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Winning streak hits four; Packers-Cardinals post-game notes & quotes

Posted by Duke Bobber on November 4, 2012 – 6:03 pm

PACKERS EXTEND WINNING STREAK TO FOUR GAMES AS THEY HEAD INTO BYE
– Green Bay beat Arizona, 31-17, today at Lambeau Field to improve to 6-3 on the season. The Packers have won four straight games and five of their last six contests.
– This marks the third straight year that the Packers won their game heading into the bye week. Green Bay is 5-2 (.714) under Head Coach Mike McCarthy heading into the open date on the schedule.
– It also marks the second straight season the Packers have entered the bye on a winning streak of four games or better (seven-game streak in 2011), the only team in the NFL to do so in 2011-12.
– With the victory, the Packers have won 17 of their last 18 regular-season games (.944) at Lambeau Field and 23 of their last 27 regular-season games overall (.852).
– Including playoffs, Green Bay improved to 7-0 all-time against the Cardinals at Lambeau Field.
– Green Bay will enjoy its bye in Week 10. The Packers next take the field on Sunday, Nov. 18, when they travel to Detroit to take on the Lions at Ford Field at noon (CST).

OTHER POST-GAME NOTES:
– Today’s paid attendance was 70,504. It was the 307th consecutive sellout (290 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
– The Packers’ 176 rushing yards on the afternoon were the most in a game since the team posted 202 yards on the ground at Cleveland on Oct. 25, 2009.
– Green Bay had four players rush for 25-plus yards (Starks, Green, Rodgers, Cobb) for the first time since Nov. 2, 2003, at Minnesota (Green, Driver, Davenport, Fisher).
– The Packers’ 126 rushing yards in the first half were the most in a first half since Green Bay posted 134 yards on the ground vs. Detroit (Dec. 28, 2008).
– Green Bay’s 39 rushing attempts were the most in a game since 41 at Cleveland on Oct. 25, 2009.
– QB Aaron Rodgers has thrown 22 TD passes over the last six games, the most in franchise history by a Packers QB over a six-game span in a single season. The previous high was 20 by Rodgers (twice in 2011) and Brett Favre (1996).
– Rodgers threw a TD pass in his 34th consecutive regular-season game at home, further extending his franchise record. It is the longest streak in the NFL since Dolphins QB Dan Marino’s 39-game streak from 1983-88.
– TE Tom Crabtree’s 72-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was the longest reception by a Packer this season and the longest by a Green Bay tight end since Paul Coffman’s 78-yard TD catch at Miami on Oct. 28, 1979.
– WR Randall Cobb matched his career high (Week 7 at St. Louis, 2012) with two TD catches. Cobb has five TD catches over the past three games.
– With his 10-yard reception in the second quarter, WR Donald Driver reached the 5,000-yard receiving mark at Lambeau Field. He is the only player in franchise history to reach the 5,000-yard mark at the stadium.
– WR James Jones’ touchdown catch in the second quarter was his career-high eighth TD grab this season, topping his previous best of seven in 2011.
– K Mason Crosby reached the 700-point mark for his career in his 89th career game. That is the second fastest to 700 points in franchise history behind only RB Paul Hornung (87 games).
– LB Erik Walden posted his first career interception when he picked off QB John Skelton in the third quarter.
– The Packers were flagged for a season-low one penalty (5 yards). Green Bay has been penalized 13 times over the past four games.
– With a plus-one turnover differential on Sunday, the Packers won the turnover battle or came out even for the 25th time in their last 27 regular-season games.

 

POST-GAME QUOTES

GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(opening statement) “I felt today was a very demanding victory for us. I was very proud of the football team, the way we battled through a number of situations, dealing with injuries throughout the game. We had a number of players going in and out of the game. Some players obviously did not return. I thought the communication and adjustments throughout the game were a real tribute to our players and the communication of the staff. Offensively, we felt we had the game going the way we wanted to there in the first half and had some challenges as far as the personnel substitution. It really started when Bryan Bulaga went down with the injury. There’s some situations, particularly short yardage, where we need to improve on. We could have helped ourselves there from a coaching staff standpoint, being more flexible than we were today as far as different personnel. I thought it was a good outing for the offense. Special teams did a great job. We have a lot of respect for (Patrick) Peterson and their return game. I thought our guys did a very good job – I haven’t seen it, but I would think we won the field position battle. Defensively, I thought it definitely started up front. We had the injury to Clay (Matthews) and we wanted to try to make Arizona one dimensional and get into a passing game. Obviously, that’s the way the game went in the second half. It was a good team victory. We need to get healthy, that’s what bye weeks are for. We’re 6-3 and we’ve got time to evaluate, step back, clean some things up and get set for the third quarter as we head to Detroit.”

(on if the team needs a bye as badly as it ever has) “I think you always need a bye.  It’s important to always take a step back and get healthy. Everybody is usually beat up going into the bye. We’ve had some significant injuries, too many for our liking. It’s where we are, so yes, we’re very pleased to be where we are right now.”

(on the play of WR Randall Cobb) “Randall Cobb is a playmaker, that’s how we view him. Playmakers need the ball in their hands. He gives you great flexibility as far as where you can play him. He’s continued to get better as a receiver week in and week out. He played injured today and that tells you a lot about him. Once again, we have to be smart how many times he gets the ball in his hands, but we’re making a conscientious effort to do that.”

(on his assessment of the running game) “I was pleased with the rushing effort today. We went with tandem backs with James Starks and Alex Green and played them in different situations. We just tried to make sure we were able to get those guys prepared during the week for today’s game. We had a number of snaps back there also for Randall and I thought he was definitely productive in his opportunities. That’s the way you want to run the ball. Aaron obviously made some plays with his feet and added to the total, but I was very pleased with the rushing effort.”

(on TE Tom Crabtree’s touchdown reception) “It was just excellent execution. They went to a coverage that we were trying to hit and we hit it. It was a matter of the execution between the run fake, and Tom doing a great job with the release and setting the right angle. Aaron gave him a good, clean ball for him to not break stride and score with. It was just excellent execution by the players.”

 

PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on the resiliency of the team with the injuries) “We had a lot of guys step up. You’ve got to give Evan Dietrich-Smith a lot of credit for coming in there at left guard. I’m excited for him. He brings a lot of energy and he’s been itching to get in there. He’s been in on some packages; we’ve had him at a fullback position, but it says a lot about him. You’ve got to give T.J. (Lang) credit going from left guard to right tackle. He’s our swing guy where he can go left tackle, right tackle, and obviously left guard, and he plays some center in practice. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit. He did a nice job outside. I thought the line blocked really well. We had a lot of attempts in the run game and had some good yards there. Passing, it was bad. I wasn’t on today, didn’t make a lot of good throws. We’ve got to do a better job there. We cashed in in the red zone pretty well, but we had a chance to put them away there and couldn’t do it.

(on diving on the fumble) “That was, in that situation, probably my best play of the game unfortunately. No joke, I visualize that play, making a play like that, just coming around on the back side of my keep fake there after I hand it off. I saw the ball come out and it was like slow motion for me. I saw the ball tipped and tried to get in position to scoop and cover.”

(on how he evaluates his performance) “I didn’t throw it very well today. I threw it in the dirt, got Jordy (Nelson) hurt and then just was off. I wasn’t in a great rhythm. I made a couple decent throws for touchdowns but, it wasn’t one of my better games.”

(on whether the run game factored into the TD by TE Tom Crabtree) “Oh, 100 percent that was the reason. I’ve got to give Mike (McCarthy) a lot of credit for a great call in that situation. The way they were playing, they wanted to keep a two-shell but to add an extra guy in the box area, they were creeping their corner in there on run action. We saw it and we talked about that play at halftime and were able to call it and dial it up in a perfect situation. The corner crashed, we made a fake, Crabby (Crabtree) did a nice job of bluffing Paris (Lenon) there and I was able to put the ball in a good spot.”

(on how often they get WR Randall Cobb in a 1-on-1 situation) “We had it a couple times. We had it in the last incompletion, a chance to finish the game right there and I missed him. He usually wins those opportunities. He does a really good job for us. We’d have liked to connect a couple more on the first drive of the game. As I moved to my left I was hoping he was going to sit down. He was moving to his right. I just missed him there, which could have been a touchdown and missed him a couple other times. Any time we can get the ball in his hands it usually turns out pretty good. You saw again today, he ran the ball really well. He’s a weapon for us.”

(on his expectations for the second half of the season) “Five of the seven are division games, which are always interesting, and we’ve got to go on the road for three of them. We control our own destiny. We have a chance to make a run at the division title, which is always our first goal when we start the season – get a home playoff game and go from there. We’re 6-3, we know we’d like to get to 10 wins as quickly as possible and then we start talking about postseason. We’re going to try and find some consistency, especially on offense. Defense, when they play like they did today, they’re going to give us a good chance to win every week.”

(on if he’s happy with where they’re sitting considering the adversity) “I like where we’re at. We had some adversity early in the season. We’ve come together and taken some heat, and it’s brought us closer together and we’ve went on the kind of run we need to go on with four big wins in a row to get to the bye week. Now we can get healthy and hopefully we get some of our guys back. I know Jordy’s (Nelson) close, John Kuhn, Charles (Woodson), Greg (Jennings). We’ll see what Bryan’s (Bulaga) status is but we’ve got a lot of guys who we’re going to add back in the mix. We could really take off.”

(on if there’s ever been a better time for a bye week) “Probably not. This was a good time for it. You like the later bye weeks because it breaks up the season almost halfway. We had a nice mini bye week early in the season after playing Chicago. The schedule has been a little more favorable to us the last few weeks and we’ll look forward to getting some mental and physical refreshing the next seven days and look forward to getting back here.”

(on if it’s a relief to not play his best and still win by 2 TDs) “Yeah it is, but I’ve got to play better. We said at halftime these are the kind of games where you can really put teams away if you play the way you want to play, and we didn’t do that in the second half. We kind of gave them a reason to hang around and hang around and our defense had a big stop there to keep it to a seven-point lead. We were able to make a play to get it back to 14, but we need to do a better job of closing out games like this, especially when they’re giving us the opportunity to.”

(on how bad he needs a bye from a physical standpoint) “Today I felt as good as I’ve felt since Week 1. I’ve been dealing with some calf stuff for a few weeks, and it was nice to feel good this week. Nine games in we’re all a little tired and banged up, and it’s always nice to not only get physically healthy but mentally, just to be able to take that step away and come back with a renewed focus.”

(on if he needs a mental break from the grind of the season) “It’s always a grind for me. I put a lot of time into it. I care about it. I prepare to be successful every week and I’m going to be real critical of this game and try to find ways to do better. I don’t like to make excuses about who’s in there and who’s not in there, but I’m excited about the guys coming back and knowing that I need to play better in the second half of the season. You can’t have the kind of missed throws that I had today and expect to win consistently in those division games.”

 

PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER RANDALL COBB:
(on his first touchdown catch) “First of all, that was supposed to be (Donald Driver’s) touchdown. He gave that to me. We broke the huddle and I’m going to line up in my spot and Driver pushed me out and told me to go get it. He gave me the opportunity and I caught it.”

(on overcoming injuries) “That’s a big thing for us. We always talk about the next guy up. We never want to lose anybody, we never want to see any injuries, but when it happens the next guy has to step up and play to the best of his ability.”

(on getting the win heading into the bye week) “That’s big for us. That’s something we were looking forward to, going into the bye at 6-3. We get this week to recover, get a lot of guys back healthy and a couple weeks from now we’ve just got to get back at it.”

(on how the run game helped open up the passing game) “Our running game picked up this week, and that’s something that we’ve been trying to do for the past few weeks. We got it going today and it opened up the passing game a little bit.”

 

PACKERS TIGHT END TOM CRABTREE:
(on if he thought he was going to be caught on his touchdown catch) “Oh yeah I knew I was – and I was. The DB was catching me. I kind of fell and I made sure I had the ball secured. I was kind of peeking over my shoulder. I knew it was going to be close getting to that goal line. I knew I wouldn’t hear the end of it if I got tackled at the two or the one, so I had to get in there.”

(on the importance of his touchdown) “It gave us the boost we needed and hopefully it kind of secured the win for us.”

 

PACKERS RUNNING BACK ALEX GREEN:
(on how many touches the running backs had today) “It shows the confidence (the coaches) have in us. We know what kind of backs we have in the backfield here. We know what kind of O-line we have. It’s just a team effort. The coaches know what’s going on down here. They know we have a chance to be great in the run game as well as the pass game and that’s what they’re trying to get through our heads and emphasize.”

(on the offensive line’s performance) “They did a great job. They always have. It’s just a matter of me in particular, and the running backs, reading the right holes, making the right cuts and getting up field as quickly as possible.”

(on getting to 6-3 before the bye week) “It’s definitely a great accomplishment for us. It gives us some momentum going into the bye week. It gives us something to look forward to going to Detroit. It’s an away game and it’s going to be a tough challenge for us. Getting this win today at home sets a good standard for the first half of the season and we’re looking forward to the second half of the season.”

 

PACKERS LINEBACKER A.J. HAWK:
(on the goal line stand in the fourth quarter) “That was definitely a big stop. If you want to stop them on a short-yardage situation the defensive line has to do a great job and they did an awesome job all day and they have all year. It just makes our job as linebackers easier. When the defensive line is on fire like they are it’s a good thing for your team.”

(on where the team is heading into the bye week) “There have definitely been some ups and downs, but that’s the NFL. It’s crazy. Crazy things happen, and it’s up to us to not really get on that roller coaster of ups and downs. We need to stay where we are and stay even keel. If we stick to our plan we’ll be fine, and I think we’ve shown that over these last four weeks. Now it’s up to us to keep this momentum and keep rolling.”

 

PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JAMES JONES:
(on where he ranks his touchdown catch among his other great catches this season) “I don’t rank them. I’m just glad I’m making them and putting points on the board for my teammates and helping my teammates win.”

(on the versatility of WR Randall Cobb) “Randall is playmaker. He’s a mismatch problem for a lot of people. He can play wide receiver, running back, kickoff return, punt return and does them all well. He’s not just good at punt returning, he’s a great receiver. Having him on our team, it’s going to be tough to stop us.”

(on TE Tom Crabtree’s touchdown catch) “He was probably about a four-nine (40-yard dash) running down there, but hey, he got seven and that’s all that matters. We definitely needed that. They were getting after us in the second half. We were struggling. We definitely needed that big play to put some points on the board.”

 

PACKERS RUNNING BACK JAMES STARKS:
(on if he expected to get the start today) “No. We had a game plan. Alex (Green) was doing his thing, I was doing my thing. We just stuck to it. We were just supposed to go out there and run hard and get every yard that we can get and run downhill. That’s what we tried to do.”

(on the importance of the running game today) “I think we did a good job as a team. We opened up the pass, getting guys open. At the end of the day the line did a great job making those holes for us.”

(on if he thought he would get another opportunity to run the ball after fumbling) “I didn’t know. I was just hoping and praying that I didn’t lose any opportunities. It’s tough getting a fumble and then not going back in, but coach had faith in me. He put me back out there and I got to contribute, so I’m thankful for that.”

 

PACKERS CORNERBACK TRAMON WILLIAMS:
(on if this season has been worse than 2010 in terms of injuries) “I don’t know. I think we’ve had more core guys injured this year who were producing more in the starting lineup. We’ve got some important people hurt right now, but we’re getting guys in to get experience. Guys are showing up, showing they can get the job done and down the stretch we’ll need that.”

(on the strong play of CB Casey Hayward) “Casey is one of the guys who picked up the defense well. He’s playing in different positions and is doing an excellent job at it. Obviously he has a nose for the ball. He’s out there producing. We’re definitely going to need him in the long run.”

(on what was said when LB Clay Matthews went down with an injury) “When you lose a guy like that there’s not much that needs to be said. Everyone knows they need to step up, whether it’s a little bit or a lot. Everyone knows they need to step up at some point.”

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT:
(on the game today) “Obviously we didn’t start out fast, which was something we tried to make a point of after coming off a short week. I thought we battled. I know at one point in the third quarter it didn’t look good, especially after Dave (Zastudil) hit a bad punt, but our guys hung in there and fought.”

(on the difference in the game) “I think today was a lot about us not making the plays when we had to make them, and they did. They made some great catches, the quarterback made some good throws. We had some dropped balls, we jumped offsides on third down – all things that we are going to work to correct. We’re going to correct it with the guys that will do that.”

(on QB John Skelton) “He made good decisions, he was good in the pocket and he made some good throws. Obviously it wasn’t good enough. I just think about what would have happened if four or five of those balls would have been caught.”

(on making a change at quarterback) “I don’t know if the way that John played today would warrant that. We feel like we’re going to go forward looking for the guys that can help us win. If that comes up in that situation, then we will certainly consider it.”

(on defense making adjustments in the second half the last two games) “There’s no question we were a better defense in the second half. We made mistakes, we didn’t tackle, and that’s something we need to do a better job of.”

(on the little things being the difference in the game today) “That’s like a broken record. If you look at the five games that we’ve lost, the one thing that’s consistent is that we have had opportunities to make plays and we haven’t done it. Green Bay is a good football team, but today was as much about what we didn’t do as what they did do.”

 

CARDINALS QUARTERBACK JOHN SKELTON:
(on fighting back in the second half) “The way we’ve been battling, we’ve had drives and we just haven’t been able to capitalize. That’s kind of been the story all year.”

(on missed opportunities) “We knew playing the Packers’ offense the way they hold onto the ball and sustain long drives we weren’t going to get too many opportunities, especially in the second half. We had some shots, had some guys open down field and we know we have to get some type of points on the board. Like I said, they have to be touchdowns instead of field goals.”

(on getting into a rhythm in the second half) “We knew what they were going to do in the second half. They left some stuff open down the field. A lot of times it’s just getting the five or six yards on a pass and moving on to the next play.”

(on getting past the drops) “You know drops are part of the game, guys missing blocks is part of the game and making bad throws is part of the game, it’s how you respond from them. I don’t think we responded well enough. A second down drop can’t lead to a third down drop, can’t lead to a third down sack or a bad ball. We just have to overcome those mistakes and continue to keep drives going.”

 

CARDINALS WIDE RECEIVER EARLY DOUCET:
(on fighting back from being down 17 points) “I think that is just kind of the team we are. Going back to last year we always had rough starts, but in the second half we always found a way to make the plays that we didn’t make in the first half. When you get behind on a team like Green Bay at home, it is tough to overcome. We made some strides, but that is not the type of football that we wanted to play.”

(on Arizona’s five-game losing streak) “We just need to play our kind of football. We need to play the type of football that we played the first four games. We played close games. We won games by a couple of points. We need to get back to that football team. Everybody has to look at themselves in the mirror and find ways that we can get better individually and do our jobs to allow our team to be successful.”

(on QB John Skelton)” I thought he played well. He is the leader of the team. He takes control. It was rough for him, but he is the type of guy that will stand there and fight to make plays when he is given the opportunity. Personally, I thought I had a couple of plays that I let get away from me. I need to do my job. Everyone needs to do better individually to make his job a lot easier. That is pretty much what it all boils down to.”

 

CARDINALS CORNERBACK WILLIAM GAY:
(on TE Tom Crabtree’s long touchdown catch) “That is what you call good football. They got us. That is what the nature of the game is. Today they came up with some big plays. You have to congratulate them. We will go back and watch film and try to get out of this slump.”

(on the defense) “We are a good defense. We wanted to come out and try to execute as well as possible. We had a great plan for them and we just came up on the short end of the stick today.”

(on the loss) “We aren’t happy at all. We have a bye week, so we just need to regroup. We have some big games coming up. It is November football, so we need to start putting some wins together. We need to get better on defense. That is something that we need to correct.”

 

CARDINALS LINEBACKER O’BRIEN SCHOFIELD:
(on the loss) “They have a great quarterback. We knew that coming in. Our game plan was to try to get after him and put some pressure on him. We were able to do that at certain times, but not consistently today.”

(on Green Bay’s rushing attack) “Honestly, I didn’t think that they would be able to run it. I thought we would be able to shut that down and force them into throwing. Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback and he managed the game well today.”

(on the first half) “We have to win early. We can’t let guys score early, and if they do, we need to turn those touchdowns into field goals. We can’t allow teams to get up seven on us and put the offense behind. The offense was able to move the ball really good, but we can’t put them in a hole like that.”


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