Notebook: Waiting Again For Rodgers

Coach Mike McCarthy has no update on Aaron Rodgers on Monday; it's wild card-or-bust for Packers after the Bears knocked out Brett Favre to win the NFC North on Monday night.

Mum is the word on Aaron Rodgers and his availability for the Green Bay Packers as they get ready for a huge game against the New York Giants on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Coach Mike McCarthy offered no insight Monday on the Pro Bowl quarterback and his recovery from his second concussion of the season, which kept him from playing in the 31-27 loss at the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

"I don't have all of the information for Aaron," McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. "I'll have all of the information ... (and) an update for you Wednesday."

Rodgers missed a game for the first time since he took over as Green Bay's starting quarterback at the outset of the 2008 season. He had started 46 straight games, including the playoffs.

Rodgers' latest head injury knocked him out of the Packers' 7-3 loss at the Detroit Lions on Dec. 12. He didn't practice last week and wasn't cleared to play against the Patriots after not passing the post-concussion tests mandated by the league.

The Packers allowed Rodgers to make the trip to New England, and he threw passes during pregame warmups and watched from the sideline as replacement Matt Flynn turned in an impressive first start as a pro.

Flynn, who has been Rodgers' backup the last three seasons, completed 24-of-37 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns.

"I think for the people that don't know Matt Flynn, I think they got to look inside and see what type of person and what kind of player he is," McCarthy said. "We all knew what Matt is all about, the people that see him every day, but I think the rest of the country got to take a look at what he is capable of doing."

Wild card or bust

Brett Favre was bundled up in a heavy gray coat by the time Devin Hester sped through the snow with his record-setting return.

Favre's surprise start ended with another injury, perhaps putting him out for good, and the game ended with an NFC North title for the Chicago Bears.

If the Packers beat the Giants (9-5) and Bears (10-4) to close the regular season, they will earn a wild-card playoff spot.

Hester set the NFL record with his 14th kick-return touchdown, running back a punt 64 yards for a score shortly after halftime to help the Bears fly past the Minnesota Vikings 40-14 on a frosty, hard-hitting Monday night.

Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes for the Bears (10-4), who last won this division during their 2006 Super Bowl season. Hester caught one of those scoring tosses and also took back the second-half kickoff 79 yards to set up a field goal a few minutes before his game-breaking punt return made it 27-7.

That was Hester's 14th career return touchdown, kickoff or punt, breaking Brian Mitchell's previous mark.

Favre finished 5-for-7 for 63 yards for the Vikings (5-9). He was knocked out with a concussion when tackled by Corey Wootton but didn't think the cold or the turf had anything to do with the injury.

"It was one of the few times that I kind of went blank there for a while in my career," Favre said. "It was just the way I guess I was slung around on the turf."

Rumbling, bumbling, stumbling ...

An unusual play that haunted Green Bay in its near-upset of the Patriots, who were favored by two touchdowns with Rodgers sidelined, was a 71-yard kickoff return by husky guard Dan Connolly.

Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum instructed Mason Crosby to hit a squib kick down the middle of the field on the kickoff after the Packers gained a 17-7 lead on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Flynn to Greg Jennings with 2:17 left in the first half.

The 313-pound Connolly fielded the bouncing football at the Patriots' 25 and, with his hands and arms cradling the football, managed to break away from a few Green Bay cover men in the middle and busted out to open space on the left side. The Packers' Charlie Peprah had a chance to bring Connolly down inside the Green Bay 40, but Peprah instead tried to chop at the football and came up empty as Connolly rumbled until he was tackled at the 4.

"Poor coaching," said McCarthy, who cracked a smile amid his frustration after the game when asked about Connolly's big run, the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in league history. "We probably didn't practice our players tackling offensive linemen. So, we'll institute that this week. (Connolly) did a hell of a job. Best run I've seen an offensive lineman make. I'll take my hat off to him."

The Patriots answered the Packers' touchdown three plays later with a 2-yard throw from Brady to tight end Aaron Hernandez to cut the deficit to 17-14 at halftime.

Injury updates

— Safety Nick Collins suffered a rib injury in the first half of the 31-27 loss at the New England Patriots on Sunday night and didn't return. The injury wasn't as severe as the medical staff feared, so Collins has a chance to return later this week and play Sunday against the Giants. —S Atari Bigby took over Collins and played for the first time in four games. The onetime starter had been sidelined because of a hamstring strain.

— Defensive end Cullen Jenkins continues to struggle with an aggravated calf strain and is expected to miss a third straight game. The team is shooting to have Jenkins play in the regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears on Jan. 2.

— Outside linebacker Frank Zombo has a shot to get back on the field this week and play in Sunday's game. Zombo, a rookie who has been the starter opposite Clay Matthews, didn't play against the Patriots because of a knee sprain. Erik Walden made his first pro start in Zombo's absence and played well, though he missed a chance for an interception in the fourth quarter.

—LB Diyral Briggs suffered an ankle sprain in a special-teams role Sunday. He will be questionable for returning this week.

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