GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
Time of possession was obviously a problem, do you agree?
What does it feel like to lose a game like this?
“Well, it’s pretty frustrating, put a lot into this. Now I stand here and you realize that this is the last time that group is going to be together. It will be a different team next year. There will be additions, subtractions and that’s the most frustrating part. You spend a lot of time with those guys, you care about them, you care about this a lot and then to go out there and play like that it’s disappointing.”
How would you assess your performance on offense?
“We didn’t do enough on offense. We could have helped our defense out a little bit. They had a couple extra possessions there because of the punt return fumble and then the pick six. So our defense probably got a little tired out there but the second half we had a chance to run right into it. The touchdown there on the first possession would have put us in a good situation but came up short.”
On the deep ball to WR Jordy Nelson, on the post, what did you see on that play?
“Well the protection was really good I found most of the night and was just hanging in the pocket he was running the post. He said he was thinking I was going to get out of the pocket with starting flat and I was thinking he was going to take a high angle and that’s what happens when you’re not on the same page.”
I don’t know if you talked about this, but this is your first game as a player at Candlestick?
Second, there was excitement because of the fact that you are coming back home and all that?
“No, not really.”
How did you feel at half time?
“Yeah, we felt good. You know we gift wrapped them 14 points on two turnovers. In the game our defense was doing alright and in the second half we just didn’t score any points.”
Did you think this was a team that was going to win it all?
“This team? Yeah definitely.”
What was your impression of the QB Colin Kaepernick?
“He was running all over the field. He’s big, strong, athletic, throws the ball well and runs the ball extremely well. We didn’t really have a whole lot of answers for him.”
How are you feeling when it was 31-24 and getting the ball, and feeling like this is going to be a track meet back and forth between the teams?
“Yeah, we knew we’re going to have to score some points. I’m disappointed we couldn’t get any on that first drive of the second half, but we were able to come back and get a field goal and they go down and score and we knew that we probably were going to have to put up 38 points at least to win the game.”
GREEN BAY PACKERS CORNERBACK CASEY HAYWARD:
How did they game plan you? Were you hurt by an over-aggressive defense?
“I have to go back and watch the film. I don’t quite know. They played a real good game.”
You’ve had a really impressive rookie year. Now that’s it’s come to a finish, how do you feel about your season?
“I felt I did well. But week-in and week-out, our ultimate goal is the Super Bowl. But we fell short by a couple of games.”
Was it a question of you guys were there, but [QB Colin] Kaepernick made good plays despite good defense? Or was there anything scheme-wise?
“Probably all. He played good. They schemed us on some calls. But we missed some calls and plays as well.”
Did this game play a little too close to home like the way the first game played out?
“They just came out and hit us in the mouth. They just beat us tonight.”
GREEN BAY PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER GREG JENNINGS:
The time of possession did not work in your favor the first half. In the second half was it just hard to get anything sustained?
“We lost to a better team today. We established the momentum early with the interception and then we let them back in the game early. We knew it was going to be a dog fight. They came out in the second half and did whatever they wanted to do.”
This must sting because you guys know how good you are.
“We could say that for several years; ’07,’09, last year, and this year. It wasn’t meant to be. We lost to a better team today.”
Do you think about your future now that this game is over?
“It has been great. I love this organization. The reality is that there will probably be some changes made. Hopefully I stay here. If not I am ready to move wherever. It is what it is, I am not naïve to that. I am being a realist. I love this organization I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. If I have to that is what I have to do.
GREEN BAY PACKERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE B.J. RAJI:
What made it so hard to contain Colin Kaepernick today?
“You have to tip your hat sometimes when a guy like that at the quarterback position is consistently out running and flanking your defense and making huge plays.”
How tough is a loss like this to swallow?
“It is real tough. We have one goal every year and that is to win the Super Bowl. Obviously that won’t be the case this year. Sometimes that is life and you have to move on.”
This is the second year in a row that there has been a disappointment like this, how tough is it the second time around?
“It is tough. It never gets easy, especially when you are a Green Bay Packer. A lot is expected of you. In a season like this for the second year in a row it is definitely painful. Hopefully we will learn from this and we will be a better team next year.”
Third down was huge for the 49ers. What was it that they were doing that kept them on the field?
“It was either [WR Michael] Crabtree on a dink pass, or [QB Colin] Kaepernick running for necessary yardage or more. That is a frustrating thing.”
Why is Colin Kaepernick so difficult to defend?
“When the quarterback can run like that, it opens up the arsenal for the play calling. Obviously, if you can’t stop the run which is football 101, then it is going to be tough to stop the play action and the deep routes.”
GREEN BAY PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JEREMY ROSS:
What happened on the muffed punt?
“I started focusing on the pressure that was coming. I was looking at the ball all the way in, but I was more focused on the peripheral, just kind of seeing and feeling it out. I was like when I catch it I have to move quick. I lost my fundamentals by keeping my elbows in tight. The ball just went straight through. ”
Did you have any thought, just forget about what was coming and just make the fair catch?
“I just wanted to make the play. At that moment I was like, I am just going to catch this ball, make this guy miss, and I am going to go for a touchdown. I just wanted to make a big play on that one. I probably should have fair caught it.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS HEAD COACH JIM HARBAUGH:
What’d you think about that performance from your team?
“Thought it was a great team performance, great team victory. Highlight the special teams where we got the big turnover. The coverage was outstanding. [S] C.J. Spillman, a bunch of guys – [LB] Tavares Gooden, [LB] Larry Grant, [FB] Bruce Miller, [TE] Delanie Walker, [K] David Akers, [P] Andy Lee, tremendous job there. Defensively we got the great interception, got stops, which is really tough to do against this offense. Offensively, thought we played great. [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] had a great game. Just excellent team performance.”
What did you say to Colin after that pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown to get him back going again?
“Just that there was a lot of football left. He does a great job of responding. He has done that. Every time there’s been an interception that he’s thrown, or safety or turnover. He’s responded with a scoring drive. I think that’s rare. I think that’s a rare quality. And so far he’s shown that he’s got that ability to come back.”
Why is that such a rare quality do you think?
“I don’t know. I have no statistics to back it up, or evidence. Just a feeling that it’s hard for a quarterback after throwing an interception to respond with a touchdown-scoring drive, especially. I don’t think that happens very often. But, it happens. He’s consistently done a nice job of just moving on.”
Did the game plan involve getting Kaepernick running? It seemed like that was a huge part of this one. Did you plan for that?
“Yeah, that was in the plan. A lot more pistol formation in this game plan, both handing the ball off and Kap running and play action, where we’re throwing out of it. We’re pretty multi-dimensional on that formation.”
Did you set that up by not doing that very much in the last few regular season games? There didn’t seem to be a lot of read option against Seattle against Arizona?
“It was more prevalent in this plan.”
Can you describe how DT Justin Smith returned today and how he looked?
“He looked good. From my eye it looked like he was stout against the run and his legend grows. What a player.”
When you saw Colin in college, did you sort of picture this? This was what he did, running out of that pistol, 9,000 yards passing, 4,000 running. Did you see a guy doing
this in the pros?
“Well, I obviously saw a lot of great qualities about the young man. And he did a great job throwing the ball and some of the throws he made were outstanding. Our receivers did a heck of a job. [TE] Vernon Davis did a nice job. Everybody was in on it. I thought it was one of our better games offensively.”
How well did WR Michael Crabtree play, and how vital is he to the offense?
“I think it’s pretty well documented how vital he is. Again, he was outstanding. The back-shoulder catches, those are great plays. The catch and runs again. The yards that he gets after the catch. He’s really like a running back when he gets the ball in his hands. And he was outstanding.”
You’ve mentioned that Colin doesn’t even say that much to you when you talk to him. Did he just give you a look in the eye after the interception? Did he say anything to you like, like “hey I got this?” Was there any conversation from him to you?
“No, he just said he understood. I think that’s pretty close to what he said.”
Were you able to see from the sidelines, they showed some replays, it looked like T Joe Staley was doing a pretty good job against LB Clay Matthews when he was lined up on that side? Were you able to notice any of that?
“Yeah, noticed that. I thought our protection was very good. Colin had a chance to go through his reads, set his feet and fire the ball. Consistently good protection all day.”
There was a perception that if you had lost tonight with Colin that your decision to make him the starter would have been a mistake. Were you even thinking, or do you care about that perception?
“No, it’s just a great team victory. I give our players a lot of credit. They had a great week of preparation. They played very poised. I thought they competed like maniacs. And we get another week of work. So, we’ll move on with humble hearts and get ready for our next opponent.”
How did you used to respond after an interception when you were quarterback?
“I don’t know. I hate to be short. I hate to be rude, but what the heck does that have to do with this game?”
Going forward for next week what do you want to see in improvement on the defensive side of the ball? You said you have to go work on some things. What do you want to see for next week?
“Same thing. We want to study for the test. Whoever that is that we’re playing, and have a great week of preparation. And then come out and compete like maniacs. This is that do-or-die, win-or-go-home kind of situation. Such a unique dynamic. So, we’ll do the things that we’ve always tried to do as a team and do them to the best of our God-given ability.”
At what point tonight did you realize your brother had won his game?
“Somewhere in the first quarter, I believe.”
Someone told you from upstairs?
“Yeah, yeah. Congratulations to [Ravens head coach] John [Harbaugh] and the Ravens. That was a real football fight. I had the chance to watch some of it before our game. Feel great for John and his team.”
When you say it was in the game plan for Colin to run, is it just in the read option you’re just telling him think more about running that, than giving it to the running back? Is that the game plan when you want him to run the ball?
“Not necessarily, no. He’s got keys that he’s reading. It’s the read option. It’s a give read, or it’s a pull and run it himself. Sometimes it’s even a pitch it to somebody else decision.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QUARTERBACK COLIN KAEPERNICK:
Your first playoff start and it was just like how I remembered covering you at Nevada. You were flowing out there, can you talk a little bit about that?
“Our offensive line played great today, they did a lot of thing well, up front. Our running backs ran well and our receivers made plays.”
But how about you, you seemed to be just feeling it?
“I mean, it’s a lot easier when other people are making plays. Our offensive line came out, they dominated up front, so that makes it easier on a quarterback.”
What about your feeling after the interception?
“I had to bounce back.”
Were you aware that you broke the NFL record for most rushing yards as a quarterback in any game?
“Not until after the game.”
What does it mean to you?
“It’s a great accolade, I think it means a lot to this team. Our offensive line did an amazing job, our receivers, tight ends and running backs did amazing jobs. They opened up a lot of lanes for me.”
What is it like standing there and listening to your teammates describe you in the way they did?
“It’s great. Any time your teammates have confidence in you and they feel good about what you’re doing, it makes you feel like you’re doing the right things.”
Have you ever rushed for that many yards in a game at any level?
“Not with this much significance.”
Can you describe how the 56-yard touchdown came about and what you saw?
“The end came down, our receivers blocked the corner and the safety. There was nobody else left.”
How well did Michael Crabtree play in particular?
“He played great. He is a key player in this offense. He is a playmaker. He is someone that we want to get the ball into his hands and see what he can do.”
Earlier in the season you talked about how you wouldn’t know until the game if you were in or not. Can you talk about the ride this season?
“It’s been amazing and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
We love to categorize players, he’s a runner, he’s a passer… are you hard to categorize?
“I don’t want to be categorized.”
Coach Harbaugh mentioned that your running was part of the game plan this week. Did you know that a lot of the responsibility was going to be on your legs?
“We had a lot of plays that we put in to utilize that. We also opened up running lanes for our running backs. Frank [Gore] broke a big one, LaMichael [James] was about to break one too. It was just another tool for this offense.”
Are both of those running touchdowns designed runs?
“Not the first one.”
What happened there on the first run?
“Man to man coverage, they doubled Crabtree, broke down and saw a run.”
Were they spying on you at all out there?
“I think a couple of times, a little. For the most part they were trying to double receivers and keep eyes on them.”
How much were they double teaming Crabtree?
“A little here and there. On big downs they were trying to double to make sure he didn’t make a play.”
What was your best pass?
“I couldn’t say.”
Last week Joe Webb of the Vikings had a lot of success running until the game got out of hand. Did you see anything from that game that gave you opportunities against them?
“Yeah, we knew going in that we were going to have some opportunities.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS WIDE RECEIVER MICHAEL CRABTREE:
Your touchdown catches came at a time when you guys really needed to score. What was the first half scoring frenzy like?
“It was a shoot out, you know. We knew those guys could put up points and we just came out ready to play.”
You said that you built off your post season last year, how did it feel to start on a win like this?
“It felt like we were in the same place winning that game. It’s what we do at the next game. It’s all about the next game.”
How about Kaepernick’s performance tonight?
“He’s a guy playing football. He makes it happen with his feet, with his arms. He’s just out there making plays. He is a playmaker.”
Why do you think you two play so well together?
“I couldn’t tell you, it’s just something that happens. We are out there trying to make a play. We both have one goal, to try and win.”
Did Green Bay try to do anything different with you this time and as time went on?
“I saw a couple double teams, especially in the red zone. We have so many players on our team: Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, Ted Ginn Jr, Randy Moss and our running game. We have too many playmakers for anyone to get double. We have a great team.”
When Colin is running, do you see the defense have to react so much to him and maybe open up some other plays?
“I think it goes both ways. You have to react to everyone on the field. Whether it’s the receivers or running backs coming out of the flat. He does it with his legs so well.”
What was the feeling in here at halftime?
“Just going out here and really trying to finish up the game. Nobody panicked, everyone was on their P’s and Q’s. Everybody knew what they had to do to make the game go. We just went out there and made it happen.”
When Colin throws an interception to start the game, how did you see him react?
“There was no frustration at all. That’s what I was surprised about, he really was in our ear and told us to make a play. I kept telling myself, we need to make a play. I slipped on one play and fell and was mad about that the entire game. I felt like I had to redeem myself, go out there and do my job.”
Last year you said you wanted more opportunities, did you feel like you had something to prove in this game?
“Every playoff game I have something to prove. Last year it was bad, it was what it was. We are on a new year and I’m just trying to make a play and get that win.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS CENTER JONATHAN GOODWIN:
On the offense’s performance:
“Colin played great. We had a great game plan and we were able to execute it well. I think those guys had a lot of guys of things coming at them.”
When you stretch things out, it’s kind of hard to zero in on the receivers and watch [QB Colin Kaepernick].
“Yeah, he’s in the gun, he can throw, run or hand it off. A great game plan by G-Ro [offensive coordinator Greg Roman]. I think we did a good job of executing. We kind of got a head start on them with the bye week and I think it showed tonight.”
When you’re blocking, can you tell what’s going on, can you tell if Kaepernick is going to run, is he’s going to throw, escape?
“No, not for me. I’m blocking a certain way and just hoping he’ll make a play.”
Can you tell from the crowd reaction?
“A couple of times I saw [RB] LaMichael [James] run by and I could tell nobody was tackling him, so I knew he didn’t have the ball.”
On Kaepernick’s performance this season:
“The one thing, I’ve said this from day one about Colin, since he started playing, he’s always been confident. When you see a guy that’s playing quarterback in this league that young and he’s that confident, hats off to him.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS RUNNING BACK FRANK GORE:
Is it an adjustment for you running the read option?
“I am a football player. I just adjust to whatever. That is the way to get a “W”, then whatever, I just want to win.”
What was it like for you out there with all that room for running?
“It was fun. Our offensive line did a great job. [QB Colin] Kaepernick did a great job, and our coordinator did a great job.”
What is it like having your quarterback outrushing you?
“It is not the first time. I am not surprised what he did. If that is what it takes to get wins and reach our goal, I am with it.”
The offense had 44 points and you had a nice night.
“We just have to keep working. We know how it feels from last year and not getting done.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE JUSTIN SMITH:
How does it feel about beating QB Aaron Rodgers today?
“Any time we have a guy of that kind of caliber over there, I don’t care how you win, it’s just big.”
What kind of statement is it to get back to the NFC Championship?
“I don’t think we’re really worried about making a statement, we’re just worried about getting back there. I’ve been in this league for 12 years and it’s hard to get to that game. We’re not going to take it for granted and we’ll give it our best shot.”
How important was it for you to play?
“I’m just glad to be a part of this team and get a chance to play in the NFC Championship game.”
Your secondary sure held up today:
“They’re phenomenal and I think every one of them is in the Pro Bowl. It was a good defensive win and good team win. Any time you knock QB Aaron Rodgers off it feels pretty good.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS TACKLE JOE STALEY:
What was he (QB Colin Kaepernick) like in the huddle when he was running so well, and operating the offense so well, in the read option?
“It was just business. We get excited when we’re moving the ball, but you got to put that play, whether it’s successful or unsuccessful, and put it to rest.”
A few times replays isolated you working against LB Clay Matthews, and it looked like you did a good job with him. Do you feel like you did?
“Yeah I was pretty happy the way I played today. I knew going in he was going to be a great challenge. He’s a phenomenal player. I was really challenged by our coaching staff and our players, and I knew I had to have a big game.”
Can you guess what percentage of the time he was lined up across from you?
“Every play he was lined up across from me.”
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS LINEBACKER PATRICK WILLIS:
What was the moment when you saw them when you realized this was too tough for them to win?
“Honestly, I’m not sure. I know for us it was just about we knew the first half wasn’t a good defensive half for us. And we knew our offense kept us in the game. And we just came in at halftime and talked it over a little bit. And just knew that, come back out the second half, it was all about what we need to do, and what we didn’t do the first half.”
The game starts on such a weird note, the crowd’s jacked up, you guys are excited. And there’s a pick six that goes the other way. What was your reaction when that happened, and how did you guys turn it around from there?
“Honestly, we weren’t worried at all. That’s something we talk about all the time. Adversity is going to hit and it’s how you’re going to respond to it. That makes us the team that we are. When that pick six happened it was just like, all right dang. But, it happened. And we’ve got to go out there on defense and get one. And I think for the most part today we just played. We played for 60 minutes. And we knew that’s what it was going to take.”
From a defender’s point of view, how difficult is it to play against a quarterback like QB Colin Kaepernick?
“Put me in a tough one when you ask me about my own teammate. From what we see in practice and from what we see in the game, obviously you see a quarterback run the way that he runs. That’s unbelievable. And to see him in practice, you never really see him open up like that in practice. You see them do the offense what they do and whatnot. But, to see him do it in a game, it amazes me. It wows me. And I’m just saying wow, did he just do that. And credit goes to that whole offense to have a guy like [RB] Frank [Gore] who people have to account for. And then Kap’s doing what he’s doing. And before you know it, hopefully they don’t know which one to go for. And both of them are running wild, which they did today.”
Can you talk about how impressed it is to see him through his development? So much is talked about with guys like Redskins QB Robert Griffin III and Colts QB Andrew Luck. But, those guys are out and Colin’s still in it helping you guys out?
“Yeah, just to see how fast he’s picked up on the offense, just to see how fast he’s picked up on the game period, it’s remarkable. And I know that Kap’s a guy who works every day and he’s very confident in himself, not conceited by any means. But, if you see what we see every day. I get there and, I’m the type of man I don’t like to be at work, but honestly I get there to the facility and he’s outside already warming up. And I think he works out every day. I joke with him all the time. I say you’ve got to be one of the biggest and strongest quarterbacks I’ve seen. But, he plays the position like a true quarterback. And that’s what it’s going to take. And I’m just happy to see him do that. And he’s done well for us today. And it doesn’t stop here. We’ve got a big game next week wherever we play. And that’s our next focus.”
You talk about how fast he picks things up, how fast is he though when you see him on the field?
“He’s fast. It’s just one thing when you see a guy get behind a guy and they try to run and the guy already has a step on him. But, to see a guy come across the field at an angel and he eats up the angle, to us that’s fast. That guy’s moving. And like I said, it’s great to have him doing what he’s doing. And not only is his speed remarkable, just to see how he’s throwing the ball. Seeing how he’s getting behind other guys, that’s amazing, too. My hat goes off to that offense, that side of the ball. Like I said, today when our defense was struggling they kept us in there in that second half. We knew if we came back out and we played to the level that they were playing and even higher, then the game would be ours. And that was the outcome. We won.”
Can you talk about the overall defensive performance and what would you like to see improve as you go into the next game?
“Really for the most part we just have to start faster. It’s not getting easier whoever it is we play, especially we have to start fast and play for 60 minutes. And we didn’t do that today, but we just finished. And that’s most important. But, yeah I’d just like to see us start faster and continue to do what we do.”
Tags: #GBvsSF, divisional, Playoffs, post-game notes & quotes, san francisco 49ers
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PACKERS TOP VIKINGS IN NFC WILD CARD CONTEST
- Green Bay beat Minnesota, 24-10, tonight at Lambeau Field to advance to the NFC Divisional round of the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
- The Packers are the only NFC team to advance to three straight NFC Divisional games from 2010-12. The last time Green Bay advanced to the divisional round in three or more consecutive seasons was five straight from 1993-97.
- With the victory, the Packers improve to 30-17 all-time in the postseason, a .638 winning percentage that ranks No. 1 in league history. Green Bay moved into sole possession of the No. 3 spot for the most playoff wins with 28, trailing only the N.Y. Giants (31) and Dallas Cowboys (30).
- Including playoffs, the Packers have now won 10 straight games at home against NFC North opponents.
- The 10 points allowed by the Packers were the fewest in a postseason game since they gave up 10 points at San Francisco on Jan. 11, 1998.
- Green Bay will travel to San Francisco next Saturday night to take on the 49ers at Candlestick Park at 7 p.m. (CST).
OTHER POST-GAME NOTES:
- Tonight’s paid attendance was 71,548. It was the 311th consecutive sellout (293 regular season, 18 playoffs) at Lambeau Field and the fourth-largest crowd in Lambeau Field history.
- With the victory on Saturday night, Head Coach Mike McCarthy improved his postseason record to 6-3. His .667 winning percentage ranks No. 2 in team history among Green Bay head coaches behind only Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900).
- QB Aaron Rodgers posted a 104.9 passer rating on Saturday night (23 of 33, 274 yards, one TD), the fifth time he has registered a 100-plus passer rating in seven career postseason starts.
- Rodgers did not thrown an interception for the fifth straight game. He has not thrown an interception in 177 consecutive passing attempts.
- FB John Kuhn is the only player in the NFL to score a touchdown in each of the last four postseasons (2009-12). Kuhn joined RB Dorsey Levens (five straight, 1994-98) and WR Antonio Freeman (1995-98) as the only players in team history to score a TD in four or more consecutive postseasons.
- Kuhn also became the first player in franchise history to post a rushing TD and a receiving TD in two different postseason games. He also did so at Atlanta on Jan. 15, 2011.
- LB Clay Matthews matched is postseason career high (at Atlanta, Jan. 15, 2011) with two sacks as he joined DE Reggie White as the only players in franchise playoff history to register two-plus sacks in two games. Matthews brought his career postseason sack total to 6.5, second only to White (8.0) in franchise playoff history.
- CB Sam Shields posted his third career interception in the postseason, which is tied for No. 4 in team history.
- K Mason Crosby’s 20-yard field goal in the second quarter was his sixth consecutive made field goal in the postseason, a franchise playoff record. It bested the mark of five straight by Don Chandler in 1965 and Chris Jacke in 1996.
- The Packers allowed the Vikings to complete just 11 passes, the fewest given up by Green Bay a playoff game since it allowed seven completions at Washington on Dec. 24, 1972.
- Green Bay held Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (99 yards) to less than 100 yards rushing for just the second time in the Vikings’ last 11 games (86 yards at Houston in Week 16).
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(opening statement) “Good victory for us today. Playoff victories are always special. Coming back after six days and playing the Vikings. First off, I have to give great credit to our fans and the atmosphere here tonight. When I think about tonight’s win, it definitely starts and ends with our defense. I thought they were outstanding for four quarters and they set the tempo. They kept Minnesota out of the end zone until the end and obviously adjusted to the quarterback change. The communication, the effort and the run defense really stood out. Offensively, I thought we played good football for probably about the first half. We had an opportunity to score going in. Coming out, we weren’t able to knock them out of the park in the third and fourth quarter. Special teams, did a solid job as far as the placement and our coverage teams did a better job tonight.”
(on the difference between the rush defense tonight compared with the last two games against the Vikings) “It comes down to the things we talked about during the course of the week in here. We talked about it as a football team — to play with leverage, to play with discipline, trust the guy next to you and obviously rally to the football. Adrian Peterson does a great job of extending runs, very similar to what Aaron Rodgers does in the pass game with his ability to extend pass plays. They are two very similar players. I thought our defense was extremely disciplined. They played with great effort, I thought we owned the line of scrimmage and it was a big factor tonight.”
(on if his team prepared for Joe Webb during the week) “Our work on Joe was obviously something that was out there during the course of the week. We had a long day here today as coaches. I know a number of our guys were going back and checking things. They didn’t change their game plan a whole lot. I have to give a lot of credit to our players and our defensive coaches, just the fact that they stayed the course and we played very well for a quarterback that was unscouted.”
(on if he had an idea that QB Christian Ponder wasn’t going to play) “They did a good job of keeping it under wraps. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I knew Joe Webb was going to play. That’s not the case. We didn’t adjust our game plan, so the players and coaches did a hell of a job.”
(on the offensive game plan) “We wanted to be balanced with run and pass. I thought we did that, but we didn’t really run the ball very well in the second half. I thought that was a big part of why we stalled and weren’t able to convert first downs.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on going back to northern California to play next week) “Home is really Chico. Chico is northern California. San Francisco I would say is the Bay Area. It’ll be fun to go back to the West Coast. We’ll hopefully get a lot of cheeseheads from Chico coming down to the game and it’ll be a good test.”
(on the efficiency of the touchdown drive before the half) “A lot of times, in those two-minute drives, they’re often keyed by a good first play; and we had a completion to Jordy (Nelson), probably in the 18 to 20 (yard) range I would guess. That kind of got things going for us and we just moved with the ball from there.”
(on the difference between the first two matchups) “Our defense played great. I think they played really good in the first one, but Adrian (Peterson) still had 210 (yards) and they controlled a lot of the clock as I remember, especially in the first half. Our defense tonight played at a championship level, and that’s what you need in the playoffs. You need the defense playing well and creating turnovers. Special teams did a good job of winning the field position, creating the turnover. Mason (Crosby) made his kick, Tim (Masthay) did a good job of not letting them have a lot of return yards. (Marcus) Sherels is a really good returner. With the defense playing well, the special teams playing well — they can make up for kind of an average day on offense.”
(on how much they can take from the first game with the 49ers) “We’ll look at it, but they’re a different team. Teams find their identity throughout the season and we’ll look at more of their past schemes. It will be interesting to go back and look at that and see who was playing at that point. Cedric (Benson) was our main back, and now we’re a few down the line here to get to DuJuan (Harris). We’re going to have to find ways to block up their Pro Bowlers inside and try to make some plays on the perimeter as well.”
(on what RB DuJuan Harris has added to the offense) “He’s doing a better job in the passing game. I think he’s learning the offense. He’s been studying very hard. He knows the protection schemes better than he did when he first got in the game. Today he made five catches, I believe, averaged over 10 yards a completion. I believe four of those were check-downs and one was a swing pass. That can really do some things for you when you can dump it off to a guy like that and make some first downs.”
(on how surprised he was that QB Christian Ponder didn’t play) “I don’t know what the nature of his injury is. I was surprised when I saw the inactives for the game and he was out. I know he was limited in practice this week. Obviously he has a significant injury. I don’t like talking about other people’s injuries and what I would do.”
(on the play of the defense) “It says a lot about (defensive coordinator) Dom Capers and his staff. I think they wanted to make a statement tonight. The statement might have been less rushing yards for (Adrian) Peterson. He still had almost 100, but it wasn’t same kind of impact that he’s had in the last couple games.”
PACKERS RUNNING BACK DuJUAN HARRIS:
(on the role he played in today’s win) “It’s the biggest game I’ve ever played in. I just tried not to think about that and just tried to treat it like any other game. It’s been awhile since I’ve played like that.”
(on his effectiveness in the passing game) “Things like that just happen. If it’s open, let’s just dump it down and get some easy yards.”
(on if he thinks he’ll play a large role in next week’s game at San Francisco) “We’ll see how the week goes. The game plan could be a little different. You never know. We’re just going to watch film and see what we need to do to win.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JAMES JONES:
(on having a healthy group of wide receivers today) “It’s always good to have all our playmakers out there. We create mismatch problems for a lot of people when all four of us are healthy and we did that today. Everybody got a little chunk of the pie and was able to make some plays.”
(on looking ahead to San Francisco) “They’re still one of the best football teams in the business. It’s going to be a fight when we go there to their home stadium. They’ve got a good team so it’ll be a tough challenge for us.”
(on how the Packers have changed since the week one loss to the 49ers) “We’ve just been trying to get better. Every day, every game, trying to get better as a team.”
(on if the team’s approach changed when QB Christian Ponder became inactive) “That’s for the defense. For us as an offense, we just kept with our same game plan — go out there, score some points and make sure Adrian Peterson can’t touch the ball so much.”
PACKERS FULLBACK JOHN KUHN
(on the role the running backs played in the passing game) “That’s just kind of the way it unfolded. They were playing us in cover two and really dropping and trying to take our receivers away. They did a great job last week so that was obviously their game plan, to stop them. We knew we had to pick it up on our end. I think DuJuan (Harris) did great in the first half really carrying the load with the check-downs, getting a lot of first downs and moving the chains.”
(on scoring two touchdowns) “It was nice. I’m just thankful that I was given the opportunities. We were in some advantageous plays with the defenses that they were running. Aaron (Rodgers) made some nice checks and I was able to take advantage of it. Thanks to Mike McCarthy for calling my number when I get down there and Aaron for delivering the ball. A lot of people can score these touchdowns, it’s just about being in the right place at the right time.”
(on playing San Francisco next week) “We’re a little thankful that we get the chance to play San Francisco again. They really whooped up on us the first game of the season. We’re looking forward to going out there and playing a better game.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER CLAY MATTHEWS:
(on how the team was able to change the outcome from last week’s game against Minnesota) “Schematically I don’t think we did much differently than last week. We obviously made a few adjustments based on what they showed us last week and the success they had. Ultimately, the effort was there last week, our intensity… We just played a little more disciplined..
(on if the defense felt like it had something to prove against RB Adrian Peterson) “We wanted to win. I think that goes beyond pride, especially with the two 200-yard games he put together against us, there was absolutely something to prove.”
(on looking ahead to San Francisco) “Based on week one when we saw them, I’m sure a lot has changed — especially at the quarterback position. Frank Gore is an outstanding athlete. He makes plays for them. You’d like to think they’re going to get it going in that regard, especially with the lack of success we’ve had in past games. We expect it to be a tough, hard-fought match like it was in week one.”
PACKERS CORNERBACK SAM SHIELDS:
(on the effect of QB Christian Ponder being inactive) “I don’t think it was anything different. We were just ready to play. We came in this week and corrected a lot of things we made mistakes on. I think we were prepared either way.”
(on the defense’s ability to contain RB Adrian Peterson) “Everybody took care of their responsibilities, played their gaps and didn’t let him get outside. Peterson, he can run, he can get outside, and our thing was to not let him get outside.”
(on how the Packers are different than the last time they faced San Francisco in week one) “It’s very different. Everybody is on the same page. On defense, our whole thing is getting off on third downs and just playing fast.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER ERIK WALDEN:
(on containing RB Adrian Peterson) “The first two games he killed us. If you get anxious, he’ll run into the pile and bounce outside. If you peek inside, that’s all he needs to break outside, so today we wanted to make sure we maintained our gaps and we were able to do that for the most part.”
(on his personal performance) “Playoffs are just a different atmosphere. There’s nothing like playoff football. I just wanted to make sure I came out and played my best football at the right time.”
MINNESOTA VIKINGS HEAD COACH LESLIE FRAZIER:
(on his overall thoughts on the game) “Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers. They did a good job tonight and they played good football. We came up short. I thought our guys played hard. We didn’t always play the way we are capable of playing in some instances. I am extremely proud of our football team and the way they worked throughout this year and represented our state. Because of the character of the men on this football team, there are a lot of things we can learn from this 2012 season.”
(on the change at quarterback) “Yesterday, he (Christian Ponder) improved to where we thought maybe. And today, it just wouldn’t have been smart to put him at risk. We made a decision to go with Joe.”
(on the deciding factors to not play Ponder) “Some of things we asked him to do, he wasn’t very good at getting done and the things we needed him to get done if we were going to put him out there. It wasn’t the right thing to do.”
(on not sticking with the read option) “We mixed some of those read-options along the way. But at some point, you would like to complete some passes. Early on we did have them off-balance and had some opportunities in the passing game, but we just couldn’t connect.”
(on amount of time to structure game plan around QB Joe Webb) “We kind of prepared for a little bit of both. As we were going through the week, and realizing the possibility that Christian might not make it, we thought we better have something in the package in case it was Joe.”
(on passing opportunities that didn’t connect) “There were some times that I thought we had some guys open and Joe might get flushed or didn’t have his feet set or might not follow through like he needed to. We just couldn’t make some things happen down the field that we needed to make happen.”
(on what impresses him about QB Aaron Rodgers) “He is a very accurate passer, but his ability to throw on the run is the thing that sticks out. You can get him moving around like you want too, but his ability to make throws on the run really creates problems for the defense because guys end up uncovered.”
(on Webb not throwing a pass all season and the odds of victory) “That’s a situation a back-up is going to be in. You have to get your reps in practice and have to be ready every week because you are always one play away from going in there and just hope the guy you have in that back-up roll can get it done. We came up short tonight and we needed to do something around Joe to help a little bit more, but I thought he battled and gave us everything he had.”
(on Packers’ defense ability to slow down RB Adrian Peterson) “They did a good job getting people in gaps. It looked like a lot of the same things we had seen. It is the same thing we have seen from them throughout. With people doing that, you like to create a little balance, but we couldn’t get that done on a consistent basis.”
VIKINGS QUARTERBACK JOE WEBB:
(on if there are specific plays he’d like to have back) “There are a lot of plays I would like to have back. I haven’t touched the field since August, that’s no excuse. I feel our team really came here expecting a victory and Green Bay is a great team and a tough team at home. It was a great learning experience.”
(on taking time to find a rhythm) “I started to adjust to the flow of the game later in the game, I started to get the rhythm. Once you get the rhythm, you can really start making plays.”
(on the switch from back-up to playoff starter) “It’s not tough, because you always prepare yourself as if you are going to start or going to play. It’s a big learning experience for me. It was a tough game.”
(on the game plan changing after first drive) “We tried to hit them with different plays and switch it up a little bit. We didn’t execute on some plays. Like I said, it was a learning experience, not just for the players, but the coaches.”
(on the momentum change after settling for a field goal on the first drive) “I wouldn’t say momentum change, because anytime you get points that’s always a positive. You always want to score touchdowns, but whenever you get points that always good too. We hoped that we could have had a few more drives like the first one, but that played out different.”
VIKINGS DEFENSIVE END JARED ALLEN:
(on QB Christian Ponder not playing) “We had all the confidence in Joe (Webb). Joe is part of the glue that keeps this thing together. I have seen Joe grow over the last few years that I have seen him play. Joe has an arm to go along with his legs, so we were all kind of like ‘let’s see what happens.’ No one was let down. We knew the challenges ahead, so honestly we went about business as usual.”
(on losing in the playoffs) “Everyone has to have a sense of urgency. It is not okay to just show up. Just getting here isn’t what we are about in Minnesota. We are about winning championships. You can ask anyone in the league — you want to win. It is all about getting a Super Bowl ring. I think we needed to have a higher sense of urgency because you never know when you are going to come back (to the playoffs). We had a little setback with Christian, but you have to seize the opportunity against a team that you know so well.”
(on how Green Bay’s offense made adjustments to Minnesota’s pass rush) “The ball came out a lot quicker. He just got the ball out. We still sacked him three times and had him running all over the place. It was check-down football. They were leaking a back out, checking down and keeping the chains moving. It was just their play-calling, Aaron getting the ball out and them being conscious of what we were trying to do up front. They didn’t allow us to get into a steady groove of pass rushing.”
VIKINGS RUNNING BACK ADRIAN PETERSON:
(on Minnesota getting out to an early lead) “We definitely had something going. We were able to establish the run game early, but we needed to get seven instead of three. That kind of hurt us. We got down there again and we weren’t able to execute.”
(on how Green Bay’s defense contained him tonight) “They played some good defense. They played more patient defense. They stayed on the backside to take away the cutback and they played slower instead of being really aggressive and over pursuing plays. With that, they were able to bottle up the run game.”
(on Green Bay having DB Charles Woodson in the lineup) “Woodson is a great player. He saved a touchdown in the fourth quarter by tackling me because I was definitely going the distance. He is a difference maker.”
(on the season) “Each week we continued to improve, lean on one another and we continued to fight. Unfortunately for a lot of different reasons, we weren’t able to pull it off tonight. We will come back swinging in the offseason and do the necessary things that we need to do so that this doesn’t happen again. I love the chemistry that we have here, so hopefully we can build on this and get better.”
VIKINGS CORNERBACK ANTOINE WINFIELD:
(on Green Bay’s offense) “They have a very explosive offense. You always have to worry about their vertical passing game, but they switched it up a lot today. There were a lot of quick screens, quick passes, underneath throws and they made some plays.”
(on the season) “It was a good season. Only one team can have a really successful season. Guys came to work each day and worked hard. We had some momentum at the end of the year and got into the playoffs with no one expecting us to be here. I love these guys in the locker room.”
Tags: #MINvsGB, minnesota vikings, Playoffs, post-game notes & quotes, wild card
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PACKERS TOP TITANS TO FINISH 7-1 AT HOME ON THE SEASON
- Green Bay beat Tennessee, 55-7, on Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field to improve to 11-4 on the season. The Packers have won nine of their last 10 games.
- The 55 points scored were tied for the third most in a game in franchise history and were the most by the Packers since they recorded the same number vs. Tampa Bay on Oct. 2, 1983 (55-14).
- The 48-point win was the largest margin of victory by Green Bay since a 52-3 victory vs. New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2005.
- The victory gave the Packers a 7-1 record at Lambeau Field this season. It is Green Bay’s third consecutive season with seven or more wins at home, the second-longest streak in franchise history behind a span of five straight seasons from 1994-98.
- Green Bay has now won its home finale in eight consecutive seasons (2005-12). Over the past 21 seasons (1992-2012), the Packers have won their final home contest in every season but one (2004).
- The Packers improved to 16-2 in December/January regular-season games at Lambeau Field under Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Green Bay has now won 10 consecutive regular-season contests at home in December/January.
- Green Bay held its opponent to 20 points or less for the eighth time in the last nine contests. The Packers have held the opposition to 14 points or less in three of the last four contests.
- The Packers have won 20 of their last 21 regular-season games (.952) at Lambeau Field and 26 of their last 28 contests (.929) at home.
- Green Bay will travel to Minnesota next Sunday to take on the Vikings in the regular-season finale.
OTHER POSTGAME NOTES:
- Today’s paid attendance was 70,508. It was the 310th consecutive sellout (293 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- With a 14-yard punt return in the first quarter on Sunday, WR Randall Cobb set the franchise record for most com- bined net yards in a season. He now has 2,342 yards on the season, which tops the previous mark of 2,250 yards by RB Ahman Green in 2003.
- With three TD passes today, QB Aaron Rodgers brought his passing-TD total over the past two seasons to 80. That sets a franchise record, topping the previous mark of 77 by Brett Favre from 1995-96. Rodgers’ 2011-12 total is No. 2 over a two-year span in NFL history, trailing only Saints QB Drew Brees (85 TDs, 2011-12).
- With 11 rushing yards today, Rodgers brought his season total to 259, his fourth straight 250-yard rushing season. He joins Tobin Rote (five straight, 1954-58) as the only quarterbacks in team history to accomplish that feat.
- Rodgers matched his season high with 342 yards passing on the afternoon (also at St. Louis, Oct, 21, 2012).
- Rodgers did not throw an interception for the third consecutive game.
- WR Greg Jennings’ third-quarter TD catch was the 51st touchdown grab of his career, moving him into sole possession of fifth place in franchise history. He had been tied with Max McGee (50).
- WR James Jones posted his 13th receiving TD on the season, which is tied with three others for the fifth most in a season in team history.
- Jones led the Packers with 100 receiving yards on the afternoon, which brought his season total to 722 yards receiving. That is a career high, topping his previous best of 679 yards in 2010.
- With 13 points today, K Mason Crosby brought his season point total to 103 points, his sixth straight 100-point season. That is the second most in franchise history behind only Ryan Longwell (eight, 1997-2004).
- LB A.J. Hawk matched his career high with two sacks on the afternoon. He also registered two sacks at Detroit on Sept. 14, 2008.
- CB Sam Shields became the 15th different Packer this season to post a full sack, which ties the team record (1987).
- With an interception in the first quarter, Shields has posted an INT in three of the last four games he has played in this season.
- The Packers’ 460 total net yards against the Titans were a season high.
- Green Bay’s four rushing TDs on the afternoon were the most in a single game since the team posted five vs. Seattle on Dec. 27, 2009.
- The Packers’ seven sacks vs. the Titans matched Green Bay’s season high (seven vs. Chicago in Week 2).
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(opening statement) “Very convincing victory for our football team today. Very pleased with how all three phases played. I’ll start with the defense. I thought we were dominant for the second week in a row, playing off of last week’s performance in Chicago. Today to sack the quarterback seven times, stop the run… I just really like the way our defense is playing. So many different guys contributing. Going onto special teams, I thought we covered very well and had good production in the return game. I haven’t seen the statistics, but I would think we won the field position battle. Turnover ratio was also a big factor for us, particularly and in the first half and the points that came off of the turnover ratio. Offensively, I thought we had very good tempo and play selection at the line of scrimmage. I thought Aaron did an excellent job. The offense was obviously very productive. [In terms of] point production, we left a little bit on the field in the first half. The way we played in the third quarter was what we were looking for. Tennessee’s defense challenged us and I thought Aaron did a very good job taking what was there. I’m very pleased with the victory here at home. We have eleven wins and we’re looking forward to going up to Minnesota.”
(on how it feels to be able to say all three phases played well) “Well, frankly, what I talked about last night in the team meeting was the importance of winning this game for a number of different reasons. What was most important is how we were going to win today. It is important for us to go out and dominate opponents late in the year. We had momentum going for us, particularly what we’ve done over the last nine or 10 weeks. We wanted to take the next step as a football team and I felt that we were able to accomplish that today. I was proud of the fact that our guys locked in and played extremely well in all three phases.”
(on if today’s game is an indication of where the team needs to be) “We’ve definitely taken a step in that direction. This was an important momentum game for our football team and it’s important for us to finish off the season the right way. We’re 7-1 at home and we have an opportunity to go to Minnesota, who is also playing for a playoff spot. We’re focused on sweeping the division two years in a row, that’s what I’m looking at. Obviously, we have Christmas. The next two days our football team will be with their families, right where they should be. We’ll be locked in, ready to go on Wednesday and get ready for the Vikings.”
(on if the commitment to the running game is now paying off in the passing attack) “I think to have a balance of run and pass gives you more capabilities and a better reaction in the action passing game, whether it’s play action fakes or QB movements. The ability to move the quarterback around a number of times today, whether we hit the play or not… I thought that really helped to get Aaron out in space. It really stressed the contain elements and the force elements of the defense. That’s the way we want our offense to look and that’s the way we want to play. We want to have the ability to hit all the different concepts and the different play types as far as the way we throw and run the ball. I thought we did a good job of that today.”
(on whether or not the number two playoff seed is that much more important than the number three seed) “You play the best you can. Everything happens for a reason. We’re at 11 wins because of what we put into it and we’re going to take whatever opportunity is in front of us. We’re going to play to win next week. I hope Seattle wins tonight. That’d be great. If it doesn’t happen, that’s fine, too. I don’t get as caught up in what seed is better, one, two or three. I understand the history and the statistics and all that would tell you. But at the end of the day, you have to play your best football. For us to do that, we need to go to Minnesota and win. That’s really all we’re worried about. I would definitely prefer the two over the three seed, but the three seed is fine.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on peaking at the right time and this game being an indication of it): “We are playing good right now, and we have strung some wins together. This was a good team effort, and offensively, we did a good job. We were six for seven in the red zone and made the most of those opportunities. Defensively, they dominated the game. We had a bunch of sacks, turnovers forced… and those put us in good situations early in the game, and gave us some short fields. We have to be playing like this in the playoffs and it was nice to get a win like this kind of going away.”
(on head coach Mike McCarthy wanting to run no-huddle this week): “We are trying to be an up-tempo team as much as we can. We wanted to raise the tempo, especially at home when we can communicate a little bit better than on the road. When you can have a good run-pass option, you can be very effective. They played a lot more one-high (defense) than we expected, so we threw the ball a little bit more. I missed some throws, but got it going in the second half.”
(on the difference with the way the team is playing now compared with earlier in the year): “Offensively, we have added a little bit more balance. We have run the ball for over 100 yards for a few weeks in a row now. We got 20 good carries out of Ryan (Grant) today; he ran the ball real well. DuJuan (Harris) is a good change-up for us. We have been sticking with that a little bit more. Today, we had more opportunities to throw the ball down the field because of the number of guys in the box. We have to be able to adjust quickly, whether it’s a game you have to stick with the run a little bit more or it’s a game we have to get the ball in the perimeter’s hands.”
(on Evan Dietrich-Smith at center) “I thought Evan did a good job. I’ve probably been one of his biggest supporters since he got here and I am proud of him in the way he has developed. He has a bright future in front of him. I would have to watch the film to see. I am not going to be grading him, but I would guess he did a really good job.”
(on his confidence in Dietrich-Smith on the quick touchdown pass to Greg Jennings in second half) “It was a situation where they were making some personnel switches and we were trying to get some tempo going. Thankfully, we had our guys lined up. I had to kind of look out to the right twice to make sure Greg (Jennings) was really standing by himself. Evan (Dietrich-Smith) did a good job and everyone did a good job of getting up on the line of scrimmage and snapping it quickly and making it work.”
(on the importance of the No. 2 seed in the playoffs over the No. 3 seed) “Either way, I think, if we are able to get that two-seed and a week off, it would probably help a couple of our injured guys. If not, a couple of years ago we went the distance playing every week and making that work. We will just wait and see. We will know for sure we will be no worse than a three-seed, depending on what happens next week.”
(on the risk of changing centers this late in the season) “That wasn’t part of my job this week. I didn’t do any risk assessment. We have a lot of confidence in Evan. The feel that I had out there was that he played pretty good. He is a tough competitor, he is smart, he has been around the system for a while and I think he’s, like I said, going to have a bright future with us.”
(on getting back on the same page with WR Greg Jennings) “I think it does take a little bit. I missed him on what was probably a touchdown pass in the second quarter; I overthrew him a little bit, and I was frustrated by that. He’s such a smooth route runner. He understands the game and he’s been around for a lot of football. We have played a lot of football together. He’s a big-time player. I said last week, I need to be more conscious about giving him more opportunities. I felt like I was doing that a little bit more today. I just missed him on a couple that probably should have hit him.”
(on his first-quarter touchdown run) “It was actually just a spread formation and I was looking at Donald (Driver) in the slot there. In the pre-snap, the linebacker to his side, I believe was Zach Brown, was inside of him pretty good, and I was just going to throw it to Donald and maybe he could split it for a touchdown. As I took my drop and looked that way, the linebacker flew and it just kind of opened up in the middle there. As I made my way up in there, I tried to give a token pump fake that didn’t work and tried to protect myself, and luckily, I was able to sneak in there.”
(on next week playing for the No. 2 seed compared to last year’s final games): “Last year we were able to relax that week. I might not do that again in my career, but it was nice for that and nice to get (Matt) Flynn some playing time. It will be a good game (at Minnesota), obviously a rivalry game with us and the Vikings. There are some other subplots with Adrian (Peterson), I’m not sure how close he is to the record, but I am sure they’ll be trying to get him the all-time yards record and they are trying to get in the playoffs. We can do a number of things next week, potentially clinch the No. 2 seed, keep them out of the playoffs, and I’m not sure if it’s possible, but try to hold AP under 2,105.”
PACKERS RUNNING BACK RYAN GRANT:
(on the win) “It felt good. Just to be able to win like that, it set the momentum we want going into this next phase of the year. You look at that performance by the offense, the defense, across the board, all three phases… that was what we wanted all week. We didn’t talk about stats, we talked about playing a type of football, our caliber of football.”
(on the game being so one-sided) “It’s pretty rare, especially in this league. The level of competition is high. Of course they get paid as well. You’re playing the game at its highest level. The majority of the time it doesn’t come out like that, but you can definitely build off this. It’s exciting.”
(on his two-touchdown performance) “It felt good to be able to get back into the end zone and help the team dominate the way we did.”
(on if he thought a day like today would have been possible a month ago) “This game is a funny game, a crazy game, so I don’t put anything past it.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER A.J. HAWK:
(on if the lopsided win builds confidence) “We always feel pretty confident, but I think we needed a game like this. We’ve had some hard-fought games that came down to the wire and we’ve had to find a way to pull them out. I think at halftime we were up 20-0 and (Head Coach Mike) McCarthy’s message was, ‘put them away.’ We’ve kind of had a problem with that in the past, especially last year. We wanted to make sure that didn’t happen today.”
(on the defense’s ability to get to the quarterback) “It was good. I think we were just causing them some problems, finding ways to pick it up. When you can do that and get some pressure like that, you’re going to have a good day.”
(on setting a Packers’ record for most players with a sack ) “We have so many young guys who are stepping up every week, making plays. Our depth is amazing. With all the injuries we’ve had, you need that kind of depth and our guys have done a really good job with that. It’s fun. I think (Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers) is sitting up there knowing he can call anyone’s number at any time.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JAMES JONES:
(on scoring 55 points) “It’s good. You want to score 50 every game, but it doesn’t happen that way. They played us a lot of one high. A lot of teams have been playing a lot of cover two against us. They came in here and challenged us playing one high and we took advantage of it.”
(on if this is what he expects out of the offense each week) “We’ve got the people in the locker room to do that type of stuff every game. Each game presents its own challenges and it’s not going to be like that, but we feel like every time we take the field we should score every time we get the ball.”
(on staying sharp the entire game) “It’s getting down to playoff football. We want to be at the peak. We want to be playing our best football. We’ve been practicing all week. We wanted a lot of plays and we wanted to go out there and try to put up as many points as we can and just get in a good rhythm heading into the playoffs.”
PACKERS CORNERBACK SAM SHIELDS:
(on not being complacent and staying hungry throughout today’s game) “It’s very important. We’re treating each game like a playoff game and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do throughout the playoffs and on to the Super Bowl. Starting fast and getting off the field on third downs is our main thing.”
(on looking ahead to facing the Minnesota Vikings and RB Adrian Peterson) “I respect Adrian Peterson a lot. He’s a great running back. That’s one of our focuses that we’ve got to stop. If we stop him, things will be good for our defense. He’s a big threat and we need to stop him.”
TENNESSEE TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK:
(on the offense) “Obviously we didn’t play very well at all today against a team that I thought we would play much better against. On the offensive side of the ball, we struggled, turned the ball over and missed plays that were there for us. We lost confidence in what we were doing because of having a lot of different guys playing due to injuries. We got behind early and we were forced to throw much more than we wanted to. You aren’t going to win many games when you go three-and-out the first three times and turn the ball over twice against a good football team at home.”
(on QB Jake Locker) “He needed to deal with the fact that he wasn’t playing well early. There wasn’t a lot of support and help around him either. The offense didn’t play well early and that set the tone.”
(on the defense) “It seemed like the defense held them to a couple of field goals early and then held up well when they were put in bad situations. In the second half, the dam broke and the Packers started to make plays on offense and started to frustrate our defense. The fact that we weren’t doing well on offense put the defense out there a lot and put them with a short field a couple of times. Then all of a sudden you saw us miss some tackles, Rodgers was getting the ball out of his hands quickly and they took advantage of our frustration.”
(on if his team quit today) “It wasn’t pretty, but I think it is really hard to tell or say if anyone was quitting. I don’t think that at all. I never have and I never will. That is a pretty tough statement to say. By no means did we play our best. I look at it more of that we had a lot of frustration that made us not make good decisions more so than someone thinking that they won’t play as hard. Playing hard wasn’t the problem. It was more not playing smart and then letting frustration get the better of us.”
TITANS QUARTERBACK JAKE LOCKER:
(on his two interceptions) “We had guys open. The first interception was just unfortunate. I wasn’t able to get it out there like I wanted to. The second one was a little bit of a miscommunication. I was doing one thing and he was doing another and it ended up bad for us.”
(on the offense) “You have to make plays to beat a team like this. I thought that we had a great week of practice and that we prepared the right way. For one reason or another, we didn’t execute the way we needed to. It wasn’t good enough today.”
(on being blown out) “It is tough. It is never easy to lose, especially like this. You just have to keep working and find ways to overcome it and get better. There are a bunch of things that you can point to today, but it just seemed like that there were a lot of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on today.”
TITANS SAFETY JORDAN BABINEAUX:
(on what the Packers did to them offensively) “They are a really good football team, and they are a playoff team for a reason. Their quarterback is what makes their offense go, and they have some good players at the skill positions. They had success staying on the field, and we didn’t.”
(on coming in this week after a win last week) “We certainly felt good about last week’s performance. Coming in here in a hostile environment, we knew exactly what we were up against, and in order to beat this football team, you have to darn near play a perfect game.”
(on how to move past this game and get to the season finale against Jacksonville) “Enjoy Christmas, that’s what you do.”
TITANS WIDE RECEIVER KENNY BRITT:
(on the struggles of QB Jake Locker) “It was a hard time for all of us out there. I can’t just put it all out there on the quarterback because we have a hurt O-line and we can’t get the ball off. Some of the times when he does get the ball off, he’s got somebody in his face or he’s getting hit.”
(on if the team is improving) “We’re coming together. We’re still a young team and I think we are getting better each and every week. You can tell that by the practice, even though you can’t tell it on the field. We got some guys injured and we couldn’t really get things going, so that really hurt us today.”
(on if the team was building momentum after last week’s win) “We definitely thought we had some momentum and had some good plays coming in. We knew we had some guys up front that were hurt, but being down
14-0, really didn’t hurt our pride because we knew we could make a comeback. We’re a professional team and we should be able to come back with a score like that.”
TITANS RUNNING BACK CHRIS JOHNSON:
(on how tough this loss is to take) “It’s really tough. It seems like the trend all year is we either do good or we do really bad, and that’s something that has to change.”
(on if the team had a good week of practice coming in) “I thought we had a good week. I thought it would be a way better game than this, but it just didn’t turn out. We just need to execute. The coaches can’t go out there and play for us. Whatever plays they decide to call, we have to make the most out of that play.
(on if the team quit today) “I don’t think anybody quit, I just think they came out there and were the better team today. They showed it out there, they executed, they played and stepped up on defense and they executed in all phases of the game.”
TITANS CENTER FERNANDO VELASCO:
(on if the shuffling of the offensive line affected the play up front) “I don’t want to use that as an excuse, because we’re all pros. Our coaches did a good job of getting everybody reps, so that isn’t an excuse. We just have to execute.”
(on the preparation going into this game) “The preparation was good, everybody was upbeat and in a good mood. We thought we had a great plan coming here and we all thought we had a good chance to come out of here with a victory.”
Tags: #TENvsGB, post-game notes & quotes, tennessee titans
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PACKERS WIN FOR SEVENTH TIME IN LAST EIGHT GAMES, TAKE OVER FIRST PLACE IN THE NFC NORTH
- Green Bay beat Detroit, 27-20, on Sunday night at Lambeau Field to improve to 9-4 on the season. With Chicago’s loss at Minnesota on Sunday afternoon, the Packers hold a one-game lead over the Bears (8-5) and a two-game lead over the Vikings (7-6).
- The Packers have won 21 straight regular-season games against the Lions in the state of Wisconsin, extending the longest regular-season home winning streak against one opponent in NFL history. Including a playoff victory in 1994, Green Bay has won 22 straight in Wisconsin against Detroit.
- The Packers have won seven of their last nine games played on Sunday night and improved to 20-6 all-time in Sunday night contests, a .769 winning percentage that ranks No. 1 in NFL history.
- Green Bay now has a 13-1 record (.929) against Detroit under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- With the victory on Sunday night, the Packers extended their franchise-record divisional winning streak to 11 games (previous record was eight-game streaks in 1996-97 and 2001-02). It is the longest current divisional winning streak in the league.
- It marked Green Bay’s ninth straight NFC North win at home, the longest home divisional streak since a 10-game streak from 2000-02.
- The Packers are assured of a winning record in the division for the seventh consecutive season, further extending the franchise record (previous high was five from 2000-04). The Packers and Patriots are the only teams in the NFL to have a winning divisional record each season from 2006-12.
- The Packers have won 19 of their last 20 regular-season games (.950) at Lambeau Field and 25 of their last 27 contests (.926) at home.
- Green Bay will head to Chicago next Sunday to take on the Bears at Soldier Field at noon CST.
OTHER POST-GAME NOTES:
- Tonight’s paid attendance was 70,382. It was the 309th consecutive sellout (292 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- QB Aaron Rodgers’ 27-yard TD run in the third quarter was the longest touchdown run of his career. It was the longest scoring run by a Green Bay quarterback since Brett Favre’s 36-yard TD run at Chicago on Oct. 31, 1994.
- With his 43-yard touchdown return of a fumble recovery in the second quarter, DE Mike Daniels became the first Green Bay rookie defensive lineman to return a fumble for a TD since Ernie Pannell did so at Pittsburgh on Nov. 23, 1941 (according to the Elias Sports Bureau).
- P Tim Masthay placed his 28th punt inside the 20 on the season, which tied Craig Hentrich (28 in 1996) for the second most in a season by a Green Bay punter since the statistic began to be recorded in 1976. Sean Landeta (30 in 1998) holds the franchise record.
- WR Randall Cobb matched his career high for receiving yards with 102 (also at Houston, Oct. 14, 2012).
- RB Alex Green rushed for a career-high 69 yards, topping his previous best of 65 yards at Houston on Oct. 14, 2012.
- RB DuJuan Harris posted the first rushing TD of his career when he scored on a 14-yard run in the fourth quarter. Harris’ 31 rushing yards were a career high.
- Sunday night marked the first time the Packers posted two rushing TDs in a game since they had two vs. Oakland on Dec. 11, 2011.
- With a plus-one turnover differential on Sunday evening, Green Bay has either won the takeaway battle or come out even in 28 of its last 31 regular-season games.
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(opening statement) “Good victory tonight. I was really proud of the football team. We had a tough start, but the thing that stuck out to me was the way that they kept fighting, kept battling. I thought as the game went on that we got stronger at the line of scrimmage. It’s a real credit to our defense and offensive lineman. Going into the game with four defensive linemen and having different combinations on the offensive line. Offensively, we went no huddle probably two-and-half quarters, almost three quarters, and I thought Aaron did a very good job of keeping us in clean plays. Then we started into a stuttered huddle, trying to run a different combination of running backs in there. We were able to get some production out of that. Defensively, the ability [to create] takeaways was huge. Mike Daniels’ play was the momentum shift for us that we needed in the game. Special teams, I thought we were solid. Mason, with his protection, kicking into the wind, handling the field position, and the way the wind changed and so forth. It was a fun game to play in, a great showing at Lambeau Field tonight with the snow, big division win, and now we put ourselves in position to win the division next week in Chicago.”
(on DE Mike Daniels’ touchdown being the biggest play of the season) “Well, I hope it wasn’t , but it will definitely be one of the top plays of the season. The first [rookie] defensive lineman [to return a fumble for a touchdown] since 1941… Anytime you can say that it’s the first time something happened since 1941 for a Green Bay Packer, that’s a pretty big accomplishment. That was a big play. Not only the ability to scoop it, but to avoid the tackle and score. That’s the second time Mike has done a good job of that. Clearly that was a big momentum swing for us. I was really impressed with our sideline, the guys didn’t blink. Halftime was fine. It didn’t start the way we wanted it to. Statistically, the game was out of balance in times of possession and things like that. Our guys just keep playing, keep punching, and the impressive part about our football team is that it isn’t just a couple guys making a play. We had a lot of different guys making plays tonight. That speaks volumes about the depth and the young guys and everybody contributing.”
(on how he feels his team is situated at this point in the season) “I’m focused on going to Chicago and winning the division. Hopefully, we’ll be healthy tomorrow. After a Sunday night game, our preparation will be cut back a little bit. That’s part of playing on Sunday Night Football. We’ve put ourselves in position to get to 10 wins. We really don’t look around until we get to 10 wins because double digit wins is when things really start to fall in place for you as a football team. Ten wins will give us the division championship and that’s what we’re focused on.”
(on what he likes about RB DuJuan Harris) “I like a lot about him. I like the way he’s worked since he’s arrived here. He’s done a good job. He has a unique skill set. It’s very evident that not everybody has seen him in live action, but we had another opportunity to put him into a regular game. My goal was to try and get him in last week, but it didn’t work out. That’s why I ran him the first play of offense tonight because I wanted to make sure he got in there and try to get him going. I thought Alex Green did a good job of doing the heavy lifting for the running backs, but it was good to get DuJuan and Ryan Grant in there. I know Ryan Grant just had the one carry, but it was good to have those guys back. It’s a little tougher when you’re in the no huddle, but we have some packages and a number of things we didn’t get to tonight. I feel very good about those three guys.”
(on QB Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown run) “Impressive. I thought Aaron made a number of big plays with his feet. Aaron’s touchdown run was a two-minute situation. For him to score from that distance speaks volumes about his athletic ability. But he’s steady…he’s our guy, he’s our ace. It’s built around him and he played well again tonight.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on whether his TD run makes up for ending his TD pass at home streak) “Yeah I guess I’ll just have to start a new streak there. The run was fun. I’m a little embarrassed about the leap, I was pretty tired. It took me most of the next possession when we were on defense to catch my breath.”
(on how they feel about where they’re sitting) “I feel really good. I kind of did some foreshadowing in the last couple weeks about this is how some of these games are going to go. It’s going to be ugly at times, but the main thing is the wins. We’re 9-4 right now, we’re in first in the division by a game (and) putting ourselves in good position, not only for the division, but potentially a first-round bye. Division’s the first goal and getting to 10 wins, we can start talking about the “P” word. We can wrap things up next week, (but it’s a) tough opponent, tough place to play, a lot on the line.”
(on the scoring drive comprised of all running plays) “A couple passes in there would have been nice. Nah, it’s fun. We had three different backs carry the ball on that drive. Alex (Green) did a good job on that third down getting the first down on the draw play. We came back with RG (Ryan Grant), his first carry. The crowd was excited, he busts off an explosive gain and finished it off with DuJuan (Harris) with a very well-blocked play. It’s fun, those three guys offer different things to the run game.”
(on getting contributions from unlikely sources) “You wouldn’t quite expect those guys, but ‘Scrappy’ (Mike Daniels) with the big play there on that fumble recovery … he looked pretty athletic on that play. Then DuJuan (Harris), we’ve kind of been talking about a lot in practice. We wanted to get him some carries last week, but Alex (Green) and James (Starks) ran the ball really well, so we started off the game, gave him the ball (and) he had a big-time run, explosive run for us, ran a guy over and (we) gave him a couple of opportunities. He made the most of them.
(on what he likes about Harris) “He just has unique agility I think. He’s able to make those jump cuts which I can only dream about. It’s pretty impressive to watch him in practice.”
(on the 21-game home win streak against Detroit) “It was actually on my mind when it was 14-0. I was thinking this would be a waste of a beautiful day to end that streak, playing in the snow with a great crowd. We’ve, for whatever reason, been able to come on the right side of the meetings with the Lions the last 21 times (at home), and hopefully we can keep that going as long as I’m playing here.”
(on what the run game does for the offense) “I think we’re just kind of waiting for some one-high coverages. We’ve seen so many two-high coverages this season, teams daring us to run the football. We haven’t run it very well until the last couple weeks, and hopefully this will give us an opportunity to be a more balanced offense going into the playoffs and get some more of those one-on-one matchups, especially when we get Jordy (Nelson) back. We can have all cylinders firing at the same time and then a run game to boot.”
(on them getting healthy at the right time) “We want to be playing the right way at the right time these last few weeks, and I think if we can get healthy as well, I think that’s kind of the recipe – the type of football you’re playing in December and the health of your football team. We’re obviously not there yet. We need to get Charles (Woodson), Clay (Matthews) and Jordy (Nelson) back, and some other guys. And then we’re getting some young guys some good experience right now, so everything’s lining up the way we want it. We’ve just got to take care of business here the last three weeks.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER RANDALL COBB:
(on his personal performance) “It was alright. I still made some mistakes and I still left some plays out there. If I could have made that catch on that free play it could have been a bigger game. We’re always looking to get better.”
(on looking ahead to the final stretch of the regular season) “We’ve got to make sure we take every game one step at a time. We’re looking forward to next week and being able to clinch the division and see where that takes us.”
(on QB Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown run) “He keeps surprising me with his speed. I knew his was fast, but I didn’t know he was that fast.”
(on playing in the snowy conditions) “I think the biggest thing was just extra focus. Whenever it’s snowing and coming down like that, the wind’s moving the ball a little bit, you’ve just got to focus a little bit harder and securing the ball.”
PACKERS DEFENSIVE END MIKE DANIELS:
(on his touchdown) “The touchdown felt good. I was thinking “get the ball.” Then I was thinking “don’t let that guy touch me.” Then I was thinking “score.” I played a little bit of running back in high school. I kind of had to bring back those old skills.”
(on where the touchdown ranks in the most exciting plays in his career) “That’s one of them. That ranks pretty high. I’ve had some pretty great plays at all phases of the game, from little league up until now, but that’s definitely in my top-five. In my pro moments, I’d say that’s number one.”
(on the significance of his touchdown) “Everybody was telling me we needed that. That was a big play. I was just trying to catch my breath because I knew we had to get back on the field, but it was just good to be able to bring that extra juice to help turn things around at a pivotal point in the game.”
PACKERS RUNNING BACK RYAN GRANT:
(on closing out the game running the ball) “I think it sends a message physically. That you’re going to do whatever it takes to run the ball and finish a team the way you want to. It’s good to have those drives at the end of the game like we did. It’s definitely something, confidence-wise, that you can take into next week.”
(on if he heard the ovation from the crowd when he entered the game) “I did not. It wasn’t until after I ran off the field and I was standing on the side that Donald Driver told me how loud the crowd was. I didn’t actually hear it. I’m focused on the game, so I don’t usually hear the crowd too much.”
PACKERS RUNNING BACK ALEX GREEN:
(on RB DuJuan Harris’ touchdown) “That’s excellent. That’s what it’s all about, making the most of your opportunities. He just proved that tonight. Hopefully it leads to him getting more carries in the future.”
(on the Packers’ running game tonight) “That’s what we’ve been preaching since day one – get the running game going and open things up a little bit. That’s what happened tonight and we’ve got to keep that going.”
(on coming back from a 14-0 deficit) “We showed a lot of passion and a lot of heart. We were down 14-0 early on and showed a lot of heart to come back and keep fighting.”
(on DE Mike Daniels’ touchdown) “Any time the defense makes a big play and scores it’s always a good thing for us. Being down by 14, it was definitely a big play, and seeing Mike get the ball and run is quite entertaining. It was a good thing to watch, and see his Lambeau Leap as well.”
PACKERS CORNERBACK TRAMON WILLIAMS:
(on facing Lions’ WR Calvin Johnson) “They do a great job with Calvin, moving him around to different spots, so it’s going to be hard to stop him from catching the ball. He’s going to get his catches, no doubt about it, but we didn’t let him kill us. We kept him in front of us and didn’t let him get big plays.”
(on getting down 14-0) “They just kind of took it to us. Instead of getting 2- and 3-yard carries, they were bleeding us for a little more yardage. We kind of settled down after that and just played ball.”
(on getting CB Sam Shields back) “Sam showed what he can do today and showed what he can bring to this team. I hope he continues playing like he did today.”
DETROIT LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ:
(on the fumble by QB Matthew Stafford) “I think it was a turning point in the game, but we had plenty of time after that to get things going. Particularly the two turnovers, not just one, but we had more chances after that. It was certainly a turning point in the game.”
(on the go-ahead drive by the Packers that used all run plays) “You can call it whatever you want, but it was poor defense. We got a chance to go out and get a stop and they ran the ball down our throat.”
(on QB Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown run) “We were in a coverage that was susceptible to scramble. We had poor pass rush and we gave up containment. We did a good job of coverage and the reason he’s scrambling is because he had nowhere to go. He’s a very good scrambler, and when he got into the open field he certainly made us pay for it.”
(on the Packers stopping the run in the second half) “They made a concerted effort in the second half to stop the run. They started bringing a lot more run blitzes and packing the line of scrimmage. They changed plans to stop the run and we didn’t take advantage of some chances in the pass game. Those are chances that we have to make.”
(on the injury to TE Brandon Pettigrew) “It’s stuff that happens in the game, but Brandon is a key part of our game plan and we had to do some adjusting when he went out of the game.”
(on losing another close game) “It’s the way the NFL is. We didn’t win them. If we make the key plays then we win. If we don’t, then we don’t win. The Packers made the key plays tonight all across the board. They made the field goal that made it a two-score game at the end. They ran the ball and got a touchdown to get the lead. They intercepted the ball, they scored on defense, they got a big third down conversion… Whatever it is they made those plays and we didn’t.”
LIONS QUARTERBACK MATTHEW STAFFORD:
(on the fumble) “That was a big play, we had all the momentum. I thought we came out in the first half and played really good football, on both sides really. We only gave up three [points] on defense [in the first half], and to have one go their way like that is tough. Obviously the ball was slick out there tonight, but that’s not an excuse. I just wish I got on top of the ball more.”
(on the interception and miscommunication with WR Kris Durham) “I thought he was going to cross his face, and we looked back at the pictures and he made the right decision. We just weren’t on the same page.”
(on where the team goes after this loss) “Fighting tooth and nail to get wins, that’s what we are doing every week. There is no lack of effort out there. Guys are giving it everything they got, playing as a team, doing everything we can. The ball just isn’t going our way right now.”
(on the loss of TE Brandon Pettigrew) “It always hurts to lose a guy that is a really good tight end in this league. I thought Will (Heller) came in and did a heck of a job, made some catches for us on those two-minute drives. It’s one of the great luxuries of having a guy like Will Heller. He can come in and play all those tight end positions when we need him too.”
(on playing in so many close game) “We’ve been in every single game we played this year, but being in games doesn’t mean (expletive) in this league. It’s about getting wins. We understand that as a locker room and as a team, but it’s tough when the ball isn’t going your way and we are not helping it go our way right now.”
LIONS WIDE RECEIVER KRIS DURHAM:
(on his acrobatic catch) “Matthew actually signaled the route to me. He changed it at the line. It was kind of a stop and go. I was able to beat the guy back inside and Matthew put it in the perfect location.”
(on QB Matthew Stafford’s fumble returned for a touchdown) “He has extremely strong hands and a strong arm. I have never seen anything like that with him. I guess the ball may have gotten wet with the way he grabbed it or gripped it.”
(on the season that WR Calvin Johnson is having) “It is unbelievable. He is one of the best players I have ever seen, if not the best. The skill set and just the ability that he has is head and shoulders above anyone that I have ever seen.”
LIONS KICKER JASON HANSON:
(on his missed field goal with the score tied at 17) “I was really disappointed. I know that I had to hit it really good. It was a very good kick, but I didn’t really pound it and that is what I had to have. I was just really disappointed because I thought that I put it on line and I thought it was good.”
(on still being winless in his career at Lambeau Field) “I don’t know what to say. It is just sad. It is not fun to talk about. For a lot of years we didn’t win we weren’t good and you can’t come in here and win. But there were years where we were pretty good and we still couldn’t win up here. It is just a terrible streak. I wish we could have ended it.”
LIONS DEFENSIVE END LAWRENCE JACKSON:
(on his forced fumble of QB Aaron Rodgers) “We all work together as a defensive line. I saw him sitting back there and I just tried to get my arm in a position to get the ball out. I was happy that we got the recovery.”
(on the defense) “We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. We obviously felt like we had momentum (being up 14-0) and we wanted to keep it going. It goes back to making plays. We didn’t make enough plays on defense to sustain the momentum.”
LIONS LINEBACKER STEPHEN TULLOCH:
(on not being able to finish games) “That has been the case all season. We haven’t found a way to finish games. We play three quarters of good football. We come into halftime with the lead in most games and we just don’t finish for whatever reason. We have to be accountable and find a way to get over this. We are the best three-quarter team in the league.”
Tags: #DETvsGB, detroit lions, post-game notes & quotes
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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.
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.”
Tags: arizona cardinals, post-game notes & quotes
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PACKERS TOP JAGUARS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK TO THREE GAMES
- Green Bay beat Jacksonville, 24-15, today at Lambeau Field to improve to 5-3 on the season. The Packers have won three straight games and four of their last five.
- With the victory, the Packers have won 16 of their last 17 regular-season games (.941) at Lambeau Field and 22 of their last 26 regular-season games overall (.846).
- Green Bay stays at home to host the Arizona Cardinals next Sunday at 12 p.m. (CST). The Packers will have their bye the following week.
OTHER POST-GAME NOTES:
- Today’s paid attendance was 70,464. It was the 306th consecutive sellout (289 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- By appearing in today’s contest, WR Donald Driver joined QB Brett Favre (255) as the only players in franchise history to play in 200 regular-season games. Driver became the 22nd wide receiver in league annals to play in 200 games.
- Driver’s fourth-quarter TD catch was his 62nd career touchdown, which moved him into a tie with RB Paul Hornung for the No. 5 spot for the most overall touchdowns in franchise history.
- QB Aaron Rodgers threw his 153rd career TD pass, moving him past Bart Starr (152) for No. 2 in franchise history.
- Rodgers has thrown 18 TD passes over the last five games, the most in franchise history by a Packers QB over a five-game span in a season. The previous high was 17 by Rodgers in 2011 (twice).
- Rodgers threw a TD pass in his 33rd 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.
- Rodgers has not thrown an interception in three consecutive games.
- CB Davon House became the first Packer to block a punt since LB Marcus Wilkins on Sept. 29, 2003, at Chicago.
- House made his first career start as a pro on Sunday.
- LB Dezman Moses became the first Packer to return a blocked punt for a touchdown since S Tiger Greene on Dec. 2, 1990, at Minnesota.
- WR Randall Cobb’s touchdown catch in the first quarter gave him four TD grabs over the past four games.
- LB Brad Jones recorded the first forced fumble of his career.
- S Morgan Burnett posted a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(opening statement) “It was definitely a grind-it-out type victory today. We’re pleased to be at 5-3. I’ll share my thoughts with you as I shared with the football team. I felt the victory was obviously important, but it was a little bit of a rollercoaster throughout our play. I thought today was a very good example of offense, defense and special teams picking it up for one another when it wasn’t going as well in their particular area. These games are always hard fought and our focus is on moving to the Cardinals. Part of our message leaving the locker room before I came in here was we need to be 6-3 at the bye. Today was a tough contest. Offensively we had some tough sledding, particularly early with the no huddle. I got away from that after the hits to the quarterback. Our protection in the run game needs to improve. We came in here to be balanced, a balance between run and pass. Statistically we hit that, but the efficiency was not there. I thought our defense played very well, particularly in the third quarter. They kind of carried us. Special teams, they’ve been the lead dog all year. They set the tempo with the blocked punt. For (Special Teams Coordinator) Shawn Slocum and the special teams our focus was to put pressure on the punt protection. I thought the execution by Davon House and the block was excellent.”
(on if the injured players had an effect on the game) “The inactive list, everybody has one. It happens in every game. I don’t really think it’s something we need to talk about. No disrespect to the people on the inactive list. Our preparation this week was cut short because of the stress we had at practice. I felt the team was ready to play coming out of Friday. I thought segments of the football team didn’t come out with the energy or the focus. I thought we were a little bit of a rollercoaster in certain segments and individuals. We have to get that removed. That’s something that [needs to improve] as the weather starts to turn and we get into these games that are more important. It’s important that our record stands at 5-3. Our inactive list is something that we can’t control, so we’re not looking for excuses.”
(on the decision to go for a fake with P Tim Masthay) “The fake field goal, we were just kind of watching the wind. I thought the wind changed throughout the day. I thought the ball was carrying more to the north. We were pretty close to being to the point where we would talk about going for it on fourth down and so forth. It was a play that we had been practicing. I think it was pretty obvious that the decision that was made was probably not the best decision. We’ve been aggressive on special teams and this one didn’t work.”
(on the defense’s performance) “I thought our defense came out in the second half and just did an excellent job. They were able to make some plays in the fourth quarter. I thought with their energy and the way they flew around, they gave the offense a number of opportunities. But yes, I thought that was a big part of the victory. That’s what I’m referring to. I thought special teams set the tempo early with the big play. Offense, we were up and down. Defense, I thought definitely picked it up in the third quarter. Once again, that’s what good teams do. You win games. You pick it up for one another when the efficiency isn’t quite where you want it to be.”
(on the blocked punt) “Those are game plan decisions you make going into the game. That’s something that we talked about on Monday and Tuesday and that was the route we wanted to go. You have to credit (Special Teams Coordinator) Shawn Slocum and (Special Teams Assistant) Chad Morton with their game planning. I thought (CB) Davon House was excellent. As far as the design and the execution of it, and the finish, it was excellent. Obviously, it was a huge play in the game.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on how the absence of WR Jordy Nelson and WR Greg Jennings affected the offense) “I think it was more that we didn’t run it well. We were 5 for 13 on third downs, didn’t throw it very well. It was a choppy game, I think, from the start. We didn’t get into a rhythm early, went three and out, and we went down and scored. We had a punt block for a touchdown. As big as that is for us, sometimes that keeps (the offense) on the sidelines for a while, which kind of takes us out of our rhythm. So, I think it was more that we had opportunities and we didn’t play very well.”
(on how healthy he is right now) “I’m looking forward to the bye week to get to 100 percent, but other than the one day, I haven’t missed any practice and haven’t had anything to put on any type of list. It’s just bumps and bruises that in Week 8 bother you at different times. Today I got a helmet to the arm, which kind of hurts. I got hit in the head a couple times, (but) I’ll be all right.”
(on if they looked past the Jaguars at all) “I don’t think so. I think it was just that you’ve got to give them credit. They played their scheme pretty well. They brought pressure probably twice all game and decided to play a lot of combo coverage, some quarters to the single receiver side and four over three to the other side. That was what they wanted to do, get after us with their four-man pass rush and stop the run with six in the box. I think mission accomplished for them. They had some steady pass rush, they did a good job stopping the run and they put enough guys in coverage to slow us down a little bit.”
(on if he got hit on the arm on the sack-fumble) “No, that was just poor ball security.”
(on WR Donald Driver making the most of his opportunities) “He’s really good at that route he caught the touchdown on. He’s had a few of those the last couple years and I just liked the matchup. He ran a nice route (and I) put the ball in a spot he could make a play on it. He’s going to make the most of his opportunities. Donald’s been around for a while, knows how to run his routes, knows how to get open – and with some injuries, he had some more opportunities today and made a couple plays. We know what we get out of Donald. We know what kind of player he is, what kind of professional. When he gets opportunities, he’s going to make the most of them.”
(on whether he thought his fumble should have been classified under the Tuck rule) “That was my initial reaction. I actually told the white cap (referee), I said ‘Tuck rule,’ as my first thing. Now, I’m not a big fan of the rule. I was actually pulling for the Raiders back in the day when (Charles) Woodson made him (Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) fumble. I was living in northern California and pulling for Rich Gannon and the Raiders there, so I’m not a huge fan of it, but it is the rule. That being said, as I stepped in the pocket I felt like the ball was extended and I was bringing it back in. Next thing I know, I’m on my back and I know the ball’s not in my grasp. They recovered it, obviously they didn’t think it fell under that great rule.”
(on whether this game is a setback) “I don’t see it as a setback at all. I see it as playing an opponent with a stout front four, uncommon opponent. It’s good to be on this side of an ugly win. It’s tough to win in this league and I think the expectations we’ve set around here and the way we’ve played on offense – especially in the last couple weeks – the expectations were we were going to come out and maybe blow them out. But we didn’t start fast. We didn’t have enough juice early on and didn’t play well enough on offense to get that done. Defense and special teams did their part and offensively we’re going to very critical as we watch the film tomorrow and move forward. However, that being said, we’re 5-3. As much with the adversity we’ve dealt with early in the season has affected us, I think we’ve come out. We’ve won three in a row and we’re moving in the right direction.”
(on what it means to get a win when they don’t play their best) “That’s important. It’s important when you don’t play your best that you can still come out with W’s because it’s a lot easier to watch that film when you’ve won, even if you didn’t play very well on whatever side of the ball you’re on. We struggled on offense. You’ve got to give them credit. They had a good plan, they executed really well, but it’s going to feel a lot better tonight as we’re relaxing knowing we’re 5-3 and we’re right in the mix.”
PACKERS SAFETY MORGAN BURNETT:
(on having to step up due to the injury of DB Charles Woodson) “It was tough. He’s one of our leaders and all of us young guys look up to him. We really wanted to go out and play hard for him. That motivated us to prove and show that we can go out and step up when one of our leaders goes out.”
(on whether or not the Jaguars’ offense surprised the Green Bay defense today) “No, they didn’t surprise us. This is the NFL. You can’t underestimate anyone. Blaine Gabbert, give him credit. He did a great job, made some good throws. Justin Blackmon made some good catches and those guys did well moving the ball, but as a defense, as long as you keep them out of the end zone, that’s your main goal.”
PACKERS KICKER MASON CROSBY:
(on the fake field goal attempt) “The look wasn’t there. I think Tim (Masthay) got a little pressure and it was just unfortunate. I couldn’t really tell what happened because I was running a route. We’ll have to look at the film, but it was one that we thought might work out and it just didn’t.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER DONALD DRIVER:
(on his touchdown reception) “It felt good. Aaron (Rodgers) called a play we’ve been running in practice when we get down to the three-yard line. He called a nice play and I kind of knew that I had man-to-man coverage and all I had to do was beat my guy and I knew Aaron was going to make a great throw.”
(on playing a role in the team’s victory) “It’s great. Any time you step on the field and help your team win makes you feel good. I was excited about going out there and getting the opportunity to make the plays that I made. Hopefully there will be more to come.”
(on if he felt like today was a good opportunity for him with all of the injuries at the WR position) “Every week we go into a game thinking that you’re going to have opportunities. Right now we have two great guys down with Jordy (Nelson) and Greg (Jennings). Once they come back and play, you just hope that you can continue to contribute as much as possible.”
(on if not having WRs Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings throws off the rhythm of the offense) “I don’t think so. James (Jones) had another great game as always. I don’t think it throws the rhythm off at all. The next guy has to step up and today everybody stepped up and we won the game. It wasn’t great, but we won.”
PACKERS CORNERBACK DAVON HOUSE:
(on his blocked punt) “It’s big. Big momentum… We try to win in all three phases – offense, defense and special teams. A lot of people don’t know that special teams is one of the biggest parts, as you can tell. A blocked (punt) for a touchdown, that’s seven points.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER CLAY MATTHEWS:
(on how he would assess the team’s performance) “It’s hard to tell right now with the emotions of the game. We had let downs not only on defense, but special teams and offense. Overall, when you hold them to however many points, which we did – it’s a good performance. Obviously we would like to win these games in a better fashion. It was kind of sloppy out there, lack of energy, but a win’s a win in this league.”
(on why there was a lack of energy) “I don’t know. Perhaps it could be the early morning game, our first one here. Ultimately, that’s not a good enough excuse, and we definitely were flat. It’s something that needs to be addressed, will be addressed, and hopefully I think we have another early game next week at home so we’re not going to fall into that same type of game and hopefully we can put points on the board early and have the defense continue to show up.”
(on if there was any anxiety due to the amount of starters out with injuries) “No, maybe for the coaches but not so much for the players. With the players, we just play ball. I know it sounds cliché and simple, but we expect those guys opposite of us, or in the huddle, or wherever on the field, to contribute and do their job as if they were the initial starter. No excuses, but it is next man up, and unfortunately there’s a lot of people down right now.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER DEZMAN MOSES:
(on his recovery for a touchdown after the blocked punt) “It was pretty much four or five guys had a shot before me. I just kept hustling to the ball. I saw it bounce around a few times. I got my hands on it and the play was over from there. I was in the end zone at that point. It’s a little different before you get in there, guys are trying to scoop and score and make the big play. Luckily it kept going toward the end zone and I got a chance to get my hands on it. I didn’t have to worry about running, it was more about falling down and securing the ball.”
(on the importance of the blocked punt and touchdown) “I believe every play is important. You never know what play is going to be the play that determines the game. It turned out to be a lot closer game than we expected. All those plays count and that was definitely a big one.”
(on his first Lambeau Leap) “I’ve already graded it an eight. I had the jump and the twist all in there. Pretty smooth, so it was all in stride.”
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY:
(on the loss) “I hate to be standing up here again with another loss, but there are some things that showed up today that I was pleased with. There are some positives that we can take from this game playing in a tough environment. Some guys stepped up and made some plays for us today, including our quarterback, which I thought he did. We still have things to clean up, but I thought there was progress.”
(on Green Bay’s blocked punt touchdown) “I’ll take responsibility for that. Our tempo was slow, and that gave them a chance to creep up and jam it in. We should have brought that guy in. It is nobody’s fault but mine.”
(on the defense) “I thought we played well. We were talking about from the beginning to make them earn everything that they were going to make. Up until that last throw we were trying to keep everything in front of us and just tackle them. I thought we did a better job of tackling today. I thought we were very good at stopping the run. We made them drive down the field to score touchdowns.”
(on going for a two-point conversion before halftime) “I went against the rules in going for two early and I’ll tell you why. I wanted to score the points. I wanted to go in at halftime tied. That’s why I did it. I know I went against all the rules in the statistical books, but at some point we were going to have to go for two. After that fact, I wish we had just kicked the extra point, but we had the play designed the way we wanted it. But the ball was thrown behind Justin Blackmon.”
JAGUARS QUARTERBACK BLAINE GABBERT:
(on playing with an injured shoulder) “It is just something that you have to manage and deal with. All in all I really didn’t worry about it or focus on it one bit today. Everything was normal at the start of the game. It is just mind over matter at that point.”
(on getting the pass game going) “We were just trying to make plays. We had some great calls. It just came down to us executing. We executed on some and we didn’t execute on others. That was kind of the tale of the game. We left too many plays out there. It showed and we lost.”
(on wide receiver Cecil Shorts) “He is doing a great job. He has the ability to stretch the field and make plays. He did a great job today along with our other receivers.”
(on struggles in the red zone) “We did some good things, but when you are in the red zone three times and only come away with one touchdown you aren’t going to win many games doing that. You need to have a high touchdown percentage when you are playing the teams that we have played in this league.”
JAGUARS CENTER BRAD MEESTER:
(on Blaine Gabbert throwing for over 300 yards) “That’s the type of guy Blaine is. An unbelievable guy, an unbelievable leader of this offense. I’m excited for the things that he is going to do.”
(on the inability to finish drives) “We really have to find a way to finish drives, there is just no other way to explain it. Somehow we just have to find a way to get into the end zone. That’s the key.”
(on the play of the defense) “The defense did a tremendous job, again, and they continue to do a great job all year, and we have just got to find a way to finish drives.”
JAGUARS CORNERBACK WILLIAM MIDDLETON:
(on the defensive game plan coming into the game) “Coach Tucker had a great defensive plan against these guys. Everybody knows Aaron Rodgers, the guy’s a hell of a quarterback and that’s a credit to him, their offensive coordinator and their coaches. But Mel’s game plan going into this week was phenomenal and he did a really good job calling the game.”
(on the defensive pass interference penalty late in the fourth quarter) “It’s a part of the game. I’m not upset about it at all, and we’re moving on to the next one and we got another big home game next week.”
(on the defense playing well today) “Yeah, we did, the defensive line got to Aaron (Rodgers), the linebackers played the run and the pass game, and our safeties really communicated the calls, so as a unit I think we played really well today.”
JAGUARS WIDE RECEIVER CECIL SHORTS III:
(on his breakout game) “Every week you want to be the player to make plays. This was only my second start, and I had an opportunity today and I took advantage of it.
(on the offense having to settle for field goals) “We got to convert third downs. You see the Packers, they’re a good team and they convert third downs. It’s something we have to do, and we are getting better at it, but we have to convert.
JAGUARS OFFENSIVE TACKLE GUY WHIMPER:
(on his touchdown catch) “It was something that we practiced during the week, and I have a little history playing tight end in college. We practiced it and they called it in the game and we executed.”
(on losing the game today) “The game only comes down to a couple plays and we need to execute on those plays a lot better and the outcome of this game would have been a whole lot different.”
(on the play of quarterback Blaine Gabbert) “He’s showing signs that he can be one of the elite quarterbacks in this league. It’s going to take time, but he’s showing that he’s ready and willing to take that next step.
Tags: jacksonville jaguars, post-game notes & quotes
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PACKERS TOP SAINTS TO IMPROVE TO 2-2
- The Packers beat the Saints, 28-27, on Sunday, the second straight season that Green Bay has defeated New Orleans at Lambeau Field in September.
- It marked Green Bay’s first one-point win since a 21-20 victory over Tampa Bay on Nov. 4, 2001, at Lambeau Field.
- With the victory, Green Bay has now won 21 of its last 23 regular-season games at Lambeau Field and 19 of its last 22 regular-season games overall.
- The Packers will travel to Indianapolis next Sunday to take on the Colts at noon CDT, Green Bay’s first visit to Indianapolis since 2004. The Colts had their bye this weekend.
OTHER POST-GAME NOTES:
- Today’s paid attendance was 70,571. It was the 305th consecutive sellout (288 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- Green Bay’s 30 first downs in the game were the most posted by the Packers since they registered 31 at Detroit on Nov. 12, 1989.
- The 21 passing first downs by the Packers were tied for the second most in a game in franchise history behind only the 22 first downs registered vs. Minnesota on Nov. 11, 2007.
- WR Donald Driver appeared in his 196th career game, which ties him with QB Bart Starr for the second-most games played in franchise history.
- QB Aaron Rodgers threw a TD pass in his 32nd 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.
- Rodgers posted the eighth four-TD passing game and the 24th 300-yard passing game of his career.
- WR Greg Jennings’ 9-yard TD catch in the second quarter was the 50th TD reception of his career. That moves him into sole possession of the No. 6 spot in franchise history for most TD catches (had been tied with WR James Lofton).
- WR James Jones posted the second two-TD catch game of his career, with the other one coming last year vs. Chicago on Dec. 25, 2011.
- With a sack on Sunday, LB Clay Matthews moved past Tony Bennett (36.0) for the No. 6 spot in team history. Matthews now has 36.5 career sacks.
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(opening statement) “I’ll first start off with the fact that it was a big win at home against a very good football team. We expected a highly contested game today, two teams coming in here with some extra emotion to add to the football game. I’m very proud of our football team, especially with the week we endured. We talked a lot about integrity and character and I thought today’s game had plenty of those types of situations where it showed up big. There was adversity throughout the football game, which there is in every football game. I understand that, but I’m very proud of the way our players responded to the challenge today and responded throughout the game. I thought it was a game where all three phases contributed. I thought special teams did a good job against a dynamic returner in (Darren) Sproles, and the big play with the fake punt to extend the drive that ended in a touchdown for us. I thought our defense was really put in some tough situations. I know they had a lot of yards and production against us, but I thought they stepped up in adverse times. We had some plays that didn’t go our way, we just hung in there and battled. Offensively, we probably had two plays we wished we had back, but I thought that was our best performance of the year as far as generating first downs, putting points on the board, playing with the lead and putting the game away in the four-minute [situation]. I’m proud of the victory, but more importantly I’m proud of the character of our locker room. I thought we put that on display today against a team that obviously had their backs against the wall and we knew we were going to get their best effort.”
(on the fake punt) “We had a punt earlier where they gave us a look where they played heavy to the protection to the box. Based on that particular down and distance, we were able to take advantage. I’m not going to get into specifics, but it was a well-executed play by our punt team. John Kuhn in third and one or less, that’s definitely someone I have a lot of confidence in that situation. Based on the pre-snap, I thought it was going to be an even bigger play. That was a big play in the game. We wanted to create momentum plays early in the game. It was something we talked about as a football team. Get a fast start, get the lead and that was definitely part of it.”
(on the performance of WR James Jones) “Very happy with the way James played. James has been very consistent this year and he’s clearly off to his most consistent year in his time here, in my opinion. The catch he made to seal the game, that’s two plays where we were on the same page. There’s no X’s and O’s gratification in that particular throw and catch. That’s a great job. Greg’s (Jennings) groin was bothering him so we played it safe. I think it tells you how well our receiving corps works. It’s an interchangeable group. It’s the only group I’ve ever had, and it’s been like that my entire time here, every receiver plays every position. They’re all interchangeable, so you’re able to move them all over the place and create opportunities for everybody. It also gives you the flexibility of matchups. James has definitely taken advantage of that with his opportunity. We’re very happy with the way he played.”
(on if he considered keeping QB Aaron Rodgers in the game after he was poked in the eye) “That was the discussion on the field when Aaron was poked in the eye. He could not refocus with his right eye. With that, the medical staff wanted to get him to the sideline. I don’t know if they put the eye drops in, but that was the discussion on the field. That’s why we took him out at that point. He wanted to stay in and he was able to stay in because the injury occurred on a penalty. But, we took the high side of caution and unfortunately it resulted in a fumble.”
(on scoring touchdowns in the red zone compared with the Saints having to kick field goals) “It’s all about touchdowns. We felt coming off of last week’s game that our red zone production wasn’t where it needed to be. We kicked field goals last week. It’s nice as a coaching staff, and even for the players, when we emphasize something throughout the week and it shows up on Sunday. That’s what it’s all about. We’re in the business of winning. We discussed that. We’re paid to win games, but as a coaching staff we believe in winning and growing. When you emphasize things throughout the week and spend a little extra time on certain fundamentals or certain situations, it’s important for that to show up on Sundays. “
(on how big it was to get a goal line stop of the Saints when they had a first-and-goal on the one-yard line) “Well, it was big. I think the point was made earlier. When you’re scoring touchdowns and they’re kicking field goals, obviously you’ve got a chance. That’s for sure. We were minus-two in the turnover ratio. We’ve never won a game in that situation in my time here. That’s huge for your football team. That’s adversity. That’s overcoming negative situations that went on throughout the 60 minutes, and when you’re able to overcome that, that is a huge confidence builder for our football team. It’s nice when you’re out there rolling, you’re ahead and everything is going good and hunky dory, but that’s a front-runner attitude. We don’t work that way, we don’t believe that way. There are a lot of good things that come out of this win to overcome that. That minus-two turnover ratio and to win the football game, fumble the ball on the one-yard line, that’s big stuff.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on the last completion to James Jones) “That last play there, you feel great about the opportunity to win it there with a completion. We had a good play call. They brought a little pressure and played man coverage. We liked the matchup with James and he made an incredible catch.”
(on the eye injury) “I made just an average stutter-step move there to try and extend the play. As I did, (Malcolm) Jenkins put his hands inside my facemask and I had a hard time there immediately after with the depth perception. I wanted to stay in the game – obviously I don’t like coming out for anything – but just didn’t have any depth perception immediately thereafter. I figured we were a yard away, that we could punch that thing in there. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
(on the red zone efficiency with 4 TDs) “We talked about that this week, the urgency in two areas, the third downs and red-zone, and we had a chance to be 5-for-5 in the red zone. We were 4-for-5 on touchdowns, which is still good. You never like a turnover down there, but (we had) a good percentage there.”
(on if this was a building block win) “I think it’s important for us, we overcame some adversity tonight. That’s a good football team. They’re 0-4, but (they have) a solid offense and a good defense and our defense had been playing so good the first three weeks, it was important for us to put some points on the board. They weren’t as sharp as they’ve been the first three games, so it was nice for us to put some points up for them.”
(on overcoming adversity to get this win) “It gives us some confidence. I think 1-3 would have been difficult. We’ve got a tough schedule coming up, we’ve got to play some games on the road. We’ve got to learn to win on the road with this group of guys that we have, (and) 1-3 would have made that very difficult I think. When you start having consecutive losses you can’t help but have that feeling of ‘Here we go again,’ at times, and unfortunately there was a little bit of that tonight with some of the calls. But we were able to overcome it. I think it says a lot about the character of this team and this was an important win for us.”
(on the interception) “It was a very poor throw. They were running two-deep coverage. I was trying to look the safety inside and come outside. He (CB Patrick Robinson) made a nice play on the ball, but it was not a good throw.”
(on what he’s learned about this team four games in) “We’ve had to deal with probably more adversity than most of the teams I’ve played with, especially early on. We’ve had some interesting games already. We’re four games in, so I think the character of this team is very strong. Winning games like this says a lot about the kind of men that we have.”
(on the fumble by QB Graham Harrell) “That could happen to anybody, including myself. When you run an outside zone on the goal line there’s often penetration. He (Harrell) was trying to make a handoff while falling down, which is something that I’ve done before. It was just unfortunate that we weren’t able to complete that handoff, but he’ll be fine.”
(on the offensive line play) “They played great. The offensive line took a lot of heat, obviously, for what happened in the first half last week, but counting the last three halves, zero sacks. So we’re figuring something out.”
(on the Greg Jennings injury) “We’d love to have Greg out there obviously, but in a situation like that, we’ve had injuries the last two, three years here and the next guy up has got to step up and play well. Randall Cobb had a big night tonight. He played really well, was able to get open a number of times and make the most of his opportunities.”
PACKERS RUNNING BACK CEDRIC BENSON:
(on keeping up with the Saints’ offense) “No question, they’re an explosive offense. That’s a good team over there. It’s tough to believe that they’re 0-4. That’s a very explosive offense, but our defense got the stops for us when we needed them in very crucial moments there at the end of the game.”
(on his role in the offense) “I can’t express enough how much I yearn for not only the ball, but for guys to be like, ‘We need you right here.’ I work for it all week in practice, prepare for it all the time, and look forward to it on Sundays.”
(on his progression from week one to now) “Game one I wasn’t too sure on all the pass plays. I wasn’t too sure on the protections. I wasn’t too sure on exactly where the runs out of the shotgun were designed to hit. I wasn’t sure of anything. I was out there playing football. Even week two, even week three, I was just out there playing football. But things are starting to really come together now.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JAMES JONES:
(on the win) “Big win. Our goal coming into this game was to come out 2-2, however we had to get it done. It was a team effort out there today. We made plays when we had to make plays on offense and defense and we came out on top.”
(on his final catch of the game) “Thank God; the Lord was with me. I saw the ball thrown inside and I stuck one hand down there. Sometimes you get lucky in football, and that’s what that was. I caught it under his elbow on the other side of his body and pulled it in. The biggest thing about it is that it was a first down. We could run the clock out and get out of there with a victory.”
(on his personal performance) “We’re all about making the most of our opportunities. Aaron (Rodgers) has a lot of weapons. If you ask the receivers everybody is open on every play, but when the ball comes your way just make a play. You never know when you’re going to get it – if it’s going to come in the first quarter or the fourth quarter. Make the most of your chances, and that’s what I did today.”
(on his touchdown catch in the first quarter) “Yeah I stole one from (TE Jermichael Finley). The play broke down and Aaron (Rodgers) scrambled. On the scramble, I saw Jermichael inside of me, so I had turned outside and he turned outside with me. I just saw the ball when I looked up and grabbed it from him, so I owe him one. He said he would have done the same thing. The biggest thing is we got seven on the board.”
(on how penalties impacted the momentum of the game) “You’ve just got to keep punching. We always know it’s not going to be pretty. You’re not going to get all the calls, even though we want to. You’ve just got to keep swinging, keep fighting, and the biggest thing is at the end of the game it was in our hands to make a play to win the ball game, and we can’t ask for anything better than that.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER CLAY MATTHEWS:
(on bouncing back after the result last Monday night) “I think a lot of the country, and ourselves, were wondering how we’d bounce back. It was a point of emphasis not to allow last week’s missed call to get in the way of what we were trying to accomplish here today, and fortunately we were able to come away with a big victory. We’re 2-2 after the first quarter of the season. Obviously we’d like to have a better record, but it’s where we are and we’ll move forward.
It was a short week obviously, so we had to deal with that mentally, but obviously throw in the emotional distress of losing a game on the last play like that. But fortunately I think we aired everything that we wanted to in the initial meeting back after the game. Some things were said, and I think we truly focused on this game and didn’t let last week affect us at all tonight.”
(on playing against the Saints’ offense) “As I’ve said throughout this week they’re a top offense. I know they’re 0-4 right now, but they clearly showed it. Drew Brees is an MVP-caliber quarterback. They’re doing things right over there, but fortunately we came away with the win.”
(on the defense’s performance) “We made the stops when we needed to. It seemed like at times they were moving the ball well, especially on third down we need to do a better job getting off the field, but ultimately we came up with the stops when we needed to.”
(on Saints running back Darren Sproles being ruled down by contact before fumbling) “It was almost a ‘not again’ moment. Fortunately I think that ended with the missed field goal. We were able to make the plays when we needed to.”
PACKERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE B.J. RAJI:
(on when quarterback Aaron Rodgers had to leave the game with an injury) “Obviously the reigning MVP of the league, if he’s not in the game I’m not thrilled about it. I don’t know if he took a shot in the head, I don’t know what it was, but obviously in that case you’ve got to come out and let them at least check you out. Aaron did the right thing.”
(on Saints running back Darren Sproles being ruled down by contact before fumbling) “I was in disbelief. Everyone immediately turns their attention to the jumbotron, and we all saw the same thing. For the call to be what it was is pretty crazy. I guess everyone deserves a pass. It’s been a while since (the referees) have been here, so I’m not going to get on them too tough.”
(on his personal foul penalty on the goal line) “That was all on me. Being a leader on this defense there’s no place for that. Thank God my team rallied around me and we were able to make some plays. That was a big stand right there. I’ll just use it as a learning experience.”
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS INTERIM HEAD COACH AARON KROMER:
(on the outcome of the game) “Obviously I thought we had a chance to win the game, but we didn’t make some plays at the end of the game that we needed to make. We looked like the Saints again. Obviously our running game needs to be better. Drew (Brees) had the hot hand and sprinkle some runs in and it was working.”
(on the four drops in the game) “I thought today the passing game was good. Protection was very good. The one time Drew did get hit it was a sack from Clay Matthews. Threw a lot of completions and we need to catch some of those better.”
(on not being able to make the clutch plays right now) “Let me just say this, we were 53, 54 percent on third down, and most teams would beg for that. There were a lot of catches on those third downs that were outstanding today, there are times you’re going to drop the ball, and we understand that, but there were a lot of outstanding catches today.”
(on the effort of his team today) “You cannot question our effort. It was an all-out effort. We were coming out to play physical, and we did. We just came up short.”
(on the feeling inside the locker room after the game) “Disappointment. But I won’t let them get disappointed. I’ll let them get hurt, it’s going to hurt when you lose a game like this, but we are too close. Two games in a row now we are too close to not winning these games. We had an opportunity to win the game at the end and that’s what we’re looking for.”
SAINTS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES
(on the lack of a running game today) “I thought we moved the ball extremely well, so whether it’s through the air or on the ground it doesn’t matter. I think offensively if we look at the statistics that are important to a game, we won. Statistically when you look at it you should say that’s a win, but unfortunately we didn’t do quite enough.”
(on if the team is improving) “I feel like this was our best performance of the season. Defense got us two turnovers, and we had zero offensively. Unfortunately when you play a great team like the Packers are, a great team, in their venue, you have to be darn near perfect, and we were almost there but not quite.”
(on overcoming the 0-4 start) “I’m not going to keep myself busy saying that. It stinks, obviously, but I know the type of guys we have, I know the direction we’re headed, and it’s all positive.”
(on tying Johnny Unitas with 49 straight games with a touchdown) “Obviously I’d love to be sitting here talking about it after a win, but certainly it’s significant to even be in the same realm as Johnny Unitas. His career speaks for itself.”
(on playing the San Diego Chargers to potentially break the record against his former team) “I don’t make the schedule, but it sure is a funny coincidence, isn’t it?”
SAINTS WIDE RECEIVER MARQUES COLSTON:
(on his touchdown catch) “It is a play that is a staple in our offense. It really wasn’t open, but Drew just gave me a chance to go up and get it. He put it in a great spot for me.”
(on being in rhythm with QB Drew Brees) “Offensively in general we got into a good rhythm early. This was the first time all year that Drew and I have had it going like that. It is a good step in the right direction.”
SAINTS CORNERBACK JABARI GREER:
(on the loss) “We had a great opportunity to win the game. We didn’t make the plays that we needed to make. I didn’t make the plays to help the team. There were a lot of things left on the field, but ultimately we fought and never gave up. We have the heart of a team that is progressing, believes in itself and will never quit. I am encouraged by that, very encouraged.”
(on the defensive system) “No matter what is called, we have to play and be able to execute. The defense is called to respond no what position we are in in. It is not the system. It is just capitalizing on opportunities when they are presented.”
(on WR James Jones’ reception to ice the game) “You have to make that play. I pride myself on being able to make that play in big situations. I didn’t do it. It hurts. It is something that will motivate me to get better and be the very best I can be. I am never letting that happen.”
SAINTS KICKER GARRETT HARTLEY:
(on his fourth quarter field goal miss) “When the ball came off I knew I hit it well. You want to be in that position. I was walking out there with all the confidence in the world and unfortunately it didn’t work out this time.”
(on where the Saints go from here) “We know what we have to do. With the type of guys that we have in this locker room, I am definitely looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.”
SAINTS WIDE RECEIVER JOSEPH MORGAN:
(on his 80-yard touchdown catch) “It was pretty much a go route. I just adjusted to how the defense was. He (CB Sam Shields) squatted on me a little bit, so I just read it accordingly and ran the route the best I could. Drew (Brees) pretty much threw me open. It probably shocked him how open the play was.”
(on mounting an offensive comeback) “It was great to get the momentum going because you can build on that. Obviously we didn’t finish. We need to keep the momentum and finish with it. That is something we will work on throughout the week and going into the next game.”
Tags: new orleans saints, post-game notes & quotes
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PACKERS TOP BEARS, 23-10
- Green Bay beat Chicago, 23-10, on Thursday night at Lambeau Field to improve to 1-1 on the season.
- It marked the fifth straight win for the Packers over the Bears (including playoffs), their longest winning streak against Chicago since a seven-game streak from 2000-03.
- Green Bay has now won eight consecutive regular-season NFC North games, which matches the longest divisional winning streak in team history (since league went to a divisional format in 1967). The Packers also had eight-game winning streaks in the division in 1996-97 and 2001-02.
- The Packers are now 16-3 in regular-season NFC North games at Lambeau Field under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, an .842 winning percentage that ranks No. 1 in the league at home since 2006.
- Green Bay has won 20 of its last 22 regular-season games at Lambeau Field and 18 of its last 20 regular-season games overall.
- With the win tonight, the Packers improved to 9-3 (.750) in prime-time games since 2009.
- Next up for Green Bay is another prime-time contest. The Packers travel to Seattle for their road opener on Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. (CDT), the 20th straight season that Green Bay will appear on Monday Night Football.
OTHER POST-GAME NOTES
- Tonight’s paid attendance was 70,543. It was the 304th consecutive sellout (287 regular season, 17 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- Green Bay’s 168 total yards allowed were the fewest given up vs. Chicago since the Packers allowed 132 yards vs. the Bears on Nov. 30, 1975.
- The Packers’ seven sacks were the most in a regular-season game since they posted nine at Chicago on Jan. 2, 2005.
- The Packers posted at least 300 yards of total offense (321 yards) in their 18th straight regular-season game, extending the longest streak in franchise history. It is also the longest current streak in the league.
- P Tim Masthay posted his first career TD pass on Green Bay’s fake field goal in the second quarter, connecting with TE Tom Crabtree for a 27-yard score.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first TD pass by a Green Bay punter since Ron Widby threw a 68-yard touchdown to WR Dave Davis at Houston on Nov. 19, 1972.
- LB Clay Matthews posted a career-high 31⁄2 sacks. With six sacks in the opening two games, he matches his career high for the most over a two-game span (Weeks 1-2, 2010).
- It was the most sacks in a game by a Packer since DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila recorded four at Chicago on Jan. 2, 2005.
- K Mason Crosby’s 54-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was the longest by a Packer in Lambeau Field history. The previous long was 53 yards (several times).
- QB Aaron Rodgers threw a TD pass in his 31st consecutive regular-season game at home, further extending his franchise record. It is also the longest current streak in the league.
- CB Tramon Williams matched his regular-season career high with two interceptions. He also had two last season vs. Tampa Bay on Nov. 20, 2011.
- LB D.J. Smith posted his first career sack when he brought down QB Jay Cutler for a 13-yard loss in the first quarter.
- WR Randall Cobb’s 28-yard run in the second quarter was his career long.
- S Jerron McMillian posted his first career interception in the fourth quarter.
- DE Jerel Worthy started his first career game.
- Cutler has thrown four or more interceptions in a game just four times in 80 career starts. Two of those games have been against Green Bay, tonight and on Sept. 13, 2009, at Lambeau Field (four INTs).
- This was the seventh time that the Packers have posted four-plus INTs in a regular-season game under McCarthy. Green Bay has a perfect 7-0 mark in those contests.
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(on what it means for the defense to play like they did tonight) “Well, we want to play great defense, obviously. I had a conversation with B.J. Raji at the hotel last night, and we’re talking about playing defense. He’s a Pro Bowl player and the team is noted for offense. I said well, ‘frankly, I’d rather be known for defense.’ And I’ve always stated that. I mean, we have a great quarterback and we have a very good offense. We feel like we’re building, we’re building something special with this defense. I thought our younger players that got an opportunity to play today we were very productive. I thought Clay was off the charts, just with the energy and the production he brought. That defense really flew around tonight. Like all of us, we got kicked in the butt four days ago and we were motivated to improve as a team. I felt like we did that today. It’s one win. It’s a division win, especially not playing division games until later in the season, we feel good about ourselves. Until midnight.”
(on the fake field goal) “Frankly, fourth and 26 was not the plan. I really called that for different reasons. It’s a play fake. We’ve been working on that for two or three years and we were looking for a certain look from the Bears. They gave it to us and it was a great execution on our players’ part. I was trying to send a message when I made the call and I was fine with the field position. Then our guys executed and I thought it really lifted our sideline up and our defense just kept going. Offensively we were able to put some points on the board. It was a big play in the game.”
(on rotating the outside linebackers) “This is the first time we felt like we had four outside linebackers we could rotate in. That was really the plan going into the season once we picked the roster. Obviously, Erik Walden wasn’t available last week. That’s just part of our plan.”
(on the play of RB Cedric Benson) “I thought Cedric is starting to look a lot more comfortable in our offense. I thought it was important to get him back with his toes at seven (yards) and play where he’s played his whole life. Cedric Benson is one of those men that was put on this earth to run the football. We’ve been doing some things with him out of shotgun that he doesn’t have a ton of experience with. We’ll continue to get better. I definitely felt we made a step forward tonight against a very active, disciplined defensive front that presents a lot of challenges with their line movements. They definitely can be hard to run against because when you have a defensive line that is active and disciplined as they are, especially with the linebackers, the experience of their linebackers. That was a big challenge for us.”
(on taking Brandon Marshall out of the game) “I thought they did an excellent job. He was the focus. I think that was definitely obvious to everybody watching the game and I know our DB’s were excited and we’re fired up to play this game. Once again, it’s one game. It’s an excellent game to start building off of. We still have a lot of work to do. We don’t feel like we really solved any big things. We’re two games into this, we’re a new team. I’m actually looking forward to watching the tape of the younger players because we definitely need some growth. I think we definitely got that tonight.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on the fake field goal touchdown pass) “It was a big play for us. I was watching up on the Jumbotron and something just looked a little off at first. I thought … somebody got bowled over right away, or it was going to get blocked, or we didn’t catch it right. Then I saw ‘Crabby’ [Tom Crabtree] running out the backside, I couldn’t believe it. That’s a gutsy call. You’ve got to score on that, 4th and 26 from the 27.”
(on what message that fake field goal sent to the team) “I’m just going to stick with gutsy. That’s quite a call. I’m glad it worked.”
(on what the running game did for the offense) “They were probably about 90 percent two-high [safeties]. There’s been times where they’ve played that way. In 2007 they had a string of like 48 straight plays playing Tampa 2. Same thing in 2009, we saw a lot of the same defenses. We played them down there in 2010 and they wanted to play a lot of two-shell, which means we had to run the ball. We ran it better tonight. Cedric (Benson) did a good job of making plays when there was a hole and making plays when there wasn’t. It was good to have him out there, good to get him 20 carries tonight. He did a good job and a good job finishing the game for us.”
(on whether everyone will be play a two-shell defense against them) “We’ll see. I don’t think anybody’s going to play us the way Chicago does. They’re very soft in the secondary, it’s two-shell and the safeties are high. They try to prevent the big play and keep everything in front of them. They do a good job rallying to the football and making plays on the ball. You’ve got to give them credit, they’re a solid defense. But still, we’d like to move the ball a little more effectively.”
(on if there was any anxiety or panic this week after losing to San Francisco) “You guys had some worry and we were kind of feeling some of the panic. We showed a clip in one of our meetings of the scene from Semi-Pro when Will Ferrell is fighting the bear and the bear gets out of the cage and it’s the scene where he’s yelling ‘Everybody panic!’ That’s kind of a joke, just because inside of the facility there wasn’t any panic. Outside I think people were (thinking), lose to Chicago and you’re kind of putting yourself behind the eight ball a little bit. But (this was a) good win for us, we’re 1-1. Again it’s one game. We’ve got to get better on offense. The defense played incredible.”
(on the late interception play call) “I liked the play call but just was not on the same page with James (Jones) there. I was expecting him to come out flat. He started out flat and then he kind of took it up. That’s about as frustrating as it gets right there.”
(on how good it feels to get this win) “It feels good to win the game. The interviews this week had a lot of worry in them in the questions that were asked. Not necessarily my weekly at my locker, but a couple of the other interviews were, shall we say, a little negative about our team. We played a real good team week one, we played a good team week two, so we’re going to keep trying to improve and it’s good to be 1-1.”
PACKERS RUNNING BACK CEDRIC BENSON:
(on bouncing back from last week’s loss) “The week couldn’t have gone by any slower for me. I was ready to get back on the field and get things on the right track. Last week was tough. We didn’t run it like we wanted to, so it feels good to come out here today and do some things well.”
(on playing against the team that drafted him) “I kind of already had a chance to get at them when I was in Cincinnati. The most important thing that was going through my mind this week was getting off to a good start and getting the run game going.”
(on whether he knew he’d get more carries than in the season opener) “No, I had no idea. Being here you never know. All I could relate to is last week so I didn’t know what it would be like. I was just ready to get the ball in my hands and get the chains moving.”
PACKERS TIGHT END TOM CRABTREE:
(on the fake field goal touchdown) “The guys did a great job blocking. Tim (Masthay) had a great pitch and I just ran a straight line and that was about it.”
(on what the touchdown did for the team’s energy) “Everybody was pumped up. The guys that weren’t really in on it – the offensive or defensive guys on the sideline – it kind of caught them off guard and they were wondering what happened. We were all pumped and it kind of got the juice going.”
(on the call to attempt the fake field goal) “The element of surprise was the biggest thing on that play. It’s a gutsy call and the guys up front executed just like we practiced it.”
(on what he saw before the snap) “We’ve been practicing it for awhile and watching film. When I got out there and kind of looked at their alignment I kind of knew we had them outnumbered. All it came down to was catching the pitch and just turning and running down field.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER DONALD DRIVER:
(on scoring a touchdown after seeing limited playing time last week) “I said last week when the opportunity presents itself you have to make the best of it. I got the opportunity tonight to make some plays. It was one straight down the middle. I guess they decided not to cover me – left me wide open.”
(on his touchdown dance) “That’s the dance that won Dancing with the Stars, so I had to bring it out.”
(on the win) “It was just relaxing. Mike (McCarthy) said in the second half that we just have to relax and finish, and we did that. We relaxed and just started playing our style of football. Once you start doing that you start to make some plays, and that’s what happened.”
(on the fake field goal for a touchdown) “That was amazing. I think (special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum) picked the perfect time to do it. We haven’t done any trick plays on special teams and that was one tonight that took us up.”
PACKERS PUNTER TIM MASTHAY:
(on the fake field goal touchdown) “We’ve been practicing that for a while. To be honest, I was surprised when the call came in because it was fourth-and-26. That was a really gutsy call by Coach. I had to basically make sure a certain look was there and it was, so we kept it on and Tom (Crabtree) made a great run and the guys blocked well.”
(on having a perfect passer rating) “I’ll close the passing books for myself for the rest of my career on that. I had the smallest part of anybody on that whole thing. I just had to shuttle pass it to Tom (Crabtree), those guys blocked and he made a great run.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER CLAY MATTHEWS
(on the defense’s performance) “I thought these guys did a good job today as far as getting after the quarterback. It comes down to individual matchups sometimes and we were able to exploit that.”
(on getting pressure on QB Jay Cutler) “If anything sometimes he likes to force throws in there and let his receivers go up and make (the play), especially with receivers like Brandon Marshall, so for us to get after him was nice. With any good quarterback they’re going to be smart as far as taking their sacks.”
(on the win) “We’re 1-1, and that’s the reality of it. We feel good about this victory. We have some time off here to kind of go back and watch this film and make the necessary corrections that we need. Ultimately, we played some good ball tonight so hopefully we’ll keep that moving forward.”
PACKERS DEFENSIVE BACK CHARLES WOODSON:
(on what went into forcing turnovers tonight) “Jay (Cutler) is a guy that he’ll give you a chance. You just have to be in position. Up front was unbelievable, headed by Clay (Matthews), and a lot of other guys got in on the action and forced him to get the ball out of his hands, forced him into some bad throws and we were there to capitalize on it…They had no answers for our guys up front. They were in the backfield constantly, and it started early. That really makes it tough on any quarterback.”
(on whether the defense took it personal that Cutler said ‘good luck’ covering the Bears’ receivers) “I don’t know if we took it personal, but we thought it was kind of funny that all of a sudden they’re the team to beat because they’ve got a couple new guys.”
CHICAGO BEARS HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH:
(on the 23-10 outcome of the game) “Disappointing effort. I thought we would play better in a lot of different areas. We know it’s always tough coming up here (Lambeau Field). We are better than what we showed tonight. All three phases … we didn’t play well enough. As disappointed as we are, we are 1-1. This counts as one loss.”
(on whether QB Jay Cutler’s problems were due to the protection or his own mistakes) “I think it’s hard to get to that next step until you have enough time to see if you making the right decision. He didn’t have a lot of time tonight; I think it’s safe to say that.”
(on Bears receivers not getting enough separation downfield) “It’s a combination of everything tonight. We didn’t have good enough protection. We probably made a couple bad decisions and the receivers didn’t get open as much as we needed to. We didn’t get the running game going to help the passing game. You have to give them a lot of credit. They didn’t play as well as they wanted last week and they came back this week.”
(on fake field goal in first half) “It was a good play by them. They executed the play to perfection. What else can I say? Normally when a fake works, it’s a heck of a job by the opponent.”
(on Jay Cutler’s public challenge of “good luck” to Packers’ defensive backs) “Publicly challenging … he was asked a question, ‘If they did this, this is what we have to do.’ Our receivers, if they are pressing, we have to win the battle on the field.”
(on establishing consistent identity on offense early in the season) “Important, yes. That is the mindset with all teams to establish who they are. I thought we did that last week. In the NFL, some weeks things just don’t go your way. We are 1-1 right now and we have to find a way to get to 2-1.”
(on wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s impact) “When I look at having an impact, you have to see how much he was involved to have an impact. We didn’t get him in enough positions. We had plays called to Brandon that we couldn’t get off.”
BEARS QUARTERBACK JAY CUTLER
(on what frustrated him the most) “They played exclusively two-man and not a lot of holes out there. We got down early and got into a passing game. It is tough sledding out there.”
(on being upset with his offensive lineman) “I care about this. This isn’t a hobby for me; I am not doing this for my health. I am trying to win football games and trying to get first downs. When we are not doing the little things, doing things the right way consistently, I am going to say something. If they want a quarterback that doesn’t care, they can find someone else.”
(on offensive line getting better as game went on) “We got into a passing game, so it was hard on them. They were playing two-man behind it, so it’s going to be tough.”
(on running back Matt Forte going out with injury) “Anytime you lose one of the key guys it’s hard. I thought (Michael) Bush came in and did a good job.”
(on slow start for second straight week) “There is a lot of football left. I don’t think we can just hang our hat on this game. We are going to have to go back to the drawing board and clean stuff up. We have a lot of time before that next game.”
(on getting other guys involved and get running game going) “Both, absolutely both. We have to. They played two-man 90 percent of the game, so we have to get other guys involved and get them out of it. We never challenged them in that and they never had to get out of it, so it was an easy game for them.”
(on the outcome of the game reflecting the difference between the two teams) “I don’t think so. I think if you play it on the cards, and look at our team versus their team, we have just as good a players as they do.”
BEARS LINEBACKER LANCE BRIGGS:
(on the team performance tonight) “Can’t really play any worse than we did tonight and expect to win games. We know that we have to take care of the ball, be sharp and move the ball and get it into the end zone and we’ll have a chance.”
(on frustration of watching the offense) “I think it’s frustration from everybody, we’re all frustrated. We know we have work to do.”
BEARS OFFENSIVE TACKLE GABE CARIMI:
(on the Green Bay Packers’ defense) “They came out ready to play and we need to show up a little better and come out a little bit faster.”
(on the frustration level for QB Jay Cutler) “When you get hit that many times, that’s on the O-line, so we need to do a better job of protecting Jay and give him more time.”
(on the personal foul penalty to LB A.J. Hawk) “That hurt the team a lot, and that is all on me. It was a stupid penalty and I need to learn from my mistakes and not do that again cause we had a drive going on that one.”
BEARS WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON MARSHALL:
(on the Packers’ defense) “They had a great game plan, you know when you’ve got two, three guys on you at one time it is very hard. We have to do a better job of doing other things. We’re still excited about where we are at, but it definitely doesn’t feel good to lose this game in Lambeau and in this environment.”
(on the frustration level for QB Jay Cutler tonight) “We’re all frustrated, whenever you lose, especially against your rival, it doesn’t feel good so we all have a nasty taste in our mouth and hopefully we learn from this.”
(on Brian Urlacher’s comment about being “not as good as we thought we were”) “We’re definitely as good as we think we are, but offensively we have to do a better job. The defense made some great plays, gave us the ball back a few times and we need to take advantage of that and we didn’t tonight. They’re a great team, they won the Super Bowl two years ago, so it’s going to take more than just walking on the field to dethrone them.”
BEARS LINEBACKER BRIAN URLACHER:
(on the game tonight) “They kicked our butts, we knew we had to outplay their defense and we didn’t do that. We have to do better. We have to get the ball back to our offense and give them a chance to score.”
(on what to take away from this game) “Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were, we’ve got a long ways to go and that’s obvious. Maybe Green Bay’s just that good, I don’t know, but we didn’t play well and they played good enough to do what they did to us.”
BEARS TACKLE J’MARCUS WEBB:
(on the confrontation between him and QB Jay Cutler) “Just frustration more or less. We really had to score there so that was him just saying ‘let’s pick it up, let’s get it together’.”
(on Clay Matthew’s big day) “He lined up on me all night, and I got myself into trouble by not using my hands and not using my feet at times, and it showed.”
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