The coaching staff awarded four game balls from the NFC Wild Card playoff victory over the Vikings on Saturday night. They went to FB John Kuhn on offense, LB Clay Matthews and CB Sam Shields on defense, and rookie LB Terrell Manning on special teams.
Kuhn rushed for a 3-yard TD and caught a 9-yard TD pass, giving him both a rushing and receiving TD for the second time in his career in a playoff game, a first in franchise history. He also scored for the fourth consecutive postseason, the only player in the NFL who can make that claim.
Matthews had two sacks, including a forced fumble and fumble recovery on the second one. The two sacks accounted for 18 lost yards as Matthews had the second two-sack playoff game of his career. The only other player in franchise history to accomplish that is Reggie White.
Shields was credited by the press box statisticians with seven tackles, a team high. He also broke up two passes and had an interception, the third of his career in the postseason.
Manning was credited with two coverage tackles, bringing down Minnesota returner Marcus Sherels on both the first kickoff and first punt of the game. Manning also helped to separate Sherels from the ball when he muffed a punt in the fourth quarter.
Tags: clay matthews, game balls, john kuhn, Playoffs, sam shields, terrell manning
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The Packers coaching staff awarded game balls to a half dozen players following the 21-13 victory over Chicago that clinched the NFC North title for Green Bay.
On special teams, FB John Kuhn was the game-ball recipient.
On offense, QB Aaron Rodgers and WR James Jones earned game balls. Rodgers completed 23 of 36 passes for 291 yards with three TDs, all to Jones. Rodgers posted a 116.8 passer rating.
Jones enjoyed the first three-TD game of his career, catching five passes for 60 yards in all. Jones now has 12 TD receptions on the season, a total that leads the league and is his career high.
On defense, LBs Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, plus CB Sam Shields, all were awarded game balls.
Matthews, returning from a four-game injury absence, had two sacks to raise his team-leading total to 11. He also had two other tackles for loss and deflected a pass.
Jones led the team with eight total tackles, according to the press box statistics, and was involved on back-to-back run stops at the goal line in the third quarter. Jones also was credited with two passes defensed.
Shields engaged in a game-long physical battle with Bears WR Alshon Jeffery and ended up shutting the rookie out. Shields was credited with three passes defensed, and he also drew three offensive pass interference penalties on Jeffery, who did not have a catch in the game.
Tags: aaron rodgers, brad jones, chicago bears, clay matthews, game balls, james jones, john kuhn, sam shields
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LB Clay Matthews did not return to the practice field on Wednesday, and Mike McCarthy labeled him as “doubtful” for this week. Matthews missed last week’s game in Detroit with a hamstring injury, and if Matthews can’t play this week, it would mark the first time in his four-year career that he will miss consecutive games.
In other injury news, CB Sam Shields (ankle) has already been ruled out, and McCarthy said it could be a couple more weeks yet for Shields, who will miss his fifth straight game this week.
“He’s not making the improvement we hoped,” McCarthy said. “It’s a little more serious injury than we anticipated.”
“It’s frustrating,” Shields said. “I’ve just got to keep my mind positive, keep getting in rehab and trying to get better to get back out on the field to get ready for the stretch down the road.”
Tags: clay matthews, sam shields
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Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that he likes the progress CB Sam Shields is making as he comes back from shin and ankle injuries, but it doesn’t sound like Shields will play much, if at all, on Sunday.
Shields was taking snaps as a receiver on the offensive scout team, which is an indication he’s working his way back but isn’t being pegged for a key role on defense just yet. Shields returned to practice for the first time on Monday after missing the last three games. Thursday was the most work Shields has done in practice thus far.
“That’s what he needs, he needs to get out there and put that foot in the ground,” McCarthy said. “I definitely felt that starting Monday to today, he looked much better.”
Elsewhere on defense, DE Mike Neal (ankle) was a limited participant in practice, but he “looked good,” according to McCarthy. “We’ll see how he responds tomorrow, but I like what I saw from Mike Neal.”
On the offensive side, WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring, foot) and FB John Kuhn (hamstring) were both limited participants in practice, but both players told reporters in the locker room they fully expect to play.
Nelson said he spent the bye week in Green Bay getting treatment on his ankle and foot so that he could return to practice this week, and he said everything “feels great.” Kuhn admitted it was eating away at him to miss a couple of games, but he’s ready to go now.
“I thought John looked really good,” McCarthy said. “I watched him throughout the blitz pickup, third down and red zone.”
TE Andrew Quarless, on the other hand, sat out practice. McCarthy said it’s expected Quarless’ knee will not be healthy enough to practice on certain days, and Thursday “was one of those days.” The practice was in full pads.
Tags: john kuhn, jordy nelson, sam shields
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Third-year CB Sam Shields returned from his elbow injury, and immediately got plenty of work. He got a fair number of snaps on Sunday in the No. 1 dime defense. Shields hasn’t played in either of the first two preseason games and saw fellow corners Davon House, Casey Hayward and Jarrett Bush continue to battle. House is now out with a shoulder injury, while Bush was back with the starters in the base defense Sunday.
“That’s part of the game,” Shields said. “You’re hurt, you have to watch the other dudes, and that’s when you have to do your mental reps. I’m back on the field now, so I just have to keep grinding.”
The Packers’ nickel corner the past two seasons, Shields knows his playing time in 2012 will come down in part to how he does in these final two preseason games. It’s his turn to make a splash in the competition, and there’s one part of his game he’s focusing on specifically.
“Just showing I can tackle, getting that trust back with the coaches,” he said. “That’s one of the big spots I have to keep working on, tackling, and I think I’m ready for it.”
Tags: competition, sam shields
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Green Bay Packers
12 QB Aaron Rodgers
18 WR Randall Cobb
21 CB Charles Woodson
44 RB James Starks
52 LB Clay Matthews
75 T Bryan Bulaga
85 WR Greg Jennings
Starting lineup changes: On offense, #10 Matt Flynn will start at quarterback in place of #12 Aaron Rodgers. #74 Marshall Newhouse will start at right tackle in place of #75 Bryan Bulaga. #87 Jordy Nelson will start at wide receiver in place of #85 Greg Jennings. On defense, #37 Sam Shields will start at cornerback in place of #21 Charles Woodson. #59 Brad Jones will start at left outside linebacker in place of #52 Clay Matthews. #58 Frank Zombo will start at right outside linebacker in place of #93 Erik Walden.
5 QB Drew Stanton
26 S Louis Delmas
32 CB Aaron Berry
35 RB Joique Bell
39 S Ricardo Silva
75 G Leonard Davis
99 DT Corey Williams
Tags: aaron rodgers, brad jones, bryan bulaga, charles woodson, clay matthews, frank zombo, greg jennings, inactives, james starks, jordy nelson, lions, marshall newhouse, matt flynn, packers, randall cobb, sam shields
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