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-Giants Week 16 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Giants Week 16 Dope Sheet:
N.Y. GIANTS (9-5) AT GREEN BAY (8-6)
Sunday, Dec. 26 - Lambeau Field - 3:15 p.m. CST
GREEN BAY HOSTS N.Y. GIANTS IN NFC SHOWDOWN
- The Packers return home after back-to-back road games to host the N.Y. Giants on Sunday at Lambeau Field in a matchup that has major playoff implications in the NFC.
- Green Bay will be back on its home field after playing four of its past five contests on the road. The Packers have won nine of their last 10 regular-season games at Lambeau Field, and their 9-1 mark over that span ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England (10-0).
- It is the first meeting between the Packers and Giants since they squared off in Green Bay in the 2007 NFC Championship, a game New York won, 23-20, in overtime on Jan. 20, 2008, in the third-coldest game in NFL championship game history (minus-1 temperature at game time with minus-23 wind chill).
- This will be only the third regular-season trip to Lambeau Field for the Giants in the past 25 years. New York last played at Green Bay during the regular season on Oct. 3, 2004, a 14-7 Giants win. Prior to that, its only other visit since 1985 came on Sept. 17, 1995, when the Packers won 14-6.
- Two of the most venerable franchises in professional football history, the teams have combined for 19 championships. Green Bay (12 titles) ranks No. 1 among all NFL franchises, while the Giants (seven) rank third.
- The Packers and Giants have squared off in five NFL championship games, with Green Bay winning four of those contests. New York won the 1938 title at the Polo Grounds in New York, but the Packers defeated the Giants in the championship game in 1939, 1944, 1961 and 1962.
- The Packers hold a 29-23-2 edge in the all-time series, which includes a 4-2 record in the postseason. The teams first met in 1928 in New York.
- Green Bay closes out the regular season next Sunday when it hosts the division-rival Chicago Bears in a noon (CST) contest. It is the first time in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure that the Packers have finished a season with back-to-back home games. The last time Green Bay concluded a season with consecutive home contests was 2005.
WITH THE CALL
- FOX Sports, now in its 17th season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to the majority of the country.
- 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 123 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
- DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 715.
A PATH TO THE POSTSEASON
- The Packers stand at 8-6 following a 31-27 defeat at New England this past Sunday night, but with two games left on their schedule, they remain in position for a playoff bid with wins in their final two contests.
- If Green Bay wins its remaining games against the Giants this Sunday and the Bears next Sunday, the Packers would finish at 10-6, and could potentially be tied with the N.Y. Giants, Tampa Bay and/or New Orleans.
- The tiebreaker would come down to strength of victory since the conference records for those teams would all be 8-4, and the Packers currently sit atop that category among those teams.
- The combined record of the teams the Packers have beaten this year is 48-64 (.429), which is ahead of the N.Y. Giants (50-76, .397), New Orleans (51-89, .364) and Tampa Bay (32-80, .286).
- The Chicago Bears clinched the NFC North title on Monday night with a win at Minnesota. Even if Chicago were to lose its final two games, including at Green Bay in Week 17, the Bears win the tiebreaker over the Packers based on divisional record.
- There will be plenty on the line this Sunday at Lambeau Field for the Giants as well, who can clinch a playoff berth with a win.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. New York Giants:
All-time regular season: 25-21-2
All-time, postseason: 4-2
All-time, in Green Bay: 7-6-0
Streaks: The Packers had won four of the previous five meetings prior to the 2007 NFC Championship Game.
Last meeting: 2007 NFC Championship Game, Jan. 20, 2008, at Lambeau Field; Giants won, 23-20 OT
Last meeting, regular season: Sept. 16, 2007, at the Meadowlands; Packers won, 35-13
Mike McCarthy: 47-34-0, .580, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Tom Coughlin: 140-112-0, .556 (incl. 8-7 postseason); 15th NFL season (7th with Giants)
Head to Head: 1-1
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 1-1 vs. Giants; Coughlin 2-3 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.
TOM COUGHLIN…Is in seventh year as the Giants’ 16th head coach.
- In his 14 years as an NFL head coach, has won four division titles and led his team to the playoffs eight times, with one Super Bowl title (2007).
- Has led two different franchises to four consecutive postseason berths (Giants, 2005-08; Jacksonville Jaguars, 1996-99), one of only three coaches in league history to accomplish the feat.
- Was the original head coach of the expansion Jaguars for their first eight seasons (1995-2002).
- Also was a head coach in the collegiate ranks with Boston College (1991-93).
THE PACKERS-GIANTS SERIES
- Two of the most venerable franchises in professional football history, the teams have combined for 19 championships. Green Bay (12 titles) ranks No. 1 among all NFL franchises, while the Giants (7) rank third.
- Their first five postseason meetings, prior to the 2007 NFC Championship, were all NFL title games (1938, ’39, ’44, ’61, ’62), with the Packers going 4-1 in those games. Brooklyn-born Vince Lombardi, formerly an offensive assistant with the Giants before accepting the head coach and GM position in Green Bay in 1959, led the Packers over the Giants in the 1961 and ’62 NFL championships.
- With both teams finishing 8-8 in 2006, it took four tiebreakers and percentage points to give the Giants – and not the Packers – the NFC’s second Wild Card berth that year.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was WR coach in Green Bay for two seasons (1986-87) under Forrest Gregg...Packers def. coord. Dom Capers was Coughlin’s def. coord. for the Jaguars for two seasons (1999-2000); Giants def. coord. Perry Fewell was on Capers’ defensive staff as DB coach...Green Bay WR coach Jimmy Robinson spent six seasons (1998-2003) in the same position with the Giants and also played WR for the team from 1976-79...Giants DL coach Robert Nunn coached DTs in Green Bay for four seasons (2005-08)...Giants LB coach Jim Herrmann was in his first season as the University of Michigan’s defensive coordinator (1997) when Packers CB Charles Woodson won the Heisman Trophy and the Wolverines won the national title...Herrmann and Giants RB coach Jerald Ingram were college teammates of Packers DL coach Mike Trgovac at Michigan...Trgovac and Ingram coached together at Michigan and Ball State...Packers asst. OL coach Jerry Fontenot and Giants asst. strength and conditioning coach Marcus Paul were teammates with the Chicago Bears...Giants strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri was on the Saints’ staff in 2003 with Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and asst. head coach/inside LB Winston Moss...Packers special teams assistant Chad Morton played two seasons for the Giants (2005-06)...Giants asst. off. line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. was the head coach at Louisiana Tech for Packers CB Tramon Williams’ entire college career there (2002-05)...Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin and Giants OL coach Pat Flaherty coached at the University of Iowa together in 1999...Giants TE Travis Beckum played collegiately at Wisconsin...Packers TE Andrew Quarless is a New York City native, born in Brooklyn...Packers NT B.J. Raji was born in New York City and attended Westwood Regional High in Washington Township, N.J. ...Packers S Charlie Peprah was the Giants’ fifth-round pick in 2006 and was claimed off waivers by Green Bay before the start of the ’06 season...Giants CB Will Blackmon was a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers’ in 2006 and played four seasons in Green Bay (2006-09)...Blackmon also was a college teammate of Raji at Boston College...Other former Packers draft picks playing for the Giants are G/T Jamon Meredith (2009, 5th round) and DE Dave Tollefson (2006, 7th round)...Other college teammates include Packers RB Brandon Jackson and Giants LB Phillip Dillard (Nebraska), Packers T Chad Clifton and Giants S Deon Grant (Tennessee), Packers LS Brett Goode and Giants G Mitch Petrus (Arkansas), Packers CB Sam Shields and Giants S Kenny Phillips (Miami), Packers LB Clay Matthews and Giants CB Terrell Thomas (USC), and, at different times, Giants CB Corey Webster and Packers QB Matt Flynn and NT Howard Green (LSU).
INDIVIDUALLY VS. GIANTS
In four career games against the Giants, including playoffs, WR Donald Driver has 19 receptions for 264 yards and two TDs, including a 90-yard TD in the 2007 NFC Championship Game, the longest reception of his career as well as the longest in Green Bay playoff history and the fourth longest in NFL postseason history...In the two 2007 meetings, TE Donald Lee posted seven receptions for 70 yards and two TDs, one in each game...WR James Jones had four catches for 75 yards in the ‘07 regular-season meeting.
- 2007 NFC Championship Game, Jan. 20, 2008, at Lambeau Field; Giants won, 23-20 OT
- With temperatures of minus-3 and wind chills of minus-24, the Giants advanced to the Super Bowl when K Lawrence Tynes made a 47-yard FG just 2 minutes, 35 seconds into OT.
- Tynes missed two potential game-winning FGs in the fourth quarter, from 43 and 36 yards, the latter on the final play of regulation.
- The Packers won the OT coin flip, but QB Brett Favre was intercepted by CB Corey Webster on the first series, setting up Tynes’ third try to win the game.
- The Packers led 17-13 in the third quarter on the strength of TD passes of 90 yards to WR Donald Driver (5 rec., 141 yards) and 12 yards to TE Donald Lee.
- Giants WR Plaxico Burress had 11 catches for 151 yards and RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 130 rushing yards, with Bradshaw adding a 4-yard TD run late in the third quarter.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Sept. 16, 2007, at the Meadowlands; Packers won, 35-13
- Brett Favre became the winningest QB in NFL history with his 149th win, surpassing Hall of Famer John Elway, as the Packers put on a dominant display in the fourth quarter.
- Leading 14-13 in the fourth quarter, the Packers marched 80 yards in 10 plays, with a 3-yard TD pass to Lee capping it off.
- Green Bay forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered the ball in Giants territory. The offense needed just five plays to cover the distance, as Favre found Driver in the back of the end zone.
- A late 38-yard TD run by RB DeShawn Wynn capped the scoring.
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 tied with Pittsburgh for No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, allowing the opposition an average of just 15.7 points per game, an improvement over last season’s mark of 18.6 per contest.
- Green Bay has allowed just 22 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 seven games, the Packers have given up 10.6 points per game. This past Sunday they allowed a season-high 31 points against a New England team that ranks No. 1 in the NFL in scoring offense at 31.9 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. 7 in the NFL in overall defense, allowing an average of 309.4 yards per game through Week 15, and No. 3 in the league in passing defense at 192.4 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 are tied for No. 19 in the league with 117.0 yards allowed per game.
- Green Bay has given up just six rushing TDs all year, which is tied for No. 4 in the NFL. The Giants enter Sunday’s game with 16 rushing TDs on the season, which is tied for No. 4 in the league.
- 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.
- Green Bay will be put to the test this Sunday by a New York team that ranks No. 5 in the league in rushing at 144.9 yards per game.
- The Giants feature one of the top running-back tandems in the league in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw ranks No. 6 in the NFL with 1,182 rushing yards on 249 carries (4.7 avg.), while Jacobs has posted 727 yards on 126 attempts (5.8 avg.). Both backs have recorded eight rushing TDs, and the Giants rank No. 2 in the NFL with 21 runs of 20-plus yards this season.
- 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).
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, but the Packers will face another stiff challenge on Sunday from the Giants.
- Through Week 15, the Packers rank No. 3 in the league in pass defense, allowing their opponents just 192.4 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 181.3 yards per contest, No. 2 in the NFL over that span behind only San Diego (176.2).
- The defense has limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 70.3 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 18 interceptions, which is tied for No. 4 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks have completed 56.7 percent of their passes (No. 5).
- Green Bay has given up only 14 TD passes this season, which ranks tied for No. 4 in the NFL, after allowing 29 TDs through the air in 2009.
- On Sunday night 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.
- The Giants enter Sunday’s contest ranked No. 12 in the NFL in passing offense at 239.0 yards per game, and they have been one of the more explosive teams through the air this season with 50 passes of 20-plus yards (No. 6). The Packers have given up 37 completions of 20-plus yards, good for No. 9 in the league.
TAKING HIS PLACE AMONG THE GAME’S BEST
- With 35 passing attempts at Atlanta in Week 13, 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 994-of-1,546 passes (64.3 percent) in his career for 12,090 yards and 82 touchdowns with 31 interceptions for a 97.6 passer rating.
- That rating ranks No. 2 in NFL history, behind only San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who has a 97.8 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 (94.9) 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.
- His performance vs. San Francisco in Week 13 was the ninth game in which he had three-or-more TD passes and no INTs. Only one other player in history has accumulated as many games of that type within three seasons of his first NFL start, Kurt Warner with 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.
- 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 45 career starts, Rodgers has eclipsed the century mark in passer rating 24 times and recorded 13 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.
- Rodgers had started 45 straight games, which was tied for No. 4 among active NFL quarterbacks, before missing this past Sunday’s game at New England due to a concussion sustained at Detroit in Week 14.
NOT IN A GIVING MOOD
- Last season the Packers set a franchise mark with a league-low 16
- giveaways, but this year’s Green Bay team accomplished something
- that even the record-setting one in 2009 could not.
- In the five games from Oct. 31-Dec. 5, Green Bay had 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. 2 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 166-74 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 333-220 this season, and that 113-point differential ranks No. 1 in the NFC and No. 3 in the NFL behind only New England (143) and San Diego (128).
- Among teams with seven or more wins, Green Bay ranks No. 3 in the NFL with an average margin of victory of 16.63.
- 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.
- 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 173-108, and that 65-point margin in the opening half ranks No. 5 in the league.
- Green Bay has been even more prolific opening the second half as it has outscored its opponents 97-33 in the third quarter. That differential of 64 points ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only San Diego (66).
- The Packers are tied with Pittsburgh for the NFL lead the league in scoring defense at 15.7 points per game and rank tied for No. 10 in scoring offense with an average of 23.8 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 Giants enter Sunday’s game ranked No. 6 in the NFL in scoring offense (25.7) and No. 13 in scoring defense (20.6). Prior to their 38-31 loss to Philadelphia this past Sunday, the Giants had allowed just 10 points in their previous two games.
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 15, Green Bay ranks No. 5 in the league with 71 accepted penalties (5.1 per game), a pace that would make for a dramatic improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 2 in penalty yardage with 556, an average of 39.7 yards per game.
- If the Packers continue the penalty pace they are on, it would be their best mark since 2001, when they finished with 80 penalties (No. 8 in the NFL).
- 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 two penalties for 15 yards this past Sunday at New England, it was the eighth 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 Grenen 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 eight 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 6-2 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 on Sunday night at New England.
- 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 45 penalties for 340 yards over their last 11 games, an average of 4.1 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.
- Green Bay ranks No. 7 in the NFL with 87 points off of takeaways, with Sunday’s opponent, the N.Y. Giants, a few spots ahead of them at No. 4 with 97 points off of turnovers.
- The Packers are tied for No. 7 in the NFL with a plus-5 turnover ratio, but have been minus-3 over the past two games, both losses.
- Of the Packers’ 24 takeaways this season, 12 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 12 TDs off of takeaways are tied for No. 4 in the NFL.
- Green Bay has averaged 3.63 points off of takeaways this season, good for No. 9 in the league.
- The Packers are tied for No. 5 in the league with 18 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.
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field. They didn’t score a point off a takeaway vs. San Francisco in Week 13, which snapped a streak of 15 straight games at home with points scored that were set up by a turnover.
- 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 35-6 (.854) 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 19-3 (.864) when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better.
- The Packers rank No. 3 in the NFL with a plus-40 turnover ratio since 2006 behind only New England (plus-50) and San Diego (plus-43).
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 two games left the Packers are in position to finish in the top 10 once again in the category.
- Through Week 15, the Packers have scored touchdowns on 26 of 45 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 57.8 percent touchdown rate ranks tied for No. 10 in the NFL, and the 26 TDs also rank tied for No. 10.
- Green Bay’s 212 points in the red zone this season (26 touchdowns, 10 field goals) rank tied for No. 12 in the league, and its average of 4.71 points per red-zone trip ranks No. 13 in the NFL.
- The Packers’ production has come in fewer opportunities than 2009, as they rank tied for No. 12 in the league with the 45 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 only time in his 45 career starts to date. Since 2008, he has registered a 107.4 rating on 126-of-204 passing (61.8 percent) for 797 yards and 51 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers has connected on 41-of-62 passes (66.1 percent) for 259 yards and 15 TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010 for a 107.5 passer rating.
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 ranks No. 2 in the NFL with 12.5 sacks this season behind Miami’s Cameron Wake (14.0).
- 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. 2 in the league with 87.5 sack yards on the season behind only Wake (89.5). 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.
- 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. 2 in the NFL behind only Minnesota DE Jared Allen (24).
- 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
- 34 more sacks in the next 13 games.
- Green Bay’s 40 sacks as a team through Week 15 rank tied for No. 3 in the NFL behind only San Diego (44) and the N.Y. Giants (42). The Packers rank No. 2 in sack yardage with 277 behind only the Giants (290) and have 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 40 sacks, 12.5 have come courtesy of Matthews, who ranks No. 2 in the NFL in that category. DE Cullen Jenkins ranks second on the team with a career-high seven sacks, despite missing three contests with a calf injury, and NT B.J. Raji checks in third with a career-high 5.5.
- The Packers’ sack total through Week 15 eclipses their final tally in 2009, when they ranked No. 11 in the league with 37 on the season.
- The Packers’ best league ranking in sacks was No. 3, a spot they held on three occasions (1965, 1966, 2001).
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 16 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 39 sacks this season, which ranks No. 19 in the NFL, but it is an improvement from 2009 when they gave up 50 sacks of Rodgers on the season, 41 in the first nine contests.
- Green Bay has taken a step back in the sack category of late, allowing 13 sacks over the past three games. Prior to that, the Packers had given up just seven sacks in the previous five games.
- The task won’t get any easier this week against a Giants team that ranks No. 2 in the NFL with 42 sacks. New York is the only team in the league to have two double-digit sack players, with DEs Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck each posting 10 this season.
- 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 10 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 645 rushing yards on 165 carries this season (3.9 avg.). He also has posted a career-high 961 yards from scrimmage.
- Jackson posted 99 yards on 22 carries at New England this past Sunday night, 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 40 receptions for 313 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 40 catches are the most by a Green Bay running back since Ahman Green posted 46 catches 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 259 rushing yards on 74 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 63 yards on 27 attempts for the season (2.3 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 39 runs of 10-plus yards this season, which ranks No. 18 in the league. Last season Green Bay finished No. 23 in the NFL with 42 runs of 10 yards or more.
291 AND COUNTING
- Another packed house at Lambeau Field against the 49ers in Week 13 brought the stadium’s consecutive sellouts streak to 291 games (275 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.
VALIANT EFFORT FALLS SHORT
- It would have been a win for the ages, but instead it was just another close
- loss, the type that has become all too familiar for the 2010 Packers.
- Led by backup quarterback Matt Flynn, the Packers fought valiantly on the road in prime time Sunday night against a New England Patriots team thought by many to be on their way to a fourth Super Bowl title this decade. But a potential game-winning drive came up 15 yards short, ending in harried desperation as the Packers fell, 31-27, in front of 68,756 at Gillette Stadium.
- Despite needing Flynn to make his first NFL start for Aaron Rodgers, who was out with a concussion, the Packers didn’t act like underdogs all week, and they didn’t play like it either. They grabbed the lead in the game three different times, held the ball for more than 40 minutes, and made the Patriots look nothing like the invincible outfit that had lambasted the Jets and Bears by a combined 81-10 the past two weeks.
- But none of it, including a gutsy effort from Flynn, was enough. Instead the Packers lost their second straight to drop to 8-6, with all six losses this season coming by four points or less.
- “I thought our team fought extremely hard,” said Head Coach Mike McCarthy, who claimed during the week his team was “nobody’s underdog,” and reiterated that again Sunday after the game.
- “They are definitely warriors, I’m proud of them for that, but we came up short tonight. And that’s the bottom line.”
- The only silver lining is that because the Giants and Buccaneers both lost earlier Sunday, the Packers still control their own playoff fate. Two wins over the Giants and Bears to close out the season will get the Packers into the playoffs at 10-6.
- The Packers came up short primarily because of three major lapses at critical moments.
- First, leading 17-7 late in the second quarter after Flynn (24-of-37, 251 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 100.2 rating) had thrown a 66-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver James Jones and a 1-yarder to wide receiver Greg Jennings, the Packers allowed New England lineman Dan Connolly to pick up a squibbed kickoff and rumble 71 yards down the far sideline, all the way to the Green Bay 4. It set up an easy scoring drive for New England quarterback Tom Brady, who hit tight end Aaron Hernandez with a 2-yard TD pass on third-and-goal to get within 17-14 at intermission.
- Then, getting the ball to start the second half, Flynn’s first throw of the third quarter turned into disaster. On third down, Jones got bumped off his slant route and Flynn’s pass went right into the hands of cornerback Kyle Arrington, who broke several tackles in returning the interception 36 yards for a score.
- Suddenly, the Patriots had wiped out the 10-point deficit to take a 21-17 lead, and the all-world Brady (15-of-24, 163 yards, 2 TD, 110.2 rating) had only passed for a handful of yards in the process.
- “They made big plays in the game that were probably the difference,” McCarthy said. “You can’t make those kind of mistakes on the road.”
- You also can’t fail to capitalize on golden opportunities, and that was the third lapse at the start of the fourth quarter.
- Having taken a 24-21 lead on a 6-yard TD pass to fullback John Kuhn, the Packers got a three-and-out and then put together another solid drive to add to the lead. But with first-and-goal on the 2, Kuhn was stopped twice in a row at the 1 on a fullback dive, and when Flynn threw the ball away under pressure on third down, the Packers settled for a field goal to make it 27-21 and never pushed the lead back to two scores.
- McCarthy said he didn’t regret the decision not to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the 1 with nearly 14 minutes still on the clock, but unfortunately the Packers’ defense started to spring leaks right after that.
- On their next two drives, the Patriots (12-2) marched 53 yards for a field goal and 63 yards for a touchdown, a 10-yard pass to Hernandez for his second TD of the game. It gave the Patriots a 31-27 lead with 7:14 left, and the Packers had to ask their young, gritty quarterback for one more score.
- They almost got it. Twice in the final seven minutes, the Packers drove into New England territory. The first time they ended up punting on fourth-and-7 from the 40. But after the defense got a three-and-out with New England backed up inside its own 20, Flynn got one more shot with 4:22 left.
- With the help of a reprieve when Brandon Meriweather’s interception was nullified by a hands-to-the-face penalty on pass rusher Tully Banta-Cain, Flynn picked up three first downs and had the Packers on the New England 24 with a minute left.
- An 8-yard sack by unblocked linebacker Dane Fletcher forced the Packers to use their last timeout, though, and that would prove critical. Two plays later, Flynn hit wide receiver Donald Driver over the middle for 10 yards to the 15, but he was a yard short of the first down and the clock was ticking under 20 seconds.
- There was some momentary confusion as to whether Driver had picked up the first down. If he had, Flynn was going to spike the ball to stop the clock. But when he hadn’t, it was fourth down, and the offense was in scramble mode.
- “I thought I got the first down,” Driver said. “When I caught the ball, I went forward, and I didn’t think it was a good spot on their part. I jumped up, and I thought it was already a first, and I was thinking Matt was going to clock it. I looked around and Matt was saying we have to run a play.
- “You look at the clock with 15 seconds left, you’ve still got an opportunity to win. If you get the first down, you’re able to clock it and you still have two chances at end zone.”
- Instead, by the time Flynn got everyone lined up to run a play, the clock had run down so far it was the last snap the Packers would get. Flynn tried to scramble to buy time, but he was sacked from behind by Banta-Cain to end the game and the Packers’ hopes for what would have been a monumental win.
- “You can see that they’re only rushing three and they’re dropping everyone into the end zone and that’s one of those things that usually there isn’t going to be anybody open, right off the bat,” said Flynn, who added he never saw Banta-Cain closing from behind and ended up fumbling the ball, though that hardly mattered. “You just have to try to work people with your eyes, try to work the defenders with your eyes and try to get them going one way and get someone else out the backdoor, but it didn’t happen.”
- What can still happen, fortunately, is a playoff berth, and the Packers will get two games at home now to try to earn that. If they can, perhaps they can truly move on from all these close losses, including Sunday night’s.
- “We’re ready to play next week and get this one out of our mind,” defensive end Ryan Pickett said. “This was a tough loss for us.
- “We knew we could come in and beat this team. We felt we matched up with them. We didn’t believe the hype coming into the game that we didn’t have a chance. We knew we could beat them and we just fell short. If we play the rest of the season like that, things will fall our way. Just play with the energy and intensity we played with today.”