GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts after witnessing Sunday's events at Lambeau Field:
What it means: The Green Bay Packers won their fourth consecutive game and will take a 6-3 record into their bye. They'll need the extra week of rest, however, after another round of injuries to key players. The Packers have struggled to put away inferior teams at home the past two weeks, but those victories count in the win column the same as blowouts would.
Injury report: Receiver Jordy Nelson, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, rolled his right ankle in the first quarter on the only pass thrown his way and did not return. A hip injury sent right tackle Bryan Bulaga to the sideline in the second quarter, forcing the Packers to move T.J. Lang to right tackle and insert Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard. And linebacker Clay Matthews injured his hamstring and did not return after limping off in the third quarter. After Matthews departed, the Packers used rookie Dezman Moses and veteran Erik Walden as their outside linebackers. We'll get you updates on Nelson, Bulaga and Matthews as soon after the game as we can.
Tom Crabtree?!? With Nelson sidelined and the offensive line in flux, the Packers' offense struggled after halftime. The Cardinals pulled within a touchdown at 24-17, but tight end Tom Crabtree put the game away on the final play of the third quarter. Lined up in the backfield, Crabtree slipped through the line, got a step on Cardinals linebacker Paris Lenon and turned Aaron Rodgers' pass into a 72-yard touchdown play. It was the longest reception by a Packers tight end since 1979. (Paul Coffman, 78 yards.)
RodgersWatch: Rodgers hit on only 14 of 30 passes, but he made the completions count. Four went for touchdowns, including two to Randall Cobb and one each to Crabtree and James Jones. Through nine games, Rodgers has 25 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Cobb has five touchdowns in his past three games.
Running game: James Starks replaced Alex Green in the starting lineup for this game and the pair split carries in what amounted to the Packers' best rushing performance of the season. Starks finished with 61 yards on 17 carries and Green had 53 yards on 11 carries. Overall, the Packers piled up 176 yards on 39 attempts, both season highs. Starks had one fumble, which Rodgers recovered, and that probably curtailed some of his snaps. But I was fine with Starks getting on the field. Green hasn't been productive in three starts. You can only spend so much time waiting for a player, young or not, to find his groove.
What's next: The Packers have their bye and return to the field Nov. 18 at the Detroit Lions.