade with Philadelphia, also is working to master a new offense.
"I felt a lot more comfortable," Kolb said. "I thought our tempo was great, and obviously we moved the ball whenever we wanted to. We just have to get better in the red zone and cut down on some of the penalties."
The Packers knocked Kolb out of the game in last year's regular season opener, opening the door for Michael Vick to take over as the starter in Philadelphia — and, ultimately, for Kolb to be traded to the Cardinals.
The Packers played Friday without Clay Matthews, who has a hamstring injury, and defensive end Mike Neal, who has a knee injury. Neither injury is expected to be long-term.
NOTES: Packers rookie WR Randall Cobb left the game with a left knee bruise in the second half. ... Larry Fitzgerald made an impressive one-handed catch in the first half, pulling the ball into his shoulderpads with his right hand as he was falling down.
Last updated: 6:04 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012