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Defensive Front Parties With Aaron Rodgers

Notes: Things turn ugly for Palmer pre-game; Bethel holds up; Fitz ties record

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Cardinals defensive tackle Calais Campbell engulfs Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for a sack Sunday.


As the star quarterback of the Packers, Aaron Rodgers gets invited to all sorts of get-togethers.

This is one request he would have preferred to decline.

Cardinals defensive tackle Cory Redding said the defensive front put great emphasis on having a "party at the football" in Sunday afternoon's 38-8 victory over the Packers, and it was well-attended. The Packers were sacked nine times overall -- Rodgers eight times and backup Scott Tolzein once -- which was a Cardinals season-high and the most since they had 10 against the Vikings in 1986.

Linebacker Dwight Freeney led the way with three, defensive tackle Calais Campbell had two-and-a-half, safety Deone Bucannon,

defensive tackle Frostee Rucker and linebacker Kareem Martin had one apiece, while linebacker Markus Golden added a half-sack.

"(Rodgers) felt us," Redding said. "He felt us coming right, coming left, up the middle. He had no place to go. That's just the effort we had all day long. Guys were hungry and we just wanted to get there. We challenged ourselves, who can get the most sacks?"

Freeney ended up the winner, and he now has seven on the season to lead the team. It's been done in only 10 games as he was added to the roster before the Week 6 game against the Steelers because linebacker Alex Okafor went down with an injury. If that injury didn't happen, Freeney may have been a couple months into retirement at this point.

He said he was on a plane in Los Angeles checking in on a post-career TV gig when he got a call from coach Bruce Arians.

"The flight attendant is telling me to get off the phone," Freeney said. "I'm like, 'Hold on, hold on.' He said, 'Are you ready to get off your couch?' I said, 'Absolutely.'"

Campbell may have had his best game of the season. He doubled his season sack total to five and also drew at least three holding penalties. He finished with six tackles, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits in addition to the sacks.

The Packers were down both of their starting tackles by early in the game and the Cardinals eventually built a big lead, which was a perfect mixture for the heavy pressure day. Campbell said the defensive excellence made it feel like a schoolyard game with friends.

"We were out there just having so much fun," he said. "Football is meant to be a fun game. When you play as kids it is all about having fun out there. You want to win, but the end result is just about having a good time. Today it was like a children's game. We were out there living it up and enjoying it."

PALMER FINALLY LOSES QB COMPETITION; OUTFIT PROVES IT

For the first time this season, Carson Palmer lost the weekly quarterback competition, where he competes with Drew Stanton, Matt

Barkley and cornerback Patrick Peterson on an accuracy drill by throwing football in a trash can.

The loser has to wear an outfit of the others' choosing, and Palmer had to stretch pregame in a Hawaiian skirt and coconut bra. Not surprisingly, the skimpy attire set social media aflame.

"I lost the bet on Friday and I knew it was going to be bad," Palmer said. "There are so many bad pictures circulating of that right now and it's only going to get worse."

Palmer has had a hand in choosing some extravagant outfits for the past losers, but felt this one went over the edge. He said he feared the worst, and it still exceeded his expectations.

"I felt like I got taken advantage of, for sure," Palmer said. "But revenge is going to be sweet."

BETHEL GETS PLENTY OF WORK

Cornerback Justin Bethel will be a fixture on defense the rest of the season with the season-ending injury to safety Tyrann Mathieu, and he will likely see plenty of passes opposite Patrick Peterson.

That was the case on Sunday afternoon, when Rodgers targeted James Jones -- the wideout Bethel covered the majority of the game -- 11 times.

"I knew they were going to pick on me today," Bethel said.

Bethel did a solid job, allowing five catches for 46 yards, although he was called for a long pass interference penalty. Bethel had arguably the biggest turnover of the game, picking off Rodgers in the end zone late in the second quarter just three plays after Carson Palmer threw his lone interception.

It kept the Cardinals ahead 10-0, and they scored a touchdown right before the half for a 17-point advantage.

"Justin seemed to be their guy to throw at and he hung in there pretty solid," coach Bruce Arians said.

FITZ TIES HIS OWN RECEPTIONS RECORD

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown in the contest, his first score since Week 8 against the Browns.

He now has 103 catches on the season, which ties the franchise record he set in 2005. Fitzgerald seems a shoo-in to break the mark provided he plays next week against the Seahawks. Fitzgerald has caught at least one pass in a franchise-record 178 consecutive games, which is the longest streak in the NFL.



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