Logic and reason decided to take a vacation for the end of Packers-Cardinals. Physics, too. Each team made some of the more preposterous plays that took place on an NFL field all season, and they did it in the span of a few minutes in a game both teams needed to win to survive in the playoffs.
Let's break five absurd things that happened in the final few minutes of the Cardinals' 26-20 win.
Ridiculous thing No. 1: The Cardinals take the lead on a bank shot touchdown
Down 13-10, Carson Palmer tried squeezing in a pass to Larry Fitzgerald. But Damarious Randall blanketed him perfectly, sticking in an arm and tipping the ball up in the air. It's pretty much the best job a defender can do.
The ball fell perfectly to Michael Floyd.
The ball perfectly popped up through a minefield of other Packers defenders and landed in the hands of a streaking Floyd.
In another game, this would be the play we'd talk about for years. Saturday night, we all kinda forgot about it.
Ridiculous thing No. 2: Aaron Rodgers converts on 4th-and-20
After a big sack by Dwight Freeney, the Packers faced 4th-and-20 from their 4-yard line down 20-13. They needed a touchdown to force overtime, and they needed to get 20 yards on one play to even get in position to get a touchdown.
Ten NFL teams were forced to go for it on 4th-and-20 this year. Guess how many got it? I'll wait.
The answer is zero. Throw in 16 plays from the 2014 season, and in the past two years, teams have gone 1-for-36 on 4th-and-20 plus. IT's very hard to get 20 yards on a given play. It's dang nera impossible to do it if the other team knows you need 20 yards.
The Packers got 60 yards:
Rodgers was in a whole lot of trouble, scrambled while avoiding the backline, came up and hit Jeff Janis in stride over a defender's outstretched arm downfield.
Rodgers had a window of about two feet a city block away, and if he missed the game was over. He hit it.
Ridiculous thing No. 3: AARON RODGERS THROWS ANOTHER HAIL MARY
Remember when Aaron Rodgers converted the only Hail Mary of the season against the Lions? Such a ridiculous miracle. It needed an on-target throw and it needed a comically poor defensive play by Detroit. That's why it only happened once this year.
The Packers had the ball down 20-13 with five seconds left. So Aaron did it again.
Think about every amazing playoff ending you've ever seen. None of them have ever had regulation end on a go-ahead or tying passing TD. This is the first game-ending Hail Mary in a postseason game. Many have tried. Only the Packers succeeded.
The Cardinals made the questionable decision to rush seven players. The good news for the Cardinals is that their pass rush delivered pressure to Rodgers, forcing him to hurl up a throw more or less blind and against his momentum. What are the odds a ball thrown blindly and against a QB's momentum could possibly make it 60 yards on the fly to an open receiver?
But Rodgers' throw did get there. And since the Cardinals rushed seven, that left only four guys back to make a play.
Janis, a Saginaw Valley State grad with only four career catches to his name, had to go up and make a play over Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson. Janis won that battle. He had 101 yards receiving on the final drive. He had 95 career yards receiving entering the game.
And so we went to OT.
Ridiculous thing No. 4: THE COIN DIDN'T FLIP
Overtime begins with a coin flip. The referee threw the coin in the air. The coin decided, at this of all times, it was not interested in flipping:
This is not how coins work. Take every coin out of your wallet and toss each one into the air as gently as you can. I highly doubt you convince one that it's not supposed to rotate.
But here, on the one time millions of Americans were gathered around their TVs watching a dang coin get thrown into the air, our referee was temporarily possessed by the spirit of Phil Niekro and the coin wouldn't flip.
Apparently, this calls for a redo and they had to toss the coin again. I'm not sure why. The word "flip" doesn't appear in the NFL's rulebook and there's nothing in the part about coin tosses that specifies how the coin should be tossed. But nobody seemed too upset about it. Either way, the Cardinals won both the no-flip toss and the flipped toss.
Ridiculous thing No. 5: Larry Fitzgerald takes over
After all that Packers luck, the Cardinals came out in OT and just won the dang thing.
On the very first play of overtime, Fitzgerald wound in and out of the Packers, catching the ball on Arizona's 35-yard line, and refusing to stop until he reached Green Bay's 5-yard line. By my count, six Packers come within five yards of him before a seventh makes a shoestring tackle.
Two plays later, he scored the game-winner.
Nothing in the NFL is a constant. Since Fitzgerald was drafted in 2004, the Cardinals have finished in every position in the NFC West. The Cardinals have changed stadiums. One of their divisional rivals just changed cities. All 30 NFL teams have changed their coach. Twenty-three of the 32 players from the first round Fitzgerald was drafted in are no longer in the league. Most of them haven't been for several years. One is dead.
And then there's Fitzgerald still on the team that picked him, still dominating everybody. Only one player on the Packers' whole roster, Julius Peppers, was in the league in 2004. But all those younger dudes in yellow and white can't keep up with Fitzgerald. They look downright clueless when he cuts back.
Logic and reason and physics might have decided not to show up, but Larry Fitzgerald did. It's nice that a night defined by ridiculousness was ended by one of the most steadily ridiculous players in the NFL.
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SB Nation presents: Green Bay's luck runs out after failing to cover Larry Fitzgerald