...but it wasn't, and the highest scoring game in playoff history (96 points) resulted in the Cardinals advancing to face New Orleans next week.
According to the NFL rulebook (via Mike Florio of profootballtalk.com), Rule 12, Section 2, Article 5, states, "no player shall twist, turn, or pull the facemask of an opponent in any direction."
Clearly Michael Adams, who came on a corner blitz from the left side, yanked Aaron Rodgers' mask down as he lost the football leading to the game-winning TD. His hand is still on Rodgers' facemask when Karlos Dansby got his hands on the ball (as seen in the picture above).
Adams also took a shot at the quarterback's head — which also should have been flagged.
States the rule book: A defender may not "hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of the body to hit the passer in the head, neck, or face."
There's shades of gray in this interpretation though, because the referees may have determined the ball was loose before the shot to the head, meaning Rodgers was no longer a passer.
However, Bertrand Berry had an explicit hit to the QB's head two plays before the fumble — a 14-yard pass to Jarrett Bush on 2nd-and-10 that was called back for holding.
Replay is not available to determine facemask or roughing the passer infractions. This seems a bit silly, especially because facemask penalties are so easily recognizable.
Adams, who was repeatedly torched by Green Bay receivers, believes God was on his side, according to the Arizona Republic. He even went so far as to say that Neil Rackers shanked a 34-yarder wide left at the end of regulation on purpose to give him a shot at redemption.
Said Adams: "I think Neil missed the kick on purpose just to give me another chance."
And Rodgers must have kicked the ball on purpose to make Dansby's catch that much easier. Yea, right.
Here are a few other notes on yesterday's wild game:
-The 96 total points were a playoff record, one more than a 58-37 Eagles' win over the Lions on Dec. 30, 1995.
-Rodgers, who was 28 of 42 for 422 yards and four TDs, threw an interception on his first career postseason pass. But his 422 passing yards are a franchise high for the playoffs. Brett Favre's playoff high as a Packer was 331 yards.
-The Packers scored 28 points in an 11:24 stretch from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth quarter.
-It was the second-quickest finish in an overtime playoff game, and the second time one ended on a defensive TD. The other was when the Packers' Al Harris returned a Matt Hasselbeck interception 52 yards in a 2003 win over Seattle at Lambeau Field.
-Warner's five touchdowns tied a career-high. He did it once before in the postseason as well.
-A game in which there was a combined 1,024 yards ended with a defensive touchdown.
-Six different players scored touchdowns for Green Bay yesterday — two rushing (Rodgers, John Kuhn) and four receiving (Greg Jennings, James Jones, Spencer Havner, Jordy Nelson) — but Ryan Grant and Donald Driver, who led the Packers with 11 and six touchdowns, respectively, did not score. To put this in perspective, only eight different players scored TDs for the Rams all season.
-Green Bay faced deficits of 17 in the first and second quarters, 21 in the third quarter and seven in the fourth quarter before forcing overtime.
-Rackers' missed FG was his first of the season, as was Dansby's fumble recovery.