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Packers notebook: Turnovers prove costly for Green Bay

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By Mike Woods
Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, 10:36 p.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — All week the Green Bay Packers hoped quarterback Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone would be healed enough to play.

But it wasn't. And once again it was up to Matt Flynn to save the day.

But on this day, Flynn committed two crucial turnovers that led to two Steelers touchdowns as the Steelers defeated the Packers, 38-31, at Lambeau Field.

The first turnover came when tight end Andrew Quarless collided with Flynn during his throwing motion, and the result was a 40-yard pick-six by cornerback Cortez Allen that gave the Steelers a 31-21 lead late in the third quarter.

“It was one of those plays where there was a run/pass option,'' said Quarless, who has blocking responsibilities on the play no matter what Flynn decides to do. “So we definitely have to watch it, look over it and see what happened. It's his decision.

“We're usually able to look out for each other. Actually when I think about it, I think I may have been a little fast. It was because my guy was coming, almost in the hole. I had to get to him.''

The second Flynn turnover came with the score tied 31-31. On third-and-8 from the Green Bay 10, Flynn took off running, was hit by Troy Polamalu and fumbled. The Steelers' Brett Keisel recovered at the Packers' 17. The Steelers went on to score the game-deciding touchdown.

“I'm fine with Matt's decision,'' said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. “I was standing right there. I saw what he saw. He's a good athlete, he's a good runner. He's competing. I have no problem with what he attempted there.''

More Packers injuries

In a year the Packers have been beset with key injuries, they lost two more of their star players. Linebacker Clay Matthews reinjured his broken thumb after he sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger late in the second quarter.

He did not return.

Also, rookie running back Eddie Lacy reinjured his ankle — an injury first suffered against Atlanta two weeks ago — with 1:08 in the third quarter and did not return.

Bell outshines Green Bay's Lacy

There was much discussion this week on the two rookie running backs, the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell and Lacy.

Both performed well on Sunday.

Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji liked what he saw out of the Steelers rookie, who finished with 124 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.

“I thought watching him on film coming into the week he was a good player,'' Raji said. “Pittsburgh is a good team with their running scheme and he's in there for a reason. He's a good player.''

Mike Woods is a freelance writer.

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