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Mike McCarthy: QB Aaron Rodgers' injured calf getting 'better'

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The way Aaron Rodgers hobbled down the field to get the Green Bay Packers in position to stop the clock and set up their game-winning field goal, it looked like the quarterback's strained right calf was still an issue.

A day later, the Packers say otherwise.

"The early indication is he's better today than he was going into the game," coach Mike McCarthy said Monday, one day after a 30-27 victory over the Chicago Bears. "We feel good about that."

Rodgers scrambled three times for 19 yards against the Bears, a week after he first sustained the injury on the third play from scrimmage against the Seattle Seahawks. After Sunday's win, Rodgers said his calf injury was "no worse for the wear."

"It actually felt a little better as the game wore on and had some heat on it," he said. "As the adrenaline got going, I felt like I was able to do a little more than I expected coming into the game, so I definitely didn't take any steps back."

The win, combined with losses by the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions, put the NFC North back in the Packers' hands. At 8-6, they can take the division if they win their final two games -- at home against Minnesota on Saturday and at Detroit on Jan. 1.

McCarthy said Rodgers, who did not practice much -- if at all -- last week, was actually more mobile than he expected him to be against the Bears.

"I didn't expect him to move like that," McCarthy said after the game. "I didn't think he would come out of the pocket. It's tough when you don't practice."

Rodgers' 60-yard throw to Jordy Nelson set up the winning field goal. One play earlier, the Packers lost both of their starting guards, T.J. Lang and Lane Taylor, who collided during a screen pass. Yet the Packers had no trouble with protection or communication when Jason Spriggs replaced Lang at right guard and Don Barclay took over for Taylor at left guard.

McCarthy said Monday that Lang (back) and Taylor (hip) appear to have avoided serious injuries.

The injuries gave McCarthy, Rodgers and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt more time to consider what to do on the third-and-11 play that resulted in the long pass to Nelson, setting the stage for Mason Crosby's last-second, 32-yard field goal.

"Aaron came over [to the sideline], and [one] suggestion was just to let it run down and go into overtime," McCarthy said Monday. "But -- actually, Alex Van Pelt and I -- I said, 'I like the play call and let's take a shot at it.'

"You can see he didn't break 'em out of the huddle immediately, so we kind of played it where we were going to leave, whatever how many seconds there were, [not] the whole time on the clock if we didn't convert.. ... The protection, the route combination and really Jordy setting that angle where Aaron can throw him open, and it's obviously a great throw. Just execution.

"And I think the biggest play was ... not only after the completion of the play but just getting it all coordinated, make sure we had 11 [guys on the field] and getting Aaron taking the play clock down there to three seconds and then setting it up for Mason's two kicks."