Published January 08, 2015
GLENDALE, Arizona (Reuters) - Karlos Dansby scored on a fumble return in overtime to give the Arizona Cardinals a wild 51-45 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the highest-scoring NFL playoff game of all time on Sunday.
Linebacker Dansby scooped up the ball and ran 17 yards for the winning touchdown after Michael Adams had jarred it loose from Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the first series of overtime in the NFC wildcard game.
My reaction was like, 'Damn!' Everything is bouncing their way right now," Dansby told reporters. "I was like, we got to do something."
The win sends the Cardinals, the losers of last year's Super Bowl, to New Orleans on Saturday for a NFC divisional playoff against the top-seeded Saints.
"That has got to be one of the best games ever played in the playoffs," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the emotional victory.
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner threw for five touchdowns but Arizona missed a chance to win the game in regulation when Neil Rackers went wide left with a 34-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds remaining.
"I play for the playoffs," said Warner, who completed 29 of 33 passes for 379 yards despite the absence of his top receiver, the injured Anquan Boldin.
"Let's keeping going," added the 38-year-old, who may decide to call it quits at the end of the season.
Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet each caught a pair of touchdown passes as the Cardinals made amends for last weekend's 33-7 loss to the Packers to end the regular season.
"Kurt Warner played lights out," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said. "From the start of the game, there was a hump that we just totally never got over."
Arizona led the game 17-0 after the first quarter and held a 31-10 advantage in the third before Rodgers, who threw four touchdown passes, rallied the Packers.
Two consecutive Rodgers touchdown passes pulled Green Bay within seven points and, after Warner and Rodgers had traded another score each, the Packers tied the score at 38-38 on John Kuhn's one-yard run.
Warner then hit Steve Breaston with a 17-yard toss for a 45-38 lead with 4:55 to play.
Rodgers was not done yet, however, and tossed an 11-yard pass to Spencer Havner with 1:52 remaining to level the score once more and set up the overtime drama.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Nick Mulvenney)