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26:34- Daily Action Zone
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1:15:27- Zach Heilprin
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If the Green Bay Packers have closed the gap between themselves and the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, it certainly didn’t show on Sunday night in a 34-23 loss.
A retooled defense looked exactly as it did last January, as reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones picked up right where they left off in the conference title game. The duo hooked up on gains of 19 and 34 yards on the opening drive, one that was finished off by Devonta Freeman, the first of two touchdowns for the running back who ended up with 84 yards on the ground. Jones had 105 yards on just five grabs, while Mohamed Sanu added five catches and 85 yards.
Green Bay had an answer, going 75 yards in 11 plays before Ty Montgomery plunged in from 1-yard out to tie the game. After that, though, it was all Falcons, as they scored 24 unanswered points, including taking an Aaron Rodgers fumble back for a 15-yard touchdown. Rodgers also threw an interception, his second of the season, and Atlanta made him pay for it by scoring a touchdown just before half to make it 24-7.
“I gave them seven [points] on the fumble, gave another seven on the [interception] and we lose by 11,” Rodgers said. “We were in the game. I can’t turn the ball over like that.”
Unfortunately for the Packers, the real story of the game was a mounting injury list. They played without starting tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari, and then lost defensive tackle Mike Daniels, wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, along with defensive backs Davon House and Kentrell Brice during the game.
It’s unclear how severe any of the injuries were, but they were just another discouraging aspect on a discouraging night.
“Well, I hope we can,” Rodgers said when asked whether he took comfort in the fact it’s still early in the season and they can play better. “This is a potential matchup down the line. Hopefully, we put ourselves in that position. It was a tough game.”
Rodgers called Atlanta a fantastic team, but also intimated that the Packers don’t believe there is a big gap between the franchises despite Green Bay having lost each of its last two trips south by double digits.
“I think we can beat anyone at home,” Rodgers said, a nod toward the advantage the Falcons have at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. “We don’t look at it as [needing to close] the gap.”
Green Bay scored the final 13 points of the game, with Rodgers finding Davante Adams for a 33-yard score and then Montgomery on a shovel pass for a 1-yard touchdown. That one gave him 300 for his career as he became the fastest player in league history to reach that mark.
It’s back home in Week 3 for the Packers, as they welcome the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) to Lambeau Field next Sunday.
The Green Bay Packers cleaned up at the 25th annual ESPYs on Wednesday night.
The team took home three awards, including a pair for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Before the show, Rodgers was named ‘Best NFL Player,’ the fourth time he’s earned that honor — the most of any player in the show’s history.
He beat out the likes of Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and regular season MVP Matt Ryan after throwing for 4,428 yards and a league-high 40 touchdowns as the Packers won eight straight games before losing in the NFC title game.
Then during the show, the 33-year-old’s throw to tight end Jared Cook against Dallas in the playoffs was named ‘Best Play.’ It was the second consecutive year that the Packers won the award, with Rodgers’ game-winning ’Hail Mary’ to tight end Richard Rodgers against Detroit in 2015 winning last summer.
Finally, wide receiver Jordy Nelson won ‘Best Comeback Athlete’ after he returned from a knee injury that cost him the entire 2015 season to lead the NFL with 14 touchdowns in 2016. He’s the first Green Bay player to win that award.
Nelson’s production in 2016 was eerily similar to the numbers he produced in the 2014 season prior to the injury:
2014: 98 receptions, 1,519 yards, 13 touchdowns
2016: 97 receptions, 1,257 yards, 14 touchdowns
The 31-year-old Kansas State product wasn’t expected to be the same player he once was, considering the severity of an ACL tear and the length of time in recovery. Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is another exception to the rule, returning from the same injury to put up monster numbers in the 2015 season (1,485 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns, long of 80 yards).
But unlike Peterson’s return from the injury, Nelson was not voted to the Pro Bowl roster. That’s despite leading the NFL this season in touchdown receptions.
Nelson has two more seasons remaining on his four-year, $39 million deal signed in July of 2014.
The NFC title game is less than 48 hours away, and the Green Bay Packers still have major injury concerns and now an illness going through the team to worry about.
The team released its final injury report Friday afternoon, and saw five players — wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison, along with defensive backs Morgan Burnett and Quinten Rollins — listed as questionable.
“They’ll be given every chance to play in the game,” coach Mike McCarthy said of the wide receivers. “If we know (Saturday), we’ll know (Saturday). If we know Sunday, we know Sunday. I’m going to give these guys the open time frame to do everything they can to play.”
If that wasn’t enough, there is an apparent illness that has hit the team, including Nelson, who was told to stay away from the facility on Friday to avoid spreading it. Still, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and kicker Mason Crosby have been affected by it.
“Rest, fluids, all that stuff. We’ll be OK,” Rodgers told reporters Friday afternoon. “We’re going to be OK and deal with it.”
On Atlanta’s side of the things, wide receiver Julio Jones practiced on a limited basis Friday and is expected to play on Sunday. He had missed the previous two days with a toe injury.
Nelson was injured in the preseason in August of 2015 and didn’t suit up for an actual game until Week 1 of the 2016 season. All he’s done since is lead the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 14 and and finish with 97 catches, the second-most in his career.
A 2008 second-round draft pick, Nelson saved some of his best games for when the Packers needed them the most. In the six-game winning streak to end the season, Nelson had three 100-yard games, including 154 yards against Minnesota in Week 16, and caught five touchdown passes.
Nelson is the second Packers player to win the award, joining wide receiver Robert Brooks, who took home the honor in 1997, a year after tearing his ACL midway through the 1996 season.
Green Bay is getting ready to play in the NFC title game in Atlanta on Sunday. Nelson’s status is up in the air as he battles a pair of broken ribs suffered against the New York Giants in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
GREEN BAY — Injuries continue to be the biggest story for the Green Bay Packers in advance of their NFC title game at Atlanta on Sunday.
The latest concern is wide receiver Davante Adams, who suffered an ankle injury late in the win over Dallas.
“We’ll see,” coach Mike McCarthy said when asked if he expected Adams to play on Sunday. “I’m curious to see him move. I don’t think he’ll practice until Saturday.”
Adams has played in every game this season and is the team’s second-leading receiver. The top guy, Jordy Nelson, is also very much in question as he battles a pair of broken ribs that kept him out of last week’s game. McCarthy said he’ll practice with the rehab group on Wednesday, but gave no indication of how he’ll handle the rest of the week.
The other starter that there is some concern about is safety Morgan Burnett. He suffered a quad injury in the first half against Dallas, and didn’t return. He won’t practice Wednesday, spending the day with the rehab group as well.
McCarthy said cornerback Quinten Rollins is getting closer to clearing the concussion protocol and will do some work in practice. He’s missed the last two games after getting injured in the season-finale against Detroit.
Starting offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari each came out of the game against Dallas a little gimpy, and McCarthy said they’ll likely be limited in practice this week.
Coach Mike McCarthy ruled wide receiver Jordy Nelson out for the game when he met with the media Friday morning. Nelson suffered several broken ribs in the Packers’ win over the New York Giants last Sunday. McCarthy said if the Packers advance to the NFC Championship game, Nelson will be reevaluated.
“He’ll continue to progress,” McCarthy said of Nelson. “He said he feels better every day.”
Nelson leads the Packers with 97 catches for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“It gives us one less receiver but obviously an extremely productive player,” McCarthy said of what the team will be missing. “You just go by the way the game plan was set, the importance and really the emphasis on Jordy Nelson. That’s gone. You just tilt opportunities the other way. That’s the way you always have to approach these types of situations anytime you have a player of his magnitude that’s not available.
“We anticipated potentially not having him this week, so we’ll be prepared for it.”
Nelson’s absence will mean more time for rookie Geronimo Allison and third-year pro Jeff Janis.
Jordy Nelson suffered at least two fractured ribs in the Green Bay Packers 38-13 wild-card win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media was the first to report the injury.
Nelson was injured in the second quarter when he took a shot to the ribs from safety Leon Hall while trying to hold onto a pass. The wide receiver eventually left the stadium on a cart and spent the night in a local hospital, before being released earlier on Monday.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Monday afternoon that Nelson won’t practice before Saturday, and if he doesn’t practice then, he won’t play in Green Bay’s divisional-round matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Perhaps somewhat lost in the celebration of a 38-13 wild card win over the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers may have to prepare to face the Dallas Cowboys next week without top receiver Jordy Nelson.
Playing without Nelson is nothing new to the Packers, having played all of the 2015 season without him (torn ACL). But after suffering a rib injury, coach Mike McCarthy is “concerned” about Nelson’s health now facing the Cowboys in Dallas Sunday afternoon. He had no update on Neson’s status after Sunday’s win, but presumably will give an update later this week. The Kansas State product has put up monster numbers this year in a return from the ACL injury: 97 receptions, 1,257 yards, 14 touchdowns (NFL best).
As Nelson, 31, continues to age, the Packers had been using him in the slot more often. Randall Cobb helped make up for Nelson’s absence, playing through an ankle injury to put up the NFL’s first 100-yard, three touchdown performance in the postseason since Rob Gronkowski in 2011.
“I think everybody just kind of stuck to our job, tried to put ourselves in position to make the plays when they were there, when we had those opportunities,” Cobb said. “We hate seeing one of our guys go down but we’ve got to continue to play.”