Packers lose but still alive after Bears lossSubmitted: 12/22/2013
Packers lose but still alive after Bears loss
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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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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WAUSAU - When you think of Wisconsin, two things might come to mind - beer and snow. 

The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

So even though beer and physical activity isn't the best combination, dozens of people were loving it this weekend.

"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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RHINELANDER - The warmer weather might have you spending more time outside with man's best friend.

But the remaining snow and ice could increase the risk of injury for dogs.

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PORTAGE COUNTY - Portage County will hold an information meeting to share information about a sexually violent offender that will soon be released.

Gregory Loomis, 43, sexually assaulted two children in 1988 and 1992.

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ANTIGO - "It did come as a shock at first, but it's something that you realize it's not the end of the world," said Tracie Quade. 

Quade's 18-month old son, Benny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born.

"It's actually a really, really awesome thing. People with Down syndrome are wonderful loving people and they are just as capable of doing as much as anybody else," said Quade.

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RHINELANDER - An Oneida County judge set a trial date for a Rhinelander woman charged in the death of her toddler stepson.
Ellen Tran's trial is expected to start with jury selection on October 19.

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CRANDON - Planners in Tomahawk dreamed about a bike loop around the city starting in the early 2000s.

Two decades later, it's finally about to happen.

After more than 15 years of negotiation, the city bought a critical piece of land from the Canadian National railroad.

It will allow the city to start building a 4.6 mile bike loop around the city.

"It's a win-win for everybody. There was a little frustration from by position, but you just...kept your foot on the gas through the whole process," said Tomahawk Public Works Director John Cole.

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