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-Lions Week 14 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Lions Week 14 Dope Sheet:
GREEN BAY (8-4) AT DETROIT (2-10)
Sunday, Dec. 12 - Ford Field - Noon CST
GREEN BAY HEADS TO DETROIT FOR NFC NORTH TILT
- The Packers travel to Detroit for their final divisional road game of the year against the Lions. It is the first of back-to-back road contests for Green Bay, with the Packers traveling to New England next Sunday.
- This will be the latest in a season that the Packers have played at Detroit since Ford Field opened in 2002. The last time Green Bay traveled to Detroit this late in a season was a Week 16 matchup at the Pontiac Silverdome on Dec. 15, 1996.
- No other NFL teams have played every year since 1932, when the Packers and the Lions, then known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans, began their yearly home-and-home series.
- The rivalry actually kicked off in 1930 at City Stadium in Green Bay, a 47-13 Packers win. Some two seasons later, the teams began a yearly series. Sunday marks meeting No. 163 in the all-time series.
- Now rivals in the NFC North, the Packers own a 89-64-7 advantage over the Lions in the regular season and have won both playoff matchups.
- Green Bay’s current 10-game winning streak against the Lions is the longest in the series in over 50 years, dating back to Detroit’s 11-game winning streak from 1949-54.
- The Packers’ 10-game winning streak against the Lions is tied for No. 2 among NFL series behind only New England’s 14-game winning streak against Buffalo. The Bills also have a 10-game winning streak vs. Cincinnati.
- Head Coach Mike McCarthy is 9-0 against the Lions since taking over coaching duties in 2006. Overall, Green Bay has won 18 of the last 20 games in the series, including seven of the last nine matchups in Detroit.
- The Packers enter Sunday’s game in second place in the NFC North behind Chicago (9-3). Green Bay has won five of its past six games, including a 34-16 win over San Francisco this past Sunday at Lambeau Field.
- With the win over the 49ers on Sunday, the Packers improved to 13-6 under McCarthy in regular-season games in December/January. That .684 winning percentage ranks No. 4 in the league over that span.
- Next Sunday, Green Bay travels to New England for the first time since 2003 to take on the Patriots in a 7:20 p.m. nationally televised contest. It is the final regular-season road game for the Packers, with home contests against the N.Y. Giants and Chicago in Weeks 16-17.
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 Sam Rosen and color analyst Tim Ryan will have the call from the broadcast booth.
- 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.
- For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 121 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
- DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 709.
SUCCESS AGAINST FAMILIAR FOES
- Ever since Mike McCarthy took over as head coach of the Packers in 2006, he has emphasized the importance of winning divisional games.
- The Packers have a 20-8 (.714) mark against NFC North opponents under McCarthy, which ranks first among NFC North teams over that span. Green Bay’s divisional record since ’06 is third in the NFL behind only San Diego (21-7, .750) and New England (21-7, .750).
- 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 3-1 mark in NFC North games this year.
- With a win Sunday at Detroit, the Packers would become the first team in the NFL to register at least four wins in their division each of the past five seasons. New England (3-1 in 2010) is the only other team in the league to post four-plus wins in its division each year from 2006-09 and still has an opportunity to do so this season.
- The Packers have won five of their last six NFC North games and will be looking to finish with a 2-1 road record in the division for the second consecutive season.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. Detroit Lions:
All-time regular season: 89-64-7
All-time, postseason: 2-0
All-time, in Detroit: 36-40-3 (6-2 at Ford Field)
Streaks: Green Bay has won 10 straight and 18 of the last 20 meetings.
Last meeting, regular season: Oct. 3, 2010, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 28-26
Last meeting, in Detroit: Nov. 26, 2009; Packers won, 34-12
Mike McCarthy: 47-32-0, .595, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Jim Schwartz: 4-24-0, .143; 2nd NFL season
Head to Head: McCarthy 3-0
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 9-0 vs. Lions; Schwartz 0-3 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.
- 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.
JIM SCHWARTZ…Is in second year as the Lions’ 25th head coach.
- Before coming to Detroit, spent 10 years with the Tennessee Titans, including the last eight as defensive coordinator.
- Broke into the NFL as a college and pro scout for the Cleveland Browns from 1993-95 before becoming a defensive assistant coach for the Ravens after the franchise moved to Baltimore.
- Coached as a graduate assistant and then position coach at four different colleges (Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina Central, Colgate) after a playing career as a LB at Georgetown University.
THE PACKERS-LIONS SERIES
- No other NFL teams have played every year since 1932, when the Packers first met the Lions, then known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans. Including a pair of playoff clashes in the early 1990s, this week marks Game No. 163 in the all-time series.
- The Packers are looking for their 11th straight win in the series, which would mark the longest winning streak by either team since the Lions won 11 straight from 1949-54.
- The Packers have scored more points (3,383 in reg. season) against the Lions than any other franchise.
- The Packers have won 20 straight games over Detroit in Wisconsin, including the ‘94 playoffs. The streak spans eight Lions head coaches: Wayne Fontes (1992-96), Bobby Ross (1997-99), Gary Moeller (2000), Marty Mornhinweg (2001-02), Steve Mariucci (2003-04), Dick Jauron (2005), Rod Marinelli (2006-08) and Schwartz (2009-10).
- The 19 straight regular-season wins in Wisconsin is tied first among active NFL streaks at one team’s home field.
Detroit def. coord. Gunther Cunningham held the same position in Kansas City for four seasons (1995-98) when McCarthy was an off. asst. for the Chiefs; also on staff in Kansas City was Packers strength & cond. asst. Dave Redding...Cunningham was on the staff of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL) in 1981 when Packers QB coach Tom Clements played QB for Hamilton...Packers RB coach Edgar Bennett and Lions GM Martin Mayhew were teammates for one season at Florida State...Lions O-line coach George Yarno finished his playing career with the Packers in 1990 but did not appear in any regular-season games...Lions DT Corey Williams was a Packers’ sixth-round draft choice in 2004 and played four seasons in Green Bay (2004-07)...Lions K Dave Rayner played for the Packers in 2006...Packers RB Brandon Jackson was born in Detroit...Lions T Jeff Backus and Packers CB Charles Woodson were teammates on Michigan’s 1997 national championship team...Packers DE Cullen Jenkins (Belleville), WR Greg Jennings (Kalamazoo), G/T T.J. Lang (Birmingham), LB Frank Zombo (Sterling Heights) and G/C Nick McDonald (Sterling Heights) are Michigan natives...Jennings and Lions TE Tony Scheffler were teammates at Western Michigan and were both drafted in the second round in 2006; Jennings (52nd overall) was taken nine spots before Scheffler (61st)...Jennings and Lions S Louis Delmas played together for one season (2005) at Western Michigan...Lions G Rob Sims, LB Bobby Carpenter and Packers LB A.J. Hawk were Ohio State teammates all drafted in ‘06 (Carpenter, by Dallas, and Hawk in the first round), while Lions CB Amari Spievey and Packers T/G Bryan Bulaga were both drafted out of Iowa this past April...Packers secondary-safeties coach Darren Perry and Lions RB coach Sam Gash were teammates at Penn State...Packers T/G Marshall Newhouse blocked for Lions RB Aaron Brown at TCU...Other college teammates include Lions T Gosder Cherilus and Packers NT B.J. Raji (Boston College), Lions QB Matthew Stafford and Packers DE Jarius Wynn (Georgia), Lions CB Chris Houston and Packers LS Brett Goode (Arkansas), Lions DE Lawrence Jackson and Packers LB Clay Matthews (USC), Lions DT Ndamukong Suh and Packers RB Brandon Jackson (Nebraska), Lions DE Turk McBride and Packers C Scott Wells (Tennessee), Lions T Jason Fox and Packers CB Sam Shields (Miami), Lions G Stephen Peterman and Packers NT Howard Green (LSU), and Lions WR Derrick Williams and Packers TE Andrew Quarless (Penn State)...Lions LB DeAndre Levy played collegiately at Wisconsin and attended Milwaukee Vincent H.S.
INDIVIDUALLY VS. LIONS
QB Aaron Rodgers has topped 300 yards passing in four of his five career starts against Detroit. Three of those efforts rank in Rodgers’ top six for passing yards in a regular-season game. Combined, he is 114-of-162 for 1,523 yards with 14 TDs and three INT vs. the Lions, good for a 121.0 rating...WR Greg Jennings has four TD receptions and three 100-yard efforts in eight career games against the Lions. His 167 yards against Detroit in Week 2 of 2008 is a career high...WR Donald Driver matched his career high with 11 receptions against the Lions on Nov. 10, 2002. His 94 catches for 1,322 yards and nine TDs are his most in each category against any opponent...Three of WR James Jones’ 11 career TD catches are against the Lions, including one in each game last year...WR Jordy Nelson caught his first NFL TD pass in the first meeting in 2008...Two of CB Charles Woodson’s five two-INT games and three of his 10 career INT returns for TDs have come against Detroit, one in each of the last three years...DE Cullen Jenkins’ first career INT came in the first meeting last season.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Oct. 3, 2010, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 28-26.
- QB Aaron Rodgers threw three TD passes and CB Charles Woodson ran an INT back for a TD to give the Packers a 28-14 lead early in the third quarter.
- Green Bay then held off Detroit’s second-half charge, which included four Jason Hanson FGs to get within two points, the last coming with 11:51 left. Backup QB Shaun Hill was 34-of-54 for 331 yards, with TE Brandon Pettigrew catching eight passes for 91 yards.
- After a Rodgers INT, his second of the game and the Packers’ fourth turnover, the defense stopped Detroit on a drive that reached Green Bay territory and forced a punt. From there, the offense ran the final 6:32 off the clock, with RB John Kuhn carrying seven times for 34 yards.
LAST MEETING, IN DETROIT
- Nov. 26, 2009, at Ford Field; Packers won, 34-12.
- The Packers overcame an early 7-0 deficit to win easily on Thanksgiving as Rodgers threw for 348 yards and three TDs.
- TE Donald Lee, WR Donald Driver and WR James Jones all caught TD passes as the Packers scored 27 unanswered points following a turnover on the opening kickoff that set up an early Detroit score.
- Woodson had two of the Packers’ four INTs against Detroit QB Matthew Stafford, returning one 38 yards for a TD for the game’s final points.
- Driver finished with seven receptions for 142 yards, his highest single-game yardage total since the 2007 Thanksgiving contest in Detroit, when he had 147.
- After finishing No. 2 in the league’s final overall rankings and No. 7 in points allowed in 2009, the defense is enjoying an even more productive season when it comes to keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
- The Packers rank No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, allowing the opposition an average of just 15.2 points per game, an improvement over last season’s mark of 18.6 per contest. Green Bay has allowed 17 touchdowns, the fewest in the league.
- Green Bay currently ranks No. 10 in the NFL in overall defense, allowing an average of 316.4 yards per game through Week 12.
- The last time Green Bay led the league in scoring defense this late in a season was when it finished No. 1 in the league in that category at the end of the 1996 Super Bowl season (13.1 per game).
- The defense has limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 69.6, which ranks No. 1 in the NFL. The 69.6 rating is just a shade above what the defense allowed in 2009 when it finished No. 4 in the league rankings in that category with a 68.8 rating by opposing QBs.
- The Packers have recorded 16 interceptions, which is tied for No. 4 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks have completed 57.0 percent of their passes (No. 6). Green Bay has given up only 11 TD passes, which ranks No. 3 in the NFL.
- After leading the NFL in run defense for the first time in 2009 by allowing a franchise-record 83.3 yards per game, the Packers haven’t been as stingy against the run thus far this season, ranking No. 18 in the league with 111.3 yards allowed per game.
- In the past five games though, the Packers have allowed their opponents to rush for 93.0 yards per game, good for No. 7 in the league over that span. Green Bay has given up just five rushing TDs all year, which is tied for No. 3 in the NFL.
- In the win over Dallas in Week 9, the Packers limited the Cowboys to just 39 rushing yards on 14 carries (2.8 avg.). That was the fewest yards given up by a Green Bay defense since Detroit was limited to 33 yards on the ground on Oct. 17, 2004.
- At the N.Y. Jets in Week 8, the defense registered the first road shutout by the Packers since 1991 against an offense that entered the game ranked No. 2 in the league in rushing offense at 159.2 yards per game.
- Facing LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, the Packers limited the tandem to just 76 yards on 22 carries (3.5 avg.), their lowest combined effort of the season.
- Until Vikings RB Adrian Peterson rushed for 131 yards in Week 7, Green Bay’s defense hadn’t allowed a running back to rush for 100 yards for 19 straight games. Peterson and Falcons RB Michael Turner (Week 12 this season) are the only backs to eclipse 100 yards since Week 3 of 2009.
- The 19-game streak was the second longest in team history since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, trailing only a 24-game game stretch from Sept. 20, 1970-Nov. 22, 1971.
- Under defensive coordinator Dom Capers, the Packers thrived in their new 3-4 scheme in 2009, finishing No. 1 against the run and No. 5 against the pass. The previous top ranking in franchise history in run defense came in 1972, when the team finished No. 2.
- Green Bay allowed an average of 284.4 total yards per game in ’09, second behind the N.Y. Jets (252.3) and ahead of No. 3 Baltimore (300.5).
- A look at some of Green Bay’s defensive numbers since Capers took over as coordinator in 2009:
Team - Rushing Yds. Allowed Per Game
1. Pittsburgh - 78.0
2. Minnesota - 89.2
3. N.Y. Jets - 93.9
4. Baltimore - 95.2
5. Green Bay - 95.3
Team - Rushing TDs Allowed
1. Green Bay - 10
2t. Minnesota - 11
2t. Pittsburgh - 11
Team - Opponent Passer Rating
1. N.Y. Jets - 69.0
2. Green Bay - 69.2
3. New Orleans - 73.6
Team - Interceptions
1. Green Bay - 46
2. Philadelphia - 45
3t. Carolina, Tampa Bay - 35
DOME AWAY FROM HOME
- Sunday’s game at Detroit will be the Packers’ third in four weeks in a dome, an environment they have had some success in during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure.
- Since McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers are 10-4 (.714) in regular-season dome games. That winning percentage ranks No. 1 in the league among teams with eight or more road dome games.
- McCarthy won his first six dome games as a head coach before the Packers fell just short at Minnesota in a 28-27 loss on Nov. 9, 2008.
- Green Bay’s offense has been productive indoors, averaging 378.3 yards of total offense and 30.4 points in the 14 dome games compared to averages of 356.1 yards per game and 24.1 points per game in outdoor contests over that span. In 10 of the 14 dome games, the Packers posted at least 370 yards of total offense.
- QB Aaron Rodgers has a 109.1 passer rating in nine career starts in domes, with 2,599 passing yards, 18 TDs and just four INTs on 198-of-296 passing (66.9 percent).
- Rodgers has registered four 300-yard games in domes in his nine starts, and has averaged 288.8 passing yards per game.
- His 109.1 passer rating indoors since 2008 ranks No. 1 in the league among NFL quarterbacks over that span.
- The Packers’ defense has done its part as well, posting 29 takeaways and six touchdowns in dome games since ’06, including five contests with at least three takeaways. That has contributed to Green Bay’s plus-11 turnover ratio in dome games since 2006.
- What made the Packers’ Week 11 win at Minnesota more impressive was that it came against a Vikings team that entered the game 17-3 (.850) at home over the past three seasons. The Vikings allowed just 268.2 yards per game and 16.8 points per game in those 20 contests, and the Packers posted 374 yards and 31 points. Green Bay gave up just three points in the game, the fewest ever by a Packers team at the Metrodome.
STAT OF THE WEEK
- After posting 14 receptions for 183 yards (13.0 avg.) and three TDs in the opening five contests, WR Greg Jennings leads the NFL with 761 yards on 43 receptions (17.7 avg.) since Week 6.
- Starting with the game against the Dolphins, Jennings has averaged 108.7 yards per game, No. 1 in the NFL over that span. No other wide receiver in the league has averaged 100 yards a game during that time frame.
- This past Sunday vs. San Francisco, Jennings registered 122 yards on six receptions, including a 57-yard TD catch. It was his third straight 100-yard game, only the second time in his career (Weeks 2-4, 2008) he has accomplished that feat.
- Jennings also posted two TD catches against the 49ers, giving him five TD receptions in the past three games. That is the most he has ever posted over a three-game span in his career.
- Jennings enters Sunday’s game at Detroit with 11 TD catches on the season, just one shy of his career high (12 in 2007). He ranks No. 3 in the NFL in the category behind only Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe (14) and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson (12).
- With one more TD catch, Jennings would become just the fourth player in team history (Sterling Sharpe, Antonio Freeman, Billy Howton) to catch at least 12 TD passes in a season twice in a Packers uniform.
NOT IN A GIVING MOOD
- Last season the Packers set a franchise record with a league-low 16
- giveaways, but this year’s Green Bay team has accomplished something
- that even the record-setting one in 2009 could not.
- Over the past five games, Green Bay has 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 is the first time in franchise history that the Packers have turned the ball over just one time over a five-game span in a season.
- In Sunday’s win over San Francisco, Rodgers did not throw an interception for the fifth straight game, his career high. The last Packers QB to not throw an interception in five straight starts in a season was Bart Starr in 1966.
- With his last interception coming at the end of the first half vs. Minnesota in Week 7, Rodgers has not thrown an INT in his last 177 passing attempts. That moves him into the No. 2 spot ahead of Brett Fave (163) and behind only Starr (294) for the franchise record. It is No. 2 among current NFL streaks behind Patriots QB Tom Brady (228).
- The performance against the 49ers was the Packers’ fifth zero-turnover game this season, and Green Bay is 5-0 in those contests.
- They still have a lot of work to do if they want to match the 2009 team that registered eight zero-turnover games (6-2).
- 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.
GETTING HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME
- Through Week 13, QB Aaron Rodgers once again finds himself among
- the league leaders in several passing categories, but it has been his perfor-
- mance of late that has been especially notable.
- For the season, Rodgers ranks No. 5 with 3,243 yards, No. 4 with a 100.3 passer rating, tied for No. 5 with 23 TD passes, and No. 3 in passes of 25-plus yards with 32.
- Rodgers has put together the finest stretch of his career over the past four contests. Starting with the Week 9 game vs. Dallas, Rodgers leads the NFL with a 131.3 passer rating, completing 96-of-130 passes (73.8 percent) for 1,232 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions in four games.
- He has posted a passer rating of 110-plus in each of the past four games. It is just the third time in franchise history a QB has done so, with Rodgers doing it in 2009 (Sept. 27-Oct. 25) and Bart Starr in 1966 (Sept. 18-Oct. 9). Rodgers is the only NFL QB to accomplish the feat this season.
- Rodgers is the only NFL QB since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to post four straight games with a 110-plus rating in consecutive seasons.
- Rodgers’ average of 308.0 yards per game since Week 9 ranks second only to Saints QB Drew Brees (325.0), and his 11 TDs rank No. 3 behind only Patriots QB Tom Brady (15) and Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (13). It is important to note that Brady and Cassel posted those numbers in five games to Rodgers’ four (bye in Week 10).
- Rodgers leads all NFL quarterbacks with 15 completions of 25-plus yards over that span, including four in the win over San Francisco this past Sunday.
- Rodgers’ TD passes of 57 yards to Greg Jennings and 61 yards to Donald Driver gave him two 55-yard TD passes in the same game for the first time in his career.
- That accomplishment is even more rare considering when it happened. According to Elias, Rodgers became only the second player (Brett Favre, vs. Ten., Dec. 20, 1998) to throw two TD passes of 50-plus yards in a game at Lambeau Field in December. There have been 59 regular-season games at Lambeau during the month of December.
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 qualiify
- for career passer rating in the NFL.
- Rodgers has completed 987-of-1,535 passes (64.3 percent) in his career for 12,044 yards and 82 touchdowns with 30 interceptions for a 98.0 passer rating.
- That rating ranks No. 1 in NFL history, ahead of San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who has a 97.0 career rating.
- Four of the top five rated passers in NFL history are active quarterbacks. Rounding out the top five are Steve Young (96.8), Tony Romo (95.5) and Peyton Manning (94.8).
- 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 have accumulated as many games of that type within three seasons of their 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 Steve 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 44 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 has started 44 straight games, which is tied for No. 5 among active NFL quarterbacks.
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 13, Green Bay ranks tied for No. 9 in the league with 66 accepted penalties (5.5 per game), a pace that would make for a dramatic improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 6 in penalty yardage with 521 yards, an average of 43.4 yards per game.
- If the Packers continue the penalty pace they are on, it would be their best mark since 2003, when they finished No. 3 in the NFL with 88 accepted penalties on the season.
- 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 one penalty for 5 yards in Week 11 at Minnesota, it was the sixth game this season, and the fourth straight, that Green Bay had been called for three or fewer penalties in a game, the best single-season mark since six games in 1974.
- The eight penalties over those four games was the fewest by the Packers over a four-game span since they had eight from Nov. 19-Dec. 9, 1967.
- The performance at Minnesota was especially notable. The one penalty at the Metrodome was the fewest in 28 games at the stadium, and the last time a team posted just one penalty at Minnesota was San Diego on Nov. 28, 1999. The last time the Packers were only penalized once in a game came at Chicago on Dec. 23, 2007.
- The six games nearly match the number of combined games with three of fewer penalties in the first four seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and Green Bay didn’t do it once last season. The Packers are 6-0 this season when they are penalized three or fewer times in a game.
- On Sunday against San Francisco, the Packers didn’t commit a defensive penalty for the first time in a game this season.
- Green Bay recorded two games with three or fewer penalties in 2008, two in ’07 to end the regular season, and three in ’06.
- Since the Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in the loss at Chicago in Week 3, they’ve committed just 40 penalties for 305 yards over their last nine games, an average of 4.4 penalties for 33.9 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.
- 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
- 29 more sacks in the next 11 games.
- Green Bay’s 35 sacks as a team through Week 13 are tied for No. 3 in the NFL behind only Oakland and Pittsburgh (36 each). The Packers rank No. 5 in sack yardage with 229 and have had 12 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 20 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 this past Sunday, 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 35 sacks, 11.5 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, including two against the 49ers this past Sunday, but he is not expected to play at Detroit this Sunday due to a calf injury.
- The Packers are ahead of their sack pace from last season, when Green Bay’s 35th sack didn’t come until Week 16 vs. Seattle.
- Green Bay recorded 37 sacks in 2009, which was tied for No. 11 in the league.
- The Packers’ best league ranking in sacks was No. 3, a spot they held on three occasions (1965, 1966, 2001).
WORKING THEIR WAY BACK UP
- Green Bay’s offense hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success as it did last season on third down but 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 this past Sunday.
- The Packers have moved up 20 spots in the league rankings since Week 9, currently checking in at No. 6 with a 42.7 conversion rate. Green Bay is 31-of-56 (55.4 percent) on third down over the past four games.
- The Packers were one of the best teams in the league on third down in 2009, as they converted at a 47.0 percent clip. That led the NFC and ranked No. 3 in the NFL.
- QB Aaron Rodgers’ play on third down in 2009 was a big factor in Green Bay’s success as he ranked No. 1 in the NFL in passer rating on third down at 133.5. No other quarterback in the league threw for as many yards (1,710) or touchdowns (14) on third down as Rodgers, and his passer rating was the best in the NFL since Kurt Warner’s 137.3 rating in 1999 with St. Louis.
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.
- CB Tramon Williams etched his name into the team’s record books with
- a pair of big plays in Week 5 at Washington, and he has delivered impactful
- performances throughout the season.
- With a 52-yard punt return in the second quarter and a 64-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, Williams became the first player in franchise history to post a 50-yard punt return and a 60-yard interception return in the same game.
- Showing just how rare the feat is, no player in team annals has ever posted both of those returns in the same season.
- Williams became just the third NFL player since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish the feat in a game, joining Dallas’ Deion Sanders (Sept. 21, 1998) and the late Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos (Nov. 13, 2005).
- Explosive plays are nothing new to the fourth-year CB who went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech in 2006. Williams recorded a 94-yard punt return for a score vs. Carolina on Nov. 18, 2007, as well as a 67-yard kickoff return vs. Chicago that season (Oct. 7). Last season, he posted his career-long INT return with a 67-yarder vs. Chicago (Sept. 13).
- Williams is only the third NFL player whose career began since the 1970 merger to post a 90-yard punt return and interception and kickoff returns of 65 yards in a career, joining Adam Jones and Lemar Parrish.
- Williams leads the team with four interceptions this season, with all of them coming in the past eight games. He posted a key second-quarter INT of Vikings QB Brett Favre in Week 11 and leads the team with 17 passes defensed.
- Williams has now posted four or more interceptions in each of the past three seasons. He is the only undrafted player in the NFL to accomplish that feat each of the last three seasons (2008-10).
- At the N.Y. Jets in Week 8, Williams recorded an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, the first time in his career he posted all three in the same game. It was the second straight season a Green Bay CB had accomplished that feat, with Charles Woodson registering all three last season at Detroit in Week 12.
- Williams was selected to the Midseason All-Pro team by the Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin.
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 the tandem has taken advantage of the opportunities.
- Hawk leads the team with 99 tackles (71 solo) through 12 games, including a season-high 16 stops in Week 6 vs. Miami and a team-high 13 tackles in Week 7 against Minnesota.
- The 29 tackles in those two games rank second in Hawk’s career for the most tackles over a two-game span, trailing only a combined 33 tackles during his rookie campaign of 2006 (Nov. 27-Dec. 3).
- Hawk is also tied for second on the team with two interceptions, which matches his career high set in 2006 and 2009. With the two INTs, Hawk ranks tied for No. 2 among NFL linebackers in that category this season.
- He is the only linebacker in the league to intercept two passes in each of the past two seasons, and Hawk’s four interceptions since Week 13 of 2009 lead all NFL linebackers over that span.
- Hawk has been one of the most reliable Packers defenders since coming to Green Bay in the 2006 NFL Draft. He hasn’t missed a game in his career, playing in all 76 contests with 73 starts. The only non-starts came in both Minnesota games in 2009 and the 2010 opener at Philadelphia when the team opened in nickel.
- Prior to this season, most of Bishop’s playing time came on special teams, a role he excelled in from 2007-09 as he led the team over that span with 49 tackles.
- Ever since Barnett went down with a season-ending wrist injury in Week 4 vs. Detroit, Bishop has moved into the starting lineup and made his presence felt.
- In eight starts, Bishop has registered 84 tackles, more than triple his best season total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 85 tackles on the season (57 solo) rank No. 2 on the team, and he leads Green Bay’s LBs with a career-best six passes defensed. Bishop has also posted a career-high two sacks.
- In the Week 7 win vs. Minnesota, Bishop made one of the game’s key plays when he picked off QB Brett Favre in the third quarter and returned the interception 32 yards for a touchdown. It was the first INT and TD of the fourth-year linebacker’s career, and the first INT return for a TD by a Packers LB since Barnett posted a 95-yarder vs. New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2005.
- With Hawk adding an INT of his own against the Vikings, the duo became the first Packers LB tandem to each post an INT in the same game since Barnett and Brady Poppinga posted picks at Miami on Oct. 22, 2006.
SOLID DEBUT FOR STARKS
- After not playing in a game in nearly two years due to injuries, rookie RB James Starks made the most of his first opportunity this past Sunday vs. San Francisco.
- Starks carried the ball 18 times for 73 yards (4.1 avg.) in his pro debut, including 35 yards on nine attempts on a fourth-quarter drive that ate up more than eight and a half minutes. The 18 carries matched the single-game high this season for a Packers RB (Brandon Jackson, Week 1).
- Starks’ 73 rushing yards were the most by a rookie Packers RB in his first game since Ralph Earhart posted 78 yards in his debut at Boston on Sept. 17, 1948.
- The 23-year-old Starks was drafted in the sixth round this past spring out of the University at Buffalo, but he spent the opening nine games of the season on the physically unable to perform list due to a hamstring injury suffered at the start of training camp.
- Starks also was sidelined for his entire senior season at Buffalo due to a shoulder injury but still ranks No. 1 in school history in career rushing yards (3,140) and rushing TDs (34).
- Prior to his NFL debut on Sunday, Starks’ last game action came vs. Connecticut on Jan. 3, 2009, in the International Bowl in Toronto.
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 WRs Donald Driver and Jordy Nelson each posting their respective 35th catches of the season in Sunday’s win over San Francisco, the Packers now have four wide receivers (Greg Jennings and James Jones) with 35-plus catches on the season.
- It is the first time in franchise history that the Packers have boasted four wide receivers with 35 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 57 receptions with Driver checking in at No. 2 with 38 catches. Jones (37) and Nelson (36) aren’t far behind, with a fifth player, RB Brandon Jackson (36), also hitting the 35-catch mark.
- The last time the Packers had five players, regardless of position, with at least 35 catches in one season was 1997 (receivers Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks, running backs Dorsey Levens and William Henderson, and tight end Mark Chmura).
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 Detroit this Sunday, Clifton will move into a tie with Ruettgers and Winters for the No. 4 spot.
- 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.
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. 2 in the league this season (min. 100 attempts) with a 106.3 passer rating against the blitz, completing 87-of-129 attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,165 yards and nine touchdowns with four interceptions. That rating is second only to Chiefs QB Matt Cassel (111.7).
- Last season, Rodgers also 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 110.0 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.
PACKERS KEEP PACE IN PLAYOFF CHASE
- The Packers didn’t get a whole lot of help this week from the opponents of
- the other NFC playoff contenders.
- The Bears won. The Giants won big. The Eagles won back on Thursday night. The Saints pulled out a win in the final minute. The NFC-leading Falcons also rallied to win, though at least that came at the expense of the Buccaneers, who have stayed in the playoff hunt.
- But there’s nothing the Packers can do about all of that, so they aren’t concerning themselves with it. They’re only concerned with their own game these days, and they took care of business on Sunday with a 34-16 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in front of 70,575 at Lambeau Field.
- “Until you get to 10 wins, you’re just wasting time, you’re wasting conversation,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of the playoff talk and scoreboard watching. “You need to keep your focus on the next game.”
- The Packers showed that focus on Sunday by getting their eighth win, improving to 8-4 and remaining one game behind the Bears in the NFC North. That’s the primary competition with the division title still up for grabs.
- The Falcons are the first team to 10 wins, but the Packers also stayed one game behind the 9-3 Saints and tied with the 8-4 Eagles and Giants while moving one game ahead of the 7-5 Bucs in the battle for what appears to be five NFC playoff spots outside of the eventual NFC West winner.
- Green Bay started a little slow in this one, trailing 6-0 through a quarter and a half and leading just 14-13 at halftime after allowing San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis to break free for a 66-yard touchdown right before intermission.
- But the Packers took control in the second half, scoring on four straight possessions. The dominance started with a phenomenal 61-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown by receiver Donald Driver, which McCarthy called “the biggest play in the game” and quarterback Aaron Rodgers called “one of the most amazing plays I’ve seen here.”
- After a holding penalty, the Packers faced second-and-16 from their own 39 when Rodgers made an adjustment at the line of scrimmage and found Driver wide open up the right seam. From there, the 35-year-old made an unforgettable run after the catch, dodging three different San Francisco defenders as he made his way up the sideline and then carrying three tacklers into the end zone for his biggest gain of the season.
- “I didn’t know what was going on,” said Driver, who after the game admitted he was dying to see the play on the highlights, because everyone had been telling him how amazing it was. “I just started ducking and stepping back and ducking again, and before I knew it, I had three guys, and I saw the end zone. One thing is, if I’m there, it’s going to be hard to deny me, and I was able to get in.”
- Driver sidestepped safety Reggie Smith, crashed through a tackle attempt by safety Dashon Goldson as tight end Andrew Quarless ran some interference, and then stiff-armed cornerback Nate Clements. Eventually Goldson, Clements and linebacker Ahmad Brooks caught up to him, but Driver got to the pylon for the score despite all the hangers-on.
- That made it 21-13 and from there the Packers were never really threatened. On the next possession, the defense got its third big stop of the 49ers when they were in scoring range, limiting them to a third field goal, and the offense added a touchdown and two field goals on its next three drives.
- Rodgers maintained his own run of impressively efficient play, completing 21-of-30 for 298 yards with three TDs and no interceptions for a 135.1 rating. It was his fourth straight game with a rating above 110 and his fifth straight without an interception.
- “We’ve been doing some good things offensively,” said Rodgers, who surpassed 3,000 yards passing on the season and ran his interception-free streak to a career-best 177 passes, second all-time in franchise history. “Personally, I’ve just been trying to take care of the football, limit my turnovers. I’ve been pretty efficient throwing the ball, but I think that’s a direct correlation between the way the offensive line is playing for the most part and getting Greg involved.”
- Greg of course is Greg Jennings, who turned in another stellar game with six catches for 122 yards and two TDs. Jennings erased the early 6-0 deficit with a 57-yard touchdown grab on a free play, as the 49ers jumped offsides on third-and-1 and Rodgers took a shot deep. Jennings hauled it in against one-on-one coverage and gave the Packers their first lead.
- “You’ve got to have some big plays in the game,” Jennings said. “That’s what happened. We had some big plays. We got them on my touchdown and ‘Drive’ got them on his. Game-changing plays. You get the defense back on their toes now and you’ve got them where you want them.”
- Jennings and the offense weren’t done. In the third quarter, he added a 48-yard catch to set up his own 1-yard TD when he got his man to whiff on the jam at the line of scrimmage. He was so wide open in the end zone that Rodgers “couldn’t get the ball out of my hand quick enough.”
- That score made it 28-16 as Jennings pushed his season total to 11 touchdowns, one shy of his career high set in 2007. He’s also closing in on his third straight 1,000-yard season, with 944 yards thus far, and he’s continuing a dynamic stretch in which he has caught 43 passes for 761 yards with eight TDs over the last seven games. That’s an average of six catches for 109 yards and a score every contest.
- “I’m just trying to take advantage of the opportunities,” said Jennings, who has three straight 100-yard games for the second time in his career. “Like I said, the opportunities have increased, and we’ve been able to get into a rhythm. The game starts to slow down a lot more, and when the quarterback is depending on you to make a play, have to make a play, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
- The Packers were also trying to control the clock and find a late-season running game, and they made some strides in that area. Rookie running back James Starks made his NFL debut and carried 18 times for 73 yards, including nine times for 35 yards on a time-consuming, 17-play drive for a field goal that provided the final points.
- Leading 31-16 after a 43-yard Crosby field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Packers then killed 8 minutes, 35 seconds with the long, 74-yard march that ended in a 24-yard field goal and a three-score lead.
- “That’s exactly what you want to do,” McCarthy said. “That was a big backbreaker I am sure for the 49ers.”
- But give credit to the Green Bay defense as well, which was put in some difficult spots field-position wise and also faced two goal-to-go situations that it stopped. Davis had four catches for 126 yards for San Francisco, but otherwise the 49ers didn’t have much going for them, as quarterback Troy Smith completed only 40 percent of his passes, was sacked four times and posted just a 64.4 rating (10-of-25, 194 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT).
- San Francisco managed just 95 yards of offense in the second half as the Packers pulled away.
- “Other than (Davis’ long TD), we did a good job of eliminating those big plays, held them to field goals when they got down there in our red zone,” cornerback Charles Woodson said. “That’s the kind of thing you’ve got to do. You’re going to take some shots, but you take it and move on, and we did that today.”
- Now it’s time to move on to the next game, which for the Packers is in Detroit, where the Lions took the Bears to the wire on Sunday in a 24-20 decision. The Packers will watch plenty of that film this week, to be sure, but just like Sunday, they’ll put more energy into their own game heading into these final four weeks with so much at stake.
- “This is December football,” McCarthy said. “We’re playing good football right now. But good isn’t good enough, as we know. We want to be playing our best football. That will be our challenge, that will be our emphasis and that will be the way we approach Detroit.”