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Packers clinch playoff berth with win over BuccaneersSubmitted: 12/21/2014
TAMPA - Nothing Aaron Rodgers does as a quarterback surprises the Packers.

The NFL's top-rated passer shrugged off the flu and played most of Sunday with a strained left calf, leading Green Bay to a 20-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - clinching at least a wild-card playoff berth.

The win set up a showdown with Detroit for the NFC North title next Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers threw for 318 yards and one touchdown and Eddie Lacy scored on a 44-yard run for the Packers (11-4), who rebounded from a loss to Buffalo that cost them sole possession of first place in the division.

"I'll be OK for next week. I hurt my calf pretty good, but the training staff helped me kind of get through it," Rodgers said, adding he was injured on Green Bay's second offensive possession.

"It got really tight about halftime. Came in and got a little treatment, it loosened up just a tad, but it was still pretty tight. I was able to move in short segments in the pocket, which was all I needed to do today."

Lacy finished with 99 yards rushing on 17 attempts. Jordy Nelson caught a 1-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and had nine receptions for 113 yards, while Rodgers completed 11 throws to Randall Cobb for 131 yards.

"I've obviously been with Aaron the whole time. You see him do things on the football field, as far as making plays and this and that. I think the last couple of days, you see the kind of warrior he is," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He battled whatever illness he's had the last couple of days and then goes out and strains his calf the first or second series. He didn't want to come out. Really a gritty performance by Aaron."

As for the showdown with the Lions (11-4), McCarthy added: "We've won six out of seven games, so I'd like to classify that as playing a lot of solid football, that's for sure," McCarthy said. "We'll clean this game up tomorrow; we'll be on it. We'll also start on Detroit. I like where we're at, and I really like this football team. I feel good about the offense, defense and special teams."

Rodgers rebounded from the only game this season in which he's failed to throw for a touchdown, completing 31 of 40 passes without an interception. He threw 24 yards to Nelson on third-and-13 to extend the drive that produced Lacy's long TD run, and a 19-yard completion to Nelson set up Rodgers' 36th TD pass of the year with 2:45 remaining.

"I battled the flu the past couple of days pretty bad, and that's why I was surprised I hurt my calf because I hydrated like no other (week)," Rodgers said. "I was drinking a ton of water before the game."

"Unfortunately, the calf kind of gave up on me there. But it was a good win for us. The defense played great. Offensively, it wasn't pretty, but we had enough points to win."

The Bucs (2-13) have lost five straight and remain in contention for the first overall pick in the 2015 draft. Their sputtering offense was held to a season-low 109 net yards; Josh McCown was sacked seven times and intercepted once; and Doug Martin was held to 17 yards rushing on 10 attempts.

"We picked the worst possible time to play our worst (offensive) game," Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith said. "We'd liked to have fought them a lot harder than we did. I think the guys tried to play hard. Defensively we hung in there and kept them out of the end zone a lot. But it's hard to win games when you put up that kind of offensive production, which was very little."

The Bucs kept it close with a solid if not particularly flashy defensive performance. They forced Rodgers' fourth turnover in two weeks with Michael Johnson's sack-fumble, and a goal-line stand denied the Packers points in the third quarter after Lacy gained 5 yards on first down to the Bucs 1. Lacy and John Kuhn were stopped for no gain on the next two plays, then Rodgers threw an incompletion in the end zone on fourth down.

Nevertheless, the Packers wound up with 431 yards total offense.

McCown, meanwhile, was 12 of 26 for 147 yards. Mike Evans had four receptions for 49 yards and Vincent Jackson had three for 60 yards, moving both of them to the brink of 1,000-yard seasons.

"To see the defense and the way that it played, it's frustrating, man," McCown said. "You can't do that (the offensive performance). We've got to be better than that."



Story By: Associated Press

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Packers prepare for BuccaneersSubmitted: 12/20/2014

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers want to put last week's disappointing loss to Buffalo behind them.

They will rebound with an away game against the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Chryst takes Wisconsin football head coach jobSubmitted: 12/17/2014

MADISON - Paul Chryst is coming home to coach Wisconsin.

The school made it official on Wednesday, hiring Chryst away from Pittsburgh. The announcement ended days of speculation following the surprising departure of Gary Andersen for Oregon State.

Chryst is a former Wisconsin offensive coordinator and a Madison native. He leaves the Panthers after going 19-19 in three seasons, returning to his hometown and alma mater.

The 49-year-old Chryst had two prior stints as an assistant coach for the Badgers. Most notably, he was part of the Wisconsin staff from 2005-11, helping the Badgers to five double-digit victory seasons and two Rose Bowls.

He was coordinator in 2011 when the high-scoring Badgers featured quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Montee Ball.

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Bills snap Packers win streakSubmitted: 12/14/2014

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Bacarri Rambo intercepted two Aaron Rodgers passes and Marcus Thigpen scored on a 75-yard punt return, leading the Buffalo Bills to a stunning 21-13 upset over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Defensive end Mario Williams also forced Rodgers to fumble, which led to running back Eddie Lacy being tackled in the end zone for a safety with 1:51 left. Dan Carpenter hit all three field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder in the second half to help keep Buffalo (8-6) in the AFC playoff picture.

The Bills were also have their first eight-win season since going 9-7 in 2004.

The Packers (10-4) had a five-game win streak snapped, blowing an opportunity to get closer to their sixth consecutive playoff berth.

Rodgers finished 17 of 42 for 185 yards, and two interceptions.

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Gary Andersen steps down as head coach at University of WisconsinSubmitted: 12/10/2014

MADISON - Wisconsin Badgers fans got a big surprise early Wednesday afternoon.

Head Coach Gary Andersen told the team he is stepping down to take the head coaching job at Oregon State University.

He called UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez Wednesday morning with the news.

Alvarez says the news caught him off guard.

Andersen reportedly took the Oregon State job for family reasons.

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Packers defense will use Falcons game to growSubmitted: 12/09/2014

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GREEN BAY - The Packers game unexpectedly turned into a nail biter Monday night.

They went into halftime up 31-7 and held on for a 43-37 win.

Atlanta's Julio Jones ended the game with 259 receiving yards.

That made up more than half of Atlanta's total yards.

"Hitch, a little hitch in the step but you know all wins ain't going to be pretty," said Packers Cornerback Tramon Williams. "We was hoping it was man, in the first half we was hoping but it didn't happen that way. We had to fight all 60 minutes."

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Packer offense keeps rollingSubmitted: 12/09/2014

GREEN BAY - The Green Bay offense scores, scores, and scores.

They have scored more touchdowns and points this year than any team in the NFL.

That offense played a major part in Monday's 43-37 victory over the Falcons.

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Badgers fall to Duke in Big Ten/ACC clashSubmitted: 12/04/2014

MADISON - Tyus Jones scored 22 points, Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 and No. 4 Duke shot 65 percent to beat No. 2 Wisconsin 80-70 on Wednesday night in a highly anticipated matchup of college basketball heavyweights.

With 17 points, Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky outscored Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor (13 points) in a test for the two of the nation's top big men.

But it was another touted freshman, Jones, who helped open things up for the Blue Devils (8-0) in the second half. The lightning-quick guard beat defenders into the lane and added two 3-pointers.

Jones followed a transition layup with an assist on Amile Jefferson's jumper to cap a 6-0 run that gave Duke a 69-60 lead with about 3 minutes left against the Badgers (7-1).

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Former Buck Ellis downs Milwaukee at the buzzerSubmitted: 12/04/2014

MILWAUKEE - Monta Ellis hit a wild, fallaway jumper at the buzzer, lifting the Dallas Mavericks over the Milwaukee Bucks 107-105 on Wednesday night.

A night after Ellis starred in a double-overtime win at Chicago, he scored 23. He had eight in the final two minutes on what otherwise had been a bad shooting night for the Mavericks' top scorer, playing against his former team.

The Mavericks won their fifth in a row while resting Dirk Nowitzki because of a sore back. Coach Rick Carlisle called it a ``precautionary'' move.

Brandon Knight scored 25 points and Khris Middleton added 21 for the Bucks in their third straight loss.

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Bucks' Ilyasova breaks nose; out indefinitelySubmitted: 12/03/2014

MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova broke his nose in Tuesday's loss at Cleveland and is out indefinitely.

The Bucks said Wednesday that Ilyasova also showed symptoms of a mild concussion. He was hit in the face in the second quarter and spent the night at the Cleveland Clinic.

The Bucks said Ilyasova isn't expected to go on the team's trip to Dallas and Oklahoma City after that.

Ilyasova is averaging 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game.

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Badgers ready to spoil Buckeyes season Submitted: 11/30/2014

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MADISON - Paul Bunyan's Axe will stay another year in Madison after the Badgers took down the Gophers.

Lucas Oil Stadium now awaits the Badgers for the Big Ten Championship game.

Ohio State's quarterback J.T. Barrett broke his foot against Michigan yesterday, but the Buckeyes still have plenty to play for.

"You know that's going to be a tough match," said Senior Nose Guard Warren Herring. "It stinks that a guy like J.T. Barrett went down you know you want to play a team at their full strength. Good luck to him, he's going to have a great future. They're a great team but we're going to be ready to play, they're a great team and we're going to bring ours."

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