The Green Bay Packers entered their clash with the Philadelphia Eagles as the walking wounded, and they appear to be walking out of the game with a number of additions to the injury list. Between their ailing defenders and the carousel at quarterback, Philadelphia was able to pull out a fairly comfortable 27-13 win at Lambeau Field. However, it wasn't without some officiating controversy near the end.
Seneca Wallace started in place of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers and didn't last long. After just one series, he exited with a lower body injury and was replaced by Scott Tolzien. Injuries were also picked up by Casey Hayward, Johnny Jolly, Don Barclay and Evan Dietrich-Smith. At the end of the game, the Packers had just five healthy offensive linemen.
Wallace was a perfect 5-5 passing in his first and only drive in at quarterback, setting up a 53-yard field goal attempt that Mason Crosby smacked off the right upright. He wasn't obviously injured when he walked to the sideline to end that serious, and much to everyone's surprise, Tolzien appeared when the Packers got the ball back.
The former Wisconsin Badgers quarterback was put in a bad spot early. Philadelphia scored with their second play of their second series, thanks to a very fortunate bounce and some persistence from Desean Jackson. Nick Foles through a knuckler into double coverage that should have been intercepted or at least knocked down, but Morgan Burnett and Tramon Williams collided while reaching for the ball, causing it to pop up into the air perfectly for Jackson, who ran into the end zone uncontested.
Tolzien was backed up on his own 6-yard line because of a penalty on the ensuing kickoff and, despite an 8-yard completion to Andrew Quarless on third down, went three-and-out in his first series on the field. Things would get better for Tolzien, but the Eagles' offense, some bad luck and a couple of bad throws kept him from firing Green Bay back into the game.
The Packers put together an excellent drive to start the second quarter, save for the ending. After driving down all the way to the Philly 5-yard line on 15 plays, Tolzien just missed Jordy Nelson in the end zone, putting the ball into the bread basket for Brandon Boykin, who picked him off and ripped off a 76-yard return.
Both defenses held their own for the rest of the half, with Crosby and Alex Henery trading a make and a miss each in the second quarter. Crosby's came to close the half, with the Packers failing to convert on a chance to score a touchdown yet again, and the Eagles led 10-3 at halftime.
Less than four minutes into the third quarter, the Eagles took complete control of the game and put the Packers on the ropes. After the Packers punted on their opening series of the half, Foles combined with Riley Cooper for a 45-yard touchdown on the Eagles' next drive, putting the Packers down by two scores. Henery added a field goal on the next Philly possession, putting them up 20-3.
The Packers briefly got themselves into contention with a 7-play, 86-yard touchdown drive late in the third quarter to get back within 10 points. It culminated with an excellent throw by Tolzien to rookie tight end Brandon Bostick, who took advantage of a busted coverage and barreled his way into the end zone to record a 22-yard score.
Philadelphia struck back quickly, putting the Packers behind by 17 points via similar means, with Foles finding Cooper in the end zone for a second time. This time around, they struck from 32 yards, and the Packers were left chasing a big deficit yet again.
Green Bay failed to convert a red zone opportunity into a touchdown yet again on their next possession, settling for a field goal. The game appeared to take a massive turn in Green Bay's direction on a couple of occasions over the next seven plays, but luck was not on Green Bay's side.
First, Tramon Williams looked to have scored a defensive touchdown off a sack and fumble on third down, but it wasn't to be. Foles fumbled as he went to ground while being taken down by two Green Bay defenders, with Williamsrecovering and running into the end zone, but the officials blew dead. Mike McCarthy challenged and won, but got the ball at the spot of the recovery, not the touchdown.
The Packers failed to score on their first three plays and, down by 14, decided to line up and run a play on fourth down. Tolzien delivered a pass on the money to Nelson, who bobbled the ball, but appeared to get his hand underneath it. The officials thought otherwise, and once again McCarthy was forced into a challenge. This time, it didn't go in his favor, with Mike Carey ruling that there was not sufficient evidence to overturn the call on the field.
Philadelphia did a masterful job closing out the game, picking up six first downs to kill off the clock and seal the win. The Packers now sit at 5-4, one game behind the first-placed Lions in the NFC North.
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