Found November 05, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When this game was over, the Packers were without 11 total starters: five on offense, six on defense. That's half of their starters. But a greatly improved running game, a couple big plays in key moments and a resilient effort by a lot of backup players put Green Bay over the top. Handing out grades following the Packers' 31-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals: Passing Offense: B- Even in Aaron Rodgers' own opinion, this wasn't his best game. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes (14 for 30) and missed a few open receivers. However, Rodgers did throw four touchdown passes, and that's pretty good for a quarterback not playing his best. His one interception occurred on a questionable call by the officials when Randall Cobb seemed to catch a ball on the ground before losing it into the arms of William Gay. With Greg Jennings out and Jordy Nelson not able to make it through one quarter before suffering a new injury (add a bad ankle to his ailing hamstring), Rodgers didn't have his full complement of receivers. But Cobb once again made spectacular plays, scoring touchdowns on two of his three catches. James Jones also continued his terrific season with his eighth touchdown reception of the year. But it was tight end Tom Crabtree who had the biggest play of the game, taking a Rodgers pass 72 yards into the end zone. Tight end Jermichael Finley was targeted just twice and had only one catch for six yards. Green Bay's offensive line performed very well, even after Bryan Bulaga's injury forced left guard T.J. Lang to slide over to right tackle. Arizona entered the game tied -- with the Packers -- for the NFL lead in sacks, but the Cardinals only took down Rodgers once. Rushing Offense: A- Alex Green wasn't getting the job done as the Packers' featured back in recent weeks, so coach Mike McCarthy turned to a running trio. Green, James Starks and Cobb all spent time in the backfield and each provided positive production to the offense. Starks had the most carries (17) and the most yards (61), Green had the longest run (21 yards) and Cobb had the best average per rush (9.7). Cobb had only three runs all season prior to Sunday, but each had worked tremendously well. Cobb's three runs against Arizona showed how much McCarthy knew the running game had to get going and how much he knows that the speedy Cobb just needs the ball in his hands. Rodgers also scrambled five times for 36 yards. His final stat line of eight rushes for 33 yards is misleading because he took a knee on the final three plays. All in all, the Packers' 176 yards rushing was the team's most since Week 7 of the 2009 season. It was also the first time since Nov. 2, 2003 that Green Bay had four players rush for 25-plus yards. Rushing Defense: B Arizona hardly has a potent rushing attack, especially now with its third-string back. But the Packers' defense, playing without six starters for most of the second half, held up nicely. Once Clay Matthews had to leave the game with an injury, the backup outside linebacker tandem of Dezman Moses and Erik Walden came through for Green Bay. Cardinals running back LaRod Stephens-Howling finished with 51 yards on 17 carries (3.0 average). His longest run was for 11 yards, and the Packers stopped him behind the line of scrimmage twice for losses. Stephens-Howling did run into the endzone for a touchdown, but that was from one yard out. Passing Defense: B- To grade the Packers' defensive performance, the incredible amount of injuries has to be taken into consideration. There was no Charles Woodson, no Matthews (in the second half), no Desmond Bishop, no D.J. Smith, no Nick Perry, no Jerel Worthy and no Sam Shields. So, though the Cardinals are a bad offense, Green Bay's makeshift group did well enough in a difficult situation. Arizona quarterback John Skelton completed 23 of 46 pass attempts for 306 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Cardinals all-world receiver Larry Fitzgerald had one fantastic post-catch run for a touchdown in which he broke at least three tackles. But Fitzgerald was relatively held in check overall with six receptions for 74 yards. Arizona's Andre Roberts had a big 40-yard pass play after beating rookie cornerback Casey Hayward in one-on-one coverage. Rookie receiver Michael Floyd and tight end Rob Housler also contributed five catches each for a combined 135 yards in the passing game. Skelton's one interception came when Hayward broke up a pass that landed in Walden's arms. The most disappointing aspect of Green Bay's passing defense was only sacking Skelton twice. The Cardinals have given up the most sacks in the NFL by a substantial margin, but the Packers couldn't take full advantage of a suspect Arizona offensive line. One sack went to defensive end Mike Neal, the other to rookie defensive lineman Mike Daniels. Special Teams: B Cobb provided a big 44-yard kickoff return and Tim Masthay was once again a huge weapon for the Packers' special teams. Cardinals return man Patrick Peterson is tough to contain, but Masthay's punts didn't give him much room to work. However, Mason Crosby missed another field goal. This time it was from 44 yards out on Green Bay's opening drive. Though Crosby is great on kickoffs, his accuracy on field goals this season has been trending in the wrong direction. Overall: B With all of the injuries, the Packers came out with a win, their fourth in a row. Now they can mercifully enter their bye week and allow their seemingly never-ending list of injured players to take some much-needed time off. The Cardinals needed this win, too. After starting the season 4-0, they're now 4-5 and in a bye week as well. But Green Bay made enough plays to win, improved to 6-3 and can soon prepare for a post-bye schedule that has five of its remaining seven matchups against divisional opponents. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Packers RBs share the load for great results

GREEN BAY, Wis. There was an emphasis on running the ball all week in practice. Packers coach Mike McCarthy was searching for a way to get the ground game working after consecutive weeks of Alex Green struggling to provide the offense with the balance that it needed to be successful. Though Green hadn't been getting the job done by himself, the trio of he, James Starks and...

Randall Cobb Suffers Head Injury

Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb suffered a head injury returning a punt in the second quarter of Sunday's game versus the Cardinals. He's been taken to the sidelines for concussion tests.Fantasy Spin:Cobb already has two touchdown grabs and 23 receiving yards for the Packers as they lead Arizona 14-7. Cobb didn't look too shaken up after the play so Green Bay probably...

Green Bay Packers bye-week blessing

Times are good in Green Bay again.  QB Aaron Rodgers was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month, CB Casey Heyward was named NFC Defensive Rookie of the Month and CB Davon House was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Not to mention, the Green Bay Packers are riding a three game winning streak and are climbing up the playoff standings in the NFC. The most important thing...

Aaron Rodgers Is Sensitive According to Teammates Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews (Video)

If Aaron Rodgers' teammates are giving him a compliment or two just to ensure he has a good game, they must be giving him a lot of praise. CBS' 60 Minutes ran a feature on Rodgers on Sunday night and he and his teammates had some interesting things to say about his psyche. Both Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews called the star quarterback sensitive and Jennings...

Jordy Nelson active, will start for Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is active and will start today against the Arizona Cardinals.Nelson's hamstring injury kept him out of practice all week, but coach Mike McCarthy had reserved optimism that Green Bay's leading receiver would be able to play.McCarthy had Nelson's status as questionable, with a series of medical tests being performed...

Matthews could be sidelined 'a couple weeks'

GREEN BAY, Wis. A bye this week may not be enough time for Packers All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews to recover from the hamstring injury he suffered in Sunday's win."The early diagnosis, it may be a couple weeks," coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "We won't know until we get further into this. I know Clay doesn't feel it's as bad as it was in...

Packers' Matthews out "a couple of weeks"

Green Bay Packers All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews could miss "a couple of weeks" with a hamstring injury, Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Monday. Matthews limped off the field in the third quarter of Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals. "Early diagnosis is it may be a couple of weeks," McCarthy. "Clay doesn't feel it's...

Packers WR Nelson returns to starting lineup

Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is back in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. Nelson has picked up much of the slack with No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings out, with 40 catches for 532 yards receiving and five touchdowns. But he was inactive last week and didn't practice much of this week because of a hamstring injury. Jennings was inactive...

Rest up, Packers, you're going to need it

(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By NANCY ARMOUR AP National Writer Good thing the Green Bay Packers are off this week. They're going to need it. Five of Green Bay's last seven games will be against NFC North opponents, a stretch that could prove every bit as tough for the banged-up Packers as the challenges they faced in the first half. ''To do what we want to...

Aaron Rodgers Throws 4 Touchdowns in 31-17 Victory Over Arizona

Two teams heading in different directions met Sunday and continued to head in those same directions. Green Bay won their fourth straight game Sunday 31-17 over Arizona, handing the Cardinals their fifth straight loss. The Green Bay Packers rushed for 176 yards, their best total since October of 2009. None of those rushing yards went for a touchdown, and Aaron Rodgers had 33 of the...

Cardinals fall to Packers for 5th straight loss

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Tom Crabtree had a 72-yard touchdown that was Green Bay's longest of the season, Randall Cobb added two scoring catches and the Green Bay Packers got a 31-17 victory Sunday that handed the Arizona Cardinals their fifth straight loss. The Packers (6-3) finished with a season-high 176 yards rushing on 39 carries, the first time in a month they've cracked...

Beat-Up Packers Streaking into Bye

Green Bay, which lost Bryan Bulaga, Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson again, beat the Cardinals for their fourth consecutive win. The big play was Aaron Rodgers' touchdown pass to Tom Crabtree on the final play of the third quarter.

Packers LB Matthews leaves with hamstring injury

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews left Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals with a hamstring injury. Matthews was able to walk to the locker room after exiting the game in the third quarter.

Packers to attack Cards' struggling offense

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was less than a month ago that the Packers were 2-3 and preparing to fly into Houston to face an undefeated Texans team. It was a grim situation for a team that wasn't far removed from winning 19 consecutive games over a span of nearly an entire calendar year.But with victories over the Texans, Rams and Jaguars, Green Bay had quickly turned its season around...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.