Packers 55, Titans 7
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Next game: Sunday, December 30 at Minnesota
Packers Gameday at 1:00 p.m. (subject to change) on Newsradio 620 WTMJ with postgame coverage on Live at 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4 in Milwaukee and NBC26 in Green Bay; download our FREE Packers "Gameday Extra" App!
We're updating the Packers' playoff scenarios as we speak. Check them out here.
McCarthy with Larry McCarren:
On the complete domination:
"We played excellent in all three phases. It starts with our defense, the ability to stop the run and get after the quarterback. Special teams covered very well. I thought offensively we had excellent tempo, left some things on the field in the first half, but (later on) we were right on the mark. That's what happens when you put all three phases together."
On Aaron Rodgers' performance:
"Aaron did a great job of taking what the defense gave him. The running game was good. The protection was solid."
On Dietrich-Smith performance starting today over Saturday:
"Evan played to his ability. He seemed very comfortable out there."
On Cobb's condition after a right leg injury:
"We're not as concerned as we were when it initially happened."
3:06 p.m. Packers '5th Drive 1:39
Onside kick taken by Boykin at the TEN 48, and it's victory formation time. Doubt McCarthy will have Harrell try to set a team record.
2:58 p.m. Titans' 4th Drive 2:51
Green Bay 55, Tennessee 7
Locker-Britt 2 yd TD pass
Sack time!!!!! Brad Jones demolished Locker on the blind side. Seventh sack today.
Now in Packers territory, Locker finds Kenny Britt, and the Titans are five yards from ending the shutout and ending a run at history.
1st-goal at GB 2: as the crowd rises to a crescendo to help their defense, Britt catches a touchdown pass.
2:54 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 5:39
Run Ryan Grant. Tick. Tock. Run Ryan Grant. Tick. Tock. Take him out. Breather.
3rd-8 at GB 12: Harrell just missed Driver. Defense will have to do the work again to hold the shutout.
2:50 p.m. Titans' 3rd Drive 6:25
Now, will the defense hold and give the Packers an all-time record for margin of victory in an NFL game?
They will if the Packers' defense stacks up blockers so badly that runners crash into them. Ugly for Tennessee.
3rd-12 at TEN 37: Locker to Stevens, in another useless completion.
"This has been a men against boys defensive effort." - Larry McCarren
2:40 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 11:10
Green Bay 55, Tennesse 0
Grant 9 yd TD run
If the Packers add a score and hold the shutout, they'll set a team record for the largest margin of victory in NFL franchise history.
3rd-1 at TEN 23: Harris. Nuthin' doin. High tackle, possible face mask, but Kuhn nailed for holding.
3rd-11 at TEN 31: Harrell to Jones, short of first down....kick field goal?
Nope. 4th-2 at TEN 24: Grant...slams....yes. Right side, slamming on his own, but did the job.
Ooooga. Face mask.
1st-goal at TEN 9: nuthin doin. 2nd-goal at TEN 9: Grant - TD doin'!
2:35 p.m. Titans' 2nd Drive 12:26
3rd-11 at TEN 25: Flaggage as Locker avoided the sack with the pass to Washington.
4th-4 at TEN 32: Locker deep...Britt...open but his feet were on white turf, not green grass. Turnover on downs. Par for course for Tennessee. Rodgers laughs on national TV.
2:31 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 12:35
Green Bay 48, Tennessee 0
Grant 4 yd TD run
Grant. Blasts. Touchdown. Almost untouched. Welcome back to the stands, Ryan Grant!
2:26 p.m. Titans' 1st Drive 14:11
The Packers' point total leads Locker's passing yardage total, 41-31
3rd-9 at TEN 24: ANOTHER sack! Shields this time on the blitz. They are unloading the kitchen sink. "Like a feeding frenzy for the defense now."
Uh oh. Cobb's replacement almost went coast to coast! Ross with the big return.
But it's at a price. House down.
2:21 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive continued from 1st quarter
Green Bay 41, Tennessee 0
Rodgers-Jones 12 yd TD pass
Red zone first down. Jennings. Icing on the Christmas cake.
Rodgers-Jones! Wow. Domination. Jones leads the NFL in TD receptions.
2:14 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 3:31
Rodgers to Jones and a fantastic broken tackle at the 40! Two guys have to get him down 25 yards past the line of scrimmage. Rodgers looked at Grant in the flat forever, drawing defenders short, to loosen up Jones.
Finley! 18 more yards. Rodgers is feeling it. Already more than 300 yards.
2:05 p.m. Titans' 2nd Drive 5:47
Locker to Johnson...Locker to Williams...clockwork in garbage time.
3rd-10 at TEN 45: Locker smashed by Neal! "Finally. Good for MIke Neal. Finally healthy, finally making an impact." - Wayne Larrivee.
1:58 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 8:38
Green Bay 34, Tennessee 0
Rodgers-Jennings 2 yd TD pass
Rodgers to Jones and another broken tackle run for more than a first down. To the Titans' 48.
Meanwhile, Larry McCarren reports that the Packers' training staff is looking at Cobb's lower right leg.
Rodgers. Jones. First down catch again on the same pattern that he burned the Titans with just plays ago.
Droppage! Jennings with the rare miss. Rodgers gets blasted and a roughing the passer on the Titans, to help offset a holding penalty. That's a clock-cleaner, but ARod looks OK.
Grant! Huge gain on the swing pass and only green grass in front of him. He just missed the pylon. 34 yards. Great play design.
1st-goal at TEN 2: Jennings! TD! Exclamation point. "That was easy!" - Wayne Larrivee
1:50 p.m. Titans' 1st Drive 12:04
Nate Washington had the football in the worst spot possible for him to catch it on 2nd down - in between his hands. Great pass by Locker.
3rd-2 at TEN 27: Washington actually catches the ball this time, for a first down.
Chris Johnson, meet B.J. Raji. He shakes his finger, a la Dikembe Mutombo, but with a bit more beef after no gain for Johnson.
Blitz..SACK! Hawk's second sack of the day! Hawk got Johnson to whiff during the blitz.
3rd-18 at TEN 27: Johnson. Swing pass. Nowhere near enough. Useless.
Uh oh. Cobb hurt. On his feet. Helped off field. "Whoa boy." - Wayne Larrivee
1:43 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 15:00 left in quarter
Green Bay 27, Tennessee 0
Harris 7 yd TD run
Cobb expected the kickoff to bounce out of bounds, and took it at the three yard line, but he put his foot out of bounds, and it was ruled that the ball would go to the 40 yard line. Wow. Intelligent return, and he did almost no work!
Rodgers...deep...COBB! First, an intelligent play gaining 37 yards by touching a ball out of bounds, then a 31-yard pass reception!
Finley! Great block by Cobb to let him escape for 13 yards. Goal to go.
1st-goal at TEN 9: ARod rolls...forever to throw...but Brown gets him at the seven on a left-side roll.
2nd-goal at TEN 7: Harris...PAYDIRT! DAGGER!
1:27 p.m. Titans' 3rd Drive :12
Hail Mary turf. That's what Locker does...nope. No Hakeem Nicks repeats. Dominant.
1:17 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 1:54
98 yards or so from pay dirt, the Packers go safe with their offense....
3rd-1 at GB 11: Jennings with an easy reception for seven yards and a first down. Simple. Textbook.
No huddle time - FINLEY with a fantabulous catch at the 41! He beat his linebacker, Witherspoon, deep. That puts the Packers in business.
Finley again! Rodgers barely escapes a sack and Finley was wide open in Titans territory.
Argh! Rodgers just misses Jennings on a slant. If he hits him in stride, its six points and a first-half dagger.
3rd-8 at TEN 43: make that 3rd-3 at TEN 38...a chance to test Crosby's leg if it doesn't work on 3rd down.
They won't need to. FINLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!! One handed catch on the sideline while falling down!
Yes. He trapped it under his body, and it bounced back into his hands.
4th-3 at TEN 43: Nope. Just past Jones on another fly pattern.
1:10 p.m. Titans' 2nd Drive 4:40
SACK! Moses gets his first sack of the day and the team's third today. Though that was all Locker slipping. Frozen tundra wreaks havoc.
3rd-9 at TEN 17: diving catch by Williams in the left deep seam. 20 yards. He simply beat his guy, Tramon Williams.
3rd-3 at TEN 44: Matthews' blitz forces Locker to throw a pass wide of his target, Williams. It's not just sacks, but hurries and pressures that Matthews can cause.
1:01 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 10:20
Green Bay 20, Tennessee 0
Crosby 49 yd FG in off left upright
Harris has to stutter-step in the backfield after Wimbley blasted his blocker, Taylor, to get penetration.
No-huddle. A blocker's nightmare.
But a running back's dream cutback on the power sweep outside.
3rd-7 at GB 45: Kuhn over the middle...make that Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn. Blasting for a first down after catching the pass from Rodgers.
3rd-1 at TEN 37: Argh. Rodgers had Jennings open for a touchdown and simply overthrew him.
4th-1 at TEN 37: Grant powers for two yards when he only needed one. Not pretty. But more than effective.
3rd-5 at TEN 30: Rodgers slightly off again, while Finley was tied up by his defender and the ball was on Finley's head. Interference, but no flag.
49 yards? YES! Though it hit the upright, it bounded in. Phew.
12:52 p.m. Titans' 1st Drive 14:36
Locker has to run himself on the right side, and a two-yard gain. Right now, that may be the most efficient offense the Titans have right now.
3rd-8 at TEN 39: Against a blitz, Locker finds Williams right at the first down line. The first third down conversion by a Packers opponent in 13 tries.
Harper gets the first major run by a Tennessee RB today, for 13 yards. Pickett tried a bit of an unusual move, and took himself out of the play.
Another Harper smash for nine yards. Tennessee getting somewhere.
3rd-1 at GB 30: Johnson's return...and he gets it...and Tennessee gets nowhere. Slammed on the left offensive side.
4th-0.5 at GB 30: TRAMON WILLIAMS! He jumped the route and forced the incompletion.
12:47 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive continued from 1st quarter
Green Bay 17, Tennessee 0
Crosby 26 yd FG
Scrambling Rodgers...takes...forever...and after about 15 seconds of running, no one open. Argh.
Well, at least he got his exercise.
3rd-4 at TEN 9: ARod...pump...and as a defender was hanging on him, he missed Jones in the end zone. Crosby, please?
12:44 p.m. Packers' 5th Drive :37
Jones on a fast hook pattern for four yards...tick...tock...switch sides.
12:40 p.m. Titans' 5th Drive 2:00
Clay Matthews OWNS Johnson and shakes him up. He looked hurt when his cleats stuck to the ground during the tackle.
Don't depend on Locker to carry an offense, especially when A.J. Hawk eats Locker up on a sack while Matthews eats up blockers.
3rd-20 at TEN 30: PICK AGAIN! Walden! Red zone! Wow, does this Tennessee team not have it in the first quarter. The Packers aren't complaining.
12:37 p.m. Packers' 4th Drive 3:15
ALMOST! Cobb adjusted to a pass to the outside, and nearly made a spectacular catch deep downfield.
3rd-8 at GB 23: Ugh. Sack. Inside the 15. Martin owned T.J. Lang. A rare bad drive.
12:34 p.m. Titans' 4th Drive 4:28
Locker shows his running skills and gets a long bit of turf in front of him. 22 yards. Athletic. 4.5 40 at the combine. Not that fast on frozen tundra, but pretty good.
PICK! Shields. Fantastic interception, as he dove on a pass that was underthrown.
If this is 21-zip after one quarter, throw the dagger.
12:31 p.m. Packers' 3rd Drive 5:22
Green Bay 14, Tennessee 0
Rodgers-Cobb 20 yd TD pass
43 yards from paydirt, it's now 28 yards away after a textbook toss to James Jones. Big cushion for Jones, as the CB is afraid of getting burned deep.
Play action...bootleg...COBB! This guy is becoming a superstar. 20 yard score!
12:23 p.m. Titans' 3rd Drive 6:54
Bush owns the Tennessee returner short of the 20 yard line. Bush made him pay for too much lateral running.
A.J. Hawk's huge blitz forced Locker backwards and an incompletion could turn into intentional grounding. Nearest eligible receiver was in Manitowoc, and the ball never reached the line of scrimmage.
3rd-forever at TEN 5: Chris Johnson on a draw play. Useless. Packers opponents are 0-12 on last 12 3rd down attempts.
12:14 p.m. Packers' 2nd Drive 9:42
Green Bay 7, Tennessee 0
Rodgers 6 yd TD run
18 yard return from Cobb certainly helps Green Bay's cause.
Rodgers houdini's eight yards out of what normaly would be a sack. Williams was waiting for the ball after initially blocking in the backfield.
Great piledrive for Grant to smash for a first down, after breaking about three tackles. Sitton and D-S did the job to open the hole.
Rodgers. Jennings. Hook pattern. Nine yards. Clockwork.
Grant! Explosion on the left side. Great patience for 18 yards. Then nine more yards with patience, setting up his blocks, and cutting back up the middle. The Packers' O-line is owning things.
Rodgers - running himself, and no problem whatsoever. Ball game underway.
12:11 p.m. Titans' 2nd Drive 10:47
Taylor Thompson was more wide open deep than Pepe le Peu among female cats, but Locker's throw to him was really underthrown. Incomplete.
Then a delay of game penalty hurts Tennessee even more. Mistakes. Lots of mistakes.
3rd-15 at TENN 15: Locker finds Preston for an oh-by-the-way-pad-the-stats-but-not-enough-yards completion. Love such uselessness when it's against the Packers.
12:05 p.m. Packers' 1st Drive 13:24
Cobb breaks a couple tackles and gets 14 yards, a minor miracle with the lack of blocking for him.
Harris starts at RB, and Dietrich-Smith helps him gain 3.5 on the first carry.
Cobb adds to his new Packers all-purpose yardage record for Green Bay with a heck of a catch on a slant pattern from the slot. Rodgers was way too fast with the throw for the linebacker to help.
3rd-7 at TEN 41: maybe in four-down territory, regardless of the qualms Packers Planet has with Mason Crosby.
Rodgers nearly got picked, as a pass went a bit high to Cobb, got deflected, and Griffin just missed it.
McCarthy opts to punt and play a field-position battle. Smarter than my willingness to go for it.
12:02 p.m. Titans' 1st Drive 15:00 left in 1st Quarter
With Jake Locker throwing under 60% completion rate, 9 TD's, 9 picks, the Titans will have to run to win.
As B.J. Raji communicates with his big swatting hand, knocking Locker's first pass down.
Well, the running game isn't working for Tennessee, either. A.J. Hawk smashed his blocker and smashed Johnson.
3rd-11 at TEN 21: SACK TIME! Matthews came up the middle on a delayed blitz and said "Locker, come to Papa."
Coin toss time, with Jones, Kuhn and Matthews as the captains for Green Bay.
Tennessee calls tails. After the coin slipped out of the official's hand, the flip actually happened, and the call is tails. Tennessee starts with it. Thanks again, for helping the Packers get second half momentum.
Temps: 24 degrees, winds out of the northwest at 9 mph. Perfect December Packers weather.
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McCarthy with Wayne Larrivee during Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Packers Gameday":
On what, besides a win, he wants from his team today:
"We want to get in playoff mode, get in single-elimination mindset, build off the momentum we've created...improve as a football team."
On the difference late this season compared to the 15-1 campaign last year:
"You don't have to listen to the outside voices. Last year, there was the 'hey, we're in', the natural human instict. Our seed was already set."
On the switch at center from Jeff Saturday to Evan Dietrich-Smith:
"It was a conversation that started earlier in the week...had a chance to sit down with Jeff. He's given us everything he had. It's very important for (Dietrich-Smith) that he has to play to the best of his ability. He's on a very short leash. I can't say enough about Jeff Saturday's professionalism. He's helped Evan Dietrich-Smith."
On how Aaron Rodgers' game has grown, despite his stats not being record-setting compared to 2011:
"Last year was clear sailing. We had the foot on the gas. It's a different ride this year. He's had to be disciplined, undergo frustration that goes with constant change. He's grown as a quarterback. He's made it a positive and help guys who are getting opportunities. This has been a great year for him to grow. He's a rock. He's playing at a very high level every week for us."
Here's Jeff Falconio's three keys for today's game.
Key Packers' inactives (which we didn't already know):
The loss of Green and Starks really hurts the running game. Those have been your most productive 1-2 punch backs so far this year.
Tom Crabtree's loss also hurts in run blocking.
Wilson and Worthy also hurt in trying to stop Tennessee's Chris Johnson, an all-world back when he wants to be.
The Green Bay Packers are now in a mode to advance their position in the NFC playoffs, since they've already clinched the NFC North championship.
Coach Mike McCarthy understands that every win, including one possibly today against the Tennessee Titans, can help them get a better perch to start a run in January towards a Super Bowl in February.
"There's a lot to play for this week," explained McCarthy. "We have a chance to get to 11 wins, 7-1 at home, a chance to get to the No. 2 spot, and at least secure the No. 3 spot."
The No. 3 means the Packers would host a wildcard game on Jan. 5 or 6.
The No. 2 means the Packers would get a week off and host a divisional playoff game on Jan. 12 or 13.
That second seed and first-round bye may be critical for the Packers' playoff chances, particularly to give an extra opportunity of rest for injured players, and to get some guys available.
The injury list remains long, with Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and Charles Woodson (collarbone) both out today.
Woodson would be a great addition to a defense that has the first of two straight assignments against world class running backs.
The Packers get the Titans' Chris Johnson this week. He's having a subpar season - for him - with just 1,159 yards and five touchdowns.
Still, he remains dangerous.
Johnson could be seen as just a practice assignment for what will be the biggest challenge the run defense will face all year: Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings on the road Dec. 30.
Bottle up Johnson today on the frozen tundra, and the Packers should rise to 11-4.