Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for two touchdowns as the Packers knocked off Arizona on Thursday night in Glendale, Ariz. Darryl Webb/Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes to Randall Cobb and the Green Bay Packers knocked off the previously unbeaten Arizona Cardinals 24-21 after Kyler Murray’s stunning late interception on Thursday night.

The Cardinals looked like they were going to rally to win their eighth straight game but Murray threw an interception on second-and-goal with 12 seconds left. A.J. Green didn’t expect the pass to come his way, never turned around and Green Bay’s Rasul Douglas was there to snatch the ball in the corner of the end zone.

It was a big night for some lesser-known Packers players. Douglas was added to the active roster just three weeks ago when the team needed help in the secondary. He was on the Cardinals practice squad earlier in the season.

Cobb’s clutch night was much needed since Green Bay was playing without its two top receivers. Davante Adams and Allen Lazard were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week, but the 31-year-old Cobb responded with two touchdowns that were both tough catches in traffic.

His 6-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the fourth quarter put the Packers up 24-14. Cobb was once one of the NFL’s top receivers – making the Pro Bowl in 2014 with 1,287 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns – but has settled into more a secondary role late in his career.

He only caught three passes on Thursday, but they were important ones.

The Cardinals trailed for most of the night but rallied to pull within 24-21 on James Conner’s second touchdown run of the night with 10:45 left in the fourth. Arizona then had a crucial goalline stand late in the fourth – capped by Devon Kennard swatting down Rodgers’ fourth-down pass – giving them the ball back at the 1-yard line and an opportunity to go 99 yards for the win.

They almost made it.

Green Bay (7-1) has won seven straight games after dropping the season opener. Arizona (7-1) was trying to set a franchise record for longest winning streak to start a season but instead tied the mark set in 1974.

It was a matchup between two of the league’s top quarterbacks but both were hampered in the early going by a lack of healthy receivers. The offensive pace picked up in the second half.

Green Bay’s offense was a little more conservative without Adams and Lazard. Arizona’s top receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a 55-yard catch in the first quarter but tweaked his sore hamstring on the play and didn’t play for a big chunk of the game.

ROONEY RULE: The NFL has instituted some policy changes to the Rooney Rule designed to further enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in hiring practices.

The rule has been expanded to require teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for general manager/executive of football operations positions, and all coordinator roles. Beforehand, the requirement was to interview one minority from outside a team for openings in those positions.

Openings for head coaches already fell under such requirements.

NFL clubs now must conduct an in-person interview for at least one external minority candidate for any head coach or general manager opening. All coordinator and assistant general manager candidates can be interviewed virtually, but in-person interviews are being encouraged.

“League and club leadership must reflect America’s diversity,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, and Fritz Pollard Alliance Executive Director Rod Graves said in a statement.

“We’ve been discussing these improvements jointly for months because they will move the game and business of football toward inclusivity – and make league and club workplaces welcoming for everyone.

“There is still much more work to do to ensure that the outstanding candidate pipeline, which is as strong as it’s ever been, finds opportunities consistent with their immense talent. The policies announced … are another important step toward those goals.”

Beane stresses the importance of ensuring the pipeline is strong with minority coaches and overall.

The mechanisms for interviewing head coaching candidates also have been changed. Teams will be allowed to interview for such a position during the final two weeks of the regular season with the consent of the employer club – as long as the head coaching job is vacant. Those interviews can be done virtually.

Of course, there are no restrictions for candidates not employed by any NFL teams.

The NFL also is creating additional education and training sessions on sexual harassment, discrimination and diversity, equity and inclusion in the wake of the investigation into workplace improprieties with the Washington Football Team.

BROWNS: Starting quarterback Baker Mayfield practiced for the second straight day – and tested his injured shoulder while wearing pads and a new harness – as he tries to get ready to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mayfield sat out last week’s win over Denver with a torn labrum and fracture in his non-throwing shoulder.

He made it through Wednesday’s practice without any difficulty, and Mayfield was again on the field Thursday – and the only player in shoulder pads – as the Browns (4-3) continue preparing for the rival Steelers (4-3).

After stretching, Mayfield had two trainers help him slip on his shoulder pads and a stabilizing harness. He threw several passes with plenty of velocity and looked fine while delivering throws on roll-outs during the portion of practice open to reporters.

PANTHERS: Carolina placed rookie fifth-round draft choice Daviyon Nixon on injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury.

The defensive tackle was hurt during practice on Wednesday.

Nixon has played in all seven games this season as a backup and has nine tackles, two quarterback hits and a half sack.

BRONCOS: When Jerry Jeudy got hurt on opening weekend, television viewers cringed at the awkward angle of his right leg and social media erupted with suggestions that Denver’s star receiver was done for the year with a significant knee injury.

Turns out, it was a high ankle sprain, one that Jeudy didn’t even realize would keep him out six weeks.

“At first, I really didn’t think it was that serious,” Jeudy said in his first public comments since he got hurt. “As you can see, I wanted to get up and try to walk it off. I thought that would make it feel better, but once I put pressure on it, it started feeling kind of weird.

“Good thing is it wasn’t as bad as it looked.”

Jeudy, the Broncos’ first-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2020, returned to practice this week and felt so good he even spliced some dance moves into his routine.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.