Two years after he co-founded the Packers with Curly Lambeau, George Calhoun began writing a piece called The Dope Sheet, which served as the official press release and game program from 1921-24.
Honoring Calhoun, the first publicity director, the Packers are running this weekly feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com.
This is an abbreviated version of the Packers-Bears Week 17 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Bears Week 17 Dope Sheet:
CHICAGO (11-4) AT GREEN BAY (9-6)
Sunday, Jan. 2 - Lambeau Field - 3:15 p.m. CST
PACKERS HOST BEARS WITH PLAYOFF BERTH ON THE LINE
- The NFL’s oldest rivalry continues this Sunday as the Packers and Bears meet for game No. 181 in the all-time series with a postseason berth for Green Bay at stake.
- No two franchises in NFL annals have met more than Green Bay and Chicago. The Bears hold a 92-82-6 edge in the series, which includes one postseason matchup.
- This is the first time in the history of the series that Green Bay will host Chicago in the regular-season finale. The last time the teams met in a season finale was Dec. 31, 2006, at Soldier Field.
- It is also the first time in the history of the series that both teams are entering the matchup with nine or more wins.
- Green Bay will be back on its home field for the second straight week after playing four of its previous five contests on the road. The Packers have won 10 of their last 11 regular-season games and four straight at Lambeau Field, and their 10-1 mark over that span ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England (10-0).
- Dating further back, the Packers have a 25-8 (.758) mark over their past 33 regular-season contests at home, No. 1 in the NFC over that span.
- The Packers have a 20-9 (.690) mark against NFC North opponents under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, which ranks first among NFC North teams over that period. Green Bay’s divisional record since ’06 is tied for fourth in the NFL.
- Green Bay posted a 4-2 record or better in the division in each of the first four seasons under McCarthy and enters this Sunday’s game with a 3-2 mark in NFC North games this year.
- With a win Sunday against the Bears, the Packers could become only the second team in the NFL to register at least four wins in their division each of the past five seasons. New England (4-1 in 2010) is the only other team in the league to post four-plus wins in its division each year from 2006-10 with no other teams besides Green Bay in position to do so heading into Week 17.
WITH THE CALL
- 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 Joe Buck and color analyst Troy Aikman will have the call from the broadcast booth with Pam Oliver 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.
- Westwood One radio will air the game across the country. Kevin Kugler (play-by-play) and Mark Malone (analyst) will call the action, and Scott Graham hosts pregame and halftime shows.
- For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 91 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
- DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 715.
ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO
- In a game they needed to win to stay in playoff contention, the Packers responded with one of their finest all-around performances of the season in a convincing 45-17 victory over the N.Y. Giants at Lambeau Field.
- Now Green Bay turns its attention to the NFC North champion Bears this Sunday. The Packers can clinch a spot in the playoffs with a victory over Chicago, which would be Green Bay’s third postseason appearance in the past four seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- The Packers would still have a shot at the postseason with a loss, but would need the N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay to each lose on Sunday. Green Bay would win a tiebreaker based on strength of victory.
- Chicago will have plenty to play for Sunday as well with a bye and potentially home-field advantage on the line. If the Bears win, they will be no worse than the No. 2 seed and have a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Bears will also get a bye if Philadelphia loses either of its last two games.
- If the Packers beat the Bears on Sunday, it could very well set up a matchup between the teams again the next weekend in Chicago. Green Bay and Chicago have met in the postseason just once before, a 33-14 Bears victory in a Western Division Playoff contest on Dec. 14, 1941, at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. Chicago Bears:
All-time regular season: 82-91-6
All-time, postseason: 0-1
All-time, in Green Bay: 29-22-0
Streaks: The Packers have won three of the last five meetings.
Last meeting, regular season: Sept. 27, 2010, at Soldier Field; Bears won, 20-17
Last meeting, in Green Bay: Sept. 13, 2009; Packers won, 21-15
Mike McCarthy: 48-34-0, .585, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Lovie Smith: 65-50-0, .565 (incl. 2-2 postseason); 7th NFL season
Head to Head: Smith 5-4
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 4-5 vs. Bears; Smith 8-5 vs. Packers
MIKE 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 (2006-09).
- 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.
LOVIE SMITH…Is in seventh year as the Bears’ 13th head coach.
- With 63 regular-season wins, ranks third in franchise history behind Hall of Famers Mike Ditka and George Halas.
- Guided the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years in ’06.
- Named the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2005 after he led a worst-to-first revival in the NFC North. The Bears’ six-win improvement from the previous season was tied for the biggest in the NFL that year.
- Came to Chicago from St. Louis, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2001-03, helping the Rams return to the Super Bowl in 2001. Prior to that, coached LBs for Tampa Bay from 1996-2000.
THE PACKERS-BEARS SERIES
- No two teams have met on the gridiron more than the Packers and Bears. Sunday they face off for the 181st time.
- The Packers swept the season series in ’09 for the first time since 2003. That ’03 sweep capped a seven-game win streak and an 18-2 stretch dating back to 1994. On only four occasions in NFL history has a team enjoyed a better 20-game stretch against a single foe.
- Chicago has swept the season series twice in the last five years (2005, ’07), their only series sweeps since 1991.
- The Packers’ 37-3 win on Nov. 16, 2008, marked the largest margin of victory in the series since Green Bay’s 40-3 win on Dec. 11, 1994. Chicago’s win in December of that year was just the second OT game in series history and first since Sept. 7, 1980, when Packers K Chester Marcol returned his own blocked FG for the winning score.
- The last time Green Bay led the overall series? On the heels of its three straight NFL championships, 1932, when the Packers led 11-10-5. Two months after Babe Ruth allegedly called his shot at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series, the Bears stole from Green Bay a fourth straight title (which at the time was determined by league standings). Chicago barely finished atop the league standings, which unlike today did not count ties. Had the league counted ties in standings, the Packers would have won. The next year, 1933, the NFL began determining its champion with postseason games.
Green Bay RB coach Edgar Bennett finished his playing career in Chicago (1998-99)...Packers asst. O-line coach Jerry Fontenot was a third-round draft choice of the Bears in 1989 and was a mainstay at C in his eight seasons (1989-96) in Chicago...Lovie Smith was a Univ. of Wisconsin assistant in 1987, while Bears LB coach Bob Babich spent two seasons on the Badgers’ staff (1988-89)...Packers DE Ryan Pickett played in St. Louis for both Smith and Bears off. coord. Mike Martz, when Smith served as the Rams’ def. coord. and Martz as head coach, and was a teammate of Bears LB Pisa Tinoisamoa...Bears assistant DB/safeties coach Gill Byrd served as the Packers exec. dir./player prog. and comm. affairs from 1999-2001...Packers T/G Bryan Bulaga earned all-state honors as a senior at Marian Central Catholic High (Woodstock, Ill.)...Bears TE coach Mike DeBord was the head coach at Central Michigan when Packers DE Cullen Jenkins played there...Packers WR coach Jimmy Robinson was on the staff of Memphis (USFL) in 1985 when Bears RB coach Tim Spencer played for the Showboats...Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy was a teammate of Bears WR coach Darryl Drake with the Redskins in 1979...Bears asst. special teams coach Chris Tabor was the special teams coach at Utah State for Packers CB Jarrett Bush’s final season there (2005)...Bears off. quality control coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker was a college teammate of Packers coaching admin. Curtis Fuller at TCU...Bears DE Julius Peppers was a key member of the Carolina defenses that Packers DL coach Mike Trgovac coordinated from 2003-08...Bears LB Nick Roach is a Milwaukee native who played in college at Northwestern...Packers QB Matt Flynn, FB Quinn Johnson and Bears S Craig Steltz led LSU to the BCS national title in 2007...Other former college teammates include Bears WR Rashied Davis and Packers WR James Jones (San Jose State), Bears WR Devin Aromashodu and Packers CB Pat Lee (Auburn), Bears CB Zackary Bowman, S Josh Bullocks and Packers RB Brandon Jackson (Nebraska), Bears DT Marcus Harrison and Packers LS Brett Goode (Arkansas), Bears LB Brian Iwuh and Packers K Mason Crosby (Colorado), Bears G Lance Louis and Packers WR Brett Swain (San Diego State), and Bears TE Greg Olsen and Packers CB Sam Shields (Miami).
INDIVIDUALLY VS. BEARS
QB Aaron Rodgers is a combined 114-of-166 for 1,167 yards with six TDs and three INTs (93.1 rating) in five career games...WR Donald Driver’s regular-season career-long catch was an 85-yard TD reception at Chicago (Champaign) on Oct. 7, 2002, on Monday Night Football. Driver needs just 14 yards receiving to put him over 1,000 against three teams (Minnesota and Detroit are the others)...WR Greg Jennings has five career TD catches vs. Chicago...S Nick Collins has five career INTs, including a two-INT game at Chicago on Dec. 31, 2006, that featured a 55-yard TD return...The first two-INT game of CB Charles Woodson’s career came at Chicago on Oct. 5, 2003, while playing for Oakland. Woodson has had four games with two INTs since coming to Green Bay.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Sept. 27, 2010, at Soldier Field; Bears won, 20-17.
- Robbie Gould’s 19-yard FG with 4 seconds left lifted Chicago to the Monday Night Football victory.
- The Packers committed a franchise-record 18 penalties for 152 yards, wiping out one of their own TDs as well as an INT, and giving the Bears 24 yards on their game-winning FG drive, which was set up by a fumble by Green Bay WR James Jones at the Packers’ 46-yard line with 2:18 left.
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 316 yards, with TE Jermichael Finley (115 yards) and WR Donald Driver (61 yards) catching nine passes apiece. Rodgers’ 3-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter had given the Packers a 17-14 lead.
LAST MEETING, IN GREEN BAY
- Sept. 13, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 21-15.
- Greg Jennings’ 50-yard TD catch with 1:11 left gave the Packers the season-opening win. Jennings finished with six catches for 106 yards.
- The Packers intercepted Bears QB Jay Cutler, making his Chicago debut, four times. An INT by CB Tramon Williams was returned 67 yards to set up Green Bay’s first TD. The last INT, by CB Al Harris, came in the final minute to seal the game.
- The Packers snuffed out a fake punt and kicked a FG for a 13-12 lead early in the fourth. The Bears re-gained the lead on a FG with 2:35 left, setting up Jennings’ heroics.
- DEFENSE KEEPING THEM OUT
- Having finished No. 2 in the league’s final overall rankings and No. 7 in points allowed in 2009, the Green Bay defense is enjoying an even more productive season when it comes to keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
- The Packers rank No. 2 in the league in scoring defense, allowing the opposition an average of just 15.8 points per game, an improvement over last season’s mark of 18.6 per contest. Green Bay trails only Pittsburgh (14.9) in the category.
- Green Bay has allowed just 24 touchdowns, No. 2 in the league behind only the Steelers (21).
- 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).
- In the last eight games, the Packers have given up 11.4 points per game. In Week 15 they allowed a season-high 31 points against a New England team that ranks No. 1 in the NFL in scoring offense at 32.0 per game, but 14 of those points came from an INT for a TD and long kickoff return that put New England at Green Bay’s 4-yard line.
- Green Bay currently ranks No. 9 in the NFL in overall defense, allowing an average of 314.5 yards per game through Week 16, and No. 5 in the league in passing defense at 199.3 yards per game.
- 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 productive against the run thus far this season as they rank No. 19 in the league with 115.2 yards allowed per game.
- Green Bay has given up just six rushing TDs all year, which is tied for No. 4 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 the Packers limited the Lions to 33 yards on the ground on Oct. 17, 2004, at Detroit.
- 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 to that point.
- 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 team history since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, trailing only a 24-game game stretch from Sept. 20, 1970-Nov. 22, 1971.
- In Sunday’s 45-17 win over the Giants, Green Bay limited New York to just 90 yards on 21 carries (4.3 avg.), only the second time this season that the Giants had been held under 100 yards rushing.
- 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).
FIVE PACKERS SELECTED TO PRO BOWL
- On Tuesday, T Chad Clifton, S Nick Collins, WR Greg Jennings, LB Clay Matthews and CB Charles Woodson were named Pro Bowl selections by the National Football League. Additionally, Collins, Matthews and Woodson were named starters for the NFC squad.
- The five Pro Bowl selections for the Packers are the most since they also had five in 2007.
- For Clifton, it marks the second Pro Bowl selection of his career (2007). The 11th-year pro has started all 15 games at left tackle as part of a Green Bay offense that ranks No. 8 overall and No. 5 in passing.
- It is the third straight and third career Pro Bowl selection for Collins as he becomes the first Green Bay safety since LeRoy Butler (1996-98) to earn Pro Bowl recognition in three consecutive seasons. Collins is tied for second on the team with three interceptions and is second with 14 passes defensed.
- Jennings, a second-round draft choice of the Packers in 2006, earns his first career selection. He ranks No. 2 in the NFC and No. 5 in the NFL with 1,168 yards on 72 receptions (16.2 avg.), and his 12 TD catches match his career high. His 16.2-yard receiving average ranks No. 1 in the NFC among players with 60 catches.
- Matthews earns his second career selection as he becomes the first Packer since RB John Brockington (1971-72) to earn Pro Bowl recognition in each of his first two seasons in the league. Matthews is tied for third in the NFL with 12.5 sacks and has recorded a career-high 79 tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception for a touchdown, and four passes defensed.
- Woodson has earned his seventh career Pro Bowl bid and third straight as a member of the Packers. He has registered career highs in tackles (97) and forced fumbles (five). The five forced fumbles are the most by a Packer defender since LB/DE Keith McKenzie posted five in 1999. The 13th-year pro also has two interceptions, one for a touchdown, a sack and 10 passes defensed.
- WR Donald Driver, LB A.J. Hawk, NT B.J. Raji, QB Aaron Rodgers, G Josh Sitton and CB Tramon Williams were selected as Pro Bowl alternates.
TAKING HIS PLACE AMONG THE GAME’S BEST
- With 35 passing attempts at Atlanta in Week 12, Aaron Rodgers sur-
- passed the 1,500-attempt plateau for his career, the benchmark to qualify
- for career passer rating in the NFL.
- Rodgers has completed 1,019-of-1,583 passes (64.4 percent) in his career for 12,494 yards and 86 touchdowns with 31 interceptions for a 98.6 passer rating.
- That rating ranks No. 1 in NFL history, ahead of San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who has a 97.5 career rating.
- Four of the top five rated passers in NFL history are active quarterbacks, with Steve Young (96.8), Tony Romo (95.5) and Tom Brady (95.0) rounding out the top five.
- 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 threw four TD passes at Minnesota in Week 11, his regular-season career high. His passer rating of 141.3 (22-of-31, 301 yards), was the second-best single game mark in his career behind only his 155.4 rating at Cleveland on Oct. 25, 2009.
- Rodgers joins Eagles QB Michael Vick (at Washington, Nov. 15) and Patriots QB Tom Brady (at Detroit, Nov. 25, vs. N.Y. Jets, Dec. 6) as the only QBs to post a 140-plus passer rating, 300 yards passing and four passing TDs in a game this season.
- He matched that career-best TD total with four against the Giants this past Sunday, and his 404 yards passing were a regular-season career best. It was the 10th game in which he had three-or-more TD passes and no INTs, the most by an NFL quarterback within three seasons of his first NFL start. It topped Kurt Warner’s mark of nine from 1999-2001.
- Last season, Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards as he became the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter. Despite missing a full game at New England and the second half at Detroit.
- Rodgers still has a shot to hit the 4,000-yard mark for the season, but he will need 307 yards against the Bears this Sunday.
- In 2009, Rodgers joined Young (San Francisco, 1998) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 TDs and rush for 300 yards and five TDs in the same season.
- In 46 career starts, Rodgers has eclipsed the century mark in passer rating 25 times and recorded 14 games of 300-plus yards. He posted his 20th career 100-plus passer rating game in just his 36th career start, which ranks third among NFL QBs since 1970 behind only Warner (33) and Romo (34).
- Rodgers threw 70 TD passes in his first 40 career starts, a Packers franchise record.
NOT IN A GIVING MOOD
- Last season the Packers set a franchise mark with a league-low 16
- giveaways, and while this year’s team has 20, it also accomplished some-
- thing that even the record-setting one in 2009 could not.
- In the five games from Oct. 31-Dec. 5, Green Bay turned the ball over just one time. That came at Atlanta in Week 12 when QB Aaron Rodgers fumbled at the goal line in the second quarter.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in franchise history that the Packers turned the ball over just one time over a five-game span in a season.
- In the Week 13 win over San Francisco, Rodgers did not throw an interception for the fifth straight game, his career high. The last Packers QB to not be picked off in five straight starts in a season was Bart Starr in 1966.
- Rodgers was intercepted in Week 14 at Detroit when a deep pass down the middle went off WR Greg Jennings’ hands and into S Amari Spievey’s. That snapped a streak of 181 attempts without an interception for Rodgers, good for No. 2 in franchise history. It put him behind only Bart Starr (294 in 1964-65) for the franchise record. Starr’s mark ranks No. 3 in NFL history.
- The performance against the 49ers was the Packers’ fifth zero-turnover game this season, and Green Bay is 5-0 in those contests.
- If the Packers don’t commit a turnover, they’re almost guaranteed to win. They have now won 44 of 48 games (.917) 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 is 20-3 (.870) under Head Coach Mike McCarthy when it doesn’t commit a turnover.
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won 46 of their last 50 games when they don’t turn the ball over.
- After outscoring their opponents a combined 211-91 over the past six games, the Packers find themselves near the top of the NFL’s scoring differential column.
- The Packers have outscored their opponents 378-237 this season, and that 141-point differential ranks No. 1 in the NFC and No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England (174).
- Among teams with eight or more wins, Green Bay ranks No. 2 in the NFL with an average margin of victory of 17.89, trailing only San Diego (21.38).
- On the flip side, the Packers’ average margin of defeat in their six losses is the lowest in the league at 3.33. Green Bay’s six defeats this season have been by a combined 20 points.
- 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.
- The Packers have spent an average of 36:42 per game in the lead compared to an average of 9:16 per game trailing their opponents.
- 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 productive in the first half this season. They have outscored their opponents 194-122, and that 72-point margin in the opening half is tied for No. 3 in the league.
- Green Bay has been even more prolific opening the second half as it has outscored its opponents 107-36 in the third quarter. That differential of 71 points ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only San Diego (73).
- The Packers are No. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense at 15.9 points per game and rank No. 8 in scoring offense with an average of 25.2 points per game.
- Green Bay is one of four teams in the league ranked in the top 10 in both scoring offense and defense, joining San Diego, Atlanta and New Orleans.
- The Packers’ 45-point outing on Sunday against the Giants was their second 45-point game of the season (Week 9 vs. Dallas). The last time a Green Bay team posted two 45-plus point games in a season was 1983.
FEWER FLAGS ON THE FIELD
- One area of emphasis for the Packers this season was reducing the number of penalties, and that focus has paid dividends.
- Through Week 16, Green Bay is tied for No. 4 in the league with 74 accepted penalties (4.9 per game), a pace that would make for a dramatic improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 3 in penalty yardage with 587, an average of 39.1 yards per game.
- If the Packers have five or fewer penalties against the Bears on Sunday, it would be their lowest total since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The previous season low was 80 penalties in 1983 and 2001.
- The Packers were the most-penalized team in the NFL 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 three penalties for 31 yards this past Sunday against the Giants, it was the ninth time this season that Green Bay had been called for three or fewer penalties in a game, the best single-season mark since nine contests in 1967.
- Green Bay’s eight penalties over a four-game span earlier this season (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) were the fewest by the Packers since they had eight from Nov. 19-Dec. 9, 1967.
- The performance at Minnesota in Week 11 was especially notable. The one penalty at the Metrodome was the fewest by Green Bay 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 nine games this season tops the number of combined games with three or 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 7-2 (.778) 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.
- In Week 13 against San Francisco, the Packers didn’t commit a defensive penalty for the first time in a game this season, and the defense wasn’t flagged again in Week 15 at New England.
- Green Bay’s offense has an even more impressive penalty-free streak heading into this Sunday’s game. The offense wasn’t flagged in the win over the Giants on Sunday, the second straight game with no penalties. The last penalty against the offense came in Week 14 at Detroit in the second quarter, a streak of 10 straight quarters without one.
- Since the Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in a 20-17 loss at Chicago in Week 3, they’ve committed just 48 penalties for 371 yards over their last 12 games, an average of 4.0 penalties for 30.9 yards per game.
- 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.
MAKING THEM PAY WITH TAKEAWAYS
- After tying for the league lead in points off of takeaways in 2009, the Packers have been productive in that area again this season and are coming off one of their finest outings in recent memory.
- Green Bay recorded six takeaways (four interceptions, two fumble recoveries) in Sunday’s 45-17 win over the Giants, the most by the Packers since they posted the same number at Chicago on Dec. 31, 2006.
- The Packers took advantage of the turnovers as well, racking up a season-high 24 points off them on Sunday. They had not scored a point off of a turnover in the previous four games, a streak that saw them go 1-3.
- Green Bay has moved up in the league rankings, checking in at No. 2 in the NFL with 111 points off of takeaways this season as the Packers trail only New England (133).
- The Packers have been especially productive at Lambeau Field, having scored points off a turnover in 16 of their last 17 home games.
- The Packers are tied for No. 5 in the NFL with a plus-10 turnover ratio.
- Of the Packers’ 30 takeaways this season, 15 of them have been converted into touchdowns. That 50.0 TD percentage ranks tied for No. 1 in the NFL with Dallas (13-26), and Green Bay’s 15 TDs off of takeaways rank No. 2 in the NFL behind the Patriots (17).
- Green Bay has averaged 3.70 points off of turnovers this season, good for No. 5 in the league.
- The Packers are No. 3 in the league with 22 interceptions and are tied for No. 2 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.
- The Packers have had 11 different players post an interception this season, the most by a Green Bay team 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.
- During McCarthy’s tenure, the Packers have a 36-6 (.857) record when they come out ahead in the game in turnover ratio, and a 6-20 (.231) record when they lose the takeaway battle. Under McCarthy, Green Bay is 20-3 (.870) when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better.
- The Packers rank No. 3 in the NFL with a plus-45 turnover ratio since 2006 behind only New England (plus-48).
COMING ON DOWN THE STRETCH
- Punting indoors at Detroit in Week 14 for the third and final time this season, P Tim Masthay made the most of the opportunity.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Masthay became the first punter in franchise history to post a 50-yard average in a game with eight or more attempts.
- Masthay recorded a 50.3-yard gross average on his eight punts against the Lions, as well as a season-high net average of 43.4 (min. three attempts).
- He posted four punts of 50-plus yards on the afternoon, including a career-long 62-yard kick in the first quarter.
- Masthay became the first Packers punter to register four 50-yard punts in the same game since Jon Ryan did so on Nov. 12, 2006, at the Metrodome against the Vikings.
- He has placed 21 punts inside the 20 this season, the most by a Packers punter since Josh Bidwell recorded 26 punts inside the 20 in 2002.
- Masthay has been especially productive over his past eight games, ranking No. 2 in the NFL in net average (40.6), No. 8 in gross average (44.4), and tied for No. 7 in punts inside the 20 (16) over that span.
- Masthay earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance at the N.Y. Jets in Week 8 as he became just the second punter in franchise history to win the honor (Craig Hentrich, Week 11, 1994).
- With five punts dropped inside the 20 against the Jets, Masthay tied a single-game franchise record (stat kept since 1976), tying David Beverly, who accomplished the feat on Oct. 8, 1978, against Chicago. He registered a 41.5-yard net average on eight punts.
- In the two Lambeau Field games this month, Masthay has recorded a 36.8-yard net average and a 42.3 gross.
- With one game left on the schedule, Masthay is in position to post the best net average by a Packers punter since 1976. He enters the Chicago contest with a 37.8 net average, ahead of the best mark (Jon Ryan, 37.6, 2007) over that span.
- Masthay and the coverage unit will be put to the test this Sunday by Bears WR Devin Hester, who leads the NFL with a 17.1-yard return average this season, including three TDs. Hester’s 17.1-yard average is on pace for the second-best mark since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger behind only Cincinnati DB Lemar Parrish (18.8 avg. in 1974).
STINGY AGAINST THE PASS
- Green Bay’s pass defense this season has been more productive than at any other point in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure.
- Through Week 16, the Packers rank No. 5 in the league in pass defense, allowing their opponents just 199.3 yards per game through the air. That is on pace for the best mark under McCarthy, ahead of the 201.1 passing yards per game allowed in 2009.
- Since Washington QB Donovan McNabb passed for 357 yards against Green Bay in Week 5, the Packers have allowed opposing QBs to pass for just 192.8 yards per contest, No. 2 in the NFL over that span behind only San Diego (185.5).
- The defense has limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 69.1 this season, which ranks No. 1 in the NFL. That rating is 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 22 interceptions, which is No. 3 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks have completed 56.4 percent of their passes (No. 4).
- Green Bay has given up only 16 TD passes this season, which ranks tied for No. 4 in the NFL, after allowing 29 TDs through the air in 2009.
- In Week 15 at New England, the defense limited Patriots QB Tom Brady to just 163 yards through the air on 15-of-24 passing. Entering the game, Brady had eclipsed the 300-yard mark in four of the previous five games, averaging 314.4 yards per contest over that span.
- Bears QB Jay Cutler comes into Sunday’s game with a 90.6 passer rating on the season, which would be a career high, and he has had an especially productive stretch of late.
- Over the past five games, Cutler has completed 74-of-122 passes (60.7 percent) for 1,062 yards, 11 TDs and just three INTs. His 104.6 passer rating over that span ranks No. 4 in the league, and he has posted a 100-plus passer rating in four of those contests. Cutler posted an 84.2 rating in his first nine games this season (missed one due to injury). He has a 21-0 career record when his passer rating is 100-plus.
PRODUCTION APLENTY INSIDE THE 20
- 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, and with one game remaining the Packers are in position to finish in the top 10 once again in the category.
- Through Week 16, the Packers have scored touchdowns on 31 of 51 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 60.8 percent touchdown rate is tied for No. 7 in the NFL, and the 31 TDs rank tied for No. 4.
- Green Bay’s 250 points in the red zone this season (31 touchdowns, 11 field goals) rank tied for No. 7 in the league, and its average of 4.90 points per red-zone trip ranks No. 9 in the NFL.
- The Packers posted their finest performance of the season on Sunday against the Giants, scoring on 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) red-zone chances. That percentage was the best this season (min. three opportunities).
- The Packers’ production has come in fewer opportunities than 2009, as they rank tied for No. 8 in the league with the 51 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 attributed 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 only time in his 46 career starts to date. Since 2008, he has registered a 107.3 rating on 131-of-212 passing (61.8 percent) for 817 yards and 54 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers has connected on 46-of-70 passes (65.7 percent) for 279 yards and 18 TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010 for a 107.1 passer rating (No. 3 in the NFL, min. 30 attempts).
CONTROLLING THE CLOCK
- The Packers led the NFL in 2009 in time of possession, and the team is coming off two of its finest efforts of the season in that area.
- Facing a Giants team on Sunday that ranked No. 1 in the league in the category at 33:14, the Packers dominated the time of possession at 37:01, the second time in the past three games that Green Bay controlled the clock for 37-plus minutes. New York had won the time-of-possession battle in 11 of its first 14 games, and the 22:59 mark by the Giants on Sunday was a season low.
- In the Packers’ Week 15 loss at New England, they controlled the clock for 40:48, their best mark since a 41:39 effort vs. San Francisco last season in Week 11.
- It was also the most time of possession any opponent has registered against New England since the Steelers held the ball for 42:58 at Pittsburgh on Oct. 31, 2004.
- The Packers currently rank No. 7 in the NFL with a time-of-possession average of 31:45. All six teams that rank ahead of Green Bay in the category have records above .500 this season.
- The Packers’ league-leading average of 33:03 last season was the team’s best mark since 1977, the year the Elias Sports Bureau began keeping the statistic.
- Green Bay leads the NFL this season with 29 drives of five-plus minutes, an improvement over last season’s mark of 22 (tied for No. 14).
- The Packers also check in tied for No. 5 with 30 10-play drives, a jump up from 2009 when they finished No. 22 in the NFL with 23 drives of 10-plus plays.
KEEPING THE CHAINS MOVING
- Green Bay’s offense hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success as it did last season on third down when it finished No. 3 at 47.0 percent, but the unit has significantly 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.
- After a 4-of-12 performance in the Week 12 loss at Atlanta, the Packers bounced back with a 9-of-15 outing (60.0 percent) in the win over San Francisco the following Sunday.
- Over the past seven games, the Packers have converted at a 50-percent clip (50-of-100) on third down.
- Green Bay has moved up 19 spots in the league rankings since Week 9, currently checking in at No. 7 with a 42.8 conversion rate.
- On Sunday, the Packers converted 6-of-13 third downs (46.2 percent) against a N.Y. Giants team that entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the league in third-down defense (31.1).
OUT OF THE BREAK
- The opening drive of either half can help set the tone, and the Packers have been productive on both sides of the ball coming out of halftime.
- The Packers rank No. 7 in the NFL with 37 points on their first possession of the second half, which tops their mark of 20 points on opening second-half drives last season (No. 20).
- The high mark under Mike McCarthy came in 2007, when Green Bay tied for No. 3 in the league with 50 points on opening second-half drives.
- The Packers did not score a touchdown on the first drive of the second
- half all of 2008, part of a 34-game span without a TD on the first possesion after halftime that started late in 2007 and ran all the way until Week 16 vs. Seattle last season.
- Green Bay’s defense has done its part as well to start the second half, allowing just six points in 15 games this season. That ranks No. 1 in the NFL.
- The defense has also posted five takeaways (three INTs, two fumbles) on the opening drive of the second half, which is tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Atlanta (six).
- Last year the Packers gave up 31 points on opening second-half drives, which ranked No. 18 in the NFL.
CLAY FINDS A WAY
- Despite sitting out Green Bay’s Week 6 matchup vs. Miami due to a hamstring injury, the first time he missed a game in his career, LB Clay Matthews is tied for No. 2 in the NFC and tied for No. 3 in the NFL with 12.5 sacks this season.
- Matthews was named to the Midseason All-Pro Teams of Pro Football Weekly and Sports Illustrated, and was selected by the Dallas Morning News as the Midseason Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL.
- With a sack of QB Jon Kitna in the second quarter in Week 9 against Dallas, Matthews became the first Packer since the stat became official in 1982 to register a double-digit sack total in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.
- Matthews also posted his first career interception in Week 9, and returned the pick 62 yards for a TD on his way to earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career. It was the second TD of his career, and both of his scores have come in prime-time games. Matthews returned a fumble 42 yards for a TD last season in Week 4 at Minnesota on Monday Night Football.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Matthews is the first NFL player since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 to register double-digit sacks and a defensive TD in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.
- With three sacks against the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, Matthews became the first Packer to post three sacks in back-to-back games since it became an official league statistic in 1982.
- The performance vs. Buffalo came a week after Matthews registered a career-high three sacks in the Packers’ 27-20 season-opening victory at Philadelphia.
- Matthews was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2, and he also won the award last season for his two-sack outing vs. Baltimore in Week 13 on MNF.
- Matthews’ six sacks in the first two games of the season were the most ever by a Packer to start a year.
- His 33 sack yards vs. Buffalo were the most by a Packer since DE Reggie White’s 35 on two sacks vs. Minnesota on Oct. 22, 1995. Matthews ranks No. 3 in the league with 87.5 sack yards on the season. DE Aaron Kampman (108 in 2006) holds the single-season franchise record for sack yardage.
- Matthews’ six sacks over a two-game span rank second in team history behind only Bryce Paup, who recorded 6.5 sacks in Weeks 3-4 in 1991. Paup posted 4.5 sacks vs. Tampa Bay on Sept. 15, and then followed that up with two more the next week at Miami on Sept. 22.
- Matthews has two forced fumbles this season, including a strip of RB Brandon Jacobs that halted a Giants’ drive with New York trailing 31-17 in the third quarter last Sunday.
- In 28 career games played, Matthews has posted two or more sacks in a game five times. All five of those two-sack games came in Matthews’ first 18 games in a Packers uniform, breaking White’s franchise mark of four in his first 18 games with Green Bay (1993-94).
- Matthews’ 22.5 sacks since 2009 rank tied for No. 3 in the NFL.
- Matthews’ 17 sacks in his first 20 games were the most ever by any NFL player to start a career. It topped the previous mark of 16.5 set by San Diego’s Leslie O’Neal (1986, 1988) and the N.Y. Jets’ John Abraham (2000-01).
- In 2009, Matthews set a Packers rookie record with 10 sacks on his way to earning Pro Bowl honors, the first Green Bay rookie to be named to the all-star game since Hall of Fame WR James Lofton in 1978.
- After recording six sacks in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the most by any NFL
- team on opening weekend, the Packers have followed that debut up with
- 35 more sacks.
- Green Bay’s 41 sacks as a team through Week 16 rank tied for No. 5 in the NFL, and the Packers rank No. 4 in sack yardage with 282. The team has had 13 different players record a sack this season.
- The only time Green Bay was shut out in the sack column this season was in Week 6 against Miami, a game LB Clay Matthews missed due to injury. The Packers have failed to register a sack only two times in the past 21 regular-season games.
- The Packers’ 21 sacks in the first five games this year were the most in a five-game span in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s five seasons.
- Green Bay recorded four sacks vs. San Francisco in Week 13, the Packers’ fifth game with four-plus sacks. That is the most by a Green Bay team since the 2006 team posted six four-sack games.
- Of the team’s 41 sacks, 12.5 have come courtesy of Matthews, who is tied for No. 3 in the NFL in that category. DE Cullen Jenkins ranks second on the team with a career-high seven sacks, despite missing four contests with a calf injury, and NT B.J. Raji checks in third with a career-high 6.5.
- The Packers’ sack total through Week 16 eclipses their final tally in 2009, when they ranked No. 11 in the league with 37 on the season. It is the best since 2006, when Green Bay recorded 46 sacks.
- The Packers’ best league ranking in sacks was No. 3, a spot they held on three occasions (1965, 1966, 2001).
FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY
- 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 14 players on injured reserve, and eight of those players started at least one game this season.
PROTECTION THE KEY
- The Packers have cut down on the number of sacks they have allowed this season, and the effect that has had on QB Aaron Rodgers’ production has been evident.
- Over his past 17 regular-season starts, Rodgers has been sacked either once or not at all in eight of those contests, including the Week 12 contest at Atlanta when the line allowed just one sack.
- In his three seasons as the starting quarterback, there have been 16 games where the line has given up either one sack or no sacks of Rodgers. The Packers have a 12-4 (.750) mark in those contests.
- Rodgers has been very efficient in those games, completing 372-of-530 passes (70.2 percent) for 4,390 yards and 32 TDs with just seven INTs for a 109.7 passer rating.
- There have been three games this season where the line hasn’t given up a single sack of Rodgers.
- Prior to Rodgers being sacked in the second quarter vs. Detroit in Week 4, the offensive line had not allowed a sack in 11 straight quarters, the longest streak for the team since 2007.
- The Packers have allowed 36 sacks this season, which is tied for No. 21 in the NFL, but it is a marked improvement from 2009 when they gave up 50 sacks of Rodgers on the season, 41 in the first nine contests.
- This past Sunday, the line limited a Giants defense that entered the game ranked No. 2 in the NFL with 42 sacks to just two sacks of Rodgers.
- When Rodgers has been sacked four or more times in a game during his career, the Packers are 5-9 (.357).
- Injuries and performance issues affected the offensive line in the first half of 2009. Once the line regained some continuity down the stretch, it allowed just 10 sacks of Rodgers over the final seven games.
- Green Bay has had stability along the line in 2010, with four linemen, LT Chad Clifton, LG Daryn Colledge, C Scott Wells, and RG Josh Sitton starting every game, and rookie RT Bryan Bulaga opening the last 11 at RT with veteran Mark Tauscher sidelined due to injury. Tauscher was placed on injured reserve (shoulder) on Nov. 12.
SPREADING IT AROUND
- With back-to-back 1,200-yard rusher Ryan Grant lost for the season after sustaining an ankle injury in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the Packers have turned to several backs to help carry the load for the offense.
- Brandon Jackson, who excelled in his role as a third-down back in 2009, leads the team with a career-high 684 rushing yards on 183 carries this season (3.7 avg.). He also has posted a career-high 1,010 yards from scrimmage.
- Jackson posted 99 yards on 22 carries at New England in Week 15, his second-highest yardage total of the season.
- He recorded a career-high 115 yards on 10 carries (11.5 avg.) at Washington in Week 5, highlighted by a career-long 71-yard run on his first carry of the game.
- Jackson also has 41 receptions for 326 yards (8.0 avg.) this season, career highs in both categories, including a career-best 37-yard pickup on a screen against the 49ers in Week 13. His 41 catches are the most by a Green Bay running back since Ahman Green posted 46 receptions in 2006.
- Jackson is the first Packers RB since Green in 2006 to register 600 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards in the same season.
- Against Dallas in Week 9, Jackson posted a rushing TD and a receiving TD, only the second time in his career that he scored on both in a game (vs. Seattle, Dec. 27, 2009).
- The Packers rushed for 157 yards as a team at Washington in Week 5 on just 17 carries (9.2 avg.). It was the first time in team history that the Packers rushed for 150 yards in a regular-season game on fewer than 20 carries.
- The Packers’ rushing average of 9.2 yards per carry against the Redskins was the best single-game performance (min. 15 attempts) in a regular-season game in team history.
- John Kuhn, primarily at fullback during his first three seasons in Green Bay, has been given more opportunities to carry the ball at RB. Against Detroit in Week 4, Kuhn posted 34 of his 39 rushing yards on the final series, as the Packers ran out the final 6:32 in the 28-26 win. He has a career-best 281 rushing yards and four rushing TDs on 80 carries (3.5 avg.) this season. Entering this season, Kuhn had 46 rushing yards on 18 carries in four NFL seasons.
- Kuhn recorded career highs in both carries (13) and rushing yards (50) against the Cowboys in Week 9, highlighted by a 17-yard run in the second quarter to convert a third down.
- Rookie RB Dimitri Nance saw the most significant action of his career at Minnesota in Week 11, posting 37 yards on 12 carries (3.1 avg.), and he has 95 yards on 36 attempts for the season (2.6 avg.).
- Fellow rookie RB James Starks made his NFL debut in Week 13, registering 73 yards on 18 carries (4.1 avg.) vs. San Francisco.
- The Packers have posted 41 runs of 10-plus yards this season, which ranks No. 20 in the league. Last season Green Bay finished No. 23 in the NFL with 42 runs of 10 yards or more.
BISHOP AND HAWK MAKING PRESENCE FELT
- 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 they have taken advantage of their opportunities.
- Hawk leads the team with 121 tackles (86 solo) through 15 games, including five double-digit tackle games, and is tied for the lead among Packers linebackers with eight passes defensed.
- His 29 combined tackles in Weeks 6-7 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 (Weeks 12-13).
- Hawk is also tied for second on the team with a career-high three interceptions. With the three INTs, Hawk ranks tied for No. 1 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 five 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 79 contests with 76 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 an impact.
- In 11 starts, Bishop has registered 112 tackles, dwarfing his previous season-high total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 113 tackles on the season (78 solo) rank No. 2 on the team, and he is tied for the lead among Green Bay’s LBs with a career-best eight passes defensed. Bishop has also posted a career-high three sacks and a team-high six double-digit tackle games.
- 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.
BALANCED PASSING ATTACK FOR PACK
- The Packers pride themselves on having one of the deeper wide-receiver corps in the NFL, and that has been on display again this season.
- With WR Jordy Nelson posting his 40th catch of the season in the Week 16 win over the N.Y. Giants, the Packers now have four wide receivers (Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones) with 40-plus catches on the season.
- It is the first time in franchise history that the Packers have boasted four wide receivers with 40 catches each in the same season.
- Jennings, Jones and Nelson each posted five receptions against the Falcons in Week 12, the first time three Packers WRs each registered five receptions in the same game since Driver, Jones and Jennings did so at Detroit on Nov. 22, 2007.
- With Jennings (119), Nelson (61), Jones (44) and No. 5 wideout Brett Swain (40) all hitting the 40-yard mark at Atlanta, it was the first time since 2004 that the Packers had four 40-yard receivers in a game. Driver was a part of that foursome, joining Antonio Chatman, Robert Ferguson and Javon Walker in the game against Jacksonville on Dec. 19, 2004.
- Jennings leads the team with 72 receptions with Jones (49) and Driver (46) coming in next. Nelson has a career-high 43 receptions for 543 yards, while RB Brandon Jackson has 41 catches.
- The last time the Packers had five players, regardless of position, with at least 40 catches in the same season was 1980 (WRs James Lofton and Aundra Thompson, RB Eddie Lee Ivery, FB Gerry Ellis and TE Paul Coffman).
CLIFFY GETS TO 150
- When T Chad Clifton lined up as the starting left tackle in Week 7 vs. Minnesota, he became just the 19th player in Packers history to appear in 150 career games in a Green Bay uniform.
- Clifton is only the sixth offensive lineman in franchise annals to hit the 150-game mark, joining Forrest Gregg (187), Larry McCarren (162), Ron Hallstrom (162), Ken Ruettgers (156) and Frank Winters (156).
- By appearing in the game at New England in Week 15, Clifton moved into sole possession of the No. 4 spot among offensive linemen by playing in his 157th career game.
- Against the division-rival Vikings in Week 7, Clifton posted one of his finer performances in recent memory, limiting Pro Bowl DE Jared Allen to just one tackle and no sacks.
- In Week 9, Clifton was matched up for much of the evening with Pro Bowl LB DeMarcus Ware, who came into the game tied for No. 2 in the league with eight sacks. Clifton limited him to just two tackles and no sacks as the line allowed just one sack of Rodgers on the night.
- This past Sunday against the Giants, Clifton limited DE Osi Umenyiora to just one assisted tackle. Umenyiora came into the game with 10 sacks on the season.
COOL UNDER FIRE
- QB Aaron Rodgers was one of the most effective passers in the league in 2009 against the blitz, and that strong play has continued this season.
- According to STATS, Rodgers ranks No. 1 in the league this season (min. 100 attempts) with a 109.5 passer rating against the blitz through Week 15 (the stat is updated on Wednesdays), completing 95-of-141 attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,256 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions.
- Last season, Rodgers ranked No. 2 in the NFL with a 112.7 rating, just a shade below Saints QB Drew Brees’ 112.9 mark. Rodgers threw for 1,699 yards and 11 TDs with three INTs on 125-of-180 passing (69.4 percent).
- Over the past two seasons, Rodgers ranks No. 1 in the league (min. 200 attempts) with a 111.3 passer rating vs. the blitz.
- That is a marked improvement over Rodgers’ numbers as a first-year starter in 2008 when he posted an 85.0 rating against the blitz.
- With nine points on Sunday against the Giants, K Mason Crosby went over the 500-point mark for his career.
- By hitting that mark in his 63rd career game, he became the second fastest to 500 points in franchise history behind only RB Paul Hornung (60 games).
- Crosby also went over the 100-point mark for the season on Sunday, his fourth straight season with 100-plus points.
- Heading into the season finale this Sunday against the Bears, Crosby stands at 505 career points. If he is able to post nine points against Chicago, Crosby would set an NFL record for the most points by a player in his first four seasons in the league. New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (513 points, 2006-09) holds the current mark.
- Crosby posted 397 points from 2007-09, an NFL record for the most by a player in his first three seasons.
PACKERS STAY ALIVE WITH DOMINANT WIN
- The Green Bay Packers are very much alive.
- Playing in a do-or-die game Sunday, the Packers put together perhaps their best performance of the season, dominating the New York Giants 45-17 in front of 70,649 at Lambeau Field.
- With the win, the Packers improved to 9-6 and stayed in the NFC Wild Card playoff hunt. Green Bay now hosts NFC North champ Chicago next Sunday at 3:15 p.m. CT needing a win to lock up a playoff berth. The Packers could still get in the playoffs even with a loss to the Bears, but they would need the Giants (9-6) to lose to Washington and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6) to lose to the New Orleans Saints.
- Rest assured, the Packers don’t want to have to ask for help. They control their own destiny, and they’d like to keep it that way.
- “I love the mindset of this team,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “These guys step up week in and week out and we’ve got a big one here in seven days. It can’t get here fast enough.”
- The Packers simply overwhelmed the Giants, who last week were half a quarter away from putting themselves in position to win the NFC East and now will need the Packers to lose next week to get in the playoffs.
- Green Bay put up season highs in various categories, including total yards (515), points (45, tied with Week 9 vs. Dallas), and defensive takeaways (six). The Packers scored 24 points off of those turnovers and stayed in control of the game from late in the second quarter on.
- “We finally put together four quarters,” linebacker Desmond Bishop said. “I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but if we can put together four quarters, we can do that to pretty much everybody. That’s just the kind of talent and the kind of will we have on this team. Put four together like that, we’re dangerous.”
- Especially when the Packers get a tour-de-force performance from quarterback Aaron Rodgers like Sunday’s.
- Coming back from a concussion that forced him to miss last week’s game, Rodgers posted a regular-season career-high 404 yards passing with four touchdowns, which tied his career high. He was 25-of-37, didn’t throw an interception, and earned a QB rating of 139.9, more than twice that counterpart Eli Manning, who threw a season-worst four picks (17-fo-33, 301 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs, 63.6 rating).
- “Man, he’s special,” receiver Greg Jennings said of Rodgers. “He’s back. He’s definitely back.”
- Rodgers’ accuracy was spot-on pretty much the entire game, as he felt he had a “live” arm after sitting out a full week. He completed passes to nine different targets and repeatedly challenged the Giants downfield, connecting on seven passes of longer than 20 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown to wide receiver Jordy Nelson in the first quarter that got him going. Both Jennings (seven catches, 142 yards) and Nelson (4-124) went over 100 yards.
- “It was one of those games where a lot of stuff worked,” said Rodgers, who called it without a doubt his best performance. “It feels good to get that when we needed it the most.”
- Rodgers and McCarthy both gave plenty of credit to the offensive line, which came in knowing it was facing probably its stiffest challenge of the year in the Giants’ defensive front (42 sacks coming in, second in the league). The Green Bay line cleared the way for 119 yards rushing and allowed just one legitimate sack of Rodgers – a second sack was called when the ball slipped out of Rodgers’ hand on a pass, resulting in a fumble behind the line of scrimmage.
- “We knew this was going to be a battle that started up front and I don’t need to see the film to say that we definitely commanded that battle,” McCarthy said.
- “(The offensive linemen) were sick and tired of hearing about how tough the Giants were all week, and they took it personally.”
- Green Bay’s 515 yards of offense were the most the Packers have compiled in seven years (548 at Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003). It wasn’t a pretty 119 yards on the ground at less than 3 yards a crack minus Rodgers’ two scrambles for 26, but it was effective enough to keep the play-action working, with Rodgers using his nimble feet when needed to escape and buy extra time.
- “We had the one fumble inside the red zone so let’s get that out of the way,” McCarthy said. “But other than that, I don’t know if you can play much better than that on offense.”
- That one fumble was a huge turn of events at the time. Trying to stretch for a first down near the Giants’ 15-yard line in the second quarter, Nelson coughed up the ball. On the very next snap, Manning heaved an 85-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham that tied the score at 14 and completed New York’s early comeback from a 14-0 deficit.
- The big play was the second for the Giants in less than half a quarter, having scored on a 36-yard TD pass to Hakeem Nicks when cornerback Charles Woodson fell down in coverage. But the defense didn’t lose focus, forcing two punts and snagging five turnovers on New York’s next eight possessions.
- “Those two plays were kind of flukish,” Bishop said. “We just told ourselves stay sound and make them earn it, and when a team has to earn it against us, it’s pretty hard to get in the end zone.”
- The Packers regained the lead by halftime with a 79-yard TD drive, capped with an 8-yard run by John Kuhn, the first of his three touchdowns in the game.
- After the two teams traded field goals to start the second half to make it 24-17, the Packers never let the Giants breathe. Rodgers hit Donald Driver and Jennings on back-to-back darts for 33 and 36 yards, respectively, and tight end Donald Lee caught a 1-yard TD pass to re-establish the two-touchdown lead.
- New York’s last chance to get back in it came when running back Brandon Jacobs rumbled 21 yards into Green Bay territory late in the third quarter. But linebacker Clay Matthews, hustling all the way on the play, punched the ball out from behind, Bishop niftily tapped it to keep it in bounds, and safety Nick Collins recovered.
- That was the Giants’ longest run all day, and the longest by either Jacobs or Ahmad Bradshaw longer than 7 yards. New York’s 1-2 punch in the backfield combined for just 78 yards on 20 rushes, and the Giants had the ball for just 22 minutes, 59 seconds, a season-low for the team that led the league in time of possession coming in.
- “Anytime you can hold a combination like that to the amount of yards we held them to, that’s a good sign,” nose tackle B.J. Raji said.
- “To us, this was definitely a playoff game. We all knew the magnitude of a loss in this game, we knew we needed to win, and we knew we needed to look good doing it from a confidence standpoint to propel us into the game next week.
- “I knew the type of guys we have in this room. We don’t back down. We don’t fold.”
- And now they have one more week to get into the postseason and give themselves an opportunity to accomplish what every team sets out to.
- “Everybody knows what the score is,” McCarthy said. “We’re at nine wins and we must get to 10 wins to get in the tournament.”
- Added Rodgers: “It’s been an up-and-down year. A lot of things have happened both positively and negatively that we might not have expected. But we’re going into the last game of the season with a chance to make the playoffs with a win, and that’s all we can ask for right now.”