Fighting through injuries, surging Packers get December jolt
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Three straight wins are nice for the Green Bay Packers, but don't start talking to coach Mike McCarthy about postseason possibilities until they get to 10 victories.
To do that, they need to win their final three regular-season games.
''If you get 10 wins, then let's talk about the playoffs. Until then, it's all white noise,'' McCarthy said Monday.
The Packers are certainly in much better shape than three weeks ago. They looked lost then after their record dropped to 4-6 thanks to a four-game skid that culminated with demoralizing back-to-back blowout losses at Tennessee and Washington.
Now Green Bay is back to meting out decisive victories over quality opponents.
''It's been a while since we played with that type of energy and intensity. Obviously, you see what happens when we do,'' guard T.J. Lang said after the 38-10 win on Sunday over the Seattle Seahawks.
This was an across-the-board whitewash of Seattle that perhaps few people outside of the Packers locker room saw coming. Even Lang, a veteran on the offensive line seemed a little surprised.
''I didn't see the game playing out like that. Our defense would probably tell you different, with the way they were able to take the ball away. Just a great team game,'' Lang said.
There wasn't much time to celebrate on Monday. McCarthy refocused quickly on the Packers' next opponent, the Chicago Bears, a game that begins a three-week stretch against NFC North foes to finish the regular season.
The Packers (7-6) are tied with Minnesota in second behind division-leading Detroit , which has a two-game lead.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers hurt his right calf on Sunday while throwing a 66-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams on the third play of the game. Rodgers is already dealing with a sore left hamstring. Playing with limited mobility, Rodgers nevertheless dissected Seattle's defense for 246 yards and three scores before leaving early in the fourth quarter with his team up by four scores.
What was important for Rodgers, McCarthy said, was that he still had the ability to move in the pocket if needed.
''If you can't reset your feet, I don't know how you can perform. But his ability to reset his feet and extend the time-clock ... the progression of the route concepts, was key,'' McCarthy said. ''As long as he can do that, then we'll be fine.''
It helps that the Packers are getting healthier in some areas on both sides of the ball, or finding new ways to compensate for injured players.
Lang's return from a foot injury following a three-game absence was a boost to an offensive line that is playing.
McCarthy disclosed on Monday that former receiver Ty Montgomery is now a full-time running back, a change made partly out of necessity at some point earlier in the year because of the season-ending ankle injury to Eddie Lacy in Week 5.
Montgomery, who also lined up in the slot at times on Sunday, is showing flashes of playmaking promise finished with nine carries for 41 yards rushing and a score, along with three catches for 45 yards. He played running back in high school before moving to receiver in college at Stanford.
''I had to get used to it a little bit at first,'' Montgomery said. ''I didn't play that much running back in college, and then playing at the NFL and playing running back is definitely a difference, but it's fun.''
On defense, the secondary has been bolstered in recent weeks by the return of cornerback Damarious Randall from a groin injury. He grabbed two of Russell Wilson's career-high five interceptions, including one after sprinting and jumping front of a receiver at the goal line to take the ball away.
The Packers have given up 36 points over the last three games - or six less than what they gave up in the 42-24 loss to the Redskins alone on Nov. 20.
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