Still, McCarthy is guarding against a letdown after emotional wins over Minnesota and New York. Another solid effort from his banged-up defense would go a long way to a third consecutive victory.
Green Bay is starting a third-string safety and two reserve linebackers. Projected starting cornerback Al Harris (knee) and safety Atari Bigby (ankle) have been sidelined all season, McCarthy said the Packers have until next Monday to decide whether to activate either player from the physically unable to perform list.
Green Bay has 10 players on injured reserve and seven starters were on last week's injury report. But the patchwork defense responded with the NFL's first shutout of the year and the Packers' first road shutout since 1991.
"The guys we got, man, you can't say enough about those guys stepping in, especially guys that haven't been here too often for stepping in and playing the way they did," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Sunday.
Wide receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Pat Lee are the latest additions to the injury report.
McCarthy said Driver would be questionable with his second quadriceps injury this season, while Lee likely would be out for the game against the Cowboys with a sprained left ankle. Rodgers also rolled his left ankle in the fourth quarter, but neither McCarthy or Rodgers were concerned.
"I'm more embarrassed than hurt about the fact that I'm not athletic enough, I hurt myself without anybody around me," Rodgers said.
The injuries haven't mattered for the Packers, who signed four defensive players last week to fill in gaps. The final one, nose tackle Howard Green, played significant snaps after one practice on Friday.
No matter, the defensive line held LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene to a combined 76 yards on 22 carries.
"We're a damn good run defense. We led the league in run defense last year. We've been working through some combinations because of the injuries up front," McCarthy said. "Our focus was to go into that game and stop their run game. We had a lot of respect for their run game coming into the game, and our players stepped up."
"The finest punting performance that I've ever been a part of in all my years on both sides of the ball, I can't tell you how happy I am for Tim. It makes me want to cry," McCarthy said. "You talk about a field-position game. I thought that was remarkable."
While the defense and special teams were the difference, the Packers won't like what they see when they review the offensive film on Monday.
Rodgers finished 15 of 34 for 170 yards and failed to reach the end zone, but it's something that even McCarthy was able to overlook a little.
"We did not play to our standard on offense. It's something we can learn from. But it's an excellent, excellent win for us, and it's something that we can build on," McCarthy said. "We need to get this one here at home Sunday night and get to the bye. That's our focus."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press