Back-to-back come-from-behind victories have the Green Bay
Packers in control of their postseason chances, but they’ll have to
make do without Aaron Rodgers for at least one more week.
Rodgers will miss his seventh straight game due to a fractured
left collarbone Sunday against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers,
leaving Matt Flynn under center again as the Packers try to keep
pace in the NFC North.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday that Rodgers looked good and
thought he was ready to play but stressed that didn’t constitute a
clearance to return.
On Friday, the team announced that wouldn’t be coming for at
least another week. McCarthy said Rodgers has not received medical
clearance yet, and that the organization feels Rodgers is not ready
That means Green Bay will have to go without the QB who has
thrown for 687 yards and six touchdowns without an interception in
two career meetings with Pittsburgh (6-8). In the most recent, he
was 24 of 39 for 304 yards with three scores to earn MVP honors in
a 31-25 victory in Super Bowl XLV.
Since averaging 15.5 points while going winless in four games
after losing Rodgers, the Packers (7-6-1) have found an offensive
rhythm with Flynn in their last two. He’s gone 50 of 71 for 557
yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions while rallying
Green Bay to back-to-back victories.
The Packers trailed visiting Atlanta by 11 at halftime before
pulling out a 22-21 win Dec. 8, then stormed back from a 26-3
halftime deficit to stun Dallas 37-36 win last week.
Flynn led the team to five straight touchdown drives to open the
second half as Green Bay matched the greatest comeback victory in
its 93-year history.
”We’re about getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but
it’s an excellent team victory,” McCarthy said. “Can’t say enough
about our football team, can’t say how proud I am of each and every
player just to stay the course, and that’s exactly what they
The Packers can claim their third straight NFC North title by
beating Pittsburgh and division-leading Chicago at Soldier
The Steelers also remain alive for a postseason berth following
a 30-20 win over AFC North-leading Cincinnati on Sunday, though
they’ll need a lot to go their way over the final two weeks.
Pittsburgh has to win out against the Packers and Browns, and
have Miami, New York, San Diego and Baltimore finish with 8-8
records for the tiebreakers to work in its favor.
”I have said for a bunch of weeks now that there is going to be
no quit from me or from anybody,” said Ben Roethlisberger, who
completed his first 13 passes and ended up 20 of 25 for 191 yards
with a touchdown and an interception last week while setting a team
record for completions in a season with 340.
Since committing 15 turnovers – 10 interceptions – over his
first nine games, Roethlisberger has two giveaways in his last five
contests. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns and one pick over that
In his only regular-season meeting with Green Bay,
Roethlisberger threw for a team-record 503 yards and three scores –
including one on the final play – in a 37-36 victory over the
visiting Packers on Dec. 20, 2009.
Antonio Brown has been Roethlisberger’s top target this season,
reaching career highs with 95 catches for 1,307 yards and eight
touchdowns. He scored for the fifth time in as many games in last
Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy will try to find some holes in a
Pittsburgh defense that’s allowed fewer than 75 yards rushing in
three of the last four games. The Steelers, however, will be
without linebacker LaMarr Woodley for the rest of the season
because of a strained right calf.
Defensive end Brett Keisel, who has missed four of the last five
games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, will return to help
contain Lacy, the Packers’ first 1,000-yard rusher since Ryan Grant
The rookie ran for 141 yards on 21 carries last week while
adding his seventh touchdown in nine games.
The Packers have won two of three meetings in Green Bay. This is
the teams’ first matchup since 2005.