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-Steelers Super Bowl XLV Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Steelers Super Bowl XLV Dope Sheet:
GREEN BAY (13-6) VS. PITTSBURGH (14-4)
Sunday, Feb. 6 - Cowboys Stadium - 5:30 p.m. CST
PACKERS AND STEELERS TO MEET IN SUPER BOWL XLV
- In a meeting of two of the most successful franchises in league history, Green Bay and Pittsburgh will square off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, Feb. 6.
- For the Packers, it is their first Super Bowl appearance since the team advanced to the world championship game in back-to-back seasons in 1996-97. Pittsburgh has played in the Super Bowl twice twice in the past five seasons (2005, 2008), emerging victorious both times.
- With a 21-14 win over the division-rival Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on Jan. 23, the Packers became the first No. 6 seed in the NFC to advance to the Super Bowl since the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format in 1990. The only other NFL team to accomplish the feat is the franchise the Packers will face in Super Bowl XLV, as the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers won three road games as the No. 6 seed to advance to Super Bowl XL.
- The Packers enter Super Bowl XLV on a five-game winning streak, having won back-to-back home games over the N.Y. Giants and Chicago to close out the regular season and clinch a postseason berth, and then winning three straight road games in the playoffs. Pittsburgh brings a four-game winning streak into the game, and has won eight of its last nine contests including playoffs.
- After starting out the season 3-3, the Packers have a 10-3 mark (.769) since Week 7. Those 10 wins are tied for the most in the NFL over that span with New England and Pittsburgh, with the Steelers posting an identical 10-3 record during that period.
- This will be the second straight season that the Packers and Steelers have met. The teams squared off in 2009 in Week 15 at Heinz Field, with Pittsburgh emerging victorious, 37-36, on a 19-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger to WR Mike Wallace as time expired.
- The Packers hold an 18-14 edge in the all-time series with the Steelers, but Pittsburgh has won seven of the last nine meetings. The teams first played on Oct. 15, 1933, in Green Bay, and the Packers won the first nine games between the teams.
WITH THE CALL
- FOX Sports, now in its 17th season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to a national audience.
- Play-by-play man Joe Buck and color analyst Troy Aikman will have the call from the broadcast booth with Pam Oliver and Chris Myers reporting from the sidelines.
- Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 53-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo is in its 12th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 43 markets in five states. The WTMJ broadcast of Super Bowl XLV will be available in Green Bay and Milwaukee.
- Westwood One radio will air the game across the country. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (analyst) will call the action with James Lofton and Mark Malone reporting from the sidelines. Jim Gray hosts pregame and halftime shows with Scott Graham also hosting the pregame show.
A HISTORY OF SUCCESS
- When the Packers and Steelers take the field for Super Bowl XLV, it will be the first time that two of the most storied franchises in NFL history have met in the playoffs.
- By advancing to this year’s Super Bowl, Green Bay and Pittsburgh now have a combined 13 Super Bowl appearances between them, five for the Packers and eight for the Steelers (tied with Dallas for the most in the NFL).
- The Packers and Steelers have won 18 world championships between them, with Green Bay’s 12 titles more than any other team in NFL history. Pittsburgh’s six world championships are the most by any team in the AFC.
- Pittsburgh’s six Super Bowl titles are the most of any NFL team, with the Packers’ three Super Bowl championships tied for No. 4 in the league.
- The Packers’ NFC Championship win at Chicago on Jan. 23 was their 28th victory in the postseason, third most in NFL history. Green Bay now trails only Pittsburgh and Dallas (33 each) for the most playoff wins.
- At 28-16 (.636), Green Bay owns the league’s best all-time postseason winning percentage. Checking in right behind the Packers is Pittsburgh, who has a 33-19 mark (.635) in the playoffs.
- Since the advent of free agency in 1993, Green Bay owns the third-best regular-season winning percentage in the league (.622) with Pittsburgh checking in at No. 2 (.630) behind only New England (.642).
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers:
All-time, regular season: 18-14-0
All-time, postseason: Never met
Streaks: The Steelers have won seven of the last nine games.
Last meeting: Dec. 20, 2009, at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh; Steelers won, 37-36
Mike McCarthy: 52-34-0, .605, (incl. 4-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Mike Tomlin: 48-22-0, .686 (incl. 5-1 postseason); 4th NFL season
Head to Head: Tomlin 1-0
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 0-1 vs. Steelers; Tomlin 1-0 vs. Packers
MIKE McCARTHY…Is in fifth year as the Packers’ 14th head coach.
- Has led his team to the playoffs three of the past four years, and to the NFC Championship Game twice in that span.
- 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 five 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.
MIKE TOMLIN…Is in fourth year as the Steelers’ 16th head coach.
- Has taken his team to two Super Bowls in four years.
- Became the youngest head coach (36 years, 323 days) in NFL history to win a Super Bowl when the Steelers defeated the Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII.
- Is the only coach in Steelers’ history to win division titles in each of his first two seasons.
- Was the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator in 2006 after spending the previous five seasons (2001-05) as defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- A three-year starter at wide receiver at William & Mary, was a teammate of former Packers safety Darren Sharper there.
THE PACKERS-STEELERS SERIES
- The Packers lead the all-time regular-season series with an 18-14 edge, having won the first nine contests between the two teams from 1933-46.
- Pittsburgh played its first-ever road game in the NFL at City Stadium on Oct. 15, 1933, a 47-0 Packers victory.
- The Packers’ last win in the series was a memorable won, coming on Christmas Eve 1995. Pittsburgh receiver Yancey Thigpen dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass in the end zone in the closing moments to give the Packers a 24-19 victory and the NFC Central Division title.
- The 2009 meeting won by the Steelers was the highest-scoring game (combined score) in the 32 contests. The 73 total points (37-36) surpassed the 1969 matchup by one point (38-34 Packers).
Several Packers coaches have ties to the Pittsburgh area...Head Coach Mike McCarthy grew up in Greenfield, a neighboorhood just outside of downtown. He also coached at the University of Pittsburgh for four
seasons...Defensive coordinator Dom Capers held the same job with the Steelers from 1992-94, and OLB coach Kevin Greene played for the Steelers during that same time...Safeties coach Darren Perry played seven seasons (1992-98) with the Steelers, starting in Super Bowl XXX, and he also coached DBs for Pittsburgh for four seasons (2003-06)...Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin spent four years coaching at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. ...QB coach Tom Clements, who was born in McKees Rocks, Pa., an area on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, served as QB coach for the Steelers for three seasons under Bill Cowher (2001-03)...TE coach Ben McAdoo, a Homer City, Pa., native, graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and coached at Pitt as an offensive assistant in 2003...Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum was a graduate assistant for the defense at Pitt in 1990...Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau coached DBs for the Packers for four seasons (1976-79)…Perry’s first NFL coaching job was with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2002 when LeBeau was the head coach there…Steelers special teams coordinator Al Everest held the same position with the Saints when McCarthy was the offensive coordinator there (2000-04)...Packers FB John Kuhn entered the NFL as a non-drafted free agent with the Steelers in 2005 and played in nine games for Pittsburgh in 2006; he is also a York, Pa., native and played his college ball at Shippensburg University (Pa.)…Packers director of player development Rob Davis also played at Shippensburg…Packers defensive quality control coach Scott McCurley was a four-year letterman (1999-2002) at linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh, and was born in New Castle, Pa. …Steelers P Jeremy Kapinos played two seasons for the Packers (2008-09)...Steelers CB Will Allen and Packers LBs A.J. Hawk and Matt Wilhelm were teammates on Ohio State’s 2002 national championship team. Packers DE Ryan Pickett also was a Buckeye teammate of Allen’s...Packers S Charlie Peprah and Steelers S Anthony Madison played in the same secondary at Alabama...Other former college teammates include Packers LB Frank Zombo and Steelers WR Antonio Brown (Central Michigan), Packers DE Howard Green and Steelers S Ryan Clark (LSU), and Packers C Jason Spitz and Steelers CB William Gay (Louisville).
INDIVIDUALLY VS. STEELERS
- WR Donald Driver has eight receptions for 140 yards in two contests against Pittsburgh...DE Cullen Jenkins blocked a FG attempt in the 2005 meeting. LAST MEETING
- Dec. 20, 2009, at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh; Steelers won, 37-36.
- Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger threw for a franchise record 503 yards and hit WR Mike Wallace with a 19-yard TD pass on the final play to give the Steelers a dramatic win and hand the Packers their lone loss over the final eight games of the regular season.
- The two QBs put on an aerial show, as Roethlisberger was 29-of-46 with three TDs, including a 60-yarder to Wallace on the Steelers’ first play of the game. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was 26-of-48 for 383 yards and three TDs.
- Rodgers rallied the Packers from a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter, as the lead changed hands four times in the final eight minutes. Rodgers’ 24-yard TD pass to WR James Jones with 2:06 left had given the Packers a 36-30 lead before Roethlisberger drove the Steelers 86 yards in 11 plays for the victory.
- Packers TE Jermichael Finley matched the single-game franchise record for receptions by a TE with nine, for 74 yards. WRs Greg Jennings (5-118), Jordy Nelson (4-71) and Donald Driver (3-76) also put up big numbers.
- The Steelers had two 100-yard receivers in WR Hines Ward (7-126) and TE Heath Miller (7-118), while RB Rashard Mendenhall (6-73) and WRs Santonio Holmes (3-77) and Wallace (2-79) brought the two-team total to nine pass catchers with at least 70 yards.
PRODUCTION ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL
- Green Bay was one of four teams in the NFL to have both the offense (No. 9) and defense (No. 5) rank among the league’s top 10. That is the second straight year the Packers have had both units finish in the top 10 with the 2009 team featuring the No. 6 offense and the No. 2 defense, and the first time Green Bay has accomplished that feat since 1997-98.
- Green Bay’s offense ranked among the league’s top 10 for the fifth consecutive season and posted its most prolific performance against the Giants in Week 16 when it recorded a season-high 515 yards, the most since the Packers registered 548 at Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003.
- Despite missing the Week 15 contest at New England due to a concussion, QB Aaron Rodgers finished among the top 10 in nearly every significant passing category for the second straight season.
- Rodgers spread the ball around, with three wide receivers hitting the 50-catch mark for the first time in franchise history. Greg Jennings (76), Donald Driver (51) and James Jones (50) all posted 50 receptions on the season. The Packers were one of only five NFL teams in 2010 to have three WRs with 50-plus receptions.
- On the other side of the ball, the Packers posted their best scoring defense mark since the Super Bowl champion team of 1996 (13.1 ppg). Green Bay finished No. 2 in the league by giving up 15.0 points per game, trailing only Pittsburgh (14.5), highlighted by three games where its opponent did not get into the end zone.
- The Packers also posted 47 sacks, the most by a Green Bay defense since the 2001 team registered 52. With the 47 sacks, the Packers finished tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Pittsburgh (48), the highest ranking in franchise history.
- Green Bay finished No. 6 in the NFL with 32 takeaways, including 24 interceptions (No. 2). It was the second straight 30-plus takeaway season for the Packers, the first time they had accomplished that feat since 2002-03.
- After playing five of the past six games outdoors in cold-weather conditions, the Packers will head indoors for the second time this postseason, an environment they have had some success in during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure.
- Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will be the sixth time in franchise history that the Packers have played in a dome in the postseason. It will be the second time they have played indoors in a Super Bowl, with the first instance coming in Super Bowl XXXI vs. New England at the Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 26, 1997.
- Since McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers are 11-6 (.647) in dome games (including playoffs).
- 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 381.6 yards of total offense and 30.6 points in the 17 dome games compared to averages of 356.3 yards per game and 24.3 points per game in outdoor contests over that span. In 12 of the 17 dome games, the Packers posted at least 370 yards of total offense.
- QB Aaron Rodgers has a 111.5 passer rating in 12 career starts (including postseason) in domes, with 3,434 passing yards, 25 TDs and just six INTs on 264-of-385 passing (68.6 percent).
- His 111.5 passer rating indoors (including playoffs) since 2008 ranks No. 1 in the NFL. He leads the league in yards per attempt at 8.92 and ranks No. 2 in interception percentage at 1.6 (min. 200 attempts).
- Rodgers has registered seven 300-yard games in domes in his 12 starts, and has averaged 286.2 passing yards per game despite playing less than a half at Detroit this season in Week 14 (concussion).
- Of his top five single-game yardage totals, three have come indoors, including a career-best 423 yards at Arizona last year in a Wild Card game (Jan. 10, 2010) and 366 yards at Atlanta this season in the Divisional contest (Jan. 15, 2011).
- The Packers’ defense has done its part as well, posting 36 takeaways (2.1 per game) and seven defensive touchdowns in the 17 dome games since ’06, including six contests with at least three takeaways. That has contributed to Green Bay’s plus-11 turnover ratio indoors since 2006.
AT THE HELM
- Having led Green Bay to the playoffs in three of his five seasons as head coach, Mike McCarthy joined Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to guide the Packers to the Super Bowl.
- McCarthy’s first Super Bowl appearance comes in his fifth season in Green Bay, the same point that Holmgren led the Packers for the first time to the NFL title game in 1996.
- The Packers’ 21-14 win at Chicago on Jan. 23 was their second NFC Championship Game appearance in the last four seasons under McCarthy, the only team in the conference to do so over that span.
- Including playoffs, McCarthy has guided the Packers to a 24-12 mark (.667) over the past two seasons. Those 24 victories are tied for No. 3 in the NFL over that span behind only New Orleans (27) and Indianapolis (26).
- That includes 11 wins away from Lambeau Field (11-9), which is also tied for No. 3 in the league since 2009.
- Since taking over as head coach in 2006, McCarthy has a 52-34 record (.605), which includes a 4-2 mark (.667) in the postseason.
- The Packers have a 21-9 (.700) regular-season record against NFC North opponents under McCarthy, which ranks first among NFC North teams over that period and tied for No. 4 in the NFL.
- Green Bay posted a 4-2 record in the NFC North this season, the fifth straight season under McCarthy that the Packers won at least four contests in their division. The Packers and New England were the only NFL teams to post four-plus wins in their division each year from 2006-10.
STATS OF THE WEEK
- In Green Bay’s 21-14 win over Chicago on Jan. 23 in the NFC Championship at Soldier Field, three takeaways by the defense loomed large in the victory.
- Rookie CB Sam Shields led the way with two interceptions, including a pick of Bears QB Caleb Hanie with less than a minute remaining to clinch the win. His first one came at the end of the first half when he intercepted a deep pass from QB Jay Cutler to WR Johnny Knox with the Bears in Green Bay territory.
- Shields also posted a sack in the game to become the first NFL rookie to register a sack and an interception in a playoff game since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
- He also became the first Packer to register two interceptions and a sack in a postseason game. Shields was only the fifth NFL player since 1982 to do so in a playoff contest, and the first since New England S Rodney Harrison (Feb. 6, 2005, vs. Philadelphia).
- NT B.J. Raji added a critical interception of his own, picking off Hanie in the fourth quarter with the Packers protecting a 14-7 lead. Raji dropped back into coverage to pick off the pass intended for RB Matt Forté and returned the interception 18 yards for a touchdown.
- With the score, Raji became the first defensive lineman in franchise history to post an INT return for a touchdown in the postseason, and he was the first NFL defensive lineman to post one since Jaguars DE Clyde Simmons scored on a 20-yard INT return at Buffalo on Dec. 28, 1996.
- Raji became just the fifth Packer since the 1970 merger to return an INT for a TD in the postseason, a list that includes CB Tramon Williams, who posted a 70-yard return for a score in the Divisional playoff at Atlanta. It is the first time in franchise history that the Packers have returned two INTs for touchdowns in a postseason.
DEFENSE KEEPING THEM OUT
- Having finished No. 2 in the league’s final overall rankings and No. 7 in points allowed in 2009, the Green Bay defense enjoyed an even more productive year when it came to keeping opponents off the scoreboard.
- The Packers ranked No. 2 in the league in scoring defense, allowing the opposition an average of just 15.0 points per game, as they trailed only Pittsburgh (14.5) in the category.
- During the postseason, Green Bay has allowed just 17.0 points per game, No. 1 among playoff teams that played two or more games.
- Including their 21-14 NFC Championship Game win at Chicago, the Packers have allowed 17 or fewer points in 11 of 19 games this season.
- In all three of the Packers’ playoff wins this season, they have held their opponents under their regular-season scoring average. The Eagles (No. 3 at 27.4 ppg) posted just 16 points, the Falcons (No. 5 at 25.9 ppg) scored 21 points, while the Bears registered 14 (No. 21 at 20.9).
- Green Bay allowed just 24 TDs during the regular season, the fewest by the Packers since 19 in 1996, and that total was No. 2 in the NFL behind only the Steelers (22).
- The No. 2 scoring ranking this season was the Packers’ best mark since they finished No. 1 in the league in that category during the 1996 Super Bowl season (13.1 per game).
- In the final nine regular-season games, the Packers gave up 10.4 points per contest, including five games where they held their opponents to seven points or less. In Week 15 they allowed a season-high 31 points against a New England team that finished No. 1 in the NFL in scoring offense at 32.4 per game, but 14 of those points came courtesy of an INT for a TD and long kickoff return that put New England at Green Bay’s 4-yard line.
- Green Bay finished No. 5 in the NFL in overall defense, allowing an average of 309.1 yards per game, and No. 5 in the league in passing defense at 194.2 yards per game.
- With the No. 5 ranking this season and a No. 2 ranking in 2009, the Packers finished in the top five in overall defense in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1968-69.
- In three playoff contests, the Packers have allowed 282.3 yards per game, including just 194 total yards to Atlanta in the Divisional contest. That was the fewest yards allowed by Green Bay in a playoff game since Dec. 31, 1994, vs. Detroit (171 yards).
- 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 weren’t quite as productive against the run as they finished No. 18 in the league with 114.9 yards allowed per game this season.
- Green Bay allowed just six rushing TDs all year, which ranked No. 3 in the NFL. The Packers’ 11 rushing TDs given up over the past two seasons are the fewest in a two-year span in team history.
- The Packers have given up just 63.0 yards per game on the ground in the postseason, and limited Falcons Pro Bowl RB Michael Turner to only 39 yards on 10 carries on Jan. 15, which matched his season low.
- 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 Turner (Week 12 this season) are the only backs to eclipse 100 yards vs. Green Bay 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.
- The defense limited the Eagles to a season-low 82 yards on 21 carries (3.9 avg.) in the Wild Card victory. Philadelphia was the only team in the league this season to average at least 4 yards per carry in all 16 games.
- 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 glance at where the Packers ranked in some key statistical categories in 2010:
Team, Opponent Passer Rating
1. Green Bay, 67.2
2. Pittsburgh, 73.1
3. Chicago, 74.4
Team, Passing TDs Allowed
1. New Orleans, 13
2. Chicago, 14
3. Pittsburgh, 15
4. Green Bay, 16
Team, Rushing TDs Allowed
1t. Baltimore, 5
1t. Pittsburgh, 5
3. Green Bay, 6
1. New England, 25
2. Green Bay, 24
3. Philadelphia, 23
1. Pittsburgh, 48
2t. Green Bay, 47
2t. Oakland, 47
2t. San Diego, 47
Here is a look at some of Green Bay’s defensive numbers in the regular season since Capers took over as coordinator in 2009:
Team, Rushing TDs Allowed
1. Green Bay, 11
2. Pittsburgh, 12
3. Baltimore, 13
Team, Opponent Passer Rating
1. Green Bay, 68.0
2. N.Y. Jets, 68.2
3. New Orleans, 74.3
1. Green Bay, 54
2. Philadelphia, 48
3. New England, 43
1. Pittsburgh, 95
2t. Green Bay, 84
2t. Oakland, 84
TAKING HIS PLACE AMONG THE GAME’S BEST
- With 35 passing attempts at Atlanta in Week 12, QB Aaron Rodgers surpassed the 1,500-attempt plateau for his career, the benchmark to qualify for career passer rating in the NFL.
- Rodgers has completed 1,038-of-1,611 passes (64.4 percent) in his career for 12,723 yards and 87 touchdowns with 32 interceptions for a 98.4 passer rating in the regular season.
- That rating ranks No. 1 in NFL history, ahead of San Diego QB Philip Rivers, who has a 97.2 career rating.
- Four of the top five rated passers in NFL history are active quarterbacks, with Steve Young (96.8), Tony Romo (95.5) and Tom Brady (95.2) rounding out the top five.
- With a passer rating of 101.2 this season, Rodgers became the first quarterback in franchise history to record a 100-plus passer rating in back-to-back seasons (103.2 in 2009).
- Rodgers joins Rivers as the only NFL signal-callers to register a 100-plus rating in each of the past two seasons, and Rodgers’ combined rating of 102.3 in 2009-10 ranks No. 3 in the league behind Brady (103.1) and Rivers (103.0).
- Having missed the Week 15 game at New England and half of the previous game at Detroit due to a concussion, Rodgers fell 78 yards shy of his third straight 4,000-yard season.
- With 3,922 passing yards this season, Rodgers brought his total in three seasons as a starter to 12,394. That ranks No. 2 in NFL history behind only Kurt Warner (12,612, 1999-2001) for the most passing yards by a QB in his first three seasons as a starter.
- Rodgers completed 312-of-475 passes on the season, a 65.7 completion percentage that ranks No. 2 in team history behind only Brett Favre’s 66.5 mark in 2007.
- Rodgers has thrown just 31 interceptions in his three seasons as a starter, a 2.0 interception percentage that leads the league over that span among quarterbacks with 40 or more starts.
- Rodgers also ranks No. 1 in NFL history (min. 1,500 attempts) in career interception percentage at 2.0, ahead of Neil O’Donnell (2.1) and Brady (2.2).
- Rodgers finished in the top 10 in nearly every major passing category again this season, despite missing the Week 15 contest at New England. He finished No. 3 in passer rating (101.2), No. 7 in yards (3,922), tied for No. 6 in TDs (28), and No. 2 in 25-yard passes (40).
- He joins Brady and Rivers as nominees for FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year, which will be awarded during the week of Super Bowl XLV.
- 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 joined Eagles QB Michael Vick (at Washington, Nov. 15) and Brady (at Detroit, Nov. 25, vs. N.Y. Jets, Dec. 6) as the only QBs to post a 140-plus passer rating, 300 yards passing and four passing TDs in a game this season.
- He matched that career-best TD total with four against the Giants in Week 16, and his 404 yards passing were a regular-season career best. It was the 10th game in which he had three-or-more TD passes and no INTs, the most by an NFL quarterback within three seasons of his first NFL start. It topped Warner’s mark of nine from 1999-2001.
- Last season, Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards as he became the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter.
- In 2009, Rodgers joined Young (San Francisco, 1998) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 TDs and rush for 300 yards and five TDs in the same season.
- In 47 regular-season career starts, Rodgers has eclipsed the century mark in passer rating 25 times and recorded 14 games of 300-plus yards. He posted his 20th career 100-plus passer rating game in just his 36th career start, which ranks third among NFL QBs since 1970 behind only Warner (33) and Romo (34).
- Rodgers threw 70 TD passes in his first 40 career starts, a Packers franchise record.A look at where Rodgers ranks among NFL quarterbacks since he took over as the starter in 2008:
Player - Passing Yards
1. Drew Brees, NO - 14,077
2. Peyton Manning, IND - 13,202
3. Philip Rivers, SD - 12,973
4. Aaron Rodgers, GB - 12,394
Player - Passing TDs
1. Drew Brees, NO - 101
2. Peyton Manning, IND - 93
3. Philip Rivers, SD - 92
4. Aaron Rodgers, GB - 86
Player - Passer Rating
1. Philip Rivers, SD - 103.8
2. Tom Brady, NE - 102.9
3. Aaron Rodgers, GB - 99.4
Player - Yards/Attempt
1. Philip Rivers, SD - 8.62
2. Aaron Rodgers, GB - 7.99
3. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT - 7.94
Player - 25-yard passes
1. Aaron Rodgers, GB - 110
2. Drew Brees, NO - 104
3. Philip Rivers, SD - 103
HEATING UP ON THE BIG STAGE
- As productive as Rodgers has been during the regular season in his three years as the starter, his numbers have been even more impressive in the playoffs.
- With his three-TD performance at Atlanta in the Divisional contest, his third career playoff start, Rodgers etched his name in the NFL postseason record books.
- Combining that outing with his four-TD passing game last season at Arizona in an NFC Wild Card contest and his three-TD game at Philadelphia in the Wild Card round this year, Rodgers’ 10 touchdown passes in his first three postseason starts are the most in NFL history. It topped the mark of nine held by Jeff George, Daryle Lamonica and Dan Marino in their first three playoff starts. Rodgers is also the first QB in NFL postseason history to throw for three-plus TDs in each of his first three playoff starts.
- Rodgers connected on 31-of-36 passes (86.1 percent) for 366 yards and three TDs with no INTs against the Falcons for a 136.8 passer rating. The 31 completions and the percentage were single-game team postseason records.
- The 86.1 completion percentage ranks No. 5 in single-game NFL postseason history, and No. 1 among QBs with 35-plus attempts in a game.
- Along with his 121.4 passer rating against the Cardinals in the playoffs last season (28-of-42, 423 yards, four TDs, one INT) and his 122.5 rating on Jan. 9 against the Eagles (18-of-27, 180 yards, three TDs, no INTs) Rodgers is the only quarterback in league history to register 120-plus passer ratings in each of his first three playoff starts, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. No other NFL quarterback has posted a 120-plus rating in each of his first two postseason starts.
- Rodgers has a career postseason passer rating of 113.0, completing 94-of-135 passes (69.6 percent) for 1,213 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions.
- Rodgers’ career postseason completion percentage of 69.6 ranks No. 2 in NFL postseason history (min. 100 attempts) behind only Erik Kramer (70.0, 91-of-130). His 71.0 completion percentage this postseason leads the NFL and is on pace for the Packers’ single-postseason record.
- He holds both of the top single-game passing yardage marks in Green Bay postseason history with the 423-yard outing at Arizona last season and the 366-yard performance at Atlanta in the Divisional round. He has also recorded three of the franchise’s top seven single-game passer ratings in playoff history.
- Rodgers also ran for a 7-yard TD at Atlanta, the second of three postseason rushing scores in his career. With that rushing TD, he became the first QB in NFL postseason history to throw for 350 yards/three TDs/no INTs while also running for a score in a game.
- In his first year as a full-time starter in 2010, CB Tramon Williams delivered impactful performances throughout the season and has continued to do so in the playoffs.
- In the Packers’ Divisional win at Atlanta, Williams became just the fourth player in franchise history to post two interceptions in a playoff game. That included a pick on the last play of the first half that he took 70 yards for a TD, the second-longest INT return in Packers playoff history behind only S George Teague (101t, at Detroit, Jan. 8, 1994).
- Williams’ interception of a Michael Vick pass in the end zone in the final minute the previous week clinched Green Bay’s 21-16 Wild Card win over Philadelphia.
- With three career postseason INTs, all coming in this year’s playoffs, Williams ranks tied for No. 4 in team postseason history behind a trio of players with four career INTs (CB Herb Adderley, CB Craig Newsome, S Eugene Robinson).
- Williams’ three INTs in this year’s playoffs rank No. 1 in the league, and he is the first player to register three picks in a postseason since Giants CB R.W. McQuarters also posted three in 2007.
- Williams ranks No. 1 in the NFL with a combined nine interceptions (regular season and playoffs) this season.
- In Week 5 at Washington, Williams posted a 52-yard punt return in the second quarter and a 64-yard interception return in the fourth quarter as he 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, joining Dallas’ Deion Sanders (Sept. 21, 1998) and the late Darrent Williams of Denver (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 posted his sixth interception of the season in Week 16 against the Giants, which topped his previous career high of five set in 2008.
- He led the Packers with a career-high 23 passes defensed, topping his previous mark of 22 in 2009, and was named the first alternate at cornerback for the Pro Bowl. He was added to the team last week as an injury replacement for Eagles CB Asante Samuel.
- All of Williams’ regular-season interceptions came in the last 12 games, and his six interceptions on the season tied him for No. 5 in the NFL.
- Williams 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 in 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.
PROLIFIC IN THE PLAYOFFS
- The Packers have finished in the top 10 in scoring offense each of the past four seasons and have continued that production in the postseason with an average of 30.0 points per game.
- Green Bay’s 48 points at Atlanta in the Divisional contest were a franchise single-game postseason record, topping the mark of 45 set just last season at Arizona in the Packers’ 51-45 Wild Card overtime loss to the Cardinals.
- The Packers became the first team in NFL playoff history to register 45-plus points in a game in back-to-back postseasons.
- Green Bay’s final scoring total against the Falcons wasn’t the only mark set at the Georgia Dome. The Packers’ 28 points in the second quarter were the most in a quarter in team playoff history, besting the record of 24 vs. the N.Y. Giants in the 1961 NFL Championship (also in the second quarter).
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last NFL team to score that many points in a quarter in a playoff game was Philadelphia on Dec. 30, 1995, vs. Detroit (31 points in the second quarter).
- All three of the Packers’ top single-game postseason point totals have come during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure. Green Bay beat Seattle, 42-20, in an NFC Divisional contest at Lambeau Field on Jan. 12, 2008.
- The Atlanta contest was the third time this season that the Packers had posted 45-plus points in a game (45-7, vs. Dallas, Week 9; 45-17, vs. N.Y. Giants, Week 16). It is the first time Green Bay has recorded three 45-point games in a season (including playoffs) since the 1962 NFL Championship team accomplished the feat.
- The Packers’ 27-point win over Atlanta was tied for the second-largest margin of victory in team playoff history behind only the 37-point win vs. the N.Y. Giants on Dec. 31, 1961 (37-0) in the NFL title game.
PACKERS DRAW IMPRESSIVE TV RATINGS
- The NFC Championship Game between Green Bay and Chicago was just the second time in the history of the series that the teams had met in the postseason, and the rarity of that was reflected in the television ratings.
- The Packers-Bears game scored an average audience of 51.9 million viewers and ranks as the most-watched NFC Championship Game in the early broadcast window (2 p.m. CT) ever on any network. It was also the most-watched NFC Championship Game to end in regulation in 15 years (52.7 million for Packers/Cowboys in the 1995 NFC title game).
- Milwaukee topped all markets for the game with a 57.0 rating, which tied the Packers’ 1998 Divisional game against the Buccaneers for the third highest-rated game ever on FOX in Milwaukee.
- The Green Bay-Chicago game posted a 50.6 rating in Chicago, the highest rating for any NFL game on FOX in the market. It surpassed Chicago’s average for Super Bowl XLI on CBS (Bears-Colts) and the previous top game on FOX, the 2006 NFC Championship Game (Bears-Saints).
- The Packers’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles earned the highest television rating for a Wild Card game in 12 years.
- The game drew a 22.1 rating and 37 share, the best since a Packers-49ers matchup during the 1998 playoffs. The 39.3 million viewers for Green Bay-Philadelphia were the most ever for a Wild Card game.
- Last season’s thrilling overtime Wild Card playoff game between the Packers and Cardinals drew 34.4 million viewers.
FEWER FLAGS ON THE FIELD
- One area of emphasis for the Packers this season was reducing the number of penalties, and that focus paid significant dividends.
- Green Bay was tied for No. 3 in the league with 78 accepted penalties (4.9 per game), the fewest by a Packers team since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The previous season low was 80 in 1983 and 2001.
- The Packers finished No. 3 in penalty yardage with 617, an average of 38.6 yards per game. Atlanta was the least-penalized team in the league with 58 penalties and ranked No. 2 in penalty yardage at 598.
- The Packers’ performance in the category was a 40-penalty drop from last season when they were the most-penalized team in the NFL with 118 (7.4 per game) while ranking second in penalty yardage with 1,057 (66.1 per game), the third straight year that they finished among the top five most-penalized teams.
- With just three penalties for 31 yards in Week 16 against the Giants, it was the ninth time this season that Green Bay had been called for three or fewer penalties in a game, the best single-season mark since nine contests in 1967.
- Green Bay’s eight penalties over a four-game span earlier this season (Oct. 24-Nov. 21) were the fewest by the Packers since they had eight from Nov. 19-Dec. 9, 1967.
- The performance at Minnesota in Week 11 was especially notable. The one penalty at the Metrodome was the fewest by Green Bay in 28 games at the stadium, and the last time a team posted just one penalty at Minnesota was San Diego on Nov. 28, 1999. The last time the Packers were only penalized once in a game came at Chicago on Dec. 23, 2007.
- The nine games this season topped 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 were 7-2 (.778) this season when they were penalized three or fewer times in a game.
- Green Bay recorded two games with three or fewer penalties in 2008, two in ’07 to end the regular season, and three in ’06.
- In Week 13 against San Francisco, the Packers didn’t commit a defensive penalty for the first time in a game this season, and the defense wasn’t flagged again in Week 15 at New England and in Week 17 vs. Chicago.
- Green Bay’s offense had an even more impressive penalty-free streak as it wasn’t flagged in the win over the Giants in Week 16, the second straight game with no penalties. The last penalty against the offense had come in Week 14 at Detroit in the second quarter, a streak of 11 straight quarters without one before the offense was whistled for one in the second quarter against the Bears in Week 17.
- After the Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in a 20-17 loss at Chicago in Week 3, they committed just 52 penalties for 401 yards over their final 13 regular-season games, an average of 4.0 penalties for 30.8 yards per game.
- Green Bay’s stinginess carried over to the postseason as well. The Packers’ two penalties at Philadelphia in the Wild Card contest were the fewest by Green Bay in a postseason game since it was flagged just once vs. San Francisco on Jan. 4, 1997.
- Punting indoors at Detroit in Week 14 for the third and final time in the regular season, P Tim Masthay made the most of the opportunity.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Masthay became the first punter in franchise history to post a 50-yard average in a game with eight or more attempts.
- Masthay recorded a 50.3-yard gross average on his eight punts against the Lions, as well as a season-high net average of 43.4 (min. three attempts).
- He posted four punts of 50-plus yards on the afternoon, including a career-long 62-yard kick in the first quarter.
- Masthay became the first Packers punter to register four 50-yard punts in the same game since Jon Ryan did so on Nov. 12, 2006, at the Metrodome against the Vikings.
- He placed 25 punts inside the 20 this season, the most by a Packers punter since Josh Bidwell recorded 26 punts inside the 20 in 2002.
- Masthay was especially productive over the final nine games, ranking No. 3 in the NFL in net average (39.9), No. 9 in gross average (44.2), and tied for No. 4 in punts inside the 20 (20) over that span.
- Masthay earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance at the N.Y. Jets in Week 8 as he became just the second punter in franchise history to win the honor (Craig Hentrich, Week 11, 1994).
- With five punts placed inside the 20 against the Jets, Masthay tied a single-game franchise record (stat kept since 1976), tying David Beverly, who accomplished the feat on Oct. 8, 1978, against Chicago. He registered a 41.5-yard net average on eight punts.
- In the three Lambeau Field games in Dec./Jan., Masthay recorded a 36.8-yard net average and a 42.3 gross.
- Masthay finished the season with a 37.6-yard net average, which matched the best mark by a Packers punter since 1976 (Ryan, 2007).
- Facing Bears Pro Bowl returner Devin Hester in Week 17, who finished the season with the best mark in NFL history (min. 30 attempts) at 17.1 yards per punt return, Masthay placed four of eight punts inside the 20 and recorded a 36.6-yard net average. Hester only had two punt returns on the afternoon for a total of 35 yards.
- Masthay became the first Packers punter (since 1976) to place four-plus punts inside the 20 in two games in the same season.
- In the NFC Championship Game at Chicago, Masthay tied the franchise playoff record (since 1976) with five punts inside the 20, matching Craig Hentrich’s mark set at San Francisco on Jan. 11, 1998, in the NFC title game.
- Masthay boomed a 65-yard kick late in the third quarter against the Bears, the longest punt in the postseason in franchise history. Boyd Dowler previously held the mark with a 64-yard kick vs. the New York Giants on Dec. 31, 1961
- With nine points in Week 16 against the Giants, K Mason Crosby went over the 500-point mark for his career.
- By hitting that mark in his 63rd career game, he became the second fastest to 500 points in franchise history behind only RB Paul Hornung (60 games).
- Crosby also went over the 100-point mark for the season against the Giants, his fourth straight season with 100-plus points. He finished the season with 112 points.
- His four points against the Bears in Week 17 gave him 509 for his career. That ranks No. 2 in NFL history for the most points by a player in his first four seasons in the league. New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (513 points, 2006-09) holds the current mark.
- Crosby recorded 397 points from 2007-09, an NFL record for the most by a player in his first three seasons.STINGY AGAINST THE PASS
- Green Bay had its most productive pass-defense season of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure, finishing near the top of the league in several categories.
- The Packers finished the season ranked No. 5 in the league in pass defense, allowing their opponents just 194.2 yards per game. That topped the best mark under McCarthy, ahead of the 201.1 passing yards per game allowed in 2009, and was the best since 2005 (167.5).
- After Washington QB Donovan McNabb passed for 357 yards against Green Bay in Week 5, the Packers allowed opposing QBs to pass for just 185.9 yards per contest in the final 11 games, No. 3 in the NFL over that span.
- The defense limited opposing signal-callers to a passer rating of just 67.2 this season, which ranked No. 1 in the NFL. That rating is the best by Green Bay since 1997 (59.0).
- The Packers recorded 24 interceptions, good for No. 2 in the league, and opposing quarterbacks completed 56.2 percent of their passes (No. 4).
- Green Bay gave up only 16 TD passes this season, which ranked No. 4 in the NFL, after allowing 29 TDs through the air in 2009. The 16 passing TDs were the fewest given up by Green Bay since 2001 (14).
- In Week 15 at New England, the defense limited Patriots QB Tom Brady to just 163 yards through the air on 15-of-24 passing. Entering the game, Brady had eclipsed the 300-yard mark in four of the previous five games, averaging 314.4 yards per contest over that span.
- The defense has limited opposing signal-callers to just a 64.0 passer rating this postseason (59-of-103, 711 yards, three TDs, six INTs).
- In the NFC Championship win at Chicago, Bears QB Jay Cutler posted just a 31.8 rating before he left in the third quarter due to injury, well below his season mark of 86.3. In the Divisional win at Atlanta, the defense limited Falcons Pro Bowl QB Matt Ryan (91.0 this season) to just a 69.0 passer rating, and Green Bay held Eagles Pro Bowl QB Michael Vick (100.2 for the season) to a 79.9 rating in the Packers’ Wild Card win.
PRODUCTION APLENTY INSIDE THE 20
- After strong showings in 2008 and 2009, Green Bay once again found itself among the most efficient teams in the league in the red zone this season.
- The Packers scored touchdowns on 32 of 53 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 60.4 percent touchdown rate was No. 6 in the NFL and No. 2 in the NFC, and the 32 TDs ranked No. 6.
- Green Bay’s 260 points in the red zone this season (32 touchdowns, 12 field goals) were good for No. 8 in the league, and its average of 4.91 points per red-zone trip ranked No. 8 in the NFL as well.
- The Packers posted their finest performance of the season in Week 16 against the Giants, scoring on 5-of-6 (83.3 percent) red-zone chances. That percentage was their best in the regular season (min. three opportunities).
- Green Bay topped that showing at Philadelphia, posting touchdowns on all three trips inside the 20 in the 21-16 Wild Card win.
- In this year’s postseason, the Packers have scored TDs on 9-of-12 red-zone opportunities (75.0 percent).
- The Packers’ production this season came in fewer opportunities than 2009, as they finished tied for No. 10 in the league with the 53 red-zone possessions. Last season, Green Bay finished No. 6 in the league with 62 red-zone drives.
- Green Bay matched its highest red-zone conversion mark under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, when the Packers ranked No. 6 in the NFL with a 60.4 percent touchdown rate in 2008. The previous high mark came in 2003 when the Packers finished No. 2 in the NFL with a 65.4 conversion rate.
- Some of Green Bay’s success in the red zone has to be attributed to the play of QB Aaron Rodgers, who has been one of the more efficient signal-callers in the league inside the 20 since taking over as the starter in 2008.
- In Week 7 against Minnesota, Rodgers threw a red-zone interception for the only time in his 47 regular-season career starts. Since 2008, he has registered a 107.4 rating on 132-of-213 passing (62.0 percent) for 818 yards and 55 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers connected on 47-of-71 passes (66.2 percent) for 280 yards and 19 TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010 for a 107.4 passer rating (No. 3 in the NFL, min. 50 attempts).
PLAYOFF CAPTAINS ELECTED
- During the regular season, the Packers rotate game captains each week. One player is selected to represent the offense, defense and special teams as a captain for a particular game.
- But for the playoffs, the team votes on its captains for the duration of the postseason -- selecting two players from each of the three phases. Players voted for their captains early last week.
- This year Green Bay’s playoff captains are WR Greg Jennings and QB Aaron Rodgers (offense), LB A.J. Hawk and CB Charles Woodson (defense), and CB/S Jarrett Bush and K Mason Crosby (special teams).
- Rodgers and Woodson were both playoff captains last year. Woodson and Jennings were selected to the NFC Pro Bowl squad this year, while Rodgers and Hawk were Pro Bowl alternates.
- Rodgers posted his second consecutive season with a passer rating above 100 (101.2), Woodson set career highs in both tackles (105) and forced fumbles (five) this season, Jennings tied his career high with 12 TDs, and Hawk led the team in tackles (134) for the third time in five years and set a career high with three INTs. Bush tied for second on the team with 12 special teams tackles, and he also had a forced fumble that resulted in a TD and a fumble recovery on the coverage units. Crosby topped 100 points for the fourth consecutive year.
- All six players sported a special ‘C’ sewn onto their jerseys for the first three playoff games, and they will wear the ‘C’ one more time against Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV.
FIRST TIME IS THE CHARM
- Rookie RB James Starks made a splash in his regular-season debut in Week 13 after missing the first 11 games, but he made an even greater contribution in his first career playoff game.
- In Green Bay’s 21-16 Wild Card win at Philadelphia, Starks led the team with 123 rushing yards on 23 carries (5.3 avg.), including a 27-yard run on his first carry. His 123 yards set a rookie franchise postseason record, eclipsing RB Travis Williams’ 88-yard mark on 18 carries vs. the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 23, 1967.
- Starks’ 123-yard day on the ground also ranks No. 3 in franchise postseason annals behind only Ryan Grant (201, vs. Seattle, Jan. 12, 2008) and Ahman Green (156, at Philadelphia, Jan. 11, 2004).
- Starks’ 263 yards on 70 carries (3.8 avg.) lead the NFL this postseason. That total ranks No. 2 in franchise history for the most in a single postseason behind only Dorsey Levens’ 316 in 1997. Washington RB Timmy Smith (342 in 1987) holds the NFL rookie record for most rushing yards in a postseason.
- After missing nearly two years due to injuries, Starks carried the ball 18 times for 73 yards (4.1 avg.) in his pro debut vs. San Francisco in Week 13. The 18 carries matched the single-game high during the regular season to that point 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 that required surgery but still ranks No. 1 in school history in career rushing yards (3,140) and rushing TDs (34).
- Prior to his NFL debut in Week 13, Starks’ last game action came vs. Connecticut on Jan. 3, 2009, in the International Bowl in Toronto.
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 finished No. 2 in the NFC and No. 4 in the NFL with 13.5 sacks this season.
- Matthews was named to his second straight Pro Bowl this season and was named NFL Defensive MVP by Pro Football Weekly/PFWA. He also earned NFC Defensive Player of the Year recognition from Sporting News and the Committee of 101.
- He received first-team All-Pro honors from The Associated Press, the first Packer LB to earn that recognition since Tim Harris in 1989.
- 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 were the most ever by a Packer to start a season.
- 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.
- 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 ranked No. 2 in the league with 93.5 sack yards on the season, trailing only Dallas LB DeMarcus Ware (110.5).
- Matthews forced two fumbles this season, including a strip of RB Brandon Jacobs that halted a Giants’ drive with New York trailing 31-17 in the third quarter in Week 16.
- With two sacks of Falcons QB Matt Ryan in the Divisional contest, Matthews became the first player in team history (since 1982) to post at least one sack in each of his first three career postseason games. With 4.5 career sacks in the postseason, Matthews already ranks No. 2 in team playoff annals behind only DE Reggie White (eight).
- Matthews’ 3.5 sacks this postseason are the most in franchise history (since 1982) in a single postseason.
- In 31 career regular-season 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’ 23.5 sacks since 2009 rank tied for No. 3 in the NFL.
- Matthews’ 17 sacks in his first 20 games were the most ever by any NFL player to start a career. It topped the previous mark of 16.5 set by San Diego’s Leslie O’Neal (1986, 1988) and the N.Y. Jets’ John Abraham (2000-01).
- In 2009, Matthews set a Packers rookie record with 10 sacks on his way to earning Pro Bowl honors, the first Green Bay rookie to be named to the all-star game since Hall of Fame WR James Lofton in 1978.
- After outscoring their opponents a combined 221-94 over the final seven games, the Packers finished near the top of the NFL’s scoring differential column in the regular season.
- The Packers outscored their opponents 388-240 this season, and that 148-point differential ranked No. 1 in the NFC and No. 2 in the NFL behind only New England (205).
- Among teams with nine or more wins, Green Bay ranked No. 3 in the NFL with an average margin of victory of 16.80, trailing only San Diego (19.56) and New England (17.07).
- Last season, the Packers also 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.
- Green Bay was especially productive opening the second half as it outscored its opponents 110-36 in the third quarter. That differential of 74 points ranked No. 2 in the NFL behind only San Diego (76).
- The Packers finished No. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense at 15.0 points per game and ranked No. 10 in scoring offense at 24.3 ppg.
- Green Bay was one of four teams in the league ranked in the top 10 in both scoring offense and defense, joining San Diego, Atlanta and New England.
- The Packers’ 45-point outing in Week 16 against the Giants was their second 45-point game of the season (Week 9 vs. Dallas). The last time a Green Bay team posted two 45-plus point games in a season was 1983.
FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY
- Every team in the league has to battle injuries at some point, but the Packers had to deal with a season’s worth of significant ones in just the first half of the season.
- From the season-opening depth chart, the Packers lost six starters for the remainder of the season due to injuries, three on each side of the ball.
- RB Ryan Grant, coming off back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons, sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 1 at Philadelphia. TE Jermichael Finley, whose 301 yards receiving in the first four games was the best start ever to a season by a Green Bay tight end, was lost for the year after suffering a knee injury on the second play from scrimmage at Washington in Week 5. T Mark Tauscher, who sustained a shoulder injury in Week 4 vs. Detroit, was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 12.
- Rookie S Morgan Burnett, who became only the second Packers rookie safety to start a season opener since 1988, sustained a season-ending knee injury against Detroit in Week 4. In the same game, LB Nick Barnett, the No. 2 tackler in franchise history, suffered a wrist injury that brought an end to his season. LB Brad Jones saw his season come to an end after sustaining a shoulder injury in Week 7 vs. Minnesota.
- The Packers finished the regular season with 15 players on injured reserve, and eight of those players started at least one game this season.
- Here is a look at the starters and key reserves that missed games due to injury and/or were placed on injured reserve this season:
Opening-Day Starters - Games Missed (Reg. Season)
RB Ryan Grant (ankle/IR) - 15
S Morgan Burnett (knee/IR) - 13
LB Nick Barnett (wrist/IR) - 12
T Mark Tauscher (shoulder/IR) - 12
TE Jermichael Finley (knee/IR) - 11
LB Brad Jones (shoulder/IR) - 10
DE Cullen Jenkins (calf) - 5
FB Korey Hall (hip/back/knee) - 4
DE Ryan Pickett (ankle) - 2
LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) - 1
QB Aaron Rodgers (concussion) - 1
Key Reserves - Games Missed (Reg. Season)
DE Justin Harrell (knee/IR) - 15
DE Mike Neal (shoulder/IR) - 14
S Derrick Martin (knee/IR) - 11
LB Brady Poppinga (knee/IR) - 10
LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder/IR) - 8
S Anthony Smith (ankle/IR) - 6
TE Spencer Havner (hamstring/IR) - 5
LB Frank Zombo (knee) - 3
CB Sam Shields (calf) - 2
PROTECTION THE KEY
- The Packers cut down on the number of sacks they allowed this season, and the effect that had on QB Aaron Rodgers’ production was evident.
- Over his past 18 regular-season starts, Rodgers was sacked either once or not at all in eight of those contests, including the Week 12 contest at Atlanta when the line allowed just one sack.
- In his three seasons as the starting quarterback, there were 16 games where the line gave up either one sack or no sacks of Rodgers. The Packers had a 12-4 (.750) mark in those contests.
- Rodgers was very efficient in those games, completing 372-of-530 passes (70.2 percent) for 4,390 yards and 32 TDs with just seven INTs for a 109.7 passer rating.
- There were three games this season where the line didn’t give up a single sack of Rodgers.
- Prior to Rodgers being sacked in the second quarter vs. Detroit in Week 4, the offensive line had not allowed a sack in 11 straight quarters, the longest streak for the team since 2007.
- The Packers allowed 38 sacks this season, tied for No. 19 in the NFL, but it was a marked improvement from 2009 when they gave up 50 sacks of Rodgers on the season, 41 in the first nine contests.
- In Week 16, the line limited a Giants defense that entered the game ranked No. 2 in the NFL with 42 sacks to just two sacks of Rodgers.
- When Rodgers has been sacked four or more times in a game during his career, the Packers are 5-9 (.357).
- Injuries and performance issues affected the offensive line in the first half of 2009. Once the line regained some continuity down the stretch, it allowed just 10 sacks of Rodgers over the final seven games.
- Green Bay has had stability along the line in 2010, with four linemen, LT Chad Clifton, LG Daryn Colledge, C Scott Wells, and RG Josh Sitton starting every game, and rookie RT Bryan Bulaga opening the last 12 at RT with veteran Mark Tauscher sidelined due to injury. Tauscher was placed on injured reserve (shoulder) on Nov. 12.
- The Packers utilized just two starting combinations along the line this season compared to six in 2009.
SPREADING IT AROUND
- When back-to-back 1,200-yard rusher Ryan Grant was lost for the season after sustaining an ankle injury in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the Packers turned to several backs to help carry the load for the offense.
- Brandon Jackson, who excelled in his role as a third-down back in 2009, led the team with a career-high 709 rushing yards on 190 carries (3.7 avg.). He also posted a career-high 1,045 yards from scrimmage.
- Jackson posted 99 yards on 22 carries at New England in Week 15, his second-highest yardage total of the season.
- He recorded a career-high 115 yards on 10 carries (11.5 avg.) at Washington in Week 5, highlighted by a career-long 71-yard run on his first carry of the game.
- Jackson also had 43 receptions for 342 yards (8.0 avg.) this season, career highs in both categories, including a career-best 37-yard pickup on a screen against the 49ers in Week 13. His 43 catches were the most by a Green Bay running back since Ahman Green posted 46 receptions in 2006.
- Jackson became the first Packers RB since Green in 2006 to register 700 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards in the same season.
- Against Dallas in Week 9, Jackson posted a rushing TD and a receiving TD, only the second time in his career that he scored on both in a game (vs. Seattle, Dec. 27, 2009).
- The Packers rushed for 157 yards as a team at Washington in Week 5 on just 17 carries (9.2 avg.). It was the first time in team history that the Packers rushed for 150 yards in a regular-season game on fewer than 20 carries.
- The Packers’ rushing average of 9.2 yards per carry against the Redskins was the best single-game performance (min. 15 attempts) in a regular-season game in team history.
- John Kuhn, primarily at fullback during his first three seasons in Green Bay, was given more opportunities to carry the ball at RB. Against Detroit in Week 4, Kuhn posted 34 of his 39 rushing yards on the final series, as the Packers ran out the final 6:32 in the 28-26 win. He finished with a career-best 281 rushing yards and four rushing TDs on 84 carries (3.3 avg.) in 2010. Entering this season, Kuhn had 46 rushing yards on 18 carries in four NFL seasons.
- Kuhn recorded career highs in both carries (13) and rushing yards (50) against the Cowboys in Week 9, highlighted by a 17-yard run in the second quarter to convert a third down.
- Rookie RB Dimitri Nance saw the most significant action of his career at Minnesota in Week 11, posting 37 yards on 12 carries (3.1 avg.), and he finished with 95 yards on 36 attempts for the season (2.6 avg.).
- Fellow rookie RB James Starks made his NFL debut in Week 13, registering 73 yards on 18 carries (4.1 avg.) vs. San Francisco.
293 AND COUNTING
- Another packed house at Lambeau Field against the Bears in the regular-season finale brought the stadium’s consecutive sellouts streak to 293 games (277 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.
THE LAMBEAU ADVANTAGE
- The crown jewel of the National Football League, Lambeau Field has long been known as one of the tougher venues to play in, particularly during the harsh Wisconsin winter.
- Re-establishing home-field advantage after a 4-4 mark in 2008 was one of the goals of 2009, and with the Packers finishing 6-2 at home, they accomplished that goal. Green Bay followed that up with a 7-1 mark at Lambeau Field this season.
- Head Coach Mike McCarthy stated consistently upon his arrival in Green Bay that one of the team’s goals would be to reclaim the mystique of playing at Lambeau Field. Mission accomplished. The team is 26-8 (.765) over the past 34 regular-season games, the best regular-season home mark in the NFC over that span.
- Since Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren began the revitalization of the franchise in 1992, Green Bay owns the best home record in the NFL. A look at the top regular-season home W-L records since the ’92 season:
Team, W-L record (Pct.)
Green Bay, 114-38-0 (.750)
Pittsburgh, 109-42-1 (.720)
Denver, 106-46-0 (.697)
Minnesota, 104-48-0 (.684)
New England, 104-48-0 (.684)
Baltimore (since ’96), 80-39-1 (.671)
JENNINGS FLASHES HOT HANDS
- After getting off to a slower start this season, Greg Jennings was one of the most productive receivers in the NFL over the final 11 games on his way to earning Pro Bowl recognition for the first time in his career.
- Having posted 14 receptions for 183 yards (13.0 avg.) and three TDs in the opening five contests, Jennings ranked No. 1 in the NFL with 1,082 yards on 62 receptions (17.5 avg.) since Week 6.
- Starting with the game against Miami, Jennings averaged 98.4 yards per contest, No. 1 in the NFL over that span.
- Jennings finished the season tied for No. 2 in the NFL with 12 TD receptions, which matched his career high set in 2007. He checked in at No. 4 in the league and No. 2 in the NFC with 1,265 receiving yards.
- In Week 16 against the Giants, Jennings recorded 142 yards on seven receptions (20.3 avg.), his fourth 100-yard game in the previous six contests.
- He registered 122 yards on six receptions, including a 57-yard TD catch vs. the 49ers in Week 13. 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 registered a career-high three TD receptions in Green Bay’s 31-3 win at Minnesota in Week 11, becoming the first Packer since WR Javon Walker (Sept. 26, 2004) to record three TD catches in a game.
- He caught seven passes for 152 yards in the game, with the yardage total the second-best single-game mark of his five-year career behind only a 167-yard outing at Detroit on Sept. 14, 2008. The performance in Week 11 earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career.
- Jennings became just the third Packer in team history to post seven catches/150 yards receiving/three receiving TDs in the same game, joining Walker (Sept. 26, 2004) and WR Antonio Freeman (Dec. 20, 1998).
- He was one of only two NFL players this season (Tennessee’s Kenny Britt, Oct. 24) to post seven catches/150 receiving yards/three TD catches in a game.
- The Minnesota game in Week 11 was Jennings’ fifth straight with six or more receptions as he became the first Packer since WR Sterling Sharpe in 1993 to post six or more catches in five straight games.
- With his 1-yard TD catch at New England in Week 15, Jennings became just the fourth player in team history (Sharpe, Freeman, Billy Howton) to catch at least 12 TD passes in a season twice in a Packers uniform.
- Jennings’ 86-yard score against Miami in Week 6 marked a career long for both him and QB Aaron Rodgers, and it was the longest reception by a Green Bay player since WR Robert Brooks hauled in a 99-yard TD from QB Brett Favre at Chicago on Sept. 11, 1995, on Monday Night Football. WR Donald Driver had a 90-yard TD grab in the 2007 NFC Championship Game on Jan. 20, 2008.
- Jennings’ 86-yard reception was the longest play from scrimmage by a Packer since RB Ahman Green’s 90-yard TD run vs. Dallas on Oct. 24, 2004.
- It was the fourth 80-yard reception of Jennings’ career, moving him into the No. 1 spot in the franchise record books ahead of Driver (3). Jennings and Buffalo WR Lee Evans are tied for the NFL lead in 80-yard catches in a career among active NFL players.
- Among NFL players with 70-plus receptions this season, Jennings ranked No. 2 in the NFL in receiving average at 16.6 yards per catch, trailing only Denver’s Brandon Lloyd (18.8).
- In the NFC Championship win at Chicago, Jennings led the team with 130 yards on eight receptions (16.3 avg.).
- It was Jennings’ third career 100-yard game in the postseason, which ties him for No. 1 in franchise playoff annals with WRs Robert Brooks and Antonio Freeman.
- With 239 yards receiving this postseason, Jennings ranks No. 3 in team annals for the most in a single postseason behind only Freeman (308 in 1997) and Brooks (281 in 1995).
- When it comes to scoring passes, Jennings has an eye-popping average during his career. Of his 40 career touchdown catches, 16 (40.0 percent) have been at least 40 yards in length. He has a staggering average of 31.5 yards per TD catch, which ranks No. 2 among current players with at least 20 career touchdown catches.
Player, 40-plus-yard catches (since 2007)
1. Greg Jennings, GB, 27
2t. DeSean Jackson, PHI, 20
2t. Andre Johnson, HOU, 20
2t. Terrell Owens, CIN, 20
Player, Yards Per TD Catch (Career)
1. Bernard Berrian, MIN, 34.0
2. Greg Jennings, GB, 31.5
3. Santana Moss, WAS, 30.8
2010 HONOR ROLL
T Bryan Bulaga
All-Rookie team - Pro Football Weekly/PFWA
T Chad Clifton
2011 Pro Bowl selection (second career)
S Nick Collins
2011 Pro Bowl selection (third career)
Second-Team All-Pro - The Associated Press
K Mason Crosby
NFC Special Teams Player of the Week - Week 1 (at Philadelphia)
WR Greg Jennings
NFC Offensive Player of the Week - Week 11 (at Minnesota)
2011 Pro Bowl selection (first career)
P Tim Masthay
NFC Special Teams Player of the Week - Week 8 (at N.Y. Jets)
LB Clay Matthews
NFC Defensive Player of the Week - Week 2 (vs. Buffalo)
NFC Defensive Player of the Month - September
NFC Defensive Player of the Week - Week 9 (vs. Dallas)
Midseason All-Pro Team - Pro Football Weekly, Sports Illustrated
2011 Pro Bowl selection (second career)
NFL Defensive MVP - Pro Football Weekly/PFWA
All-Pro Team - Pro Football Weekly
NFL Defensive Player of the Year - Sporting News
NFC Defensive Player of the Year - Committee of 101
First-Team All-Pro - The Associated Press
NT B.J. Raji
All-Joe Team - USA Today
QB Aaron Rodgers
FedEx Air Player of the Week - Week 11 (at Minnesota)
NFC Offensive Player of the Week - Week 13 (vs. San Francisco)
FedEx Air Player of the Week - Week 13 (vs. San Francisco)
NFC Offensive Player of the Week - Week 16 (vs. N.Y. Giants)
NFC Offensive Player of the Month - December/January
LB Erik Walden
NFC Defensive Player of the Week - Week 17 (vs. Chicago)
CB Tramon Williams
2011 Pro Bowl selection (first career)
CB Charles Woodson
NFC Defensive Player of the Week - Week 4 (vs. Detroit)
2011 Pro Bowl selection (seventh career)
Second-Team All-Pro - The Associated Press
- Leading the way when it comes to takeaways the past few seasons for Green Bay has been the defensive-back tandem of CB Charles Woodson and S Nick Collins.
- Woodson is No. 3 among all NFL players since 2008 with 18 interceptions behind only Eagles CB Asante Samuel and Ravens S Ed Reed (20 each), with Collins tied for the No. 4 position with 17 over that span.
- Collins ranks No. 2 among all NFL players (Reed, 558) with 439 interception return yards since ’08, and Woodson inched closer with his 48-yard INT return for a TD vs. Detroit in Week 4. He sits in the No. 3 spot in the league, checking in with 396 INT return yards over the past three seasons.
- Collins has some work to do if he hopes to keep up with Woodson’s pace of return TDs. Woodson leads the league since 2008 with six INT returns for touchdowns, with Collins tied for the No. 5 spot with three scores.
- The Packers ranked No. 2 in the NFL with 24 interceptions this season, and Green Bay’s 54 interceptions over the past two seasons are the most in franchise history since the Packers recorded the same number from 1966-67.
- Woodson and Collins have helped put the Packers at or near the top of the leaderboard in all four interception categories since 2008:
1. Green Bay, 76
2. Baltimore, 67
3. Philadelphia, 63
Team, INT return yardage
1. Green Bay, 1,480
2. Baltimore, 1,112
3. Arizona, 1,083
Team, Interception TDs
1. Green Bay, 12
2. Baltimore, 10
3t. Tampa Bay, Tennessee, 8
Team, INT return average
1. Arizona, 21.2
2. New Orleans, 20.7
3. Kansas City, 20.5
4. Green Bay, 19.5
STILL GETTING THE JOB DONE
- CB Charles Woodson enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2009, his first year in the 3-4 scheme, and continued to make his presence felt once again this season.
- Woodson finished No. 3 on the team with a career-high 105 tackles (79 solo), easily eclipsing his previous career best of 81 tackles in 2009.
- He led the Packers with a career-high five forced fumbles this season, his second straight season with four-plus. He is the only defensive back in the NFL to register four forced fumbles each of the past two seasons.
- He is the only Packers defensive back since 1994 to record four forced fumbles in a season, and he has done it twice. His five forced fumbles this season were the most by a Packer defender since LB/DE Keith McKenzie posted five in 1999.
- Woodson was named to his seventh Pro Bowl this season, his third straight in a Green Bay uniform.
- Woodson achieved the highest individual honor bestowed upon a defensive player, taking home The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award last season. He also was named an AP first-team All-Pro.
- His 48-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter against Detroit this season in Week 4 was his eighth career with the Packers, which set a franchise record. He had been tied with Hall of Fame CB Herb Adderley (seven, 1961-69) for the team mark.
- It was also Woodson’s ninth defensive TD (eight INTs, one fumble return) in a Green Bay uniform, which further extended his franchise record.
- The touchdown gave Woodson 10 interception returns for touchdowns in his career (two with Oakland), which moved him up in the NFL record books as he became just the third player in league history to post 10 career interception returns for touchdowns. He now trails only Rod Woodson (12) and Darren Sharper (11).
- Woodson has returned an INT for a touchdown in five straight seasons, all five of his years in Green Bay (2006-10), becoming the first player in NFL history to do so in five consecutive seasons.
- The score in Week 4 was also the third straight year that Woodson has returned an INT for a TD against Detroit. He is the first player in NFL history to return an interception for a TD in three consecutive seasons against the same team.
- Woodson registered two sacks in 2010, his third straight season with two-plus sacks. He became only the second defensive back in franchise history to accomplish that feat, joining S LeRoy Butler (1996-98).
- In 2009, Woodson became the fourth player in NFL history since sacks became an official statistic to record at least nine interceptions and two sacks in a single season. Woodson also led the Packers with four forced fumbles.
- There’s no doubt Woodson’s career has undergone a revitalization since coming to Green Bay. He now has 47 career interceptions, which is tied for third among active NFL players. Of his interceptions, 30 have come in 78 games with Green Bay. In 106 games with the Raiders, he had 17.
- A look at where Woodson ranks in several categories since 2008:
1t. Asante Samuel, PHI, 20
1t. Ed Reed, BAL, 20
3. Charles Woodson, GB, 18
Player, Interception TDs
1. Charles Woodson, GB, 6
2t. Jabari Greer, NO, 4
2t. Josh Wilson, BAL, 4
Defensive Back, Sacks
1. Charles Woodson, GB, 7
2. Adrian Wilson, ARI, 6.5
3. Bryan Scott, BUF, 6
Defensive Back, Forced Fumbles
1. Charles Tillman, CHI, 13
2. Oshiomogho Atogwe, STL, 11
3. Charles Woodson, GB, 10
SIX PACKERS SELECTED TO PRO BOWL
- On Dec. 28, T Chad Clifton, S Nick Collins, WR Greg Jennings, LB Clay Matthews and CB Charles Woodson were named Pro Bowl selections by the National Football League. Additionally, Collins, Matthews and Woodson were named NFC starters.
- Tramon Williams, a first altnerate, was named to the NFC squad as an injury replacement for Eagles CB Asante Samuel on Jan. 20. None of Green Bay’s players will be participating in the game since the Packers advanced to the Super Bowl. QB Aaron Rodgers was also named a first alternate.
- The six Pro Bowl selections for the Packers are the most since they also had the same number in 2003, and it is the second time in the past three seasons that the team has had three defensive backs selected. The three defensive starters were the most for Green Bay since 1967.
- For Clifton, it marked the second Pro Bowl selection of his career (2007). The 11th-year pro started all 16 games at left tackle as part of a Green Bay offense that ranked No. 9 overall and No. 5 in passing.
- It is the third straight and third career Pro Bowl selection for Collins as he became the first Green Bay safety since LeRoy Butler (1996-98) to earn Pro Bowl recognition in three consecutive seasons. Collins finished second on the team with four interceptions and was second with 16 passes defensed.
- Jennings, a second-round draft choice of the Packers in 2006, earned his first career selection. He finished No. 2 in the NFC and No. 4 in the NFL with 1,265 yards on 76 receptions (16.6 avg.), and his 12 TD catches matched his career high. His 16.6-yard receiving average ranked No. 1 in the NFC among players with 70 catches.
- Matthews earned his second career selection as he becomes the first Packer since RB John Brockington (1971-72) to earn Pro Bowl recognition in each of his first two seasons in the league. Matthews was No. 4 in the NFL with 13.5 sacks and recorded a career-high 83 tackles, two forced fumbles, an interception for a touchdown, and four passes defensed.
- Williams, who was signed by the Packers to the practice squad as a free agent in November 2006, started all 16 games this season for the first time as a pro and led the team with a career-high six interceptions and a career-best 23 passes defensed. He also added a career-high 63 tackles (54 solo), two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a sack. It was his first Pro Bowl selection.
- Woodson earned his seventh career Pro Bowl bid and third straight as a member of the Packers. He registered career highs in tackles (105) and forced fumbles (five). The five forced fumbles are the most by a Packer defender since LB/DE Keith McKenzie posted five in 1999. The 13th-year pro also registered two interceptions, one for a touchdown, two sacks and 13 passes defensed.
- Other alternates included WR Donald Driver, LB A.J. Hawk, NT B.J. Raji and G Josh Sitton.
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 stepped into the role of every-down linebackers and took advantage of their opportunities.
- Hawk led the team with 134 tackles (97 solo) on the season, including six double-digit tackle games, and matched his career high with nine passes defensed (2006). The 134 tackles were the second-highest total of Hawk’s career behind only his 155 as a rookie in 2006.
- 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 also finished third on the team with a career-high three interceptions. With the three INTs, Hawk was tied for No. 1 among NFL linebackers in that category this season.
- He is the only linebacker in the league to intercept two passes in each of the past two seasons, and Hawk’s five interceptions since Week 13 of 2009 lead all NFL linebackers over that span.
- Hawk has been one of the most reliable Packers defenders since coming to Green Bay in the 2006 NFL Draft. He hasn’t missed a game in his career, playing in all 80 contests with 77 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.
- After Barnett went down with a season-ending wrist injury in Week 4 vs. Detroit, Bishop has moved into the starting lineup and made an impact.
- In 12 starts, Bishop registered 120 tackles, dwarfing his previous season-high total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 121 tackles on the season (82 solo) ranked No. 2 on the team, and he led Green Bay’s LBs with a career-best 10 passes defensed. Bishop’s 10 passes defensed were the most by a Green Bay linebacker since John Anderson posted 15 in 1981.
- Bishop also posted a career-high three sacks and tied Hawk for the team lead with 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.
CLIFFY GETS TO 150
- When T Chad Clifton lined up as the starting left tackle in Week 7 vs. Minnesota, he became just the 19th player in Packers history to appear in 150 career games in a Green Bay uniform.
- Clifton is only the sixth offensive lineman in franchise annals to hit the 150-game mark, joining Forrest Gregg (187), Larry McCarren (162), Ron Hallstrom (162), Ken Ruettgers (156) and Frank Winters (156).
- By appearing in the game at New England in Week 15, Clifton moved into sole possession of the No. 4 spot among offensive linemen by playing in his 157th career game.
- Against the division-rival Vikings in Week 7, Clifton posted one of his finer performances in recent memory, limiting Pro Bowl DE Jared Allen to just one tackle and no sacks.
- In Week 9, Clifton was matched up for much of the evening with Pro Bowl LB DeMarcus Ware, who led the NFL with 15.5 sacks on the season. Clifton limited him to just two tackles and no sacks as the line allowed just one sack of Rodgers on the night.
- In Week 16 against the Giants, Clifton limited DE Osi Umenyiora to just one assisted tackle. Umenyiora ranked No. 7 in the league with 11.5 sacks.
- Performances like those against some of the league’s elite pass rushers earned Clifton a Pro Bowl selection, the second of his career (2007).
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 continued this season.
- According to STATS, Rodgers ranked No. 1 in the league this season (min. 100 attempts) with a 104.5 passer rating against the blitz, completing 111-of-167 attempts (66.5 percent) for 1,503 yards and 11 touchdowns with five 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 108.7 passer rating vs. the blitz.
- According to STATS, the Steelers limited opposing quarterbacks to just a 71.6 passer rating when they blitzed this season (No. 7 in the NFL).
GETTING WHAT YOU EMPHASIZE
- Green Bay’s defense has been at its best this season when it has been placed in adverse situations and forced to respond.
- The Packers turned the ball over 22 times this season, but the defense showed significant improvement from last season in not allowing those giveaways to be converted into touchdowns.
- Opponents scored just 39 points (six field goals, three TDs) following the 22 takeaways this season, an average of 1.77 points per giveaway. That average ranks No. 4 in the NFL, and the Packers’ three TDs off of giveaways were tied for No. 2 in the NFL.
- The Packers’ average of 1.77 points off of giveaways was the best mark by Green Bay since 1.70 in 2000. The defense allowed five TDs after giveaways that season.
- Green Bay had not given up a touchdown all season off a turnover until the Falcons drove for a score following QB Aaron Rodgers’ fumble in Week 12 at Atlanta.
- The defense didn’t get a chance to keep the Patriots out of the end zone after QB Matt Flynn’s third-quarter interception at New England, as CB Kyle Arrington returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
- According to STATS, the three TDs allowed were the fewest given up by Green Bay since the statistic began to be recorded in 1995.
- Although the Packers led the league in 2009 with 16 giveaways, a franchise record for fewest in a season, opponents were able to convert those turnovers into 70 points. That average of 4.38 points allowed per giveaway was the highest in the NFL.
- Another aspect of the defense that the Packers made strides in this season was limiting opponents when they get inside the 20-yard line, an area of emphasis after some struggles in 2009.
- In 2009, the Packers ranked No. 28 in the league in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on 60.9 percent of trips inside the 20.
- The Packers jumped 16 places in the league rankings in 2010, finishing No. 12 in the NFL in red-zone defense. Green Bay allowed its opponents to get into the end zone 48.4 percent of the time (15 TDs on 31 opportunities).
- That marked the best red-zone perfomance by the defense during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure, topping the mark of 48.8 in 2007. It was also the best red-zone percentage by the Packers since 2003 (39.1).
- Green Bay gave up an average of 4.45 points per opponent red-zone trip this season, which ranked No. 12 in the NFL. The Packers ranked No. 21 in the league (4.72) in the category in 2009.
MAKING PLAYS ANOTHER WAY
- While QB Aaron Rodgers continued to rank among the league’s top passers again in 2010, it wasn’t the only aspect of his game on display.
- Rodgers ranked No. 3 among NFL QBs this season despite missing one game with a career-high 356 rushing yards on 64 attempts (5.6 avg.), trailing only Philadelphia’s Michael Vick (676) and Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman (374).
- Rodgers ranked tied for second among QBs in 10-yard runs (16) and was No. 4 in rushing TDs (four).
- He picked up 113 yards on 17 third-down carries this season (6.6 avg.), with six of them going for first downs (35.3 percent).
- Rodgers went over the 300-yard mark for the season in the Week 14 contest at Detroit to become the first Packers quarterback since Tobin Rote (1954-56) to record back-to-back 300-yard rushing seasons.
- Rodgers posted his fourth rushing TD of the season at Atlanta in Week 12, making him just the second QB in franchise annals to record four-plus rushing TDs in three straight seasons (Rote, 1954-56).
- His 51 rushing yards on 12 carries against the Falcons in Week 12 was just a yard shy of his career high, a 52-yard outing vs. Minnesota last season (Nov. 1, 2009). He is one of only five quarterbacks to post 50 rushing yards in a game this season.
- Rodgers is the first NFL quarterback to post four-plus rushing TDs in three consecutive seasons since Minnesota’s Daunte Culpepper (2000-03) posted that number in four straight seasons.
- Rodgers’ three rushing TDs over the past two postseasons are the most by any quarterback in the NFL.
- Since 2009, Rodgers ranks No. 2 among QBs in rushing yards (672), No. 2 in rushing TDs (nine), and No. 1 in 10-yard runs (30).
- Of his 122 rushing attempts since 2009, nearly a quarter (30) have been for 10 or more yards. He posted a 10-yard run in 11 of 15 starts this season, and in 22 of his last 31 contests.
- In 2009, Rodgers finished second among all NFL quarterbacks (David Garrard, 323) with 316 rushing yards, the most by a Green Bay QB since Don Majkowski posted 358 yards on the ground in 1989.
- Rodgers also led all NFL signal-callers with five rushing touchdowns in ’09, the most by a Packers QB since Majkowski’s five in ’89.
FINDING A RHYTHM
- No quarterback was more efficient than Aaron Rodgers on third down last season, and after a slow start in 2010, he picked up his play in that area.
- Over the final seven games (missed Week 15 at New England), Rodgers was No. 2 in the NFL with a 133.7 passer rating on third down, trailing only New England QB Tom Brady (136.3) over that span.
- That came on the heels of a 65.7 passer rating for Rodgers on third down in the first eight games, as he connected on just 38-of-73 passes (52.1 percent) for five TDs with five INTs, and an average of 6.22 yards per attempt.
- Since Week 9, Rodgers saw his yards per attempt on third down jump up to 8.90, good for No. 4 in the NFL over that span. He finished the season with a third-down passer rating of 94.0 (No. 6 among QBs with 100-plus attempts).
- Rodgers was tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Brady (eight) for the most 25-yard passes on third down since Week 9 with six, despite playing in only seven games to Brady’s nine. Rodgers connected on just two 25-yard passes on third down in the opening eight contests.
- He was a perfect 10-for-10 on third down in the Divisional playoff win at Altanta for 151 yards and a 118.8 passer rating.
- Last season, Rodgers 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.
- Rodgers ranks No. 1 among all NFL quarterbacks with a 116.0 passer rating on third down since 2009, throwing 25 TDs to just five INTs.
PLAYOFF RUN CULMINATES IN NFC TITLE
- It took until the final 20 seconds of the regular season for the Green Bay Packers to get into the playoffs, but once they got in, there was no stopping them.
- The Packers completed perhaps the most impressive playoff run in their illustrious history with a 21-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field to capture the NFC Championship. The No. 6-seeded Packers knocked off No. 3 Philadelphia, No. 1 Atlanta and then No. 2 Chicago, all on the road, to earn the franchise’s fifth Super Bowl berth and a shot at the organization’s 13th world championship.
- “It’s a tough road, man, but we just always believed in ourselves if we had the opportunity to get in the playoffs, that it didn’t matter what road, which way we had to go, we felt confident we could get it done,” veteran cornerback Charles Woodson said. “Three tough games, three tough places.”
- Plus some history to boot. The Packers became the first No. 6 seed in the NFC to reach the Super Bowl, and the second NFC team to win three road games to get there, following the 2007 New York Giants, who stunned the Packers at Lambeau Field in this same game three years ago.
- “We took the toughest route that you can possibly take,” defensive end Cullen Jenkins said. “We know we definitely earned this.”
- The Packers are the second No. 6 seed in league history to reach the Super Bowl, following the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s those Steelers – winners over the New York Jets in the AFC Championship – who now stand in Green Bay’s way in Super Bowl XLV, which will be decided on Sunday, Feb. 6, at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
- When that arrives after the next two weeks of hype and discussion, it will mark the Packers’ sixth straight game with virtually everything on the line. The Packers needed two wins in their final two regular-season games just to qualify for the playoffs, a bid that wasn’t sealed until safety Nick Collins’ interception against these same Bears in the final 20 seconds of the regular-season finale.
- Now, combined with this playoff run, that’s five straight victories, all with the season in the balance, and all against teams with double-digit victory totals. It’s hard to imagine the chore being any more difficult, or any more satisfying to complete.
- “Now we have the opportunity to achieve greatness, and that is winning the Super Bowl down in Dallas,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “Bring the Lombardi trophy back home. We never doubted that throughout the season.
- “This was the path that was chosen for us, and I think it’s really shaped a hell of a football team.”
- A team that, for the third time in these last five games, took things right down to the wire and used an interception on defense to seal it. After Collins’ big play three weeks ago, there was Tramon Williams’ interception of Michael Vick in the end zone in the final minute in Philadelphia, and on Sunday it was Sam Shields’ turn.
- The undrafted rookie cornerback picked off Chicago’s third-string quarterback, Caleb Hanie, at the Green Bay 12-yard line – his second interception on the day – with less than a minute left to preserve a victory that in all honesty shouldn’t have been so tense.
- The Packers led the game throughout, beginning with an opening 84-yard touchdown drive, capped by quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ play-action bootleg run around left end for a 1-yard score. Rodgers was 4-of-4 passing for 76 yards on the march, with WR Greg Jennings catching two for 48 yards on his way to an eight-reception, 130-yard day.
- Moments later, Green Bay’s punt team pinned Chicago at its own 2, the first of five times punter Tim Masthay helped plant the Bears inside their own 20. The defense got a quick stop, the offense took advantage of the good field position at the Chicago 44, and five plays later running back James Starks (22 carries, 74 yards) dove over from 4 yards out for a 14-0 edge early in the second quarter.
- But then the Packers started squandering their chances to pull away. Starks was stopped on third-and-1 from the Chicago 36, and one possession later, Rodgers’ first-down pass to Donald Driver at the Chicago 41 bounced off his leg and into the arms of linebacker Lance Briggs’ for an interception.
- Shields made sure the Bears didn’t capitalize by rising up to snare quarterback Jay Cutler’s deep throw to Johnny Knox with 32 seconds left in the first half, but the 14-0 halftime lead felt like it should have been more.
- “We felt we had them on the ropes there for a while,” McCarthy said. “We just couldn’t get the game to a three-score game.”
- The most costly miscue came early in the third quarter, when Rodgers engineered an impressive 77-yard drive from his own 17 to the Chicago 6. But on third-and-goal, and under pressure, Rodgers tried to force a throw into coverage that linebacker Brian Urlacher picked off. Even with a sack there, it’s still a short field goal for a 17-point lead, but instead the Bears stayed within two touchdowns.
- “It’s a real bad play by me,” Rodgers said. “We could have gone up by three scores right there.”
- Fortunately, Rodgers kept his wits about him and took off in pursuit of Urlacher, who returned the interception 39 yards out to the 45. Rodgers’ sliding tackle in the open field was the only thing that kept him from going 94 yards to paydirt and perhaps turning the entire game around.
- Rodgers said he and backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who threw a pick-six in the New England game in Week 15, have had some good laughs watching each other flail helplessly trying to tackle defensive players, but this one was no laughing matter.
- “It was a terrible throw,” Rodgers said. “Once I threw it, I started sprinting, and I was hopeful that I was able to at least catch up to him.
- “I don’t get paid to tackle, but that was probably one of my better plays of the day.”
- Truthfully, Rodgers had plenty of good plays in completing 17-of-30 for 244 yards and adding 39 yards rushing, and even with a 55.4 rating he was outplaying Cutler and his backup, Todd Collins, who came in early in the third quarter when Cutler (6-of-14, 80 yards, 1 INT, 31.8 rating) left with a knee injury.
- But after two futile series from Collins (0-for4), the Bears turned it over to the third-stringer Hanie late in the third quarter and he gave them a spark. His 32-yard pass to Knox down to the 1 set up Chester Taylor’s TD run to make it 14-7 with 12:02 left, and a game was afoot.
- Again, the Packers had chances to extend the lead but failed, as two passes to tight ends on third-and-shorts in Chicago territory fell incomplete. The defense, though, provided some breathing room.
- With Chicago facing third-and-5 from their own 15, Hanie didn’t see nose tackle B.J. Raji drop off the line into coverage, and his short pass to running back Matt Forte (70 yards rushing, 90 receiving) went right into the 337-pound defender’s mitts. He strolled in from 18 yards out for the touchdown and a 21-7 lead with 6:02 left, setting off a bit of a celebration on the Green Bay sideline.
- “That was a huge play of the game for us, and could definitely be classified as a game-winner,” McCarthy said.
- Only it wasn’t, because Hanie came right back to drive the Bears 60 yards for a touchdown in just 1 minute, 21 seconds, hitting Earl Bennett for a 35-yard score with 4:43 to go. After the Packers went three-and-out, giving them a measly three first downs (two by penalty) on four possessions following the Urlacher interception, the Bears had one more shot from their own 29 with 2:53 left.
- Hanie (13-of-20, 153 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 65.2 rating) got the Bears to a third-and-3 from the Green Bay 27 with 1:15 left, but an end-around handoff to Bennett was stopped by linebacker Desmond Bishop for a 2-yard loss. Then on fourth-and-5, Hanie tried to go deep to Knox, and Shields was there to finally end the drama.
- It was the typical nerve-racking finish for this team, but to a man the players believed in the defense, which has stood tall all year. Driver admitted he was “a little on pins and needles,” but Collins said the unit was determined to “stay poised.”
- “With the secondary we have, the way guys are playing right now, it’s always a matter of time before any one of us makes a play,” Williams said. “That’s the way we feel about anything. We may bend a little bit, but with the players on this field, a play is going to be made some way, somehow.”
- Added defensive coordinator Dom Capers: “To win big games like this, it comes down – and I’ve said this many times before – to two or three or four plays a game, and we were fortunate to make those plays.”
- Those plays are now sending the Packers to the Super Bowl. To these guys, it’s not just that they’ve made it this far, but how they did it – overcoming numerous injuries, a 3-3 start and a two-game losing streak in December that nearly derailed all their hopes.
- “It’s unbelievable, man, especially with the things we’ve been through this year,” said defensive end Ryan Pickett, invoking some ‘team of destiny’ thoughts. “For us to stick together, and come out and play the way we’ve been playing, it’s unreal, man. We deserve it. We’re supposed to be here. We feel like that now. We’re supposed to be in the Super Bowl.”
- With a chance to add their own chapter to this franchise’s decorated history, a chapter that began with Super Bowl talk way back in training camp.
- “Guys believed then, guys believe now,” Driver said. “We just have to win it all.”