CHICAGO – It’s possible Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones’ season ended Sunday.
The Packers appeared poised to ride Jones extensively against the Chicago Bears, but the second-year tailback left with a knee injury after his fourth carry. Jones said his foot was planted to make a cut upfield when a Bears defender hit his leg. Because his leg was straight, it had no bend.
“I feel like if it was bent,” Jones said, “it wouldn’t have been as bad.”
Jones sat on the sideline bench for most of the first half, but the Packers medical staff ruled he could not return after halftime. He had yet to speak with the doctors after Sunday’s game, but said his injury was “similar” to the torn MCL he had last season in Chicago. That injury cost Jones two games.
With two games left this season and the Packers officially eliminated from the playoffs, the next time Jones gets a carry could come in 2019.
“I’m hoping that I will be able to play next week,” Jones said. “I’m a competitor and I want to play, and it killed me not to be able to play.”
Jones spoke earlier in the week about how badly he wanted to finish the season healthy, potentially allowing him to shake the injury-prone reputation he developed as a rookie. The Packers limited his carries all season, preserving him. Sunday’s injury appears to have validated that decision.
Backup Jamaal Williams replaced Jones and had 55 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Williams added 40 yards on three catches.
“Just be ready,” Williams said. “Next man up.”
Elbow sidelines Clark
As much as nose tackle Kenny Clark wanted to be out on the field Sunday, the medical staff had to say no.
Clark suffered what he said was a sprained left elbow against Atlanta and rehabbed all week trying to get ready. He was listed as questionable on the injury report, but the doctors decided to hold him out for fear he might hurt it worse.
“I wanted to play,” Clark said. “But they were just worried about stuff with my elbow. We just have to keep getting MRIs every week and see how it goes. Hopefully, it gets better.”
With the playoffs no longer a possibility, it’s likely the Packers won’t take any chances with one of their best defensive players and sit him for the final two games, especially if he can’t practice.
Keep me in, coach
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was asked whether he would take issue if GM Brian Gutekunst asked him to let backup DeShone Kizer play so Gutekunst and the new coach could evaluate him.
“Yeah, probably,” Rodgers said with a smile.
“Look, I mean, nobody has talked to me about it,” he continued. “I’m expecting to start and play. (In) 2005, I remember (Brett) Favre came in late in the season and said, ‘Well, you’re probably going to get a chance to play here.' Didn’t happen.
“Brett was 36. I think, at the time. I’d like to be out there, lead us the last two weeks.”
Using his smarts
Defensive lineman Fadol Brown is only in his second week as a Packer, but he apparently is a quick learner.
Brown is the one who recognized a fake punt formation the Bears had run and yelled out to his teammates to watch for it.
“Just from watching film, I recognized the formation, called it out,” Brown said. “I talked about it with (fullback Danny) Vitale before it happened. The look, it looked familiar. We were talking about it.”
Brown and his teammates crashed the middle and stuffed upback Benny Cunningham for a loss of one, giving the Packers the ball at the 50. Five players later, they had tied the game on a 50-yard touchdown drive.
“I just tried to make a play,” said Brown, who was claimed off waivers from Oakland on Dec. 5 to fill the spot left open when Mike Daniels was put on injured reserve. “I knew it was coming to my side. I just tried to get off the ball and beat the guy.”
Brown, who did not play last week, had three tackles, including a stop on the previous play that forced the punt formation.
Breeland mourns friend's death
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland said he was excused from practices last week because a “dear friend” died in a car crash Tuesday night in Hampton, S.C.
Breeland’s friend was Tevin Mole, a former teammate Breeland described as “more like a brother than anything.” He said missing Sunday’s game was never an option, mostly to honor his friend.
“I knew what he would want me to do,” said Breeland, who started as the Packers slot corner Sunday. “I knew he would want me to be playing this game, and that’s what I chose to do.”
Breeland said he will return to South Carolina for Mole’s funeral this week.
Alexander’s streak ends
Rodgers’ NFL-record run of 402 consecutive pass attempts without an interception ended Sunday, but so did another streak. Packers rookie corner Jaire Alexander was flagged for pass interference on Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson with 11:55 to go in the game, leading to a Bears first down.
It was the first time the rookie had been flagged for interference since the 5:38 mark in the first quarter at Washington on Sept. 23, a span of eight games and more than 600 snaps.
“Still one too many,” Alexander said. “For sure for me, especially for the caliber that I play at. I can’t get none of that. Especially if I want to help the team win, I can’t get that.”
Adams, Crosby climb charts
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught eight passes for 119 yards, giving him 100 on the season. He became just the third Packers receiver to reach the century mark. Sterling Sharpe did it twice, catching 112 passes in 1993 and 108 in 1992. Robert Brooks was the last to do it, catching 102 passes in 1995.
In the Aaron Rodgers era, Jordy Nelson’s 98-catch season in 2014 was the standard bearer before Adams’ performance this year.
With his three made field goals Sunday, Mason Crosby has hit 304 in his career. That ties him for 28th in NFL history with Pat Leahy (New York Jets) and Jim Turner (Jets, Denver Broncos).