Falcons' Julio Jones (11) catches a touchdown pass in front of
Green Bay Packers' Sam Shields during the second half of an NFL
football game Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY — Green
Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasn't thrilled with his defense's
second-half performance during Monday night's 43-37 victory over the
Atlanta Falcons, and he really wasn't interested in rehashing the
group's collapse less than 24 hours later, either.
With a short week and
what he sees as a very difficult road game Sunday at Buffalo — a
place where the Packers have never won in five tries — McCarthy made
it clear he was moving on Tuesday.
He fielded several
questions about the defense, which gave up 30 points and 304 yards
after the Packers took a 31-7 lead into halftime.
"I'm not going
to sit here and talk about defense all day," McCarthy said
tersely. "We're on to Buffalo."
Falcons' Harry Douglas catches a two-yard touchdown pass in
front of Green Bay Packers' Demetri Goodson (39) during the
second half of an NFL football game Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in
Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 43-37.
The Packers' biggest
problem against the Falcons was their inability to defend wide
receiver Julio Jones, who caught 11 passes for 259 yards — the most
an opposing receiver has ever amassed against Green Bay — before
leaving the game with a hip injury.
Shields, re-signed by the Packers to a four-year, $39 million deal in
March, struggled in coverage against Jones after leaving the Nov. 30
game against New England with a concussion sustained on the 10th
practice last week on Thursday and Friday and was listed as
questionable for Monday's game.
McCarthy went out of
his way to support Shields on Tuesday.
guy," McCarthy said after the coaches replaced him in the second
half with backup Davon House.
McCarthy said House's
insertion into the lineup was part of a pre-planned
"rotation," although Shields never went back into the game.
Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy during the first half of an
NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Monday, Dec. 8,
2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
"Hey, they had a
big day. Julio had a huge night. They got hot in the second
half," McCarthy said. "We'll have time to correct our things
(Wednesday) with our players, and we'll learn from it. Obviously, you
always want to make corrections after a win."
The Packers (10-3)
have won five in a row and are tied for the best record in the NFL.
They are 7-0 at home and are aiming for the NFC's No. 1 seed to have
the road to the Super Bowl go through Lambeau Field.
Players were off
Tuesday, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers said during his weekly show on
540 ESPN radio in Milwaukee that he likes where his team stands with
three weeks to go in the regular season.
"This is when it
gets exciting. It's right in front of us," said Rodgers, who has
led the Packers to an NFL-best 423 points. "We have the
opportunity to achieve the goals that we talk about every season, and
the first and most important is winning your division and getting a
home playoff game.
"That's right in
front of us. We control our fate right there and we have the
opportunity to do some great things. But we have to take care of
NOTES: McCarthy said
running back Eddie Lacy, who missed the game's final series with a hip
injury, would be evaluated Wednesday. "I don't have high
concern," McCarthy said. . McCarthy had high praise for No. 2
running back James Starks, who carried 10 times for 75 yards and a
touchdown. His 41-yard run late in the game helped seal the victory.
"I just love the way James responds with his opportunities,"
McCarthy said. "(He) has played a lot of excellent football for
us over the years, and I thought last night was one of his best
NEW YORK — Aaron
Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers hung on to the NFL's top spot after
a closer-than-expected win against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Packers (10-3)
received nine of 12 first-place votes Tuesday in the AP Pro32 power
rankings, which are decided by a media panel that regularly covers the
The Packers led 31-7
at the half before getting a 43-37 victory over the Falcons on Monday
defense looked very shaky in home win," Fox Sports' John
The New England
Patriots (10-3) earned two first-place votes and remained No. 2 after
their 23-14 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night.
road win in San Diego," ESPN's Herm Edwards said of the Patriots.
"Darrelle Revis is making a huge impact for that defense."
against the other AFC division leaders, the Patriots are in a strong
position to grab the top seed in the AFC. The can clinch the AFC East
again with a victory at home over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
"Tom Brady has
been a screaming maniac on the sidelines this year. A very simple
reason why: He knows this can be a special season — a Super Bowl
season — and he wants to make certain everyone around him is
prepared to seize the moment," Newsday's Bob Glauber said.
The Seattle Seahawks
(9-4) grabbed the other first-place vote and moved up from No. 5 to
No. 3 after a 24-12 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
seeing a Seattle team that looks a lot like last year's Super Bowl
winner, and that identity is returning at the right time in the
season," said Jenny Vrentas of The Monday Morning Quarterback
The Denver Broncos
(10-3) and the Eagles (9-4) each dropped one spot to No. 4 and No. 5,
The Arizona Cardinals
(10-3) moved up to No. 6 after a 17-14 victory over the Kansas City
Chiefs that ended a two-game losing streak.
will probably make the playoffs, but a four-game stretch in which
Arizona hasn't scored more than 18 points doesn't bode well for
upcoming games against St. Louis and Seattle," Foxsports.com's
Alex Marvez said.
Colts (9-4), who can clinch the AFC South win a win over the Houston
Texans on Sunday, are at No. 7.
"The Colts are
overcoming both the opposition and themselves of late," Rick
Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News said.
The Detroit Lions
(9-4), Dallas Cowboys (9-4) and Baltimore Ravens (8-5) rounded out the
The Eagles and
Cowboys play Sunday night in a matchup that could go a long way toward
deciding the NFC East title.
It's a rematch of
Philadelphia's 33-10 win on Thanksgiving. The game is in Philadelphia,
but the Cowboys are 6-0 on the road this season.
finally win a must-win game in December?" NBC Sports' Tony Dungy
asked of the Cowboys.
Redskins (3-10), who have lost five in a row, fell to No. 30 ahead of
only the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans, who are both 2-11.
III has already had more lives in the nation's capital than Richard
Nixon," said Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune.