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Packers lose but still alive after Bears lossSubmitted: 12/22/2013
Story By packers.com

GREEN BAY - The Packers wanted one more play, but it would be the last play, leaving Mike McCarthy and his team to wonder if this season will include one more meaningful play.

"We needed one more play tonight," McCarthy said following one of the most gut-wrenching losses of the season, 38-31, to the team the Packers beat in the Super Bowl three years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

What the Packers need most now is a Philadelphia win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. It would set the stage for a winner-take-all game between the Packers and the Bears in Soldier Field next Sunday. The winner would claim the NFC North title, should the Eagles beat the Bears.

"The message in the locker room I'm embarrassed by because I didn't know Detroit lost the game," McCarthy said.

Did his team know a Bears loss would give the Packers a win-and-in scenario next week?

"I'm sure they know now but they didn't know when I talked to them because I didn't know," McCarthy said.

Here's where it all stands:

The Lions are history following their loss to the Giants; it's over in Detroit.


With a win tonight in Philadelphia, the Bears will clinch the NFC North title and the Packers will be eliminated from playoff contention.


A Bears loss to the Eagles will give the Packers a chance to win their third consecutive division title and make the loss to the Steelers meaningless. Had the Packers beaten the Steelers, the Packers would've still had to win in Chicago to claim the division title and its playoff berth.

Sunday's game included some of the zaniest action of the season. The Packers got a touchdown after the Steelers had blocked a Mason Crosby, point-blank field goal attempt, then the Packers faced a let-him-score decision late in the game, with the game tied at 31-31 and the Steelers able to execute a walk-off field goal attempt.

Did the Packers allow rookie running back Le'Veon Bell to score from a yard out?

"We talked about that, yes," McCarthy said.

It left 1:25 to play and that appeared to be plenty of time for a rally following a 70-yard kickoff return by Micah Hyde. Matt Flynn quickly moved the Packers, who were without a time out, to the Steelers 1-yard line. Overtime seemed to be in the bag, until tackle Don Barclay was guilty of illegal procedure, which not only moved the ball back to the 6-yard line but necessitated a 10-second runoff that took the clock down to 10 seconds.

"We knew there'd be a runoff and the clock would run. We should've gotten two plays off. We went as fast as we could," Flynn said.

The Packers were unable to get the ball snapped until four seconds remained and that made Flynn's incomplete pass for Jarrett Boykin the final play of the game.

McCarthy's voice betrayed any cover he up; he was drained. At one point he said, "I'm just trying to get through this press conference."

The questions came.

"The offense was aligned at 10 seconds and the play was called. They were set," McCarthy said with an edge in his voice.

Pittsburgh's game-winning touchdown was the result of a Matt Flynn fumble that was forced by Troy Polamalu on a third-and-8 play from the Packers' 10-yard line. Flynn couldn't find an open receiver so he took off down the left sideline and tried to split two defenders when Polamalu arrived and stripped the ball.

"I've got to protect the ball. It's not my thing to split defenders but I was trying to win the game and I wasn't thinking about ball security," Flynn said.

"I'm fine with Matt's decision," McCarthy said.

Flynn was 21 of 39 for 232 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a 69.6 passer rating in some of the most severe weather conditions in recent Lambeau Field history. His third-quarter interception resulted in a 40-yard touchdown return by cornerback Cortez Allen. It was a game-changer that gave the Steelers a 10-point lead, but the Packers would rally to tie the game with 7:14 to play.

The interception was the result of tight end Andrew Quarless bumping into Flynn as he was attempting to throw the ball.

"It's probably my fault. We haven't run that protection. That's an example of a guy not having a lot of reps. You can put that on me," McCarthy said.

Blame? It won't be necessary should the Eagles beat the Bears.




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 IN OTHER NEWS

PORT CLINTON, OHIO - Ohio wildlife officers say 24 people from Wisconsin and one from Ohio have been convicted of exceeding their daily limit of walleye on Lake Erie.

The state's natural resources department says the convictions follow an investigation that began last spring.

Officers say they seized more than 500 pounds of walleye meat after finding that the fish had been cut up to disguise how many had been kept.

Wildlife officers say they were acting on several tips from the public.

Ohio officials say the suspects were ordered to pay $3,300 in fines and court costs.

The natural resources department said in a recent news release that the seized walleye were donated to people in northwest Ohio through several facilities, including the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky County.

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DURANT, MISS. - 1:30 p.m.

A former nun who knew one of the two nuns slain in Mississippi says she had always been interested in working with the "poorest of the poor."

Darlene Nicgorski said Saturday that she had recruited Sister Margaret Held to come to Holly Springs, Mississippi, to work as a social worker in a program there that ran schools and offered day care to help young mothers finish school.

Nicgorski said Held was "always interested in working with the marginalized, the underserved, the poorest of the poor."

Held and Sister Paula Merrill were found dead Thursday in their Mississippi home. A suspect was arrested late Friday and charged in their killings.

Nicgorski said the sisters' deaths just don't make sense. She said they would have given the suspect anything he needed.

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The Kentucky-based order where one of two slain nuns belonged says the order is establishing a memorial fund to continue her work.

Diane Curtis, a spokeswoman for Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, said they have received messages from around the world from people asking how they can support them in this tragedy.

The fund will be established through the order's website at http://bit.ly/2bIAee8 .

She says it will be used to "continue the legacy of Sister Paula, to minister to the poor."

The order is also asking for prayers for all involved in the tragedy.

She says Merrill went to Kentucky from Aug. 17 until Monday to meet with others from Sisters of Charity.

Curtis called it a "beautiful visit."

__

11:55 a.m.

The clinic where two slain nuns worked says the man accused of killing them was not a patient there.

Dr. Elias Abboud, the physician who oversees the clinic, says he called the office manager after he saw there was an arrest made to check if Rodney Earl Sanders had been a patient at the clinic but he was not.

Sanders was arrested late Friday in the deaths of two nuns whose bodies were found Thursday. Sisters Paula Merrill and Margaret Held were both nurses who had spent about 30 years helping people in Mississippi.

Abboud says the community and the patients will miss them.

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Father Greg Plata (PLATT-ah) of Greenwood, Mississippi, is sacramental minister at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Lexington, where the Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill had led Bible study for years.

Plata said Saturday that he does not think people at the church knew 46-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the slayings of the nuns.

Sanders was arrested late Friday and is being held at an undisclosed location while he waits for an initial court appearance to be set. Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said Saturday he does not know whether Sanders is represented by an attorney.

The bodies of Held and Merrill were found Thursday in their home in Durant, Mississippi.

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11:30 a.m.

The order of one of the nuns killed in Mississippi has issued a statement that thanks the law enforcement officers who are working on the case.

The statement by the U.S. Province Leadership Team, School Sisters of St. Francis, says Sister Margaret Held belonged to their community.

The community offered its "deepest appreciation" to investigators and to "the hundreds of people and organizations who offered their prayers and words of support in the wake of the sisters' deaths."

The bodies of Held and Sister Paul Merrill of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth were found Thursday in their Mississippi home. The women worked as nurse practitioners at a clinic for the poor. Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko (cause-ee-EH-sko), Mississippi faces capital murder charges in their deaths.

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10:40 a.m.

The nephew of a nun who was killed in Mississippi says he's thankful a suspect has been arrested so that no one else is at risk but that it does not bring closure to the grieving family.

David Merrill, speaking by telephone from Stoneham, Mass., says he heard about the arrest of Rodney Earl Sanders early Saturday morning.

He says the family is "thankful that he's off the streets," but the family still has to deal with the loss.

Sanders is accused of killing Sisters Paula Merrill and Margaret Held, whose bodies were found Thursday in their Mississippi home.

David Merrill says he agrees with the idea of forgiveness and trying to forgive the person who killed his aunt and her fellow nun. But he says he's "not as strong" as his aunt, and he's not sure if he's "capable of completely forgiving."

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9:40 a.m.

Authorities in Mississippi don't anticipate any more arrests in the slayings of two nuns.

Forty-six-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko (cause-ee-EH-sko), Mississippi, was charged late Friday with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.

State Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain tells The Associated Press that as of Saturday, "investigators believe Sanders acted alone."

Sanders is being held at an undisclosed jail and his initial court appearance has not been set. Strain says he doesn't know whether Sanders is represented by an attorney.

The bodies of Held and Merrill were discovered Thursday in their home in Durant, Mississippi, after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in nearby Lexington, where they were nurse practitioners.

____

1:15 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky-based congregation where one of two murdered Mississippi nuns will be buried has expressed thanks to those working to solve the case.

Diane Curtis, director of communications for Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, based in Nazareth, Kentucky, tells The Associated Press in a statement early Saturday: "Our congregation expresses gratitude to all who have been working so hard on this investigation. At this time we continue to pray for everyone involved in this tragedy."

Forty-six-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was charged Friday night with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.

Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived.

Held will be buried in Wisconsin and Merrill will be buried at her congregation's headquarters in Nazareth, Kentucky.

____

12:30 a.m.

Authorities say they have charged a 46-year-old man in connection with the deaths of two nuns who were killed in Mississippi.

Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said in a statement Friday night that Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68.

Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, Mississippi, about 10 miles from where they lived.

Lt. Colonel Jimmy Jordan says "Sanders was developed as a person of interest early on in the investigation."

Sanders is being held in an undisclosed detention center awaiting his initial court appearance.

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The study, published in the Journal of Fish Diseases, says exact cause of the tumors isn't known. But previous research has suggested that exposure to certain chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can cause liver tumors in fish.

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