(Update) Packers head into needed bye week off 31-17 win over ArizonaWisconsin Sports
-- The Green Bay Packers enter their bye week with four straight victories, and three new injuries to key starters after a 31-17 home win over Arizona yesterday.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers enter their bye week with four straight victories, and three new injuries to key starters after a 31-17 home win over Arizona yesterday.
All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews left with a bad hamstring. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga went out with a hip injury. And receiver Jordy Nelson hurt an ankle on the first pass thrown to him since he missed a game with an injured hamstring.
The Packer offense still kept rolling, as Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes. And they finally found a running game, with 176 yards on the ground – the most for the Packers in just over three years. James Starks started at running back and had 17 carries for 61 yards. Alex Green ran 11 times for 53 yards. Rodgers completed 14-of-30 passes for 218 yards and an interception, his first in 131 passing attempts.
The Packers never trailed. They built up a 24-7 lead soon after halftime. Arizona got to within a touchdown on a 31-yard scoring catch and a chip-shot field goal from Jay Feely. But the Packers put the game away late in the third quarter with a 72-yard TD pass to tight end Tom Crabtree on his 27th birthday. It was the Pack's longest pass play this year – and it was the longest catch by a Green Bay tight end since 1979, when Paul Coffman caught a 78-yarder. Randall Cobb caught two TD passes, and James Jones had the other – his eighth, which ties Jones with A.J. Green of Cincinnati for the most in the league. Cardinals' quarterback John Skelton threw for 306 yards and a pick. The Packers outgained Arizona 384 yards to 340 -- and the Cards had 122 fewer yards on the ground.
The Packers improved to 6-3. They'll get a week off to try and heal, and they'll play at Detroit on November 18th. Arizona also has a bye this coming week – and they'll try to look for answers after losing five straight, and dropping to 4-5.
Green Bay moved into sole possession of second place in the NFC North after their win over Arizona. The Packers are now 6-3 – and they’re still a game-and-a-half behind first-place Chicago. The Bears improved to 7-1 after crushing the Titans in Tennessee 51-20. Minnesota dropped to third place at 5-4, after losing at Seattle 30-20. And last-place Detroit improved to 4-4 with a 31-14 win at Jacksonville.
Brandon Marshall scored three touchdowns for the Bears, as he hauled in nine passes for 122 yards. Brian Urlacher had his second career touchdown off an interception. Former University of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson torched the Vikings for three touchdown passes. He completed 16-of-24 passes for 173 yards, and two of his scores went to Golden Tate. Adrian Peterson had 182 yards and two TD’s for Minnesota, which has lost two straight. Running back Mikel Leshoure had a career day for the Lions, rushing for 70 yards and three touchdowns.
There’s no word on how severe the injuries were to three Green Bay starters in yesterday’s win over Arizona. Packers’ All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews suffered another hamstring injury in the third quarter. This was the first of his four NFL seasons in which he made it through training camp without hurting a hammy. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga left in the second quarter with a hip problem – and receiver Jordy Nelson only had one chance to catch a pass before hurting an ankle. It was not immediately clear whether any of the injured starters would have to miss the Packers’ next game on November 18th at Detroit. The Packers are on their bye this week, and coach Mike McCarthy gave his team the entire week off. Except for those needing treatment, the players don’t have to return to Lambeau until next Monday. Bulaga’s injury marked the first time that anyone on the Packers’ starting offensive line missed a snap this season. Left guard T.J. Lang moved to right tackle, and Evan Dietrich-Smith filled the spot at left guard. Rookie Dezman Moses replaced Matthews.
In just his second year, Randall Cobb is on pace to break the Green Bay Packers’ record for all-purpose yards in a season. Cobb has 1,363 receiving, rushing, and kick return yards through nine games – and he’s on pace to break Ahman Green’s record of 2,250 yards from 2003. The NFL record is 2,696 yards, set by Darren Sproles of New Orleans a year ago. Cobb would need to average just over 190-yards in his last seven games to set a new league record. He’s averaging 151 all-purpose yards at the moment. Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy says Cobb offers great flexibility. He says the coaches need to be smart about the number of times he gets the ball – but he said Cobb is a playmaker and quote, “Playmakers need the ball in their hands.” Cobb amassed 202 all-purpose yards yesterday in Green Bay’s win over Arizona. That was his third-highest total of the season. So far, Cobb has 556 yards on kickoff returns, 500 in receiving yards, 211 on punt returns, and 96 yards in rushing.