The veteran running back held up his end of the bargain. Responding to the call as the sound of “Kuuuuuuuuuhn” echoed repeatedly throughout the stadium, Kuhn enjoyed the first three-touchdown game of his career, rushing for two scores and adding another as a receiver.
“When we have a red-zone meeting, we don’t sit there and talk about John Kuhn, but I think our fans think we do,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy joked. “I’m a little nervous about that.”
No need to worry. Kuhn got his day off to a good start with a 5-yard run to open the game and then a 2-yard run on a third-and-1 two plays later. He went on to gain a first down or a touchdown on six of the eight times he touched the ball, the most impressive play being his 8-yard barreling run for a score with just under 2 minutes left in the first half.
“He’s a fan favorite,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “John’s a guy who you love having on your team. His personality, he’s a blue-collar guy, a guy who plays special teams, he catches the ball well, he runs the ball well. He’s very smart.
“He’s like a security blanket in the third down when he’s back there because he knows the scheme and the checks as good or maybe better than I do at times. But he’s a great player for us, a great contributor, and a guy who the last couple weeks every time you get him the ball something good happens.”
Indeed, Kuhn has put together two very productive weeks in a row. Last Sunday at New England, he combined for 48 yards rushing and receiving with several leaps over tacklers to pick up first downs, and he added a receiving TD.
Against the Giants, it was just 29 yards from scrimmage (22 rushing, 7 receiving), but the three TDs doubled his season total to a career-high six.
“The thing about John Kuhn is when he runs in the game, all the fans know he’s getting the ball, the defense knows he’s getting the ball, but he never disappoints you,” receiver Greg Jennings said.
Added linebacker Desmond Bishop: “It’s crazy. He’s a beast, man. He’s just a beast.”
The Packers’ pass-catchers hit several significant marks in Sunday’s game.
First, Jordy Nelson’s 80-yard TD catch to open the scoring gave the Packers two different players with 80-yard-plus TDs this year, as Jennings had an 86-yarder vs. Miami in Week 6. That’s the first time since 1967, when Elijah Pitts and Carroll Dale pulled it off, that the Packers have had two different players catch 80-yard TDs in the same season.
That catch was also Nelson’s 40th of the season, giving the Packers five players with at least 40 receptions (Jennings, Nelson, James Jones, Donald Driver, Brandon Jackson) for the first time since 1980.
With 142 and 124 yards, respectively, Jennings and Nelson gave the Packers their first pair of 100-yard receivers in the same game in two years. Jennings and Driver accomplished that in the 2008 regular-season finale vs. Detroit.
Jennings surpassed 5,000 career yards and now has 5,125. He’s the fourth fastest player in team history to reach 5,000 yards receiving, doing it in his 74th career game. Only Billy Howton (67 games), Sterling Sharpe (72) and James Lofton (73) got there faster.
Finally, Jones’ four catches Sunday give him 49 for the season, topping his previous career high of 47, set during his rookie 2007 campaign. Jones also recorded his fifth TD catch of the season, tying his career high set last year.
Kicker Mason Crosby surpassed 100 points for the season and 500 in his career. By hitting the 500-point mark in his 63rd career game, he becomes the second fastest to 500 points in franchise history behind only running back Paul Hornung (60 games).
This marks Crosby’s fourth straight 100-point season.
The only injuries McCarthy reported from the game were a knee sprain for fullback Korey Hall and a groin strain for safety Atari Bigby. Both players left the game and didn’t return.
Bigby had been rotating at safety with Charlie Peprah, one of two positions on defense the Packers were rotating players. The right outside linebacker spot was manned by both Robert Francois and Erik Walden during the game.