News Column

Green Bay Packers Find Footing, Pound Chicago Bears

September 14, 2012

By Chris Jenkins

On a night when defenses dominated the NFL's most storied rivalry, the Green Bay Packers got creative -- and it worked. Punter Tim Masthay and backup tight end Tom Crabtree combined for a touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter, and the Packers rattled and robbed Jay Cutler in a 23-10 victory against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Thursday.

Cutler threw four interceptions, including a pair to Tramon Williams. Facing a fierce Packers pass rush all night, Cutler was sacked seven times, including 31/2 by Clay Matthews.

"Clay was incredible," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "Defense causing turnovers. If they play like this, we're going to be hard to beat."

The Bears also lost running back Matt Forte to an ankle injury.

Rodgers finished the game 22-for-32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Cutler was 11-for-27 for 126 yards and a TD.

Vilma vs. Goodell: The attorney for New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma told USA TODAY Sports on Thursday he considered NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's season-long suspension of Vilma "voided" by a three-member panel's ruling and he hoped to have Vilma exonerated in a Monday meeting with Goodell in New York.

"The accusations against Jonathan are not only erroneous but very, very difficult for Jonathan emotionally and personally," Peter Ginsberg said. "Our hope is that the commissioner, as he restarts the process, will take a fresh look at the evidence, listen to what Jonathan has to say and allow Jonathan to get back to living his life and playing the game he loves."

Goodell's suspensions of four players in the Saints bounty case were seemingly vacated by the appeals panel last Friday, although it remains in dispute what the panel ruled.

Ginsberg disputed a Thursday statement by the NFL that the player suspensions were not overturned but put on hold until Goodell met individually with the players. Goodell was asked by the panel to rule on conduct detrimental to the game violations rather than possible salary-cap infractions in connection with players being paid to injure opponents.

Ginsberg says the panel's inference was Goodell overstepped his bounds.

"I don't think there's any real dispute with what the appeals panel did," Ginsberg said." The opinion is short and clear."

Proper respect: During a radio interview with WFAN in New York this summer, New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora feigned ignorance about "this RGIII you guys keep talking about."

To him, Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III was "Bob" until he earned a nickname. So after 320 yards passing, two TDs and a nod as NFC offensive player of the week, what is the No.2 overall pick to Umenyiora?

"Yes," Umenyiora told USA TODAY Sports. "I will call him RGIII."

Status still foggy: New York Jets coach Rex Ryan says he'll decide by Saturday if cornerback Darrelle Revis (concussion) will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. "If he's not 100%, he won't play," Ryan said.

Contributing: Jim Corbett; Mike Garafolo; wire reports



Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012


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