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News now! Cardinals explode for 38-8 lead after three

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 27, 2015 – 5:53 pm

151227-q3-in-game-updates-650GLENDALE, Ariz. — Three third-quarter turnovers by the Packers staked the Cardinals to a 38-8 lead heading into the fourth quarter of today’s game at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

James Starks fumbled on the first play from scrimmage to start the second half. Arizona recovered and returned the fumble 5 yards to the Packers 28. Two plays later, David Johnson ran 14 yards for a touchdown, and the Cardinals had a commanding, 24-0 lead.

The Packers’ deep passing game came to life with a 38-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams. Adams underscored the Packers’ deep-pass frustration  by spiking the ball, a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty.

A couple of scrambles by Aaron Rodgers moved the ball to near midfield. On third-and-7, Rodgers was sacked and stripped of the ball, which was recovered by defensive lineman Cory Redding and returned 36 yards for a touchdown. With 9:34 to play in the third quarter, the Cardinals led, 31-0.

Tackle Bryan Bulaga sustained an ankle injury and his return was questionable. Josh Walker replaced Bulaga and JC Tretter replaced Walker late in the quarter.

The Packers scored on a 28-yard screen pass from Rodgers to Eddie Lacy to put the Packers on the board with 6:31 to play. Rodgers threw to James Jones for two points, 31-8.

Arizona tacked on another defensive touchdown when Dwight Freeney sacked Rodgers and stripped him of the ball. Cornerback Jerraud Powers returned the fumble 7 yards for a touchdown.

Rodgers was sacked for the seventh time in the game. Scott Tolzien was warming up along the sideline but Rodgers returned to the game.

The Cardinals punctuated the quarter with a goal-line stand.

Posted in Packers.com Blog

News now! Packers miss chance, Cardinals score late for 17-0 halftime lead

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 27, 2015 – 4:50 pm

151227-q2-in-game-updates-650GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Packers blew a huge chance to score, and the Cardinals drove the other way for a touchdown with just 6 seconds left in the first half to take a 17-0 lead on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The Cardinals began the second quarter with a first-and-goal on the Green Bay 10-yard line and took it in for the score. QB Carson Palmer found WR Larry Fitzgerald for a 3-yard TD pass on third down, getting Arizona on the board first.

Just prior to the score, the Packers announced that DT B.J. Raji was in the locker room being evaluated for a concussion. He was hit on the final play of the first quarter and left the game. Later in the quarter, it was announced Raji did have a concussion and was out for the rest of the game.

The Packers next possession was bogged down by a holding penalty, the second on the offensive line in the game. A third-down sack followed by DT Calais Campbell, who beat a double-team of C Corey Linsley and RG T.J. Lang, and the Packers had to punt.

The Cardinals drove for a field goal to extend their lead. Passes of 11 and 17 yards to WR Michael Floyd followed by a 29-yard catch-and-run by RB David Johnson made it first-and-goal. The Packers defense stiffened, though, with S Morgan Burnett breaking up a third-down pass at the goal line intended for Johnson, and Arizona settled for a 19-yard FG by K Chandler Cantanzaro for a 10-0 lead.

Green Bay crossed midfield for the second time in the game, thanks to a 7-yard run for a first down on a fake punt by P Tim Masthay, but the drive stalled there. Campbell recorded sacks on back-to-back plays to push the Packers back, and Masthay had to punt for real at the two-minute warning.

The Packers got the ball right back, though. DT Mike Daniels reached up and snagged an intended screen pass for an interception, returning it to the Arizona 15-yard line. The Cardinals turned them away, however, as CB Justin Bethel picked off Rodgers’ third-down pass in the end zone intended for WR James Jones, and the Packers got nothing on their best scoring chance of the game.

Arizona got moving again right away, as Floyd gained 47 yards on a catch and run over the middle, and then gained nine more to the Green Bay 24. A defensive holding call gave the Cardinals a first down on the 19, and Palmer hit Fitzgerald for a gain of 12 to make it first-and-goal on the 7 with 22 seconds left.

Palmer then found Brown for the TD on third down with 6 seconds left, giving the Cardinals a 17-0 halftime lead.


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Offense needs to achieve balance

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 27, 2015 – 4:37 pm

150813-ask-vic-halfPatrick from Ashland, WI

The Patriots chose to kick to the clock! They don’t read “Ask Vic,” I guess.

I’m still gathering  information on what happened with that overtime coin toss but, yes, it appears to be an Abner Haynes “kick to the clock” moment. It’s amazing! I never thought I would see it happen again. Who was it that wanted to do away with the overtime coin toss?

Ken from Des Moines, IA

What do you think, Vic, about a third of the stadium Packers fans?

I think it might be the most Packers fans at a road game in the five years I’ve covered the team. I’ll know more when the Packers score a touchdown. I have every confidence they will.

Tom from Bismarck, ND

Vic, so you say this is a well-coached team. You say the GM is outstanding. Well, you work for them. Good for you. Personally, I would disagree with you on both counts. But, we do have Rodgers, so I suppose all you have to do is look at 10 wins every year and thumb your nose at me.


Casper from Langeskov, Denmark

Vic, I noticed Jordy Nelson was traveling with the team. Is it normal for a player on IR to be on the road with the team?


Tony from West Des Moines, IA

How many more times are we going to have to watch a Richard Rodgers screen for 2 yards?

Hang in there. You can make it.

Eric from Savannah, TX

I’m calm. We’re not out-matched.

No, but the ball has to start moving. You can’t play defense all day and expect to win.

Jeremy from Middletown, RI

Same crap, different day. Rodgers’ inaccurate, receivers can’t create separation or catch, and quick to abandon the run. Our offense is hurting our defense worse than the Cardinals defense. Will these guys ever figure things out, or should we just plan on one-and-done?

I think we’ll have an idea of where this team stands within the next two hours.

Alex from Sam Tan Valley, AZ

Vic, this Packers fan sitting in front of me is negative. “Our line stinks, Jake Ryan stinks.” I’m just excited to be at the game and watch my beloved Packers.

Watch and hope. What else can you do?

Kevin from Spokane, WA

I knew Arizona was really good, but watching them play, wow!

I get the sense they have another gear left in them.

Tom from Two Rivers, WI

Is it time to turn off the game and do something more entertaining, like banging my head against the wall?

It hurts, but it feels so good when you stop.

Nathan from Baltimore, MD

Who does David Johnson remind you of, and how do you stop him?

I see some Emmitt Smith. You tackle him.

Jason from Milwaukee, WI

With an offense that lacks both precision and explosiveness, would a slightly more aggressive Aaron possibly give a better shot for scoring? I understand his desire to avoid bad decisions, but a little gunslinger in this particular version of Packers offense might be necessary.

You’re thinking with your heart. I don’t see open receivers.

Cam from Long Beach, CA

I think our offense needs to step up to help our defense. What do you think?

This offense needs to make a play. It needs someone to make one big play. It would change everything. Maybe that Mike Daniels interception will kick-start the offense.

Dean from Brenham, TX

Defense and special teams each took the field with high energy today, but I’m struggling to figure out the offensive game plan. Do you think we will see more dink and dunk or even screen passes in the second half?

The game plan is to mix run and pass. The passing game is not providing the balance the run game needs.


Posted in Packers.com Blog

News now! Packers, Cardinals scoreless after one

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 27, 2015 – 3:57 pm

151227-q1-in-game-updates-650GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Packers and Cardinals were scoreless following one quarter of play today, but the Cardinals were at the Packers 10-yard line when the quarter ended.

Arizona won the toss and elected to receive. The Packers defense forced a three-and-out and following a Cardinals punt, the Packers had the ball at their 40-yard line.

Aaron Rodgers threw to James Jones for a first down at the Cardinals 46. On third-and-3, Rodgers threw for a first down, but Josh Sitton was flagged for holding. Rodgers’ pass for Davante Adams on third-and-13 was incomplete, forcing a Tim Masthay punt that was downed at the Cardinals 5.

Carson Palmer pitched a short pass to David Johnson, who broke three tackles en route to a 44-yard gain to the Packers 35. On third-and-4, Palmer was sacked by Mike Neal, forcing a punt that was downed on the Packers 4.

The Cardinals took possession at the 50 following a punt and a facemask penalty against the Packers.

Posted in Packers.com Blog

Pregame warmup: David Bakhtiari to miss first game, start of career

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 27, 2015 – 2:28 pm

GLENDALE, Ariz. — While Packers’ left tackle David Bakhtiari will miss the first start in his three-year career today in Arizona, Don Barclay will make the first start of his four-year career at left tackle.

Since arriving as a fourth-round draft pick in 2013, Bakhtiari has started every game of his career, 49 in all, including playoffs. An ankle injury from last week’s game in Oakland will keep him on the sidelines today.

Barclay, an undrafted free agent who made the team in 2012, has started 25 career games, but all have been at right tackle. He has played some left tackle in the preseason and regular season in the past, but he has never started a game there. After missing all of 2014 due to a knee injury, Barclay will be making his sixth start of 2015, with the previous five all coming at right tackle in place of Bryan Bulaga.

Playoff picture: Whether or not tonight’s Giants-Vikings game has any bearing on the Packers’ playoff prospects will depend on the Packers-Cardinals result.

If the Packers win, the Vikings will need to win to stay alive in the NFC North race and force a division-title-deciding game next week at Lambeau Field. If the Packers lose, the Giants-Vikings game means nothing as far as the Packers are concerned.

Four different seeds in the NFC playoff field are in play for the Packers heading into today’s game. For a rundown on all the possibilities, check out this week’s “Path to the Playoffs.”

Long time: This is the Packers’ first trip to Arizona since the 2009 NFC Wild Card game, a 51-45 overtime loss that still ranks as the highest scoring playoff game in NFL history. It was QB Aaron Rodgers’ first postseason game.

Strangely enough, that trip was the third for the Packers in the 2009 season, having visited in the preseason and in Week 17, one week before the playoff game.

Since those three visits in one year, though, the Packers haven’t been back, until today. Should the Packers lose today, which would give the Cardinals a first-round playoff bye, it’s possible the Packers could be coming back here again if they win in the wild-card round in two weeks.

TV map: Here is the FOX TV map for the late-afternoon broadcast window, courtesy of 506sports.com.

Posted in Packers.com Blog

Barclay gets the start at left tackle; Packers-Cardinals inactives

Posted by Duke Bobber on December 27, 2015 – 1:54 pm

151227-barclay-950The following players have been declared as inactive for Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Arizona Cardinals:

Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers
7 QB Brett Hundley
37 CB Sam Shields
55 LB Andy Mulumba
69 T David Bakhtiari
80 TE Justin Perillo
86 TE Kennard Backman
91 LB Jayrone Elliott

Starting lineup changes: #23 Damarious Randall will start in place of #37 Sam Shields at cornerback. #67 Don Barclay will start in place of #69 David Bakhtiari at left tackle.

Arizona Cardinals
9 QB Matt Barkley
26 S Rashad Johnson
27 CB Corey White
47 OLB Shaq Riddick
74 T D.J. Humphries
94 NT Xavier Williams
97 DT Josh Mauro

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Posted in Packers.com Blog

Packers captains selected for Arizona game

Posted by Duke Bobber on December 27, 2015 – 12:00 pm


As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week. Today’s captains will be G Josh Sitton (offense), CB Casey Hayward (defense) and LB Joe Thomas (special teams).

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Posted in Packers.com Blog

Where to find Packers-Cardinals on TV

Posted by Duke Bobber on December 25, 2015 – 3:25 pm

151224-phoenix-950– Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 27 at 3:25 p.m. CT

Click here for the Packers-Cardinals game center

– Watch a replay of the game on your desktop, connected TV, tablet or smartphones with NFL GamePass. Start your free trial today.

– If you’re looking for a bar to watch the game, try www.packerseverywhere.comPackers Everywhere was created to let you know where you can gather with other Packers fans to watch games and have all kinds of other Packers-related fun.

– FOX Sports, now in its 22nd season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game.

– Play-by-play man Joe Buck joins color commentator Troy Aikman and sideline reporter Erin Andrews.

– Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in five states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) call the action. McCarren first joined the team’s broadcasts in 1995 and enters his 21st season calling Packers’ games. McCarren has four times been voted Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. After originally being paired together in 1999, McCarren and Larrivee enter their 17th season of broadcasts together.

– Westwood One Sports will air the game across the country. John Sadak (play-by-play) and Mark Malone (analyst) will call the action and Scott Graham will host pre-game and halftime shows.

– The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed).

– DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game on channel 715.

– TV map courtesy of 506sports.com:


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Posted in Packers.com Blog

News now! Mike McCarthy welcomes energy of Christmas

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on December 24, 2015 – 9:51 am

150930-nn1-650GREEN BAY — No bah humbug in Mike McCarthy.

“I don’t think it’s a distraction,” McCarthy said of  Christmas falling two days before the Packers’ big game in Arizona. “I think it’s a big dose of positive energy. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. Those types of things make you dial in and focus. I think it’s a complete jolt of positive energy we’re all blessed to have at this time of the year.”

The Packers will face the 12-2 Cardinals on Sunday, in a game that could determine the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. With a win, the Cardinals will clinch the No. 2 seed. A Packers win would allow them to grab the No. 2 seed with a win over the Vikings and a Cardinals loss to the Seahawks in Week 17.

“I think Arizona is an excellent football team. Very balanced on offense. Carson Palmer is playing great. They play excellent team defense. They’re very aggressive and they’re doing a great job of taking the ball away,” McCarthy said on Thursday.

The Cardinals will be without cornerback and leading interceptor Tyrann Mathieu, who was lost this week to a torn ACL.

“Mathieu is a dynamic football player. Our focus is on how are they going to adjust to it,” McCarthy said.

Injury update: McCarthy said the playing status of LT David Bakhtiari (ankle) and CB Sam Shields (concussion) would be determined on Saturday, after the team practices in Arizona. Both players missed practice again on Thursday.

Posted in Packers.com Blog

News now! Mike McCarthy likes his balanced team

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 23, 2015 – 11:41 am

151223-nn1GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy confessed that players and coaches alike weren’t thrilled with how last Sunday’s game in Oakland went, even in victory, but he’s chalking it up to another trial in a long and difficult season, one his team overcame on its road to the playoffs.

“I’m a big believer it’s going to make us better,” McCarthy said on Wednesday, of being able to rise above the struggles with the rhythm and flow to some games. “This is a very balanced football team. Our offense can beat you, our defense can beat you, and our special teams can definitely make an impact. I don’t know if I could have stood up here and said that in the past.”

Arizona is one of the most balanced teams in the league, which McCarthy acknowledged. He called the Cardinals’ perimeter group on offense the biggest challenge the Packers defense will face all year, and Arizona’s aggressive defense is known for taking the ball away.

“Their production speaks for itself,” McCarthy said of the Cardinals. “Their talent definitely speaks for itself.”

The Packers have only a few days to get new long snapper Rick Lovato up to speed. Lovato was signed on Tuesday after it was discovered veteran long snapper Brett Goode had a knee injury. McCarthy said Goode told him he injured the knee early in the game but played through it.

Kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay and Goode have been together every game since 2010, so a new snapper will be a rare change on short notice.

“The practical matter is you do the best you can in this time frame,” McCarthy said. “Having Brett here to be part of it makes you feel good about the transition. The relationship between Brett, Mason and Tim is a real strength of our specialist group. It’s something we never had to worry about here for years. We’ll make the adjustment and be ready for Arizona.”

Elsewhere on the injury front, McCarthy said left tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle) was scheduled to do some work in practice on Wednesday, but the workout as a whole would not be extensive. Cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) has returned to meetings, but McCarthy wasn’t sure if he was cleared to practice yet.

Click here for more following practice and locker room interviews.

Posted in Packers.com Blog