Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers breaks away from
Detroit Lions' Ricardo Silva (39) for a 27-yard
touchdown run during the second half of an NFL
football game Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis.
BAY — A month into the season, few people outside of Green
Bay would have given the Packers a shot at the NFC North
even the folks in Green Bay could have been forgiven for
feeling a little pessimistic.
injuries were already starting to pile up, and the Packers
had been the victims of the Inaccurate Reception. With a
losing record five weeks in and the Chicago Bears off to a
blazing start, a wild card seemed about the best the Packers
look at them. One of the NFL's hottest teams over the past
two months with seven victories in eight games, Green Bay
(9-4) can clinch the division title with a win Sunday in
Chicago. The No. 2 seed, and the first-round bye that goes
with it, is still a possibility, too.
excited about the opportunities that we continue to
create," coach Mike McCarthy said. "You get what
you put into it and our guys have a great frame of mind.
It's a good locker room, it's a steady locker room. We don't
swing with the highs and lows.
that's what we're in it for," he added. "We're not
in it just to get to the playoffs or to have a winning
and coaches on pretty much every team talk about resiliency,
and how they can't let injuries or losses turn into a
worse, an excuse. But talk is cheap — just look at some of
the records out there — and it's tough to continue looking
ahead week after week.
Packers, though, have turned it into something of an art
form. Few teams have been hit harder by injuries, with the
Packers losing more than a dozen starters or projected
starters for two or more games. That includes No. 1 receiver
Greg Jennings (eight games), perennial Pro Bowler Charles
Woodson (six games), sackmaster Clay Matthews (four games)
and C.J. Wilson (three games), a cornerstone of their run
back Cedric Benson is on injured reserve, as is offensive
tackle Bryan Bulaga.
the Packers simply fill the holes and move on. In Sunday
night's 27-20 win over Detroit, it was a rookie, Mike
Daniels, who had the fumble return for a score that swung
momentum Green Bay's way.
go-ahead touchdown was scored by DaJuan Harris, who'd been
elevated from the practice squad eight days earlier.
can't sit around and invest a lot of time in guys that
you're not going to have out there," defensive
coordinator Dom Capers said. "You've got to focus all
your attention on the guys you do have."
Green Bay resolve starts with McCarthy. Low-key and humble
— he joked Monday that his players take their cue from his
"boring" press conferences — he is not one for
histrionics on the sideline or drama anywhere else.
are what they are, and there's no sense wasting time on
anything else. When the Packers lost that game in Seattle on
a controversial call, not only did McCarthy refuse to whine
or complain, he called the replacement referee who made the
wrong call to offer his support.
attitude has filtered down to the players.
says a lot about the locker room leadership," McCarthy
said. "We've accomplished some things in the past that
we can maybe look back on. What are you to do with your
energy? What are we going to do with our time? How are you
going to apply it? I think our guys do a good job of
helps that the Packers have some practice at this. Two years
ago, they had so many injuries they were practically pulling
guys off the street to fill the lineup.
wound up winning the Super Bowl.
know there's an expectation level ... that they've got to be
not only accountable to themselves, but accountable to
everybody in that room," Capers said. "So if their
number's called, then they owe it to the guy sitting next to
them to be ready to go out and do their job."
Bay's recent run hasn't always been pretty; the Packers
struggled against Jacksonville, and trailed in both games
against Detroit. But aside from a blowout by the Giants,
Green Bay has managed to find ways to win.
don't get caught up in statistics," McCarthy said.
"We've got nine wins. That's only statistic I worry
Packers could make it 10 wins — and a division title —
against the Bears, adding extra buzz to a rivalry that's
already the NFL's best.
it's the rivalry, not the spoils that could come with it,
that will get Green Bay's full attention this week, McCarthy
start to get voice mails from Willie Davis, people like
that, early this morning, you know it's a big game,"
McCarthy said. "So we're focused on beating the Bears
down there. It's a tough place to play. Yes, we'd love to
wrap up division and hopefully be playing for more the next
two weeks. But this is about the Green Bay Packers and the
Bears kicker Gould to miss rest of season
LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Chicago kicker Robbie Gould will miss
the rest of the season after injuring his left calf, another
blow to the stumbling Bears with a big NFC North showdown
coming up Sunday against the Packers.
The Bears placed Gould on injured reserve Tuesday and signed
veteran kicker Olindo Mare to a one-year contract. They also
placed cornerback Sherrick McManis (knee) and safety Craig
Steltz (chest) on IR while signing linebacker Jerry Franklin
to a two-year deal, elevating receiver Joe Anderson from the
practice squad and waiving offensive lineman Andre Gurode.
Gould strained his left calf in warm-ups before Sunday's
loss at Minnesota, and punter Adam Podlesh handled kickoffs
in his place. Gould kicked the extra point after both of
Chicago's touchdowns and tried on onside kick late in the
game. But when the Bears reached the Vikings 35-yard line
late in the first quarter, Podlesh came out to punt.
Bears kicker Robbie Gould (9) watches his game-tying,
46-yard field field goal against the Seattle Seahawks to
send the game into overtime in the final minute of play
of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 2,
2012. The Seahawks won 23-17 in overtime.
Chicago has been
hit hard by injuries lately and dropped four of five after a
7-1 start. The Bears (8-5) now trail Green Bay by a game in
the division heading into their matchup at Soldier Field on
Sunday, and now they'll be without one of the most accurate
kickers in league history.
Gould, who ranks fourth all-time in the NFL at 85.6 percent
on field goals, converted 21 of 25 this season. He also
extended his streak of attempts from 50 yards or more
without a miss to 10 dating back to 2010, one shy of Tony
Zendejas' league record.
Chicago will now go with Mare, a 15-year veteran and career
81.2 percent kicker. He was with Carolina last year and was
let go after getting beat out by Justin Medlock in the
Other than returner Devin Hester's recent concussion, the
special teams had been largely unscathed. That changed with
the injuries to Gould, McManis and Steltz.
Either way, the injuries continue to mount for a team that
could be without Brian Urlacher (hamstring) for the
remainder of the season. The Bears were also without
cornerback Tim Jennings (shoulder) last week, and
quarterback Jay Cutler left the game with neck soreness,
although he expects to play against Green Bay. He also
missed a game against San Francisco on Nov. 19 because of a