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 thisweekly feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com.
This is an abbreviated version of the Packers-Cowboys Week 9 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Cowboys Week 9 Dope Sheet:
DALLAS (1-6) AT GREEN BAY (5-3)
Sunday, Nov. 7 - Lambeau Field - 7:20 p.m. CSTPACKERS HOST COWBOYS IN PRIME-TIME SHOWDOWN
WITH THE CALL
- Green Bay returns home to host the Dallas Cowboys in a nationally televised contest on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. It is the third time in the past four years that the teams have squared off in a prime-time matchup, and the fourth straight year they have met in the regular season.
- The last time the teams met in four or more consecutive years in the regular season was from 1993-97.
- It is the second straight Sunday night home game for the Packers, a first in franchise history.
- Green Bay won the 2009 meeting, 17-7, at Lambeau Field on Nov. 15, and the victory proved to be one of the biggest of the season for a Packers team that entered the game with a 4-4 mark at the midway point. The win over Dallas was the springboard to a 7-1 finish for Green Bay on the way to an NFC Wild Card bid.
- For the eighth time in the all-time series, the teams will square off at historic Lambeau Field, where the Packers hold a 6-1 edge. Most notable among the series at Lambeau was the 1967 NFL Championship, the famed ‘Ice Bowl’, widely considered the greatest NFL game of all-time.
- After Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry turned it into one of the league’s great rivalries, the Cowboys-Packers series reached another peak in the 1990s with some memorable playoff battles.
- Though the Cowboys have taken 11 of the last 14 overall meetings, the all-time regular-season series remains close, with Dallas owning a slight 12-11-0 advantage.
- The Packers and Cowboys represent two of the proudest and most popular clubs in the NFL. They have combined for 17 NFL championships (Green Bay 12, Dallas 5) and eight Super Bowl titles.
- Green Bay enters Sunday’s game having won seven of its last eight at Lambeau Field, and has a 22-8 mark (.733) in the last 30 regular-season games at home. That record ranks No. 1 among NFC teams at home over that span.
MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
- NBC Sports will broadcast the Sunday Night Football contest to a national audience. Play-by-play man Al Michaels joins color commentator Cris Collinsworth in the booth with Andrea Kremer reporting from the sidelines.
- Fans also can check out the action online, where the broadcast will be streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com.
- Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 53-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo enters its 12th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 43 markets in five states.
- Westwood One radio will air the game across the country. Dave Sims (play-by-play) and former Packers WR James Lofton (analyst) will call the action, with Hub Arkush on the sidelines. Scott Graham hosts pregame and halftime shows.
- ESPN International will air the contest in three languages to over 180 countries.
- For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available to NFL Field Pass subscribers on www.packers.com as well as on Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 126 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys:
- Green Bay enters Sunday’s game coming off of back-to-back wins against the Minnesota Vikings and N.Y. Jets that helped put the Packers atop the NFC North at 5-3.
- The victories came against a pair of teams that each played in the championship game of their respective conferences last season.
- The 28-24 win over Minnesota in Week 7 at Lambeau Field was the Packers’ fifth straight game that was decided by four points or less. Heading into the Vikings contest, Green Bay had lost back-to-back overtime games that ended with a field goal. All three of the Packers’ losses this season have come on field goals in the closing seconds or OT.
- The 9-0 win over New York this past Sunday was the first road win against the Jets in franchise history, and the first road shutout by the Packers since Oct. 27, 1991, at Tampa Bay (27-0).
- Green Bay snapped the Jets' league-best five-game winning streak. It was the first time the Packers ended a five-game winning streak on the road since Green Bay put a halt to the Bears' six-game streak at Chicago on Nov. 11, 2001.
- Following the game this Sunday vs. Dallas, Green Bay will enjoy its bye in Week 10, the latest bye the Packers have ever had. Since 1994, the Packers are 11-5 (.688) in the game heading into the bye.
All-time regular season
: 11-12-0All-time, postseason:
2-4All-time, in Green Bay:
6-1-0 (incl. 1967 NFL Championship, the ‘Ice Bowl’)Streaks
: The teams have split the last six meetings, but prior to that the Cowboys had won eight straight, including three postseason contests (1993-95). Last meeting, regular season
: Nov. 15, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 17-7COACHES CAPSULESMike McCarthy
: 44-31-0, .587, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL seasonWade Phillips
: 83-65-0, .561 (incl. 1-5 postseason); 9th NFL season (4th with Cowboys) Head to Head
: Phillips 2-1vs. Opponent
: McCarthy 1-2 vs. Cowboys; Phillips 3-2 vs. PackersMIKE McCARTHY
…Is in fifth year as the Packers’ 14th head coach.
- Has led his team to the playoffs two of the past three years.
- One of only two coaches, along with New Orleans’ Sean Payton, to have his offense ranked in the top 10 in total yardage each of the last four years.
- Was named Packers head coach on Jan. 12, 2006, his first head coaching job after 13 years as an NFL assistant.
- Honored as the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year and NFL Alumni Coach of the Year.
- Became the first Packers coach since Vince Lombardi to lead the team to a championship game in his second season.
…Is in fourth year as the Cowboys’ seventh head coach.
THE PACKERS-COWBOYS SERIES
- In 2007, became the third head coach since the NFL merger to reach 13 wins in his first season with a club. Has had only one non-winning season as a head coach.
- Also served as head coach for the Denver Broncos (1993-94) and Buffalo Bills (1998-2000), and as interim head coach for the New Orleans Saints (four games, 1985) and Atlanta Falcons (three games, 2003).
- Has now made five postseason trips overall, winning his first playoff game as a head coach last season, over Philadelphia in an NFC Wild Card game.
- Spent three seasons (2004-06) as San Diego’s defensive coordinator.
- Has 32 years of NFL coaching experience, having begun under his father, Bum Phillips, in Houston from 1976-80.
- These clubs squared off in the most famous game in league history, the 1967 NFL Championship, dubbed the ‘Ice Bowl.’ Kickoff temperature was recorded as 13 below zero with a minus-46 wind chill, the coldest game in league annals. Bart Starr’s game-winning TD, a 1-yard dive with 13 seconds left, sealed Green Bay’s third straight championship en route to its second consecutive Super Bowl title.
- Green Bay won 10 of the first 15 in the series, in which Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi - former assistants on the same N.Y. Giants staff in the 1950s - turned into one of the NFL’s preeminent rivalries.
- The Cowboys’ win at Lambeau Field in 2008 is their only one in Green Bay in seven tries (1-6 all-time), but the series is just as one-sided in games played in Dallas. Green Bay has lost 12 of the last 13 games against the Cowboys in Dallas, including three postseason games. Their lone win during that time came on Christmas Eve in 1989, a 20-10 Packers victory.
- The 2007 matchup marked the eighth time in league history that two 10-1 clubs met, just the second such instance since 1970.
Wade Phillips first coached in the NFL as LB coach in Houston, where he coached Packers GM Ted Thompson, who played 10 seasons at LB (1975-84) for the Oilers...Thompson is a native of Atlanta, Texas, about 175 miles east of Dallas, and attended SMU...Packers LB Matt Wilhelm played for Phillips in San Diego when he was the defensive coordinator there and was a teammate of DE Igor Olshansky with the Chargers...Phillips and Packers asst. strength and conditioning coach Dave Redding coached on the San Diego staff together from 2004-06...Packers LB Erik Walden was a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys in 2008...Cowboys LB coach Reggie Herring coached on Houston’s staff when Packers def. coord. Dom Capers was the Texans head coach...Herring also was on the Arkansas staff when Packers LS Brett Goode played there, and Goode was a college teammate of Cowboys RB Felix Jones...McCarthy and special teams coord. Shawn Slocum coached on the Univ. of Pittsburgh staff with Cowboys RB coach Skip Peete...Peete’s father, Willie, coached on Green Bay’s staff from 1987-91...Cowboys WR coach Ray Sherman spent five seasons in Green Bay (2000-04) at the same position...Cowboys QB Tony Romo is a Burlington, Wis., native, while OT Doug Free is from Manitowoc, Wis. ...Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum was born in Bryan, Texas, and played at Texas A&M...Packers coaching administrator Curtis Fuller is a Tyler, Texas, native, while T/G Marshall Newhouse is a Dallas native. Both attended TCU...Among other Packers players, native Texans include K Mason Crosby (Georgetown), WR Donald Driver (Houston), QB Matt Flynn (Tyler), RB Dimitri Nance (Euless) and S Charlie Peprah (Plano)....Packers WR coach Jimmy Robinson held the same position with the N.Y. Giants when Cowboys asst. head coach/offensive coordinator Jason Garrett played for the Giants...Capers was Cowboys secondary/safeties coach Brett Maxie’s position coach in New Orleans from 1986-91...Maxie also played for Capers when he was the head coach in Carolina, and the two coached together in Carolina and Miami...Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick and Packers FB Korey Hall played on the same defense at Boise State for three seasons (2004-06), where Packers G Daryn Colledge also was a teammate...Other college teammates include Packers C Scott Wells and Cowboys TE Jason Witten (Tennessee), Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Cowboys LS L.P. Ladouceur (Cal), Packers LB Clay Matthews and Cowboys K David Buehler (USC, both ’09 draft picks), Packers TE Andrew Quarless and Cowboys LB Sean Lee (Penn State, both ’10 draft picks), Packers NT Howard Green and Cowboys LB Bradie James (LSU), Packers S Morgan Burnett and Cowboys RB Tashard Choice (Georgia Tech), Packers CB Pat Lee and Cowboys NT Jay Ratliff (Auburn), and Packers FB Quinn Johnson, Flynn and Cowboys S Danny McCray (LSU); Flynn was also a teammate of Cowboys DE Marcus Spears...Packers PR coord. Jonathan Butnick is a Dallas native and graduate of Texas Tech.INDIVIDUALLY VS. COWBOYS
QB Aaron Rodgers threw his first NFL TD pass at Dallas in 2007, to WR Greg Jennings, who in three career games against the Cowboys has 17 catches for 247 yards. Rodgers’ numbers in three games (two starts) are 65-of-101 for 680 yards with two TDs and no INTs for a 90.4 rating...WR Donald Driver made his NFL debut in Dallas in 1999, but did not make a catch. In five career games against the Cowboys, he has 18 receptions for 244 yards and a TD...K Mason Crosby is 6-of-7 on FGs in three games against the Cowboys, including a long of 52 yards...CB Al Harris has two career INTs against the Cowboys, one in 2007 and the other in 2001, with Philadelphia.LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
TAKEAWAY POINTS KEY FOR PACKERS
- Nov. 15, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 17-7
- The Green Bay defense, fueled by a superb game from CB Charles Woodson, kept Dallas off the scoreboard until the final minute.
- Woodson had a sack, two forced fumbles, and an INT that prevented a TD pass to TE Jason Witten as the Packers began a five-game winning streak that catapulted them into the playoffs.
- With the score 3-0 into the fourth quarter, QB Aaron Rodgers scored on a 1-yard sneak. Moments later, Woodson sacked QB Tony Romo and forced a fumble that LB Clay Matthews recovered at the Dallas 3. Rodgers hit TE Spencer Havner for a TD and a 17-0 lead.
FIELD POSITION FACTORS IN WIN
- Scoring points off of turnovers has been a vital part of Green Bay’s makeup the past three seasons, and that was on display in the Week 7 win vs. Minnesota when the Packers scored two touchdowns off of turnovers in the 28-24 win.
- Of the Packers’ 15 takeaways this season, eight of them have been converted into touchdowns. That 53.3 TD percentage ranks No. 2 in the NFL among teams with 10 takeaways, and Green Bay’s eight touchdowns off of takeaways lead the NFL.
- Green Bay’s 59 points off of takeaways this season rank No. 3 in the league behind only Tennessee (63) and Detroit (61), and the Packers’ 12 interceptions rank No. 3 in the NFL.
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field, as they have a current streak of 14 straight games at home with points scored that were set up by a takeaway. That home streak ranks first in the NFL.
- Green Bay posted 30 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries in 2009, which it turned into 141 points. The 40 takeaways led the NFL, and the 141 points scored off those 40 takeaways tied New Orleans for most in the league.
- The 30 interceptions led the league and was the team’s highest single-season total since 1981, when it also had 30.
- The Packers (13) are one of only five teams in the league to have 13 or more players pick off a pass since 2009.
- Last season Green Bay surpassed its 2008 total of 124 points off takeaways, which led the NFL. It also eclipsed its ’08 total in interceptions (22) and fumble recoveries (six) while at the same time protecting the ball at a better clip. Green Bay’s 16 giveaways was the lowest total in the NFL in 2009.
- If the Packers don’t commit a turnover, like they didn’t against the N.Y. Jets this past Sunday, they’re almost guaranteed to win. They have now won 40 of 44 games playing turnover-free football, since a loss at Dallas, Nov. 18, 1996. Green Bay’s only losses in such games during that stretch came three times against Minnesota, twice in Minneapolis (2005, ’08) and once at home (2009), and in Week 15 last year at Pittsburgh.
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won 43 of their last 47 games when they don’t turn the ball over. Under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Green Bay is 17-3 (.850) when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better.
- During McCarthy’s tenure, the Packers have a 32-6 (.842) record when they come out ahead in the game in turnover ratio, and a 6-17 (.261) record when they lose the takeaway battle.
- Field position can prove to be the difference in a low-scoring game, and first-year P Tim Masthay came through with his best performance of the season on Sunday against the Jets when his team needed it most.
- Masthay had plenty of opportunities on Sunday afternoon, punting a season-high eight times against New York. But it was what he did with those chances, averaging 44.0 yards with a net average of 41.5 while punting out of his own territory time and time again.
- Masthay also placed five kicks inside the 20-yard line, which tied the single-game franchise record (stat kept since 1976). It matched the five posted by David Beverly on Oct. 8, 1978, vs. the Chicago Bears.
- “He changed the field like I haven’t seen in a long time,” kicker Mason Crosby said after the game. “He did a great job, especially early in the game, of just kind of getting our yards for us as both defenses were playing pretty stout. Tim just did a great job of changing the field, and not only changing it, but getting the ball inside the 20 and making them play with the long field.”
- Although Masthay punted eight times, the Jets recorded zero return yards. The last time the Packers were able to accomplish that feat came on Nov. 16, 2003, at Tampa Bay when Josh Bidwell (seven) and kicker Ryan Longwell (one) punted eight times with no return yardage registered by the Buccaneers. On Sunday, the Packers had 180 more yards of field position (468-288) than the Jets.
- Masthay and the rest of the punt-coverage unit will be put to the test this Sunday by Cowboys rookie WR Dez Bryant. He ranks No. 2 in the NFL with a 16.5-yard return average, and is one of only two players in the league (Bears WR Devin Hester) to return two punts for TDs this season.
STAT OF THE WEEK
- After recording six sacks in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the most by any NFL
- team on opening weekend, the Packers have followed up that performance
- with 18 more sacks in the next seven games.
- Green Bay’s 24 sacks as a team through Week 8 rank tied for No. 3 in the NFL behind only Tennessee (26) and San Diego (25) The Packers lead the league in sack yardage with 169 yards and have had 10 different players record a sack.
- The Packers’ 24 sacks through the first eight games are the most by a Green Bay defense at the midway point since the 2006 squad registered 27 sacks in the first eight contests.
- Green Bay was shut out in the sack column for the first time this season in Week 6 against Miami. The Packers have failed to register a sack only two times in the past 17 regular-season games.
- The Packers’ 21 sacks in the first five games this year were the most in a five-game span in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s five seasons.
- Green Bay recorded five sacks at Washington in Week 5, the Packers’ second five-sack game this season. Green Bay is one of only three teams in the league (Detroit, Tennessee) to post two five-sack games in 2010.
- Of the team’s 24 sacks, 9.5 have come courtesy of LB Clay Matthews, who leads the NFL in that category. DE Cullen Jenkins, who ranks second on the team with four sacks, posted a sack in each of the first four games.
- The Packers’ six sacks in Week 1 were the most in a season opener by Green Bay since 2001, when the Packers registered seven sacks against the Lions on Sept. 9 at Lambeau Field. It was also the most in a game under McCarthy, matching the total of six vs. Detroit on Dec. 17, 2006.
- The Packers are already well ahead of their sack pace from last season, when Green Bay’s 24th sack didn’t come until Week 13 vs. Baltimore.
- Green Bay has posted four or more sacks in a game three times already this season to match its 2009 total. The Packers finished with 37 for the season, which ranked tied for 11th in the league.
- The Packers’ highest sack total under McCarthy came in his first season of 2006 when they recorded 46 sacks, which ranked No. 4 in the NFL.
CLAY FINDS A WAY
- Having never won a road contest against the N.Y. Jets in franchise history, the Packers broke that streak in style on Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium.
- Green Bay beat the Jets, 9-0, the first road shutout posted by the Packers since a 27-0 win at Tampa Bay on Oct. 27, 1991, and only the team’s fourth road shutout since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It was the first time the Jets had been shut out since they suffered a 10-0 home loss to the Chicago Bears on Nov. 19, 2006.
- The win also gave the Packers shutouts in each of the past two seasons, the first time since 2001-02 that Green Bay did so in consecutive years. The Packers beat Detroit, 26-0, on Oct. 18, 2009, at Lambeau Field.
- Green Bay is the only team in the league to post a shutout in each of the past two seasons, as the blanking of the Jets was the first shutout recorded in the league this year.
- The victory over New York snapped the Jets’ five-game winning streak, the longest current streak in the league entering the game. The last time the Packers ended an opponent’s five-game winning streak on the road came on Nov. 11, 2001, when their 20-12 win at Chicago snapped the Bears’ six-game winning streak.
- The 9-0 final was also unique, with it being the first Green Bay win by that score since a 9-0 win at Detroit on Nov. 17, 1946. It was just the fourth time in franchise history that the Packers won a game 9-0.
- Sunday’s game was the second time during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure that the Packers won without scoring a touchdown (9-7, vs. Minnesota, Dec. 21, 2006).
PLENTY OF PRODUCTION INSIDE THE 20
- 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 leads the NFL with 9.5 sacks this season.
- His most recent one came at a critical juncture in the Packers’ 9-0 win at New York on Sunday. Matthews used a spin move to beat T Damien Woody and sack his former college teammate, QB Mark Sanchez, for a 6-yard loss on third down late in the game with Green Bay protecting a 6-0 lead.
- 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, the second time in his career he has earned the honor. He also won the award last year for his two-sack outing vs. Baltimore in Week 13 on Monday Night Football.
- Matthews’ six sacks in the first two games of the season were the most ever by a Packer to start a year.
- His 33 sack yards vs. Buffalo were the most by a Packer since DE Reggie White’s 35 on two sacks vs. Minnesota on Oct. 22, 1995. Matthews leads the league with 59.5 sack yards on the season.
- His six sacks over a two-game span rank second in team history behind only Bryce Paup, who recorded 6.5 sacks in Weeks 3-4 in 1991. Paup posted 4.5 sacks vs. Tampa Bay on Sept. 15, and then followed that up with two more the next week at Miami on Sept. 22.
- In just 23 career games played, Matthews has posted two or more sacks in a game five times. Those five set a franchise record for the most two-sack games over the first 18 games in a Packers uniform, breaking White’s mark of four in his first 18 games with Green Bay (1993-94).
- Matthews’ 19.5 sacks since 2009 rank No. 1 in the NFL over that span ahead of a player the Packers will face on Sunday, Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware (19).
- 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.
SHOWING OFF SOME OTHER SKILLS
- Green Bay has had one of the more efficient red-zone offenses in the league over the past two seasons, finishing in the top 10 in the NFL in 2008 and 2009.
- Through eight games this season, the Packers are off to another productive start, having scored touchdowns on 14 of 22 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 63.6 percent touchdown rate ranks No. 5 in the NFL, and the 14 TDs rank tied for No. 4.
- Green Bay’s 110 points in the red zone this season (14 touchdowns, four field goals) rank tied for No. 11 in the league. Its average of 5.0 points per red-zone trip ranks tied for No. 6 in the NFL.
- The highest red-zone conversion mark under Head Coach Mike McCarthy came in 2008, when the Packers ranked No. 6 in the NFL with a 60.4 percent touchdown rate.
- Much of Green Bay’s success in the red zone has to be credited to the play of QB Aaron Rodgers, who has been one of the more efficient signal-callers in the league inside the 20 since taking over as the starter in 2008.
- In Week 7 against Minnesota, Rodgers threw a red-zone interception for the first time in 39 career starts. Since 2008, he has registered a 106.6 rating on 108-of-176 passing (61.4 percent) for 681 yards and 44 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers has connected on 23-of-34 passes (67.6 percent) for 143 yards and eight TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010.
FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY
- When QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled for a key 16-yard pickup to convert a second-and-13 in Week 4 against Detroit on the final drive of the game, it was just an another example of his ability to make plays with his feet.
- With 132 yards on 29 attempts (4.6 avg.) this season, Rodgers ranks No. 5 among NFL QBs in rushing yards.
- 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.
- It was the second straight year Rodgers had posted four touchdowns in a season, making him just the third QB in franchise annals to accomplish that feat (Tobin Rote, 1954-56; Scott Hunter, 1971-72).
- With his third rushing TD of the season in Week 6 vs. Miami, Rodgers became the first Packers QB since Rote (1954-56) to rush for three or more TDs in three straight seasons.
- Of his 87 rushing attempts since 2009, nearly a quarter (20) have been for 10 or more yards. He has posted a 10-yard run in five of eight games this season.
- Since 2009, Rodgers ranks No. 1 among QBs in rushing yards (448), rushing TDs (eight) and 10-yard runs (20).
Opening-Day Starters - Games Missed
- Every team in the league has to deal with injuries at some point in the year, and the Packers have already had to deal with a season’s worth of significant ones in just the first half of the season.
- The Packers have lost five players who started in Week 1 for the remainder of the season due to injuries, two on offense and three on defense.
- 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.
- 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 currently have 10 players on injured reserve. Here is a look at the starters and key reserves that have missed games due to injury this season:
LB Nick Barnett (wrist/IR) - 4
S Morgan Burnett (knee/IR) - 4
TE Jermichael Finley (knee/IR) - 3
RB Ryan Grant (ankle/IR) - 7
DE Cullen Jenkins (calf) - 1
LB Brad Jones (shoulder/IR) - 2
LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) - 1
DE Ryan Pickett (ankle) - 2
T Mark Tauscher (shoulder) - 4Key Reserves - Games Missed
LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder) - 3
DE Justin Harrell (knee/IR) - 7
S Derrick Martin (knee/IR) - 3
DE Mike Neal (shoulder/IR) - 6
LB Brady Poppinga (knee/IR) - 2
CB Sam Shields (calf) - 2TIGHTENING UP
STILL GETTING IT DONE
- 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 have turned the ball over 13 times in the first eight games, but the defense has shown significant improvement from last season in not allowing those giveaways to be converted into touchdowns.
- Opponents have scored just 18 points (six field goals) following the 13 takeaways this season, an average of 1.38 points per giveaway. That ranks tied for No. 4 in the NFL. The Packers are one of only four teams in the NFL to not allow a single touchdown after a giveaway this season.
- 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 have made strides in this season is limiting opponents when they get inside the 20-yard line, an area of emphasis this offseason after some struggles last season.
- 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. Green Bay gave up an average of 4.72 points per red-zone trip by its opponents, which ranked No. 21 in the league.
- Through Week 8, the Packers rank tied for No. 11 in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing their opponents to get into the end zone just 45.0 percent of the time (nine TDs on 20 opportunities). Green Bay’s opponent have come away with a TD or a field goal 80.0 percent of the time, which ranks No. 10 in the NFL.
- The best red-zone perfomance by the defense during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure came in 2007, when the Packers ranked No. 8 in the league by allowing opponents to score a TD on 48.8 percent of trips inside the 20.
PROTECTION THE KEY
- Last season, it seemed as though franchise records fell on a weekly basis for WR Donald Driver, now in his 12th season, and the veteran is off to another solid start in 2010.
- The franchise’s all-time receptions leader with 675 in his career, Driver ranks second on the team in catches this season with 28 receptions for 307 yards (11.0 avg.) and three TDs despite being limited by a quad injury the past two games.
- Last season in Week 13 vs. Baltimore, Driver became the 10th player in franchise history to reach the 50-touchdown plateau. No other NFL franchise has 10 players with 50-plus TDs.
- Earlier, Driver topped the 50-catch plateau for an eighth straight season (2002-09), a new franchise record.
- Though he was the oldest player on the active roster at age 34, Driver showed no signs of slowing down in 2009 as he led the team in catches (70), ranked second in receiving yards (1,061) and first in touchdown catches (6).
- Driver also extended his own franchise record by recording a seventh overall season and sixth straight with 1,000 yards. He is one of only two players in the league (Reggie Wayne) to have a 1,000-yard season each of the past six years (2004-09).
- The most significant record still within Driver’s grasp is career receiving yards. James Lofton ranks No. 1 with 9,656 yards. Driver is No. 2 with 9,357. Driver should surpass the mark sometime this season.
- Against Buffalo in Week 2, Driver scored on a 7-yard TD pass, the 51st receiving TD of his career. That moved him into sole possession of the No. 4 spot in team history, and he currently has 52 career TD grabs.
- His TD catch in Week 4 vs. Detroit was his 21st at Lambeau Field, moving him into sole possession of the No. 2 spot behind only Antonio Freeman (36). Driver already holds the Lambeau records for receptions (321) and receiving yards (4,443).
- Driver has been the model of consistency for the Packers, catching at least one pass in a franchise-record 133 consecutive games (139 including playoffs) before the streak was snapped against Minnesota in Week 7.
- While his reputation is as a slot guy who will make the tough catch over the middle, Driver made his share of big plays in 2009. His five catches of 40-plus yards tied for ninth in the NFL.
- Along with TE Jermichael Finley at Chicago in Week 3, Driver was part of the first Packers tandem since Nov. 21, 2004, to each record nine receptions in a game. In the 16-13 win at Houston nearly six years ago, Driver posted 10 catches and Javon Walker hauled in nine. The nine receptions were the most for Driver since he caught 10 at Detroit on Nov. 22, 2007.
SPREAD IT AROUND
- Green Bay’s offensive line didn’t allow a single sack of QB Aaron Rodgers against Minnesota in Week 7, the third time this year that the sixth-year QB was not sacked in a game.
- 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.
- Over the past 11 regular-season games, Rodgers has been sacked either once or not at all in six of those contests.
- In his three years as the starting quarterback, there have been 14 games where the line has given up either one sack or no sacks of Rodgers. The Packers have an 11-3 mark in those contests.
- The effect that protection has is evident in Rodgers’ numbers in those games, as he has completed 312-of-461 passes (67.7 percent) for 3,757 yards and 28 TDs with just seven INTs for a 106.4 passer rating.
- The Packers have allowed 16 sacks this season, well ahead of their 2009 pace when they gave up 37 sacks in the first eight contests.
- When Rodgers has been sacked four or more times in a game during his career, the Packers are 4-9.
- Injuries and performance issues affected the offensive line in the first half of 2009, as Rodgers was sacked 41 times over the first nine games. 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 four at RT with veteran Mark Tauscher sidelined due to injury.
- With back-to-back 1,200-yard rusher Ryan Grant lost for the season after sustaining an ankle injury in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the Packers have turned to a couple of backs to carry the load.
- Brandon Jackson, who excelled in his role as a third-down back in 2009, posted 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 leads the team with 418 yards on 95 carries this season (4.4 avg.), and yards from scrimmage with 585. He is one of 11 NFL running backs with 400 yards rushing and 150 yards receiving this season.
- Jackson posted one of the finest all-around performances of his career vs. Minnesota in Week 7, recording 104 yards from scrimmage (58 rushing, 46 catching). His 36-yard pickup on a first-quarter screen pass was his career-long reception.
- The Packers rushed for 157 yards as a team at Washington in Week 5 on just 17 carries (9.2 avg.). It was the first time in team history that the Packers rushed for 150 yards in a regular-season game on fewer than 20 carries.
- The Packers’ rushing average of 9.2 yards per carry against the Redskins was the best single-game performance (min. 15 attempts) in a regular-season game in team history.
- John Kuhn, primarily at fullback during his first three seasons in Green Bay, has been given more opportunities to carry the ball at RB. Against Detroit in Week 4, Kuhn posted 34 of his career-high 39 rushing yards on the final series, as the Packers ran out the final 6:32 in the 28-26 win. He has 175 rushing yards on 49 carries (3.6 avg.) this season.
- Green Bay’s 22 runs of 10-plus yards rank tied for No. 14 in the NFL. Last season the Packers ranked No. 23 in the league with 42 runs of 10 yards or more.
CLIFFY GETS TO 150
- With injuries to MLB Nick Barnett and nickel LB Brandon Chillar, BLB A.J. Hawk and MLB Desmond Bishop have stepped into the role of every-down linebackers the past month, and the tandem has taken advantage of the opportunities.
- Hawk leads the team with 75 tackles (53 solo) through eight games, including a season-high 16 stops in Week 6 vs. Miami and a team-high 13 tackles in Week 7 against Minnesota.
- The 29 tackles in those two games rank second in Hawk’s career for the most tackles over a two-game span, trailing only a combined 33 tackles during his rookie campaign of 2006 (Nov. 27-Dec. 3).
- Hawk is also tied for second on the team with two interceptions, which matches his career high set in 2006 and 2009. With the two INTs, Hawk ranks tied for No. 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 four interceptions over the past 13 regular-season games leads 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 72 contests with 69 starts. The only non-starts came in both Minnesota games in 2009 and the 2010 opener at Philadelphia when the team opened in nickel.
- Prior to this season, most of Bishop’s playing time came on special teams, a role he excelled in from 2007-09 as he led the team over that span with 49 tackles.
- Ever since Barnett went down with a season-ending wrist injury in Week 4 vs. Detroit, Bishop has moved into the starting lineup and made his presence felt.
- In four starts, Bishop has registered 53 tackles, which nearly doubles his best season total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 54 tackles on the season (35 solo) rank No. 3 on the team, and he leads the LBs with a career-best five passes defensed.
- 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.
FEWER FLAGS ON THE FIELD
- 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 just 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).
- Against the division-rival Vikings, Clifton posted one of his finer performances in recent memory, limiting Pro Bowl DE Jared Allen to just one tackle and no sacks. The line as a whole didn’t allow a sack all evening, the third time this season that QB Aaron Rodgers has not been sacked in a game.
- Clifton was sidelined for both games against Minnesota in 2009 because of an ankle injury, and Allen registered 7.5 sacks in those two contests.
- An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Clifton re-signed with the Packers in March and has started all eight games at LT, bringing a veteran presence to a line that has allowed just 16 sacks this season.
- One area of emphasis this season for the Packers this season has been reducing the number of penalties, and that focus has paid dividends in the first half of the season.
- Through Week 8, Green Bay ranks tied for No. 21 in the league with 50 accepted penalties, a pace that would make for a noticeable improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 15 in penalty yardage with 390 yards.
- The Packers led the league in penalties last season with 118 while ranking second in penalty yardage with 1,057, the third straight year that they finished among the top five most-penalized teams.
- With just three penalties for 15 yards on Sunday against the Jets, the Packers have been flagged just five times for a total of 35 yards over their past two games. That’s the fewest number of penalties for the Packers over a two-game stretch since the final two games of the 2007 regular season (three penalties, 35 yards).
- Sunday was the fourth time this season that the Packers have been flagged for three or fewer penalties in a game. That’s more than any other year under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and Green Bay didn’t have a single game last season with three or fewer penalties. The Packers are 4-0 this season when they are penalized three or fewer times in a game.
- Green Bay recorded two games with three or fewer penalties in 2008, two in ’07 to end the regular season, and three in ’06.
- The last time the Packers were flagged for three or fewer penalties in four games in a season was 2001.
- Since the Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in the loss earlier this season to Chicago in Week 3, they’ve committed just 24 penalties for 174 yards over their last five games, an average of 4.8 penalties for 34.8 yards per game.
- The Packers got off to a good start this season with just two penalties at Philadelphia in Week 1, the fewest by Green Bay in an opening-day contest since Sept. 7, 1986, vs. Houston at Lambeau Field, when they were also called for two penalties.
DEFENSE SHINES IN SHUTOUT VICTORY
- CB Tramon Williams etched his name into the team’s record books with a pair of big plays in Week 5 at Washington.
- With a 52-yard punt return in the second quarter and a 64-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, Williams became the first player in franchise history to post a 50-yard punt return and a 60-yard interception return in the same game.
- Showing just how rare the feat is, no player in team annals has ever posted both of those returns in the same season.
- Williams became just the third NFL player since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish the feat in a game, joining Dallas’ Deion Sanders (Sept. 21, 1998) and the late Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos (Nov. 13, 2005).
- Explosive plays are nothing new to the fourth-year CB who went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech in 2006. Williams recorded a 94-yard punt return for a score vs. Carolina on Nov. 18, 2007, as well as a 67-yard kickoff return vs. Chicago that season (Oct. 7). Last season he posted his career-long INT return with a 67-yarder vs. Chicago (Sept. 13).
- Williams is only the third NFL player whose career began since the 1970 merger to post a 90-yard punt return and interception and kickoff returns of 65 yards in a career, joining Adam Jones and Lemar Parrish.
- Williams leads the team with three interceptions this season, with all of them coming in the past four games. His 11 passes defensed rank No. 2 on the team behind only Nick Collins (12).
- At New York on Sunday, 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 doing it last season at Detroit in Week 12.
- Facing perhaps its toughest test to date this season, Green Bay’s defense kept the Jets’ high-powered running attack in check and generated timely takeaways in a shutout victory on the road.
- The Packers’ 9-0 win over New York at New Meadowlands Stadium in front of 78,484 was the first road win against the Jets in franchise history, and Green Bay’s first road shutout since a 27-0 win over Tampa Bay on Oct. 27, 1991. The victory puts Green Bay atop the NFC North at 5-3, a half game ahead of the idle Chicago Bears (4-3), and snapped the Jets’ five-game winning streak.
- “It’s a big win for us, a real big win, one of the biggest I have been a part of in my time here,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “To go on the road and beat a great team like this, obviously offensively we would have liked to have done a little bit better, but our defense played incredible.
- The Jets entered Sunday’s game with the No. 2 rushing offense in the league, averaging 159.2 yards per contest. Playing without starting left end Ryan Pickett and a limited starting right end, Cullen Jenkins, due to a calf injury, Green Bay’s defense was able to limit the Jets to just 119 yards on 29 carries (4.1 avg.), with the tandem of veteran LaDainian Tomlinson (54 yards on 16 carries) and Shonn Greene (22 on six attempts), combining for just a 3.5-yard average and long runs of 8 yards each.
- The defense’s performance was even more critical considering the Packers’ offensive struggles, continuing a pattern this season of not converting on third down. The offense was successful on just 2-of-14 third-down opportunities (14.3 percent) on the way to just 237 yards of total offense, the lowest yardage number since Week 1 of 2009 (226 vs. Chicago).
- Sunday’s game had the feel of a defensive struggle right from the start, with both teams going three-and-out on their opening two offensive possessions. On the Jets’ third drive, linebacker Brandon Chillar shook off a block by Tomlinson on a third-and-9 to sack quarterback Mark Sanchez for a 9-yard loss. Facing a fourth-and-18 at their own 20, Jets punter Steve Weatherford tucked the ball and took it down the right sideline for what was originally ruled an 18-yard gain and a momentum-changing first down.
- But Head Coach Mike McCarthy challenged the ruling on the field, and the call was overturned as the replay showed Weatherford stepped out a yard shy of the marker as he was tackled by safety Anthony Smith. Jets head coach Rex Ryan said after the game that the decision to run the ball was one that Weatherford made on his own.
- “I don’t think he realized we’d just been sacked,” Ryan said. “We told him before that it needed to be a manageable situation, not fourth-and-20 or whatever it was. As he was running, I was trying to make sure he knew where the first-down marker was. I don’t think he was clear on that.”
- The Packers wasted no time taking advantage of the fortuitous field position, with Rodgers finding wide receiver Greg Jennings (team-high 81 yards on six catches) wide open over the middle for a catch-and-run that picked up 30 yards down to the New York 6. But Green Bay was forced to settle for a 20-yard Crosby field goal after Rodgers’ pass on third-and-goal from the 2 went over the head of wide receiver James Jones in the back of the end zone. Little did the offense know that it would be its final red-zone opportunity of the day.
- After failing to advance the ball past his own 29 on the Jets’ opening three possessions, Sanchez converted a pair of third downs with completions to wide receiver Santonio Holmes, including an 18-yard pickup to the Packers’ 36 to convert a third-and-10. But two plays later, linebacker Frank Zombo forced a fumble by wide receiver Brad Smith on a run out of the Wildcat formation, and cornerback Tramon Williams scooped up the ball and returned it 5 yards to the Green Bay 34. Ryan challenged the ruling that Smith wasn’t down, but the play was upheld on review.
- The turnover set up the first of three straight possessions for the offense at the Packers’ 34 or better, but the inefficiency on third down prevented the offense from generating any rhythm. Luckily for Green Bay, punter Tim Masthay repeatedly pinned the Jets back deep in their own territory, placing four of five first-half punts inside the 20.
- New York ventured into Packers territory just once more in the opening half, but it was another Williams takeaway that put a stop to that drive. On third-and-11 at the Green Bay 43 with just under five minutes remaining, Sanchez went to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery on a quick slant, but Williams wrestled the ball away from him for the interception, Williams’ third in the past four games.
- Rodgers quickly moved Green Bay down the field, completing a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Brett Swain and picking up a pass-interference penalty on safety Brodney Pool on a third-down pass over the middle to Jennings. In field-goal range at the New York 23, Rodgers took a sack from linebacker David Harris that pushed the offense back 9 yards, and two plays later Crosby’s 45-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left as the Packers were forced to settle for a 3-0 lead at the break.
- The Jets threatened midway through the third quarter, largely because of a 49-yard completion from Sanchez to Cotchery deep down the middle to the Green Bay 28. But a third-down screen to Tomlinson fell 1 yard short of the marker, and Nick Folk’s 37-yard kick sailed wide right as the Packers maintained their three-point edge.
- Early in the fourth quarter, the Jets utilized another big pass play to move into Green Bay territory, this time a 32-yard completion from Sanchez to wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who got behind Williams down the left sideline. Greene then converted a third-and-1 with a 2-yard gain to the Packers’ 37, before the defense came up with one final takeaway.
- After a holding penalty on tight end Dustin Keller put the Jets in first-and-20 at the Green Bay 47, Keller caught a short pass from Sanchez. But as he went to the ground, cornerback Charles Woodson swooped in to take the ball away from him and make the interception. It was a bang-bang play, but one the Jets couldn’t do anything about since they had already lost on a pair of second-quarter challenges.
- Rodgers and the offense finally found a little rhythm after the turnover, picking up 13 yards on a screen to running back Brandon Jackson (55 yards on 15 carries), and converting a key third down with a 14-yard completion to wide receiver Jordy Nelson (five receptions for 55 yards) as Rodgers absorbed a big hit from linebacker David Harris. But the drive stalled there, and the Packers tacked on three points with a 41-yard field goal by Crosby.
- Now trailing by six, Sanchez (16-of-38, 256 yards, two INTs, 43.3 rating) scrambled to avoid pressure and found a wide-open Keller on third down for a 40-yard gain to Green Bay’s 37 with just over five minutes remaining. After Cotchery dropped a pass near the sideline that would have picked up another first down, the secondary made a pair of breakups to halt the drive. Williams batted down a deep pass near the pylon on third down, and safety Charlie Peprah made a leaping deflection of a pass intended for Cotchery (game-high 89 yards on four catches) over the middle on fourth down.
- The Jets had all of their timeouts left, and used them on the next three plays as the Packers picked up little yardage running the ball. Masthay’s 41-yard punt sailed out of bounds, giving the Jets one last chance starting from their own 23.
- Peprah came up with another key breakup, drilling an open Cotchery in the back on a pass down the middle on second down. Linebacker Clay Matthews sacked Sanchez on third down for a 6-yard loss, and then pressured the second-year signal-caller on fourth down to help force an incomplete pass to Edwards down the sideline.
- With 2:30 left, the Packers couldn’t run the clock out, but the field position set up Crosby’s 40-yard kick with 27 seconds left to put the finishing touches on an all-important road win. Now the Packers look ahead to a home contest against the Dallas Cowboys (1-6) this Sunday before enjoying their bye the following week.
- “It’s an excellent road win, we’re glad to be at 5-3 and we’re looking at is as if it’s a seven-day season right now until we get to the bye and we’ve got a big one at home Sunday night against Dallas,” McCarthy said. “We’ve been fighting through a tough spot and I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish here today.”