GREEN BAY, Wis. – Zane Gonzalez drew the ire of Browns fans earlier this season, but he’s ingratiated himself quite nicely with his new team.
The Arizona State product had a memorable debut with the Cardinals by connecting on a pair of field goals in inclement weather, including the game-winning 44-yard field goal with 1:45 remaining, in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Packers.
Gonzalez, who was released by Cleveland after Week 2 following several misses, was happy to take advantage of his second chance, especially in such a big spot.
“It’s amazing, especially for this team and this organization,” Gonzalez said. “The way they let me come in here with open arms, I’m just happy to be able to do this for the team.”
In the midst of Gonzalez’s postgame interview, quarterback Josh Rosen walked by and yelled a resounding, ‘My guy!’ in appreciation of the clutch kicks.
“Everyone has a very short fuse with kickers nowadays,” Rosen said. “I think it’s been a rough year for all of them. It’s awesome to be resilient, to move cities about a week-and-a-half, two weeks ago and come kick the game-winner in probably the most hostile conditions and environment that you can.”
The weather made it tough on both Gonzalez and Packers kicker Mason Crosby. The temperature was near freezing and there was intermittent snow and rain throughout. While those didn’t help, the real issue was the wind, which was strong and unpredictable.
“It was swirling at different points, so it was a tough one, but at the end of the day we got the win,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez converted on a 44-yard field goal in the third quarter and hit both of his extra point attempts. Cosby missed a 49-yard field goal as time expired, leaving Gonzalez as the hero in this one.
“Everybody’s excited because we’ve got a Victory Monday (off day) coming up,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a fun feeling.”
A TOTALLY DIFFERENT OFFENSIVE LINE
Left guard Mike Iupati left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return. He was replaced by Colby Gossett in the lineup.
Iupati’s departure meant the Cardinals were without every member of their projected offensive line from training camp. Center A.Q. Shipley (knee) and right guard Justin Pugh (knee) are on injured reserve, left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee) remains out and right tackle Andre Smith was cut last week.
The line had many unfamiliar faces for the final portion of the game. Korey Cunningham was at left tackle, Gossett at left guard, Mason Cole at center, Oday Aboushi at right guard and Will Holden at right tackle.
Rosen was sacked twice in the game and the group was called for multiple holding and false start penalties, but the Green Bay pass rush wasn’t dominant.
“I can’t speak enough of Gossett as well as Will Holden, the way they stepped up and performed today,” Wilks said.
CHRISTIAN KIRK LEAVES LATE
Wide receiver Christian Kirk hurt his foot late in the game, and after hobbling on it for a few plays, eventually left and went to the locker room. There was no update on the severity after the game.
Kirk finished with three catches for 54 yards and added 23 yards rushing on a jet sweep.
Safety Budda Baker left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury but later returned.