SAN DIEGO – Of the 68,908 fans in attendance at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, there’s no telling for sure how many were Packers fans, but there were plenty.
One-third might be a ballpark guess. Half would be an overestimation, but there were enough that at times it didn’t exactly feel like a road game to the Green Bay players.
“We definitely heard them,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said. “We heard the crowd. They were awesome. We could feel that yesterday when we got to town, that we had a lot of fans here.
“I don’t know if they came from all over if there were a lot of California Packers fans. It was a fun atmosphere to play in, and I’m sure our fans got pretty nervous there toward the end.”
Nervous yes, but they hung in there. When Charlie Peprah intercepted a pass in the final minute to seal the 45-38 victory, the cheer bordered on a full-throated roar.
“It was remarkable, the fan support that we get whenever we go on the road, and especially here,” said linebacker Clay Matthews, a southern California native. “There’s something about the Packers contingency out here. It was amazing.
“We were hearing the ‘Go Pack Go’ chants, they were cheering for their players. That’s what makes this organization, this team and these players so unique.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers put it best: “When you’re on the road, up by seven and they have to go to a silent count, that says something about your fans.”
Nifty feet: Rodgers’ 247 passing yards were a season low for 2011, but his 52 rushing yards were a season high and tied his career high.
Rodgers also had 52 rushing yards at home against Minnesota in 2009. On Sunday, he got almost half of his 52 on a 25-yard scramble to convert a third-and-9 late in the first half. The conversion helped lead to a touchdown with 18 seconds left in the half that gave the Packers a 28-17 lead at intermission.
The 25-yard run was by far Rodgers’ longest of the season. His previous best this year was an 11-yard touchdown run against Denver in Week 4.
Rodgers also had scrambles of 9, 11 and 4 yards in the first quarter on Sunday. He actually had a career-high 53 rushing yards until he took a knee following Peprah’s interception for a loss of one on the final play of the game.
New leader: The Packers’ struggles with rushing the passer are perhaps best illustrated by the fact that an unlikely candidate is now the team leader in sacks.
Inside linebacker Desmond Bishop got one of the Packers’ two sacks on Sunday and now has four on the season, tops on the team and a new personal career-high.
Because of the position Bishop plays, he’s not an every-down rusher and only comes after the quarterback when a blitz is called. Two defensive linemen and two outside linebackers are the standard four rushers when the Packers are in their usual nickel defense.
“Guys up front are getting double-teamed and I’m sure they’re double-teaming Clay,” Bishop said of the reason for the more frequent blitz calls. “It’s hard to get pressure when the quarterback is on time with everything.”
Bishop had three sacks last season and added another in the playoffs, giving him four in 20 games. His four in eight games this year speaks to his efficiency when he’s asked to rush.
“I think it’s been pretty effective,” he said.
Another hundred: Receiver Jordy Nelson led the Packers in receiving yards on Sunday with 105, his second 100-yard game in the last three contests.
Through his first three seasons in the league, Nelson had just two 100-yard games and the first one didn’t come until Week 16 against the Giants last season, when he had 124 yards. He added 140 in the Super Bowl.
Nelson now has four 100-yard games during the Packers’ current 14-game winning streak. That’s second on the team over that span, behind only Greg Jennings’ six.
Injury update: Linebacker Frank Zombo left the game in the second half with a hamstring injury. That’s Zombo’s third injury this season, following a broken shoulder blade and a hyperextended knee.
It was the only Packers reported injury. Additional coverage - Nov. 6