Packers focused on next comeback: postseason
One day after matching the greatest come-from-behind victory in their 93-year history, the Green Bay Packers' focus is on another comeback: A late-season rally that will extend their streak of consecutive postseason berths to five.
But whether they'll have quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the final two games of the regular season remains unclear.
After erasing a 23-point halftime deficit to beat the Dallas Cowboys 37-36 on Sunday, the Packers enter their final two games at 7-6-1.
They'll face Pittsburgh next Sunday at Lambeau Field before the regular-season finale at Chicago on Dec. 29.
Their playoff formula is simple in the three-team NFC North division race with the Bears, who are 8-6 after Sunday's victory at Cleveland, and the Detroit Lions, who are 7-7 after Monday night's loss against Baltimore: Beat the Steelers and Bears.
''To overcome the adversity that just seemed like it would not end, (have) had some calls that didn't go our way that frankly probably should have, and just to keep battling, it's something that we can draw from, it's something that we will build on,'' said Packers coach Mike McCarthy, whose team is the only one in the NFC to have made the playoffs each of the past four seasons.
''We're about getting ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it's an excellent team victory. 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 did. ... It will definitely be a game I'll never forget.''
Down 26-3 at halftime, backup quarterback Matt Flynn led the Packers to touchdowns on their first five possessions of the second half while the defense got a pair of crucial interceptions from cornerbacks Sam Shields and Tramon Williams in the final three minutes.
The comeback matched a 1982 rally in which the Packers overcame a 23-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Rams 35-23.
''We fought so hard,'' said Flynn, who struggled in the first half but finished the game 26 of 39 passes for 299 yards with four touchdowns and one interception (113.1 rating).
''Playing so bad in the first half, coming out in the second half and playing like we did offensively and defensively, I think says a lot about this team.''
But it only means something if the Packers parlay it into two more victories and a playoff berth - something that would be easier to accomplish with Aaron Rodgers under center.
The former NFL MVP has not played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Bears on Nov. 4, but wanted to play against the Cowboys and was displeased when McCarthy and team physician Patrick McKenzie told him he could not.
At his usual day-after news conference Monday, McCarthy said he had just come from a meeting with the medical staff and said that Rodgers' status was not discussed.
''Just had a brief medical meeting. Frankly, we didn't even discuss Aaron,'' McCarthy said. ''Aaron's situation will be evaluated Wednesday morning and then we'll have a plan for him come Wednesday.''
Rodgers was not available to reporters Monday and did not speak to the media after the game Sunday.
McCarthy said that the coaches would begin the game-planning process as if Flynn would be the starter against the Steelers, but Flynn, for one, expects Rodgers to return.
''Everyone hopes that Aaron's back,'' Flynn said. ''I don't anticipate being the guy going forward. I would anticipate Aaron getting healthy. That's what we're all hoping for and that's what I'm hoping for.''
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