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A Painful Learning Experience

Posted Aug 19, 2011

RB Ryan Williams likely out for season in 28-20 loss at Green Bay

Running back Beanie Wells breaks off a run during the Cardinals' 28-20 loss to the Packers Friday night at Lambeau Field.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Cardinals went to play the Packers to test where they were at as a team.

They ended up having their patience tested in a 28-20 loss at Lambeau Field.

The offense moved the ball and the defense showed some pass rush pressure, despite both sides being undercut by penalties. But any enthusiasm was tempered on the second play of the second half, when rookie running back Ryan Williams went down on his first carry of the game with a probable ruptured patellar tendon of his right knee.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the second-round draft pick will be further evaluated, but if the injury is as feared, Williams is out for the season. The entire team came on the field to wish him well as he went off. Williams rode off with his head down the whole time.

 “He’s a good kid, first and foremost,” running back Beanie Wells said. “He’s going to be a good football player here and guys like him. He’s one of the guys everyone cares about.”

Williams tweeted after the game, in part “I’ll be back making defenses sick … you can bet on that.”

The Cardinals (1-1) had parts of the game to build upon. Kolb finished 6-for-11 for 80 yards and the Cardinals did generate a couple of field-goal drives while he was in the game and dominated time of possession.

But the play that will stick with him was a deep corner route for Larry Fitzgerald that Fitzgerald ran perfectly to get wide-open 25 yards downfield. Kolb threw it late, allowing Green Bay to break up the pass – and show that the timing between the two remains a work-in-progress.

“There’s a couple of throws I’d like to have (back),” Kolb said. “But we talked about this game showing where we are at, and we felt physically we were right with them. There were a lot of positives, but the negatives were obvious.”

It didn’t help that the Cards’ offense piled up the penalties. In Kolb’s possessions alone, the Cards cost themselves 20 yards on four penalties, and that doesn’t include the yards lost on a long screen-pass-reception from Wells because of a flag.  

“There were a lot of things we had the opportunity to learn from tonight,” Whisenhunt said.

The Packers’ high-flying offense led the Cards to use extra defensive backs – defensive coordinator Ray Horton actually had had his top four cornerbacks all on the field for the game’s first play – and mix the starting unit. Much of the time early on, the Cards had just two true defensive linemen on the field.

Pressure came a little more often, with defensive linemen Calais Campbell , Dan Williams and Darnell Dockett and linebacker O’Brien Schofield recording sacks.

“It was the (defensive backs),” Campbell said. “They gave us time to get there.  But against a team like this, we wanted to show we could stop them.”

The Packers (1-1) went to the no-huddle look on the final drive of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and it took just seven plays – with no third downs – to go 78 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.

The score came on a 20-yard back-shoulder throw from Rodgers to Greg Jennings, precisely the kind of play Whisenhunt warned would test his cornerbacks earlier in the week. The victim was rookie Patrick Peterson, who was never even able to react to Rodgers’ rope.

Those things can be addressed. The running back situation will require a little more maneuvering. Wells ran well – 44 yards on 11 carries – and the Cardinals need him now.

“I figured it would be that way (for me) regardless,” Wells said. “You take everything in stride and hope he gets better soon.”

The Cardinals don’t have another choice.

“I had high hopes for (Williams),” Whisenhunt said. “But that’s what happens in this game and you move on.”

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