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-Patriots Week 15 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Patriots Week 15 Dope Sheet:
GREEN BAY (8-5) AT NEW ENGLAND (11-2)
Sunday, Dec. 19 - Gillette Stadium - 7:20 p.m. CST
GREEN BAY CLOSES OUT ROAD SLATE IN NEW ENGLAND
- The Packers travel to New England for the first time since 2002 for a nationally televised contest against the Patriots, Green Bay’s fourth prime-time game of the season.
- This will be the first time the teams have met in a prime-time matchup since they squared off on Monday Night Football in New England on Oct. 27, 1997. The Packers are 2-0 on Sunday Night Football this season.
- That was the season after the teams met in Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans, as the Packers topped the Patriots, 35-21, to capture their first world championship in 29 years. For Green Bay, the victory marked its league-high 12th NFL championship as well as its third Super Bowl title.
- Green Bay will be taking on a Patriots team that has won 15 straight games at Gillette Stadium, the longest current winning streak at home in the league. New England’s last loss at home came on Nov. 30, 2008, to Pittsburgh. Patriots QB Tom Brady has won 26 straight starts at home, an NFL record for most consecutive regular-season home wins by a quarterback.
- The Patriots have won 16 straight games against NFC opponents at home, with Green Bay handing them their last loss on Oct. 13, 2002. That is New England’s only loss to an NFC team at Gillette Stadium since it opened in ’02.
- The last time the Packers played on the road against a team with only two losses in Week 15 or later was in 2006 when Green Bay traveled to Chicago in the season finale to take on the Chicago Bears (13-2). Ironically, that was also a Sunday night contest.
- This is the latest in the season that the Packers have ever traveled to New England, with a contest on Nov. 18, 1973, being the previous mark. That was the first-ever meeting between the franchises.
- The Packers have a 5-4 edge in the all-time series, which includes the Super Bowl win, and have posted victories in each of their last two trips to New England (1997, 2002).
- This past Sunday, the Packers fell to Detroit, 7-3, at Ford Field to drop to 8-5 on the season. With Chicago (9-4) losing to New England at Soldier Field on Sunday, Green Bay remains a game back in the NFC North race.
WITH THE CALL
- NBC Sports will broadcast the Sunday Night Football contest to a national audience. Play-by-play man Al Michaels joins color commentator Cris Collinsworth in the booth with Andrea Kremer reporting from the sidelines.
- Fans also can check out the action online, where the broadcast will be streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com.
- 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. Dave Sims (play-by-play) and former Packers WR James Lofton (analyst) will call the action, with Hub Arkush on the sidelines. Scott Graham hosts pregame and halftime shows.
- ESPN International will air the game in three languages to over 180 countries.
- For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 125 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
- Mike McCarthy has often emphasized the importance of his team playing its best football at the end of the season.
- Since McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers are 13-7 in regular-season games in December/January. That .650 winning percentage ranks No. 2 in the NFC over that span behind only Philadelphia (17-4, .810).
- Dating back to the 2008 season finale, Green Bay has won six of its last eight regular-season contests in December/January.
- Going back even further, the Packers are 59-24 (.711) in regular-season games played in December or January since 1992. That is the highest winning percentage for any team in the league over that span, with the Patriots checking in at No. 2 with a 57-24 mark (.704).
- The Packers will certainly be put to the test this Sunday against a New England team that is 39-9 (.813) in December/January games since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the best mark in the NFL over teat span. The Patriots haven’t lost a Dec./Jan. regular-season home game since Jan. 1, 2006, a 28-26 defeat to Miami.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. New England Patriots:
All-time regular season: 4-4-0
All-time, postseason: 1-0
All-time, at New England: 2-3-0
Streaks: Beginning with Super Bowl XXXI, the Packers have won three of the last four.
Last meeting, regular season: Nov. 19, 2006, at Lambeau Field; Patriots won, 35-0
Last meeting, regular season, at New England: Oct. 13, 2002; Packers won, 28-10
Mike McCarthy: 47-33-0, .588, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Bill Belichick: 174-99-0, .637 (incl. 15-5 postseason); 16th NFL season (11th with Patriots)
Head to Head: Belichick 1-0
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 0-1 vs. Patriots; Belichick 2-2 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.
BILL BELICHICK…Is in 11th year as the Patriots’ 13th head coach.
- Is the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span (2001-04).
- Is in his 36th season as an NFL coach, having started as a special assistant with the Baltimore Colts in 1975.
- In addition to leading the Patriots since 2000, also served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns for five seasons (1991-95).
- Has won 126 games with the Patriots, more than any other head coach in NFL history through his first 10 years with a team.
- Owns the second-best postseason record in NFL history (15-5, .750), behind only Green Bay’s Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900).
THE PACKERS-PATRIOTS SERIES
- The two teams first met in 1973 and have played each other only eight times over the past 37 regular seasons.
- The most significant meeting was the lone postseason one, Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans. A matchup of decorated head coaches in Mike Holmgren and Bill Parcells went Green Bay’s way as Desmond Howard returned a kickoff 99 yards for a TD and Reggie White recorded three sacks.
- Strangely, the last two meetings in New England (1997, 2002) have produced the exact same result, 28-10 Green Bay victories.
- New England’s 35-0 win over the Packers in 2006 is the only shutout in the series but not the most lopsided game. The Packers beat the Patriots 45-3 in 1988 in Milwaukee.
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers was a special assistant and secondary coach for the Patriots in 2008...Capers served as the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1999-2000 when Patriots RB Fred Taylor was with the team and in the same role with the Miami Dolphins in 2006 when Patriots WR Wes Welker and RB Sammy Morris played there...Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was born in Springfield, Mass., and coached at Worcester Tech (1986-87), Northeastern (1995-96) and Harvard (1997-98)...Packers director of college scouting John Dorsey was a four-year starter (1980-83) at the University of Connecticut...Patriots special teams coach Scott O’Brien is a native of Superior, Wis., and played collegiately as a LB for the University of Wisconsin-Superior from 1975-78. He also started his coaching career there in 1980...Packers LB Clay Matthews was selected No. 26 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft with a pick acquired from New England in exxchange for Green Bay’s second-round choice (No. 41) and two third-round picks (Nos. 73 and 83). The Packers also received a fifth-round selection in the trade...Matthews’ father, Clay Jr., played under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and O’Brien for three seasons in Cleveland (1991-93), and teamed with Patriots DL coach Pepper Johnson in the Browns’ linebacking corps in 1993...Johnson also played at Ohio State when Capers was the DBs coach for the Buckeyes from 1982-83...Patriots LB Tracy White spent three seasons in Green Bay (2006-08)...Patriots DT Ron Brace and Packers NT B.J. Raji played side-by-side on the Boston College defensive line...Patriots QB Tom Brady and Packers CB Charles Woodson were teammates on the University of Michigan’s 1997 national championship team (Brady was the backup QB), and the two were involved in the play in the 2001 AFC Divisional playoffs that brought the “Tuck Rule” into the football lexicon, when Woodson played for Oakland...Patriots LS Matt Katula played collegiately at Wisconsin...Patriots RB coach Ivan Fears was the WRs coach for the Chicago Bears when Packers asst. OL coach Jerry Fontenot played for the team from 1993-96…Packers special teams coord. Shawn Slocum served in a similar capacity at Texas A&M when Patriots DL Ty Warren was a member of the team from 2000-02 and both are native to Bryan, Texas...Patriots offensive asst. Brian Ferentz’s father, Kirk, is the head coach at the University of Iowa, and tutored Packers T Bryan Bulaga at the school from 2007-09…Other college teammates include Patriots S Brandon Meriweather and Packers CB Sam Shields (Miami), Patriots OL Rich Ohrnberger and Packers TE Andrew Quarless (Penn State), Patriots DT Myron Pryor and Packers P Tim Masthay (Kentucky), Patriots CB Jonathan Wilhite and Packers CB Pat Lee (Auburn, both ‘08 draft picks), Patriots OL Quinn Ojinnaka and Packers S Anthony Smith, and Patriots DL Kade Weston and Packers DE Jarius Wynn.
INDIVIDUALLY VS. PATRIOTS
- In two career games against the Patriots, WR Donald Driver has five receptions for 85 yards...QB Aaron Rodgers relieved an injured Brett Favre in the 2006 meeting but broke his foot and was placed on injured reserve the following week.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Nov. 19, 2006, at Lambeau Field; Patriots won, 35-0
- Patriots QB Tom Brady threw four TD passes to four different receivers and the Packers compiled just 120 yards of total offense.
- Packers QB Brett Favre left the game in the second quarter with an elbow injury, the result of a hit from LB Tully Banta-Cain. QB Aaron Rodgers replaced him and injured his foot but finished the game. Later, Rodgers (4-of-12 passing for 32 yards, plus 11 yards rushing) found out the foot was broken, and his season was over.
- The Packers were an abysmal 1-of-13 on third downs, and the Patriots possessed the ball for 39 minutes, 10 seconds to the Packers’ 20:50.
- Patriots RB Laurence Maroney rushed 19 times for 82 yards and caught one of Brady’s TD passes, a 19-yarder in the fourth quarter for the game’s final points.
LAST MEETING, AT NEW ENGLAND
- Oct. 13, 2002; Packers won, 28-10
- After the Patriots took an early 3-0 lead, the Packers scored 28 unanswered points to upset the defending Super Bowl champions.
- RB Ahman Green rushed 31 times for 136 yards and a TD, a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter to put the Packers ahead 28-3.
- Green also scored on an 8-yard TD pass from Favre as the Packers posted two TDs in less than a minute’s time late in the second quarter, the second resulting from one of New England’s four turnovers.
- Favre threw career TD passes No. 299, 300 and 301 while Brady threw three INTs. The Patriots also committed 12 penalties for 126 yards.
DEFENSE KEEPING THEM OUT
- Having finished 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 14.5 points per game, an improvement over last season’s mark of 18.6 per contest. Green Bay has allowed 18 touchdowns, the fewest in the league.
- 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 six games, the Packers have given up 7.2 points per game. This Sunday they will be facing a New England team that ranks No. 1 in the NFL with an average of 31.9 points per game.
- Green Bay currently ranks No. 9 in the NFL in overall defense, allowing an average of 314.1 yards per game through Week 14, and No. 3 in the league in passing defense at 196.8 yards per game.
- The defense has limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 68.1, which ranks No. 1 in the NFL. The 68.1 rating is a shade below 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 will face perhaps their biggest challenge of the season in Patriots QB Tom Brady, who ranks No. 1 in the NFL with a 109.9 passer rating. Brady hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 268 attempts.
- The Packers have recorded 18 interceptions, which is tied for No. 3 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks have completed 56.4 percent of their passes (No. 3). Green Bay has given up only 12 TD passes, which ranks tied for 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. 19 in the league with 117.3 yards allowed per game.
- 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).
- After outscoring their opponents a combined 139-43 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 306-189 this season, and that 117-point differential ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind the team Green Bay will see this Sunday night. New England leads the league with a 139-point margin, outscoring its opponents 415-276.
- Green Bay ranks No. 3 in the NFL among teams with six or more wins with an average margin of victory of 16.63. On the flip side, the Packers’ average margin of defeat in their five losses is the lowest in the league at 3.20.
- 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 156-94, and that 62-point margin in the opening half ranks tied for No. 6 in the league.
- Green Bay has been even more prolific opening the second half as it has outscored its opponents 90-26 in the third quarter. That differential of 64 points ranks No. 1 in the NFL.
- The Packers lead the league in scoring defense at 14.5 points per game and rank No. 11 in scoring offense with an average of 23.5 points per game.
STAT OF THE WEEK
- Punting indoors for the third and final time this season this past Sunday at Detroit, P Tim Masthay made the most of the opportunity.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Masthay became the first punter in franchise history to post a 50-yard average in a game with eight or more attempts.
- Masthay recorded a 50.3-yard gross average on his eight punts against the Lions, as well as a season-high net average of 43.4 (min. three attempts).
- He posted four punts of 50-plus yards on the afternoon, including a career-long 62-yard kick in the first quarter.
- Masthay became the first Packers punter to register four 50-yard punts in the same game since Jon Ryan did so on Nov. 12, 2006, at the Metrodome against the Vikings.
- He also placed three of the punts inside the 20-yard line at Detroit, giving him 18 kicks inside the 20 this season. That is the most since Ryan posted 18 in 2007, and with one more inside the 20, Masthay would have the most in a season since Josh Bidwell recorded 26 punts inside the 20 in 2002.
- Masthay has been especially productive over his past six games, ranking No. 4 in the NFL in net average (41.1), No. 7 in gross average (45.3), and tied for No. 7 in punts inside the 20 (13) over that span.
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 accomplished something
- that even the record-setting one in 2009 could not.
- In the five games prior to Sunday’s contest at Detroit, 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 throw an interception in five straight starts in a season was Bart Starr in 1966.
- Rodgers was intercepted on Sunday in Detroit when a deep pass down the middle went off WR Greg Jennings’ hands and into a defender’s. That snapped a streak of 181 attemps 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.
- The Packers have their work cut out for them 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.
STREAKING DOWN THE STRETCH
- Through Week 14, 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. 8 with 3,289 yards, No. 4 with a 98.5 passer rating, tied for No. 6 with 23 TD passes, and No. 3 in passes of 25-plus yards with 32.
- Rodgers’ status for Sunday’s game at New England is in question after he sustained a concussion on a second-quarter run on Sunday in Detroit that forced him to miss the final series of the first half and the entire second half.
- Before that, he had put together the finest stretch of his career over the previous four contests. Starting with the Week 9 game vs. Dallas, Rodgers led 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 posted a passer rating of 110-plus in each of those four games. It was 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 since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to post four straight games with a 110-plus rating in consecutive seasons.
- Despite having a Week 10 bye and missing a good portion of Sunday’s game at Detroit, Rodgers ranks tied for No. 2 among all NFL quarterbacks with 15 completions of 25-plus yards since Week 9, including four in the Week 13 win over San Francisco.
- Rodgers’ TD passes of 57 yards to Greg Jennings and 61 yards to Donald Driver against the 49ers 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 the Elias Sports Bureau, 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.
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 14, Green Bay ranks tied for No. 9 in the league with 69 accepted penalties (5.3 per game), a pace that would make for a dramatic improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 7 in penalty yardage with 541, an average of 41.6 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 three penalties for 20 yards this past Sunday at Detroit, it was the seventh game this season 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.
- The eight penalties over a four-game span earlier this season (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) was 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 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 seven games this season match 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 6-1 this season when they are penalized three or fewer times in a game.
- In Week 13 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 43 penalties for 325 yards over their last 10 games, an average of 4.3 penalties for 32.5 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. 5 in the NFL with 87 points off of takeaways, with Sunday’s opponent, New England, leading the league in the category with 105 points off of turnovers.
- The Packers are No. 7 in the NFL with a plus-7 turnover ratio and have a plus-8 mark over the past six games. Starting with the second half of the Week 7 Minnesota contest, the Packers have a plus-11 margin over that span.
- Of the Packers’ 24 takeaways this season, 12 of them have been converted into touchdowns. That 50.0 TD percentage ranks tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Indianapolis (10-18, 55.6), and Green Bay’s 12 TDs off of takeaways are tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England (13).
- Green Bay has averaged 3.63 points off of takeaways this season, good for No. 8 in the league.
- The Packers are tied for No. 3 in the league with 18 interceptions and are tied with six other teams for the NFL lead in INTs for TDs (three).
- With LB Clay Matthews’ INT for a TD in Week 9 vs. Dallas, the Packers have now posted at least three INTs for TDs in each of the last three seasons. That is the first time in franchise history that Green Bay has accomplished that feat. The Packers have posted at least three INTs for TDs in four of five seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field. They didn’t score a point off a takeaway vs. San Francisco in Week 13, snapping 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 6-19 (.240) 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 tied for No. 2 in the NFL with a plus-42 turnover ratio since 2006 behind only New England (plus-49).
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.
- Through Week 14, the Packers have had another productive season in that area, scoring touchdowns on 24 of 40 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 60.0 percent touchdown rate ranks No. 8 in the NFL, and the 24 TDs rank tied for No. 10.
- Green Bay’s 192 points in the red zone this season (24 touchdowns, eight field goals) rank tied for No. 12 in the league. Its average of 4.80 points per red-zone trip ranks No. 10 in the NFL.
- The Packers’ production has come in fewer opportunities than 2009, as they rank tied for No. 14 in the league with the 40 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). 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 No. 2 in the NFL behind only Minnesota DE Jared Allen (23).
- 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
- 31 more sacks in the next 12 games.
- Green Bay’s 37 sacks as a team through Week 14 rank No. 4 in the NFL behind only the N.Y. Giants and Pittsburgh (39 each), and Oakland and San Diego (38 each). The Packers rank No. 4 in sack yardage with 250 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 37 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, including two against the 49ers in Week 13, but he is not expected to play again this week after missing this past Sunday’s game at Detroit as well with a calf injury.
- The Packers’ sack total matches their final tally in 2009, when they ranked No. 11 in the league in the category.
- The Packers’ best league ranking in sacks was No. 3, a spot they held on three occasions (1965, 1966, 2001).
KEEPING THE CHAINS MOVING
- Green Bay’s offense hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success as it did last season on third down 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 the following Sunday.
- Despite a 3-of-15 (20.0 percent) performance this past Sunday against the Lions, the Packers have moved up 15 spots in the league rankings since Week 9, currently checking in at No. 11 with a 40.7 conversion rate.
- The Packers were one of the best teams in the league on third down in 2009, as they converted at a 47.0 percent clip. That led the NFC and ranked No. 3 in the NFL.
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.
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 111 tackles (80 solo) through 13 games, including five double-digit tackle games.
- His 29 combined tackles in Weeks 6-7 rank second in Hawk’s career for the most tackles over a two-game span, trailing only a combined 33 tackles during his rookie campaign of 2006 (Weeks 12-13).
- Hawk is also tied for second on the team with 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 77 contests with 74 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 nine starts, Bishop has registered 96 tackles, more than triple his best season total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 97 tackles on the season (68 solo) rank No. 2 on the team, and he leads Green Bay’s LBs with a career-best seven passes defensed. Bishop has also posted a career-high two sacks and a team-high six double-digit tackle games.
- In the Week 7 win vs. Minnesota, Bishop made one of the game’s key plays when he picked off QB Brett Favre in the third quarter and returned the interception 32 yards for a touchdown. It was the first INT and TD of the fourth-year linebacker’s career, and the first INT return for a TD by a Packers LB since Barnett posted a 95-yarder vs. New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2005.
- With Hawk adding an INT of his own against the Vikings, the duo became the first Packers LB tandem to each post an INT in the same game since Barnett and Brady Poppinga posted picks at Miami on Oct. 22, 2006.
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 in Week 13 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, 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 the Week 13 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 61 receptions with Driver and Jones tied for second with 40 catches each. Nelson has a career-high 38 receptions for 403 yards, while RB Brandon Jackson has 39 catches.
- The last time the Packers had five players, regardless of position, with at least 35 catches in one season was 1997 (WRs Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks, RBs Dorsey Levens and William Henderson, and TE Mark Chmura).
- If Jackson and Nelson are able to hit the 40-catch mark for the season, it would be the first time since 1980 that the Packers had five players each post 40 receptions (WR James Lofton and Aundra Thompson, RB Eddie Lee Ivery, FB Gerry Ellis and TE Paul Coffman).
CLIFFY GETS TO 150
- When T Chad Clifton lined up as the starting left tackle in Week 7 vs. Minnesota, he became just the 19th player in Packers history to appear in 150 career games in a Green Bay uniform.
- Clifton is only the sixth offensive lineman in franchise annals to hit the 150-game mark, joining Forrest Gregg (187), Larry McCarren (162), Ron Hallstrom (162), Ken Ruettgers (156) and Frank Winters (156). By appearing in the game at New England this Sunday, Clifton will move into sole possession of the No. 4 spot among offensive linemen by playing in his 157th career game.
- Against the division-rival Vikings in Week 7, Clifton posted one of his finer performances in recent memory, limiting Pro Bowl DE Jared Allen to just one tackle and no sacks.
- In Week 9, Clifton was matched up for much of the evening with Pro Bowl LB DeMarcus Ware, who came into the game tied for No. 2 in the league with eight sacks. Clifton limited him to just two tackles and no sacks as the line allowed just one sack of Rodgers on the night.
COOL UNDER FIRE
- QB Aaron Rodgers was one of the most effective passers in the league in 2009 against the blitz, and that strong play has continued this season.
- According to STATS, Rodgers ranks No. 1 in the league this season (min. 100 attempts) with a 109.5 passer rating against the blitz through Week 13 (the stat is updated on Wednesdays), completing 95-of-141 attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,256 yards and 11 touchdowns with four interceptions.
- Last season, Rodgers ranked No. 2 in the NFL with a 112.7 rating, just a shade below Saints QB Drew Brees’ 112.9 mark. Rodgers threw for 1,699 yards and 11 TDs with three INTs on 125-of-180 passing (69.4 percent).
- Over the past two seasons, Rodgers ranks No. 1 in the league (min. 200 attempts) with a 111.3 passer rating vs. the blitz.
PACKERS COME UP SHORT IN DETROIT
- The Packers were well aware of the Lions’ ability to stay in most of their
- games this season, having seen it themselves at Lambeau Field back in
- October in a tightly fought Green Bay win.
- On Sunday, three turnovers by the Packers and a key fourth-quarter drive by Detroit proved to be the difference in a 7-3 loss in front of 57,659 at Ford Field that dropped Green Bay to 8-5 on the season. Green Bay played the entire second half and the final series of the first half without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who sustained his second concussion of the season on a second-quarter scramble.
- With the Bears losing at New England later in the day, the Packers remained a game back of Chicago (9-4) in the NFC North race with three games left, but that was hardly much consolation for a Green Bay team that saw its 10-game winning streak against the Lions come to a frustrating end.
- “The bottom line is they came out here and they kicked our butts today,” wide receiver James Jones said. “We came out here and we laid down and didn’t play the way we know we can play. As an offense, we scored three points.
- “With the people we’ve got on this offense, it doesn’t matter if it’s the second-string quarterback or the seventh-string quarterback. With the people we’ve got on this offense, you don’t put up three points. That’s ridiculous.”
- The three-point performance was the fewest by Green Bay since it was shut out by New England, 35-0, on Nov. 19, 2006. The Packers registered just 258 yards of total offense, their lowest output since Week 1 of 2009 vs. Chicago, and their 13 first downs matched a season low (at N.Y. Jets in Week 8). Green Bay’s three running backs combined for just 31 yards on 12 carries (2.6 avg.).
- The offense appeared to be set up for a good start after Green Bay’s defense forced a Detroit three-and-out on the opening possession of the game with the Lions pinned deep in their own territory. The Packers started at their own 46, but on the third play of the drive, rookie tight end Andrew Quarless fumbled after picking up 12 yards on a short pass from Rodgers, and cornerback Brandon McDonald recovered at the 28.
- “You can’t start the game that way with a turnover,” guard Josh Sitton said. “You just can’t turn the ball over period, especially when you are coming on the road versus a good football team who the whole year has been in every one of their football games. You can’t give them the energy and the momentum like that by turning the ball over.”
- Green Bay responded with a takeaway of its own on the ensuing drive, with cornerback Tramon Williams’ interception of a Drew Stanton pass in the end zone halting a Detroit scoring opportunity. Neither team was able to generate anything offensively on their respective next two series. Then, with under two minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Rodgers ran a play-action fake from the Green Bay 27 as wide receiver Greg Jennings found separation from safety Amari Spievey deep down the middle of the field. The pass hit Jennings in stride up high near the Detroit 30, but it bounced off his hands and into the waiting arms of Spievey.
- The officials originally whistled the Lions for an illegal-contact penalty on the play, but picked up the flag, saying Rodgers had moved outside of the pocket on the throw.
- “I let the team down with the big drop in the first quarter,” said Jennings, who posted 52 yards receiving on four catches. “Obviously it was a momentum-changer and you just can’t have that when you are playoff-caliber and you are trying to reach the playoffs and you’ve got bigger goals.”
- With just over three minutes remaining in the opening half, Rodgers dropped back to pass on second down, but tucked the ball and took it up the middle for an 18-yard pickup out to the Packers’ 43. He didn’t slide on the play, absorbing a glancing blow first from Spievey before linebacker Landon Johnson delivered a harder hit up high that caused Rodgers’ head to hit the turf.
- Rodgers was slow to get up after the run, and the Packers used their first timeout of the game following the play. Rodgers stayed under center but was dropped for a 13-yard sack on the next play. He completed a short pass to running back Brandon Jackson that came up well short of the marker on third down in what would turn out to be Rodgers’ final snap of the day as he finished 7-of-11 for 46 yards and the interception.
- “I don’t have the specifics of exactly how he was feeling,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said when he was asked what Rodgers’ reaction was after coming out of the game. “It [was] the opinion of the medical (staff) and of Aaron that it was best for him not to go.”
- With the game scoreless at the break, Packers’ backup signal-caller Matt Flynn moved the offense down the field on the opening series of the second half. The biggest gain came on the first play of the drive as he rolled out to his left before finding Quarless for a 20-yard pickup. The duo hooked up for an 11-yard completion three plays later, but on third-and-3 at Detroit’s 24, Jennings couldn’t come up with a pass from Flynn near the left side of the end zone as the Packers were forced to settle for a 42-yard Mason Crosby kick that put them up 3-0.
- On the next offensive series, Flynn led another methodical drive that started at the Green Bay 10. He scrambled up the middle for a 12-yard gain to pick up a third-and-10, the Packers’ first third-down conversion of the day to that point on their first eight attempts, and two plays later lofted a perfectly thrown ball to Jennings down the right sideline over cornerback Chris Houston for a 32-yard pickup to the Detroit 35.
- Following a short pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson that picked up 18 yards to the Lions’ 9, Flynn went to Donald Driver over the middle on second-and-goal after running a play fake. But linebacker DeAndre Levy didn’t bite, instead staying back to step in front of Driver and pick off the pass in the end zone.
- It was the third turnover of the day for a Green Bay team that had given the ball away three times total in its last six games entering Sunday.
- The Lions quickly moved down the field with a deep pass down the sideline from Stanton to wide receiver Calvin Johnson accounting for 44 yards, his only reception of the day. But on third-and-4 at the Green Bay 30, safety Nick Collins came off the right side to pressure Stanton and force a pass that sailed over the head of Johnson. Green Bay kept the Lions off the scoreboard as kicker Dave Rayner’s 48-yard attempt sailed wide right.
- But the Packers went three-and-out on their next possession, with Flynn being dropped for a 4-yard loss on third-and-1 when he turned the wrong way on a handoff intended for running back John Kuhn.
- Taking over at their own 20, the Lions put together their lone scoring drive of the game, with Stanton (10-of-22, 117 yards, 39.4 rating) posting a pair of critical third-down completions on a day that saw Detroit convert only 3-of-15 third downs. He finished off the drive with a screen to tight end Will Heller for a 13-yard touchdown as the Lions took a 7-3 lead.
- Green Bay’s offense would get one last chance after the defense forced a three-and-out with just over four minutes remaining. Facing a third-and-11 from their own 8, Flynn (15-of-26, 177 yards) found Jones down the seam for an 18-yard gain, and then followed that up with four straight completions for 42 yards that put the ball at the Detroit 32 with 1:29 to play.
- Flynn’s pass over the middle on third-and-1 intended for Driver slipped out of his hand and sailed over the veteran’s head. On fourth down, Flynn elected to go deep, throwing to Jennings on the left side of the end zone, but the pass fell out of Jennings’ reach as Green Bay’s hopes for a game-winning drive in the closing seconds were extinguished.
- “Obviously putting him in the position to bring us back in that fourth quarter, that’s a lot to put on Matt,” Jennings said. “We shouldn’t be in that position in the first place. Matt is fully capable of playing at a high level and we trust Matt. We know what he is capable of and I think he stepped up.
- “When it is all said and done, we didn’t get it done as a unit and we didn’t get it done as a team.”