Stepfan Taylor can run with the big boys.
Stanford's career rusher leader ran for 64 yards in his NFL debut, and the Arizona Cardinals exposed several trouble spots for the Green Bay Packers in a 17-0 preseason win Friday night. Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton each threw for a touchdown against a Packers secondary that had trouble containing anybody, and Arizona's aggressive new defense had three sacks, one interception and one forced fumble.
Aaron Rodgers connected with James Jones for a 50-yard gain in his only series, and Vince Young showed flashes of potential just three days after signing with the Packers. But those were among the only highlights for the Packers, who were shut out in a full preseason game for the first time since Aug. 22, 1987.
The Packers also were shut out in the 2003 Hall of Fame game, though that game was called because of lightning with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
It got so ugly that Packers fans, among the most loyal in the NFL, booed backup quarterback Graham Harrell late in the third quarter after yet another drive stalled.
Taylor set Stanford records in rushing (4,300 yards) and total touchdowns (45), and the Cardinals drafted him in the fifth round to be a backup to Ryan Williams and Rashard Mendenhall. But with both missing the first preseason game because of nagging injuries — Williams has a sore knee and Mendenhall has patella tendinitis — new Arizona coach Bruce Arians turned Taylor loose in the second quarter.
He didn't disappoint, running right at the defensive line. He ground out gains on short-yardage plays, and also showed a knack for wriggling free for longer runs. Though he never found his way to the end zone, he got the Cardinals in scoring position, only to see two field goal attempts fail.
Former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu also made an impression in his first game in two years, recording a sack and returning two punts.
The Packers threatened on their first drive, with Rodgers finding Jones for the 50-yard gain that put Green Bay at the Arizona 6. But Jermichael Finley dropped a ball on third-and-goal from the 2, and James Starks was stuffed at the 1 to turn the ball over on downs. Things didn't get any better from there, with Harrell getting picked off by Patrick Peterson in his first series and getting sacked and stripped on his second.
Palmer didn't waste any time taking advantage of the interception, throwing a 38-yard touchdown to Andre Roberts on the first play.
Notes: Pacers WR Randall Cobb (biceps) and rookie RB Eddie Lacy (hamstring) did not dress. ... RG Daryn Colledge, who played five seasons in Green Bay after being drafted by the Packers in the second round in 2006, was among the Cardinals who did not dress. ... Will Batson missed field goals from 31 yards (wide left) and 42 yards (wide right).