SAN FRANCISCO (4-7) AT GREEN BAY (7-4)
Sunday, Dec. 5 - Lambeau Field - Noon CSTGREEN BAY RETURNS HOME TO HOST 49ERS IN NFC MATCHUP
WITH THE CALL
- The Packers return home to play at Lambeau Field for the first time in nearly a month when they host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
- The Packers’ last home contest was on Nov. 7 against Dallas, a 45-7 Green Bay win in a nationally televised Sunday night game.
- Green Bay had its bye the next week before going on the road for back-to-back contests in Minnesota and Atlanta. The Packers split those games, and now sit in second place in the NFC North behind Chicago (8-3).
- The Packers are one of four NFC teams with a 7-4 mark, joined by Philadelphia, the N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay. Atlanta leads the conference at 9-2 with the Bears checking in second.
- This Sunday’s game against San Francisco will be the first of five NFC games in the final six contests for Green Bay, with a matchup at New England in Week 15 the lone interconference game left on the schedule.
- This is the second straight season that Green Bay and San Francisco have met at Lambeau Field. Since the series began back in 1950, the Packers and 49ers have never squared off in Green Bay in the regular season in back-to-back years. They did meet in Milwaukee in consecutive years on several occasions.
- Frequent foes in the 1990s and early part of the decade, the Packers and 49ers have met three times in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s five-year tenure. The rivalry took to new heights when the teams met four straight years (1995-98) in the postseason.
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won seven consecutive games over the 49ers in Green Bay. In the overall series, the Packers have won seven straight, and 12 of the last 13, including a 4-1 mark in postseason action.
- McCarthy’s last stop as an NFL assistant came in San Francisco, where he served as offensive coordinator in 2005. QB Aaron Rodgers, a Chico, Calif., native, will be playing against the team he grew up rooting for.
- Packers fans will certainly recognize a familiar face on the opposing sideline. 49ers coach Mike Singletary was a Hall of Fame middle linebacker for the rival Bears for 12 seasons (1981-92). Chicago was 15-7 against Green Bay during Singletary’s playing days.
THIRD JERSEY REFLECTS TEAM’S RICH HISTORY
- FOX Sports, now in its 17th season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to a regional audience.
- Play-by-play man Thom Brennaman and color analyst Brian Billick will have the call from the broadcast booth with Charissa Thompson reporting from the sidelines.
- Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 53-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo enters its 12th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 43 markets in five states.
- Sports USA Radio will broadcast the game with Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Tony Graziani (analyst) and Rich Herrera (sideline reporter).
- For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available to NFL Field Pass subscribers and Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 123 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
- DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 710.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:
- On Sunday, the Packers will be wearing a third jersey that is a re-creation of the team’s uniform from 1929, the year of Green Bay’s first world championship when the team finished 12-0-1 under Curly Lambeau.
- The NFL championship was awarded by league standing until 1933, and the Packers edged out the N.Y. Giants (13-1-1, .929) for the title in 1929. Green Bay beat the Giants, 20-6, in New York that season. The Packers outscored their opponents 198-22 and registered eight shutouts in ’29.
- That year actually marked the first of three consecutive titles, as the Packers recorded a 34-5-2 cumulative record in official league games from 1929-31. The Packers have won 12 world championships in all.
- The jersey is navy blue with the number on the front inside a gold circle. The circle and number are enlarged a bit from their 1929 size to comply with NFL regulations regarding jersey numbers. An enlarged number is also on the back, with a nameplate above the number, another modification that wasn’t present in 1929.
- The helmet is a solid brown color without a logo to best simulate the leather helmets worn during the era, and the pants are a tan color.
- The last time the Packers wore a third jersey was in 2003 at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. See page 4 for a closer look at the previous third-jersey games in franchise annals.
- Green Bay also wore an alternate jersey on Thanksgiving Day at Detroit on Nov. 22, 2001, as they sported a look from 1939.
- In 1994, the team wore 1937 uniforms as part of the NFL’s 75th anniversary season in four contests (at Philadelphia, Sept. 18; vs. Tampa Bay, Sept. 25; at New England, Oct. 2; at Chicago, Oct. 31).
All-time regular season
: 29-25-1All-time, postseason
: 4-1All-time, in Green Bay
: 12-4-0 (incl. two postseason meetings)Streaks
: The Packers have won seven straight, and 12 of the last 13 (incl. playoffs). Last meeting, regular season
: Nov. 22, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 30-24COACHES CAPSULESMike McCarthy
: 46-32-0, .590, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL seasonMike Singletary
: 17-19-0, .472; 3rd NFL season Head to Head
: McCarthy 1-0vs. Opponent
: McCarthy 2-0 vs. 49ers; Singletary 0-1 vs. PackersMIKE McCARTHY
…Is in fifth year as the Packers’ 14th head coach.
- Has led his team to the playoffs two of the past three years.
- One of only two coaches, along with New Orleans’ Sean Payton, to have his offense ranked in the top 10 in total yardage each of the last four years.
- Was named Packers head coach on Jan. 12, 2006, his first head coaching job after 13 years as an NFL assistant.
- Honored as the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year and NFL Alumni Coach of the Year.
- Became the first Packers coach since Vince Lombardi to lead the team to a championship game in his second season.
…Is in third year as the 49ers’ 16th head coach.
THE PACKERS-49ERS SERIES
- Took over team seven games into 2008 season and produced a winning record over the final nine contests (5-4) before going 8-8 in 2009, his first full season.
- Was 49ers assistant head coach beginning in 2005 until getting interim tag in ‘08.
- Also coached inside LBs for the Baltimore Ravens from 2003-04.
- A Hall of Famer, played MLB for 12 seasons (1981-92) for the Chicago Bears, playing in a team-record 10 consecutive Pro Bowls. During that time, the Bears beat the Packers in 15 of 22 meetings.
- Originally dating back to 1950, the series featured two games per season from 1953-66 with the teams trading dominant stretches.
- San Francisco won 13 times in a span of 15 games between 1950-58, while the Packers won 10 of 11 games between 1959-64.
- In more recent times, the series has been noted for its postseason clashes, including several defining moments in Packers history. Green Bay’s 27-17 triumph in the 1995 NFC Divisional playoff was considered the breakthrough victory that established the Packers as an elite team for the next several years. The Packers also won the next two postseason meetings, a 35-14 home victory in the 1996 NFC Divisional playoff en route to the Super Bowl XXXI title, and a 23-10 win at San Francisco in the 1997 NFC Championship game.
- The two teams met in the playoffs for a fourth straight season in 1998, with the 49ers winning 30-27 on QB Steve Young’s last-second TD pass to WR Terrell Owens, marking San Francisco’s only win in these teams’ last 13 contests.
- A fifth postseason clash took place in the 2001 NFC Wild Card game, a 25-15 Green Bay victory at Lambeau Field.
McCarthy was the 49ers offensive coordinator in 2005 and worked with QB and No. 1 overall draft pick Alex Smith. Singletary was on that 2005 coaching staff as asst. head coach/LBs...Packers OLB coach Kevin Greene played for the 49ers in 1997 and was a teammate of 49ers asst. OL coach Ray Brown that season...Packers LB Clay Matthews’ grandfather, Clay Sr., played defensive line for the 49ers for four seasons (1950, 1953-55)...49ers special teams coord. Kurt Schottenheimer has twice been the Packers DB coach (2004, 2006-08)...Packers TE coach Ben McAdoo served as asst. off. line coach/quality control for the 49ers in 2005...49ers RB DeShawn Wynn was a seventh-round draft choice of the Packers in 2007 and was with Green Bay from 2007-09...Packers college scout Jon-Eric Sullivan’s father, Jerry, is the WR coach/senior asst. for the 49ers...49ers off. line coach Mike Solari was on the Chiefs’ offensive staff in 1998, McCarthy’s final season there as QB coach...49ers def. coord. Greg Manusky played LB for the Chiefs when McCarthy coached there...49ers RB coach Tom Rathman was a teammate of Packers asst. head coach/ILB Winston Moss with the L.A. Raiders in 1994 and was also a member of the coaching staff in Oakland with Packers safeties coach Darren Perry from 2007-08...Packers asst. OL coach Jerry Fontenot played with both Singletary and 49ers asst. WRs coach Wendell Davis with the Bears…49ers QB David Carr was the first player ever drafted (No. 1 overall) by the expansion Houston Texans in 2002 when Packers defensive coord. Dom Capers was the team’s head coach…49ers FB Moran Norris also played for Capers for three seasons in Houston from 2002-05...49ers asst. strength & cond. coach Mark Uyeyama was the strength coach at Utah State when Packers CB/S Jarrett Bush played there (2004-05) and Packers off. quality control coach John Rushing coached there...Packers special teams coord. Shawn Slocum was 49ers LB Patrick Willis’ position coach for one season at Ole Miss (2005)...Packers LBs Matt Wilhelm and Diyral Briggs both played for the 49ers last season, while Wilhelm was with them in training camp this past summer and Briggs played in one game this year...Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is from Chico, Calif., in the Bay Area and played collegiately at Butte College and Cal...Other Packers from northern California include LB Desmond Bishop (Fairfield), CB/S Jarrett Bush (Vacaville), and WR James Jones (San Jose)...Packers DE Ryan Pickett and Wilhelm were both teammates of 49ers CB Nate Clements at Ohio State...Packers defensive quality control coach Scott McCurley was a college teammate of 49ers P Andy Lee and CB Shawntae Spencer at Pittsburgh...Packers CB Charles Woodson and 49ers T Barry Sims were teammates with the Raiders...Packers TE Andrew Quarless and 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman were teamates at Penn State and 2010 draft picks...Other former college teammates include Packers LB A.J. Hawk and 49ers WR Ted Ginn Jr. and QB Troy Smith (Ohio State), Matthews and 49ers T/G Chilo Rachal and S Taylor Mays (USC), Packers C Scott Wells and 49ers DT Aubrayo Franklin and LB Parys Haralson (Tennessee), Packers QB Matt Flynn, FB Quinn Johnson and 49ers DT Ricky Jean Francois (LSU), Packers practice-squad QB Graham Harrell and 49ers WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), and Packers LB Frank Zombo and 49ers T Joe Staley (Central Michigan).INDIVIDUALLY VS. 49ERS
In seven career games against San Francisco (incl. one playoff contest), WR Donald Driver has 25 receptions for 309 yards and two TDs, including nine catches for 160 yards and a 68-yard TD in the 2006 meeting...The first of LB A.J. Hawk’s seven career INTs also came in that 2006 contest...In two games, WR Greg Jennings has 10 receptions for 176 yards and a TD...DE Ryan Pickett had a career-high seven solo tackles against the 49ers on Oct. 6, 2002, while playing for the Rams...NT B.J. Raji got the first sack of his career in last year’s game. LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
DEFENSE GETTING IT DONE
- Nov. 22, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 30-24
- QB Aaron Rodgers’ two TD passes -- 64 yards to WR Greg Jennings (5 rec., 126 yards) and 7 yards to WR Jordy Nelson -- plus K Mason Crosby’s three FGs staked the Packers to a 23-3 halftime lead but San Francisco rallied as the Packers lost two defensive starters, OLB Aaron Kampman and CB Al Harris, to season-ending knee injuries.
- 49ers WR Michael Crabtree caught a 38-yard TD pass from QB Alex Smith, but Packers RB Ryan Grant (21 carries, 129 yards) responded with a 1-yard TD run following an INT by S Nick Collins to make it 30-10 early in the fourth quarter.
- San Francisco’s Josh Morgan returned a kickoff 76 yards to jump-start a 49ers comeback. Smith’s 24-yard TD pass to TE Vernon Davis and 10-yard TD toss to RB Frank Gore pulled San Francisco within 30-24 with just under 6 minutes left.
Team, Rushing Yds. Allowed Per Game
- After finishing No. 2 in the league’s final overall rankings and No. 7 in points allowed in 2009, the defense is enjoying an even more productive season when it comes to keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
- The Packers rank No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, allowing the opposition an average of just 15.1 points per game, an improvement over last season’s mark of 18.6 per contest. Green Bay currently ranks No. 12 in the NFL in overall defense, allowing an average of 320.7 yards per game through Week 12.
- The last time Green Bay led the league in scoring defense this late in a season was when it finished No. 1 in the league in that category at the end of the 1996 Super Bowl season (13.1 per game).
- The defense has limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 70.0, which ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only Chicago (69.3). The 70.0 rating is just a shade above what the defense allowed in 2009 when it finished No. 4 in the league rankings in that category with a 68.8 rating by opposing QBs.
- The Packers have recorded 15 interceptions, which is tied for No. 4 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks have completed 58.1 percent of their passes (No. 7). Green Bay has given up only 10 TD passes, which ranks No. 3 in the NFL.
- After leading the NFL in run defense for the first time in 2009 by allowing a franchise-record 83.3 yards per game, the Packers haven’t been as stingy against the run thus far this season, ranking No. 18 in the league (112.5 yards per game).
- In the last four games, the Packers have allowed their opponents to rush for 92.0 yards per game and one rushing TD. Green Bay has given up just five rushing TDs all year, which is tied for No. 5 in the NFL.
- In the win over Dallas in Week 9, the Packers limited the Cowboys to just 39 rushing yards on 14 carries (2.8 avg.). That was the fewest yards given up by a Green Bay defense since Detroit was limited to 33 yards on the ground on Oct. 17, 2004.
- At the N.Y. Jets in Week 8, the defense registered the first road shutout by the Packers since 1991 against an offense that entered the game ranked No. 2 in the league in rushing offense at 159.2 yards per game.
- Facing LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, the Packers limited the tandem to just 76 yards on 22 carries (3.5 avg.), their lowest combined effort of the season.
- Until Vikings RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 131 yards in Week 7, Green Bay’s defense hadn’t allowed a running back to rush for 100 yards for 19 straight games. Peterson and Falcons RB Michael Turner (Week 12 this season) are the only backs to eclipse 100 yards since Week 3 of 2009.
- The 19-game streak was the second longest in in team history since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, trailing only a 24-game game stretch from Sept. 20, 1970-Nov. 22, 1971.
- Under defensive coordinator Dom Capers, the Packers thrived in their new 3-4 scheme in 2009, finishing No. 1 against the run and No. 5 against the pass. The previous top ranking in franchise history in run defense came in 1972, when the team finished No. 2.
- Green Bay allowed an average of 284.4 total yards per game in ’09, second behind the N.Y. Jets (252.3) and ahead of No. 3 Baltimore (300.5).
- A look at some of Green Bay’s defensive numbers since Capers took over as coordinator in 2009:
1. Pittsburgh, 79.3
2. Minnesota, 89.4
3. N.Y. Jets, 93.64. Green Bay, 95.2Team, Rushing TDs Allowed1. Green Bay, 10
2t. Minnesota, 11
2t. Pittsburgh, 11Team, Opponent Passer Rating
1. N.Y. Jets, 66.22. Green Bay, 69.3
3. New Orleans, 72.6Team, Interceptions 1. Green Bay, 45
2. Philadelphia, 44
3t. Three teams, 35PRODUCTION APLENTY INSIDE THE 20
STAT OF THE WEEK
- Green Bay has had one of the more efficient red-zone offenses in the league over the past two seasons, finishing in the top 10 in the NFL in 2008 and 2009.
- Through Week 12, the Packers have had another productive season in that area, scoring touchdowns on 22 of 34 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 64.7 percent touchdown rate ranks tied for No. 3 in the NFL, and the 22 TDs rank tied for No. 6.
- Green Bay’s 172 points in the red zone this season (22 touchdowns, six field goals) rank No. 11 in the league. Its average of 5.06 points per red-zone trip ranks No. 5 in the NFL.
- The Packers’ production has come in not many opportunities, as they rank tied for No. 18 in the league with the 34 red-zone possessions. That is behind their pace from last season, when Green Bay finished No. 6 in the league with 62 red-zone drives.
- The highest red-zone conversion mark under Head Coach Mike McCarthy came in 2008, when the Packers ranked No. 6 in the NFL with a 60.4 percent touchdown rate. The last time Green Bay finished in the top five in the category came in 2003, when the Packers finished No. 2 in the NFL with a 65.4 conversion rate.
- Some of Green Bay’s success in the red zone has to be credited to the play of QB Aaron Rodgers, who has been one of the more efficient signal-callers in the league inside the 20 since taking over as the starter in 2008.
- In Week 7 against Minnesota, Rodgers threw a red-zone interception for the first time in 39 career starts to that point. Since 2008, he has registered a 107.7 rating on 121-of-196 passing (61.7 percent) for 784 yards and 50 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers has connected on 36-of-54 passes (66.7 percent) for 246 yards and 14 TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010 for a 108.5 passer rating.
FEWER FLAGS ON THE FIELD
- With 35 passing attempts at Atlanta this past Sunday, QB Aaron Rodgers surpassed the 1,500-attempt plateau for his career, the benchmark to qualify for career passer rating in the NFL.
- Rodgers has completed 966-of-1,505 passes (64.2 percent) in his career for 11,746 yards and 79 touchdowns with 30 interceptions for a 97.3 passer rating.
- That rating ranks second in NFL history behind only San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who also has a 97.3 career rating. Rivers’ rating is 97.34 compared to a 97.28 mark for Rodgers.
- Four of the top five rated passers in NFL history are active quarterbacks. Rounding out the top five are Steve Young (96.8), Tony Romo (95.5) and Peyton Manning (94.9).
- Rodgers also ranks No. 1 in NFL history (min. 1,500 attempts) in interception percentage at 2.0, ahead of Neil O’Donnell (2.1) and Donovan McNabb (2.2).
- Rodgers enters Sunday’s game with 147 consecutive passing attempts without an interception, the third-best mark of his career behind streaks of 159 and 157. Rodgers’ current streak of 147 ranks third among active streaks behind only New England’s Tom Brady (199) and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan (165).
MAKING THEM PAY WITH TAKEAWAYS
- One area of emphasis for the Packers this season was reducing the number of penalties, and that focus has paid dividends.
- Through Week 12, Green Bay ranks tied for No. 9 in the league with 61 accepted penalties (5.5 per game), a pace that would make for a dramatic improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 6 in penalty yardage with 481 yards, an average of 43.7 yards per game.
- The Packers led the league in penalties last season with 118 (7.4 per game) while ranking second in penalty yardage with 1,057 (66.1 per game), the third straight year that they finished among the top five most-penalized teams.
- With just one penalty for 5 yards in Week 11 at Minnesota, it was the sixth game this season, and the fourth straight, that Green Bay had been called for three or fewer penalties in a game, the best single-season mark since six games in 1974.
- The eight penalties over those four games was the fewest by the Packers over a four-game span since they had eight from Nov. 19-Dec. 9, 1967.
- The performance at Minnesota was especially notable. The one penalty at the Metrodome was the fewest in 28 games at the stadium, and the last time a team posted just one penalty at Minnesota was San Diego on Nov. 28, 1999. The last time the Packers were only penalized once in a game came at Chicago on Dec. 23, 2007.
- The six games nearly match the number of combined games with three of fewer penalties in the first four seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and Green Bay didn’t do it once last season. The Packers are 6-0 this season when they are penalized three or fewer times in a game.
- Green Bay recorded two games with three or fewer penalties in 2008, two in ’07 to end the regular season, and three in ’06.
- Since the Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in the loss at Chicago in Week 3, they’ve committed just 35 penalties for 265 yards over their last eight games, an average of 4.4 penalties for 33.1 yards per game.
- Green Bay was flagged for eight penalties for 66 yards at Atlanta on Sunday, but will look to get back on track at home this Sunday. In the past two games at Lambeau Field, the Packers have been whistled for just four total penalties.
- The Packers got off to a good start this season with just two penalties at Philadelphia in Week 1, the fewest by Green Bay in an opening-day contest since Sept. 7, 1986, vs. Houston at Lambeau Field, when they were also called for two penalties.
FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY
- After tying for the league lead in points off of takeaways last season, the Packers are once again sitting atop the NFL rankings in 2010.
- Green Bay leads the NFL with 87 points off of takeaways, 12 points ahead of No. 2 Pittsburgh. The Packers are tied for No. 6 in the NFL with a plus-7 turnover ratio, and have a plus-8 mark in just the last four games. Starting with the second half of the Week 7 Minnesota contest, the Packers have a plus-11 margin over that span.
- Of the Packers’ 21 takeaways this season, 12 of them have been converted into touchdowns. That 57.1 TD percentage ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only Buffalo (8-12, 66.7), and Green Bay’s 12 TDs off of takeaways lead the NFL.
- Green Bay has averaged 4.14 points off of takeaways this season, good for No. 3 in the league behind Buffalo (5.33) and Kansas City (4.33).
- The Packers are tied with three other teams for the No. 4 spot in interceptions (15), and the Packers are tied with Tampa Bay, San Diego and New England for the NFL lead in INTs for TDs (three).
- With LB Clay Matthews’ INT for a TD in Week 9 vs. Dallas, the Packers have now posted at least three INTs for TDs in each of the last three seasons. That is the first time in franchise history that Green Bay has accomplished that feat. The Packers have posted at least three INTs for TDs in four of five seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field, as they have a current streak of 15 straight games at home with points scored that were set up by a takeaway. That home streak ranks first in the NFL.
- The Packers have had 10 different players post an interception this season, which is tied with Atlanta for No. 1 in the NFL, and that number is the most by the Packers in a season since 11 in 2002.
- Green Bay posted 30 INTs and 10 fumble recoveries in 2009, which it turned into 141 points. The 40 takeaways led the NFL, and the 141 points scored off those takeaways tied New Orleans for most in the NFL.
- The 30 interceptions led the league and was the team’s highest single-season total since 1981, when it also had 30.
- Last season Green Bay surpassed its 2008 total of 124 points off takeaways, which led the NFL. It also eclipsed its ’08 total in interceptions (22) and fumble recoveries (six) while at the same time protecting the ball at a better clip. Green Bay’s 16 giveaways was the lowest total in the NFL in 2009.
- If the Packers don’t commit a turnover, like they didn’t at Minnesota in Week 11 for the third straight week, they’re almost guaranteed to win. They have now won 43 of 47 games (.915) playing turnover-free football, since a loss at Dallas, Nov. 18, 1996. Green Bay’s only losses in such games during that stretch came three times against Minnesota, twice in Minneapolis (2005, ’08) and once at home (2009), and in Week 15 last year at Pittsburgh. Green Bay hasn’t turned the ball over in the last 14 quarters of play.
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won 45 of their last 49 games when they don’t turn the ball over. Under McCarthy, Green Bay is 19-3 (.864) when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better.
- During McCarthy’s tenure, the Packers have a 34-6 (.850) record when they come out ahead in the game in turnover ratio, and a 6-18 (.250) record when they lose the takeaway battle. The Packers rank tied for No. 2 in the NFL with a plus-42 turnover ratio since 2006 behind only San Diego (plus-43).
- This Sunday, the Packers will face a San Francisco team that has done a much better job of taking care of the ball of late. In their last six games (4-2), the 49ers have turned the ball over just four times, including three contests with no giveaways. In the first five games of the season (all losses), the 49ers turned the ball over 15 times.
Opening-Day Starters, Games Missed
- Every team in the league has to battle injuries at some point, but the Packers had to deal with a season’s worth of significant ones in just the first half of the season.
- From the season-opening depth chart, the Packers have lost six starters for the remainder of the season due to injuries, three on each side of the ball.
- RB Ryan Grant, coming off back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons, sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 1 at Philadelphia. TE Jermichael Finley, whose 301 yards receiving in the first four games was the best start ever to a season by a Green Bay tight end, was lost for the year after suffering a knee injury on the second play from scrimmage at Washington in Week 5. T Mark Tauscher, who sustained a shoulder injury in Week 4 vs. Detroit, was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 12.
- Rookie S Morgan Burnett, who became only the second Packers rookie safety to start a season opener since 1988, sustained a season-ending knee injury against Detroit in Week 4. In the same game, LB Nick Barnett, the No. 2 tackler in franchise history, suffered a wrist injury that brought an end to his season. LB Brad Jones saw his season come to an end after sustaining a shoulder injury in Week 7 vs. Minnesota.
- The Packers currently have 13 players on injured reserve, and eight of those players started at least one game this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other team in the league has more than three players on injured reserve that started a game in 2010.
- Here is a look at the starters and key reserves that have missed games due to injury and/or have been placed on injured reserve this season:
RB Ryan Grant (ankle/IR), 10
S Morgan Burnett (knee/IR), 8
LB Nick Barnett (wrist/IR), 7
T Mark Tauscher (shoulder/IR), 7
TE Jermichael Finley (knee/IR), 6
LB Brad Jones (shoulder/IR), 5
DE Ryan Pickett (ankle), 2
DE Cullen Jenkins (calf), 1
LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), 1Key Reserves, Games Missed
DE Justin Harrell (knee/IR), 10
DE Mike Neal (shoulder/IR), 9
S Derrick Martin (knee/IR), 6
LB Brady Poppinga (knee/IR), 5
LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder/IR), 3
CB Sam Shields (calf), 2
TE Spencer Havner (calf/IR), 0WORKING THEIR WAY BACK UP
290 AND COUNTING
- Green Bay’s offense hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success as it did last season on third down, but has improved its play in that area of late.
- Entering the Week 9 contest vs. Dallas ranked No. 26 in the league with a 35.1 conversion rate on third down this season, the offense was successful on 10-of-15 third-down opportunities against the Cowboys, including 7-of-8 in the first half.
- That percentage of 66.7 was the best single-game performance by a Green Bay offense since the Packers were successful on 71.4 percent of their third-down opportunities (10-of-14) vs. Cleveland on Sept. 18, 2005.
- The Packers followed that up with an 8-of-15 outing (53.3 percent) on third down in Week 11 at Minnesota, the first time this season Green Bay topped the 50-percent conversion mark in two straight games.
- Green Bay was just 4-of-11 on third down this past Sunday against Atlanta, but the Packers have moved up 13 spots in the league rankings since Week 9, checking in at No. 13 with a 40.7 conversion rate.
- The Packers were one of the best teams in the league on third down in 2009, as they converted at a 47.0 percent clip. That led the NFC and ranked No. 3 in the NFL.
- QB Aaron Rodgers’ play on third down was a big factor in Green Bay’s success as he ranked No. 1 in the NFL in passer rating on third down at 133.5. No other quarterback in the league threw for as many yards (1,710) or touchdowns (14) on third down as Rodgers, and his passer rating was the best in the NFL since Kurt Warner’s 137.3 rating in 1999 with St. Louis.
- Another packed house at Lambeau Field against the Cowboys in Week 9 brought the stadium’s consecutive sellouts streak to 290 games (274 regular season, 16 playoffs).
- The Week 7 crowd of 71,107 vs. Minnesota was the third-largest regular-season crowd in Lambeau Field history.
- The league’s longest-tenured stadium, Lambeau Field is hosting its 54th season of football this year. A total of 565,666 fans made their way through the turnstiles in the eight home contests in 2009.
- Across American professional sports, only Boston’s Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago’s Wrigley Field (1914) have longer tenures.
BISHOP AND HAWK MAKING PRESENCE FELT
- CB Tramon Williams etched his name into the team’s record books with
- a pair of big plays in Week 5 at Washington, and he has delivered impactful
- performances throughout the season.
- With a 52-yard punt return in the second quarter and a 64-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, Williams became the first player in franchise history to post a 50-yard punt return and a 60-yard interception return in the same game.
- Showing just how rare the feat is, no player in team annals has ever posted both of those returns in the same season.
- Williams became just the third NFL player since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish the feat in a game, joining Dallas’ Deion Sanders (Sept. 21, 1998) and the late Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos (Nov. 13, 2005).
- Explosive plays are nothing new to the fourth-year CB who went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech in 2006. Williams recorded a 94-yard punt return for a score vs. Carolina on Nov. 18, 2007, as well as a 67-yard kickoff return vs. Chicago that season (Oct. 7). Last season, he posted his career-long INT return with a 67-yarder vs. Chicago (Sept. 13).
- Williams is only the third NFL player whose career began since the 1970 merger to post a 90-yard punt return and interception and kickoff returns of 65 yards in a career, joining Adam Jones and Lemar Parrish.
- Williams leads the team with four interceptions this season, with all of them coming in the past seven games. He posted a key second-quarter INT of Vikings QB Brett Favre in Week 11, and leads the team with 16 passes defensed.
- Williams has now posted four or more interceptions in each of the past three seasons. He is the only undrafted player in the NFL to accomplish that feat each of the last three seasons (2008-10).
- At the N.Y. Jets in Week 8, Williams recorded an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, the first time in his career he posted all three in the same game. It was the second straight season a Green Bay CB had accomplished that feat, with Charles Woodson registering all three last season at Detroit in Week 12.
- Williams was selected to the Midseason All-Pro team by the Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin.
- With injuries to MLB Nick Barnett and nickel LB Brandon Chillar, BLB A.J. Hawk and MLB Desmond Bishop have stepped into the role of every-down linebackers, and the tandem has taken advantage of the opportunities.
- Hawk leads the team with 94 tackles (67 solo) through 11 games, including a season-high 16 stops in Week 6 vs. Miami and a team-high 13 tackles in Week 7 against Minnesota.
- The 29 tackles in those two games rank second in Hawk’s career for the most tackles over a two-game span, trailing only a combined 33 tackles during his rookie campaign of 2006 (Nov. 27-Dec. 3).
- Hawk is also tied for second on the team with two interceptions, which matches his career high set in 2006 and 2009. With the two INTs, Hawk ranks tied for No. 2 among NFL linebackers in that category this season.
- He is the only linebacker in the league to intercept two passes in each of the past two seasons, and Hawk’s four interceptions since Week 13 of 2009 lead all NFL linebackers over that span.
- Hawk has been one of the most reliable Packers defenders since coming to Green Bay in the 2006 NFL Draft. He hasn’t missed a game in his career, playing in all 75 contests with 72 starts. The only non-starts came in both Minnesota games in 2009 and the 2010 opener at Philadelphia when the team opened in nickel.
- Prior to this season, most of Bishop’s playing time came on special teams, a role he excelled in from 2007-09 as he led the team over that span with 49 tackles.
- Ever since Barnett went down with a season-ending wrist injury in Week 4 vs. Detroit, Bishop has moved into the starting lineup and made his presence felt.
- In seven starts, Bishop has registered 78 tackles, which is nearly triple his best season total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 79 tackles on the season (53 solo) rank No. 2 on the team, and he leads Green Bay’s LBs with a career-best six passes defensed. Bishop has also posted a career-high two sacks.
- In the Week 7 win vs. Minnesota, Bishop made one of the game’s key plays when he picked off QB Brett Favre in the third quarter and returned the interception 32 yards for a touchdown. It was the first INT and TD of the fourth-year linebacker’s career, and the first INT return for a TD by a Packers LB since Barnett posted a 95-yarder vs. New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2005.
- With Hawk adding an INT of his own against the Vikings, the duo became the first Packers LB tandem to each post an INT in the same game since Barnett and Brady Poppinga posted picks at Miami on Oct. 22, 2006.
PACKERS COME UP SHORT IN ATLANTA
- After outscoring their opponents a combined 102-30 over the past four games, the Packers find themselves atop the NFL’s scoring differential column.
- The Packers have outscored their opponents 269-166 this season, and that 103-point differential is the largest in the NFL through Week 12. Green Bay ranks No. 4 in the NFL among teams with five or more wins with an average margin of victory of 16.43.
- Last season the Packers ranked No. 3 in the league with an average margin of victory of 18.27, their highest mark since a 21.31 mark in their Super Bowl season of 1996.
- In 2009, Green Bay ranked No. 2 in the league in scoring differential, with a 164-point advantage over its opponents (461-297). That was second in the league to only the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints’ 169-point differential (510-341).
- The Packers have been particularly productive starting each half this season. They have outscored their opponents 57-23 in the first quarter, and that 34-point margin in the opening quarter ranks tied for No. 3 in the league.
- Green Bay has been equally productive to open the second half, outscoring its opponents 73-23 in the third quarter. That margin of 50 points ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only San Diego (56).
- The Packers rank No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of just 15.1 points per game. The last time Green Bay held its opponents to an average of under 16 points a game in a season came in the ’96 campaign when the Packers led the league in scoring defense at 13.1 points per game.
- Green Bay ranks No. 8 in scoring with an average of 24.5 points per game.
- The Packers are one of only four teams in the league ranked in the top 10 in both scoring offense and defense (Atlanta, N.Y. Jets, New Orleans).
- The Packers and Falcons looked like they could be headed to overtime on Sunday after quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the offense on a 90-yard touchdown drive late in the game, but a big kickoff return and a penalty set Atlanta up for the win.
- Matt Bryant’s 47-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining gave the NFC-leading Falcons (9-2) the 20-17 victory over Green Bay at the Georgia Dome in front of 68,204, snapping the Packers’ four-game winning streak and extending Atlanta’s winning streak to five.
- The loss dropped Green Bay to 7-4 on the season and moved them into second place in the NFC North behind the Bears (8-3) after Chicago beat Philadelphia on Sunday. All four of the Packers’ losses this season have been by three points.
- “I think we had an opportunity (today) and we let it slip away, and I think we’ll look back and regret that,” guard Daryn Colledge said. “It’s another three-point loss. That’s four losses by a total of 12 points and that hurts because that is a lot of games that could have swung in the other direction.
- “But we’re going to re-group. We’ve got a tough San Francisco team coming in (next Sunday). We’ll evaluate this tape and move on.”
- Atlanta got on the board first on Sunday, with quarterback Matt Ryan leading the Falcons down the field behind a 12-yard completion to fullback Jason Snelling on third down and a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Roddy White. After moving the ball to Green Bay’s 20, guard Harvey Dahl was flagged for an unnecessary-roughness penalty after a play, pushing Atlanta into a third-and-20 at the Green Bay 34. The Falcons were forced to settle for a 38-yard Bryant field goal and an early 3-0 lead.
- After three-and-outs by both Green Bay and Atlanta, the Packers offense didn’t take long to move down the field. Rodgers found wide receiver Greg Jennings (119 yards on five receptions) near the left sideline on the first play, and he spun inside to avoid cornerback Dominique Franks and pick up 30 yards. A face-mask penalty on Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters on the next play and a 17-yard completion from Rodgers to wide receiver Donald Driver put the ball at the Atlanta 24.
- Rodgers picked up a first down with an 11-yard scamper, and followed that up two plays later with a 5-yard run down to the Atlanta 4 to set up third-and-1. Rodgers handed off to running back Dimitri Nance on third down, but the rookie was stuffed on the run off left guard for no gain as the Packers settled for a field goal of their own, a 22-yarder from Mason Crosby to even the score.
- After Green Bay’s defense forced its second straight three-and-out, the offense found its way into Atlanta territory again through a big pass and a penalty. Rodgers connected with wide receiver Brett Swain on a slant on first down, and Swain did a nice job to get yards after the catch for a career-long 31-yard gain. Swain was hit late on the play by safety William Moore, tacking on an extra 15 yards.
- Rodgers then found wide receiver James Jones four times in a five-play span for 26 total yards to put the ball at the Atlanta 2. After initially lining up in shotgun on second-and-goal from the 2, Rodgers came under center and kept the ball for a 1-yard pickup. The Packers kept the ball in the signal-caller’s hands on the next play, but a hit by linebacker Curtis Lofton forced a Rodgers fumble on the sneak, and fellow linebacker Mike Peterson recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.
- The defense seemed positioned to force a punt on the ensuing series after a Cullen Jenkins sack and an incomplete pass by Ryan set up a third-and-19 at the Atlanta 48. But Ryan’s short dump-off pass to fullback Ovie Mughelli picked up 16 yards as cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Charlie Peprah both missed open-field tackles, putting the Falcons in position to go for it on fourth-and-3 at the 36.
- Ryan (24-of-28 for 198 yards) rolled to his right on fourth down with pressure coming, and found tight end Tony Gonzalez for a 6-yard completion with Peprah covering him. Replays indicated that Gonzalez may not have controlled the ball as he went to the ground, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said after the game that the communication from the coaches upstairs came late because of the replays made available to them.
- Two plays later the veteran Gonzalez made a leaping reception over the middle for 21 yards down to the 5, and Ryan found him wide open on third-and-goal for a 4-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead with just 12 seconds remaining in the half.
- Green Bay evened the score in the third quarter, largely behind a pair of big completions by Rodgers. The first big gain was a 34-yarder to Jennings on a flea-flicker, with Jennings fumbling at the end of the play and fullback Korey Hall recovering. Then on third-and-1 at the Atlanta 29, Rodgers lofted a pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who made a leaping grab over cornerback Brent Grimes at the Atlanta 1. Rodgers kept it on a draw on the next play, making a nice effort to avoid a leg tackle and get into the end zone.
- Atlanta responded with a methodical drive, eating up nearly eight minutes as they drove 80 yards in 14 plays. Ryan converted a pair of third downs with completions to Snelling and White, and running back Michael Turner (110 yards on 23 carries) posted his long run of the afternoon, a 26-yarder down to the Green Bay 12. Turner became just the second running back since Week 3 of 2009 to register 100 yards on the ground against the Packers.
- The defense did come up with stops on three consecutive plays at the 1-yard line, with Peprah stopping Snelling for no gain on first down and linebacker A.J. Hawk stuffing Turner for no yardage on second down. Peprah made another big play on third down, keeping Gonzalez out of the end zone on a completion in the flat. The Falcons elected to go for it on fourth down, with Turner bouncing out easily around left end for the score.
- The Packers were unable to convert a fourth-and-1 of their own on the next series, as Driver made a diving attempt on a pass over the middle near the Atlanta 30. Green Bay’s defense came up with a stop on the next series though, and Rodgers and the offense had six minutes to work with as they looked to tie the game.
- Rodgers (26-of-35, 344 yards), working out of the no-huddle on the drive, connected with rookie tight end Andrew Quarless twice, for 11 and 19 yards respectively, and found Jennings near the right sideline for a 15-yard pickup to Atlanta’s 30. On fourth-and-1 a few plays later, Rodgers avoided pressure to complete a backhanded flip over the middle to Jones, who took it 18 yards down to the Atlanta 3.
- The offense found itself facing a do-or-die situation again, this time looking at fourth-and-goal from the 10. Working out of a five-wide receiver formation, Rodgers had plenty of time in the pocket to survey the end zone before finding Nelson in the back left corner for a 10-yard touchdown with 56 seconds left.
- But on the ensuing kickoff, returner Eric Weems found a seam up the middle to take Crosby’s kick from 4 yards deep in the end zone out to the Atlanta 36. Adding insult to injury was linebacker Matt Wilhelm being flagged for a face-mask penalty on the tackle, and those 15 additional yards put the ball in Green Bay territory.
- “I had good hang time and I think I got it 4 yards deep or something like that, but he just brought it back out at us,” Crosby said. “They did a good job kind of sealing off our left side and he found a seam there. This guy has been pretty dangerous.
- “We weren’t able to keep him in and then we got the face mask. If we can get him down where we got him down, it’s one thing, but to add on 15 yards and they are at the 50, that makes it tough.”
- Ryan found White (five catches for 49 yards) for 9 yards on first down, and then completed three short passes for a total of just 11 yards on the next three to put the ball at the 29. His pass to White went incomplete on third down, but Bryant came on and drilled a 47-yarder to give Atlanta the 20-17 victory.
- “At 7-4, we still have a lot of football in front of us, but we need to get this next one, because now we’re into December football,” McCarthy said. “There are no redo’s or ‘Hey, we can get ‘em next week.’ We’ve been playing good football, and we did a lot of positive things today, a lot of positive play from a number of different players.
- “You have to play big at the adverse times in the game. We talk about adversity play calls on offense, we talk about playing adversity defense – and actually, we’ve been playing outstanding adversity defense throughout the year – and the big play on special teams definitely hurt us there at the end.”