AP Story: Packers Fall To Cardinals, 20-13


The big "home crowd" that greeted the Green Bay Packers in the desert went home like melted cheeseheads.

Dexter Jackson, last year's Super Bowl MVP, saved the Arizona Cardinals' 20-13 upset victory 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 1-yard pass to James Hodgins for the winning touchdown with 3:59 to play.

Blake scored Arizona's other touchdown with a 1-yard run.

He directed a field-goal drive of 7 minutes and 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.

"We've never taken an IV since I've been the coach in this heat because we're in tremendous shape," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said. "We knew the longer we were on the field offensively, that wears a football team down on the other side."

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. We were wearing ourselves down. I know I was tired. To play four quarters in that heat, I mean, it's tough."

The Packers refused to blame the heat.

Favre, 23 for 33 for 226 yards and a touchdown, drove the Packers (1-2) to the Arizona 7 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, and 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."

Favre sent five receivers out, and looked for someone in the back of the end zone. He thought he could get the ball through the defenders to Javon Walker.

"I thought I could squeeze it in there, but when it was picked I wasn't all that surprised," Favre said. "You have to take a chance. If they pick it, they pick it, but you want to go down shooting."

The Cardinals (1-2) then took a knee.

A sign hanging from the second level at Sun Devil Stadium read, "We'll have the grilled cheese."

Favre, 35-1 when it's 34 degrees or colder, is 12-18 in games when the kickoff temperature is above 70, and this one was way, way above 70.

The 102-degree temperature at kickoff equaled the hottest game ever for the Packers. It warmed up to 105 at the start of the second half, and 106 at the beginning of the third quarter.

That's hot, even by Arizona standards. The 106 at nearby Sky Harbor Airport was a record for the date, surpassing the 105 recorded in 1949 and 1984.

"The elements are the elements," coach Mike Sherman said. "People come up to Green Bay, and I don't say we beat them because it's cold out. I say we beat them because we won the game. They beat us because they played better than we did today -- bottom line."

The Cardinals started two rookies at wide receiver and both had big days. Bryant Johnson caught six passes for 86 yards and Anquan Boldin five for 99. Boldin set NFL records for most receptions in his first three games with 24 and most receiving yards with 378.

A 28-yard pass interference penalty against Al Harris ignited Arizona's fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

The Cardinals committed their 10th turnover of the season, but the only one of the day, on their first possession after driving to the Green Bay 45.

Blake threw to Boldin, who was hit by Darren Sharper just as the ball arrived. The ball bounced off Boldin and into the arms of the Packers' Nick Barnett.

However, on the next play, Ahman Green fumbled as he was hit by Barron Tanner, and Raynoch Thompson recovered for Arizona at the Packers 39.

It was the Cardinals' first forced turnover of the season and it led to Blake's touchdown run.

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