The Bears’ 27-20 win over Green Bay on Monday night had the looks of a potential shootout when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came out of the gates with 26-, 27-, and 16-yard plays on the opening drive. The Packers’ hopes were dashed on the final play of that opening possession when Rodgers was sacked on third-and-eight by Shea McClellin at Chicago’s 12-yard line. Rodgers landed hard on his left – non-throwing – shoulder. He got up and was in obvious pain. Rodgers immediately went to the sideline and talked with the medical staff. He attempted some short throws before quickly being escorted to the locker room. Green Bay later announced Rodgers was done for the night, and Seneca Wallace was making his first regular-season appearance since he appeared in six games for the Browns in 2011. Rodgers stayed in the locker room for the entire first half. He then returned to the sideline in the third quarter donning a hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. The key observation was that Rodgers didn’t have his left arm in a sling. Now, that doesn’t mean he’s avoided a serious injury. But Rodgers likely would have had his arm stabilized if he had suffered a broken bone of some kind.
Following the game, coach Mike McCarthy didn’t reveal much of anything. All McCarthy would say is that the team doctors “want to run more tests” and that Rodgers indeed suffered a “shoulder injury.” McCarthy added that “an exact diagnosis has not been given” and there’s “no timeline” for a recovery. Not to call McCarthy out, but we all know Lambeau Field has an X-ray machine. The Packers would know if Rodgers’ collarbone is broken. McCarthy isn’t quite ready to reveal any specifics. We should know more on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Rodgers, clearly, is one of the most irreplaceable players in the league. If he’s going to miss any time, the Packers are going to need to add a quarterback. Wallace is the only other quarterback on the roster, and he was pitiful in relief. Scott Tolzien is on the practice squad. Longtime Packers backup Matt Flynn was just waived by the Bills on Monday. He has to pass through waivers before he can pick his team. Who knows if the Packers would even want Flynn after he’s proven to be inept since leaving Green Bay following the 2011 season. Vince Young spent part of the summer with Green Bay. He may be an option. In all likelihood, Tolzien would get the call after he received a pay raise last week.
On we move to a Monday-night bright spot for the Packers. Eddie Lacy continues to feast on opposing defenses since returning from a Week 2 concussion. In his last five starts, Fat Eddie has rumbled for 545 yards and three touchdowns. 150 of those yards and one of those scores came against the Bears Monday. Lacy could have easily gone for 200-plus yards had Rodgers not gotten hurt. The Bears were playing two safeties deep on the opening possession, leaving gaping running lanes for Lacy. He consistently bounced off first contact and is a load to bring down. Once he busted through the line, Bears defenders were legit scared to tackle him. Chicago safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright missed several tackles. Lacy simply shoved Wright out of the way on one run.
Lacy is going to continue to eat down the stretch. He has ultra-favorable matchups with the Eagles, Giants, Vikings, Lions, Falcons, and Cowboys coming up. As Patrick Daugherty mentioned in his Week 9 Rankings, Lacy is locked in as an every-week RB1 moving forward. Owners that scooped him up at his fourth-round ADP during fantasy drafts are going to ride Lacy to championships, barring injury.
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Bears at Packers Notes
Josh McCown has filled in admirably for an injured Jay Cutler (groin) the past two games. A lot of the credit goes to quarterback whisperer coach Marc Trestman, who called an unbelievably flawless game. But McCown was poised, hung tough in the pocket in the face of pressure, and was decisive with the football. The offense didn’t skip a beat. … ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported on the pregame show that Cutler is eyeing a Week 10 return. He’s already been running and doing some drop-backs on the side. … Matt Forte has totaled over 100 yards in three consecutive games, scoring four touchdowns in the process. He’s locked in as a weekly top-five running back. Forte is on pace for 1,948 total yards and 14 touchdowns this season. … James Jones returned from a Week 6 knee injury but made just one catch on three targets. He didn’t play his normal complement of snaps. Seneca Wallace’s poor play didn’t help anyone on offense, either. … Brandon Marshall posted his first 100-yard game since Week 2. He also scored his fourth touchdown in four games and is on pace for a career-best 12 scores in 2013.
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News Nugget #1
E.J. Manuel sprained his LCL in Week 5 against the Browns. On Sunday, FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez reported Manuel’s rehab was “going well with no setbacks.” CBS announcer Dan Dierdorf stated on Sunday’s telecast of the Chiefs and Bills game that Manuel is expected to start Week 10 against the Steelers. On Monday, Manuel was cleared to return to practice. The decision on when Manuel will return to game action is now in the hands of coach Doug Marrone.
If Manuel practices well this week and continues to avoid setbacks, he seems to have a decent chance at suiting up against Pittsburgh. The Bills, however, aren’t going to rush Manuel. Thad Lewis (ribs) should be close to a return after missing Sunday’s game. If Manuel does return, he’ll be on the low-end QB2 radar. He’d be a huge upgrade on fill-ins Lewis and Jeff Tuel.
News Nugget #2
The Giants released a statement Monday saying David Wilson has made “significant improvement” with regard to his neck injury. Wilson underwent an MRI on Monday and was reevaluated by team physicians. While there’s been improvement, the Giants say Wilson still hasn’t been cleared to resume football activities and “will undergo another evaluation in several weeks.”
With that news, it’s obviously safe to drop Wilson in 10- and 12-team leagues if you haven’t already. Andre Brown (broken leg) and Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) are expected to return to the lineup this week. Brown is the back to own here, but we still don’t like him as much more than a low-end RB2 in an offense that has trailed a lot on the scoreboard.
News Nugget #3
Kyle Rudolph was forced from Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys with a left foot injury after scoring a 31-yard touchdown. At the tail end of the play, Rudolph’s foot got bent awkwardly underneath a defensive back. Initial X-rays following the game were negative.
On Monday, Rudolph was diagnosed with a broken foot and could be sidelined “as much as a month,” per coach Leslie Frazier. FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Rudolph will be out 4-6 weeks. It’s possible the Vikings just throw Rudolph on injured reserve in a lost season. John Carlson will take over as the starting tight end in Rudolph’s absence. He’s not even worth your time in fantasy, even with the position being so weak in 2013.
Quarterback/Running Back Slants
Coach Dennis Allen said Terrelle Pryor (knee) is day-to-day. It’d be a surprise if Pryor didn’t play this week against the Giants. … Jason Campbell (ribs) is expected to be fine. … Michael Vick (hamstring) has already been ruled out for Week 10. Nick Foles will get another start. … Christian Ponder will start Thursday night’s game against the Bucs. … Rashard Mendenhall (toe) returned to practice Monday. … Ben Tate (ribs) admitted he was in serious pain Sunday night against the Colts. … Coach Doug Marrone said C.J. Spiller (ankle) escaped Week 9 without any setbacks.
Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants
Jeremy Kerley has been diagnosed with a dislocated left elbow and will miss a “few weeks.” He’s the Jets’ leading receiver. … NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports Robert Woods’ ankle is only “mildly sprained.” The rookie appears to have a decent chance to suit up this week. Woods is barely a WR4. … The Seahawks are “not counting on” Percy Harvin (hip) playing this week. A Week 11 return seems more likely. … The 49ers activated Mario Manningham (knee) from the PUP list. He has a good shot to play Week 10. … The Dolphins signed Marlon Moore and waived Ryan Spadola. That’s not a big enough move to make the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation disappear. … Greg Little’s shoulder injury is not believed to be severe. … Victor Cruz (neck) practiced Monday. … Reggie Wayne (torn ACL) said he expects to play next season. … Coach Chuck Pagano says Darrius Heyward-Bey didn’t suffer a concussion Sunday night. … Julius Thomas (ankle) did not practice Monday. There’s no need to get overly concerned, yet.