GREEN BAY, Wis. – When Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil looked to his left for much of the second half Sunday at Green Bay, he saw a pair of undrafted rookies lining up to help protect quarterback Cam Newton's blind side.
For the most part, guard Andrew Norwell and tackle David Foucault did just that.
"That's a part of the game, and fortunately for us, the guys that stepped in did a really good job," Kalil said. "We ask a lot of our guys in this offense, and Norwell and Foucault came in and did a good job."
Norwell played the final three quarters after right guard Trai Turner exited with a knee injury. Fernando Velasco moved over from left guard to right, and Norwell took Velasco's spot.
"I thought I was going to right guard, but Fernando moved over. I feel prepared for both," Norwell said. "I think I responded well. I had a great week of preparation. I prepared like I was a starter, and once Trai went down – you hate to see your teammate go down – I was the next man up.
"I just went out there with a mentality of relentless effort and toughness. I didn't want to let my teammates down, so I went out there and played my heart out."
While it was the first regular season action for Norwell, Foucault already had a few snaps under his belt when he came in at left tackle after Byron Bell suffered an elbow injury in the third quarter.
"I was a little nervous, but I knew I had a job to do. I think I did well," Foucault said. "Me and Andrew practice together all the time, so we know what we have to do to protect each other. We were on the same page.
"I was happy to be out there but sad for how we did as a team."
The long-term prognosis for Turner and Bell isn't yet known, though Turner expressed some confidence after the game that his injury wasn't serious.
In addition to the injuries along the offensive line, wide receiver/punt returner Philly Brown suffered a concussion, and linebacker Jason Williams suffered a groin injury.
HOME STATE OF MIND: It wasn't quite the homecoming linebacker A.J. Klein and punter J.J. Jansen had in mind.
Klein, a native of Appleton, Wis., had three tackles – including two tackles for loss – in front of a large group of friends and family, but the bottom line ruled the day.
"It meant a lot to have everybody here watching, but what it boils down to is winning and losing. Today we didn't get the job done," Klein said. "But it was a good experience. I had family and friends here, and getting to see some of them before the game last night was good."
Nortman, a native of Brookfield, Wis., had strong statistical day in what has been a strong season. Nortman was busier than he would have hoped, punting seven times for a season-high 53.9-yard gross average, including a 67-yarder.
BERSIN INTO END ZONE: Wide receiver Brenton Bersin scored his first NFL touchdown in the waning minutes – a 1-yard hookup with backup quarterback Derek Anderson – but he wasn't really able to appreciate the accomplishment.
"We were getting our butts kicked," said Bersin, who caught a career-best three passes for 21 yards. "That's never fun, even when you're out there catching balls and scoring your first touchdown. I know it sounds weird, but when you get beat like that, it's demoralizing."