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-Falcons Week 12 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Falcons Week 12 Dope Sheet:
GREEN BAY (7-3) AT ATLANTA (8-2)
Sunday, Nov. 28 - Georgia Dome - Noon CSTPACKERS HEAD TO ATLANTA FOR NFC SHOWDOWN
WITH THE CALL
- In a matchup of two teams on four-game winning streaks, the Packers travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons, the top team in the NFC at 8-2.
- The four-game winning streaks that both teams enter Sunday’s game with are the longest current ones in the NFL.
- It will be the second straight road contest for the Packers coming out of their bye after Green Bay traveled to division-rival Minnesota this past Sunday.
- The Packers beat the Vikings, 31-3, with the three points allowed matching the Green Bay franchise record for the fewest points ever given up at Minnesota in the 50-year history of the series (Nov. 14, 1971). The victory gave the Packers a season sweep of the Vikings for the first time since 2007, and improved the team’s record to 4-1 under Head Coach Mike McCarthy in games immediately following the bye.
- Sunday’s victory improved the Packers to 3-1 in the NFC North this season, and 20-8 (.714) in divisional games under McCarthy. That record is No. 1 among NFC North teams and No. 3 in the NFL since 2006.
- Green Bay handed the Vikings just their second home loss in their last 14 games at Mall of America Field, but the road test gets even tougher this Sunday in Atlanta.
- The Falcons are tied with New England for the best regular-season home record in the NFL since 2008 at 18-3 (.857), and have won six straight at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta (5-0) is the only NFC team that hasn’t lost at home this season.
- The Packers have had some success away from Lambeau Field of late, winning six of their last nine (.667) regular-season road contests.
- Sunday’s contest is the second part of a stretch where the Packers will play four road games in five weeks, the first time they have done so since 2007 (Weeks 12, 13, 15, 16).
- Sunday’s contest will be just the second meeting between the teams in Atlanta in the past 18 seasons. Green Bay traveled to Atlanta in 2005, a 33-25 Packers win, but prior to that, the most recent game in Atlanta was on Oct. 4, 1992.
- The Packers hold a slight advantage in the all-time series, possessing a 13-12 edge, which includes two playoff meetings (1-1).
STREAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME
- FOX Sports, now in its 17th season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to a regional audience.
- Play-by-play man Thom Brennaman and color analyst Brian Billick will have the call from the broadcast booth with Laura Okmin reporting from the sidelines.
- Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 53-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo enters its 12th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 43 markets in five states.
- Westwood One radio will air the game across the country. Howard David (play-by-play) and Tony Boselli (analyst) will call the action, and Scott Graham hosts pregame and halftime shows.
- 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 120 WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
- DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 710.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons:
- After back-to-back overtime losses to Washington and Miami in Weeks 5-6 put them at 3-3, the Packers have responded with four straight wins, two of those coming against NFC North-rival Minnesota as well as a shutout road win at the N.Y. Jets and a 45-7 win vs. Dallas.
- It is the second straight season that the Packers have had a four-game winning streak (five games in 2009), and the fifth winning streak of four or more games in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s five-year tenure in Green Bay.
- The Packers have outscored their opponents 85-10 over the past three games, with the 10 points allowed being the fewest given up by Green Bay over a three-game span since Nov. 10-24, 1974, when the Packers also allowed 10 points.
- The last NFL team to accomplish that feat was the 2005 New England Patriots, who gave up 10 points over three games from Dec. 4-17.
- After leading the NFL in turnover differential last season at plus-24, the Packers have been especially prolific in that area of late.
- Over the past 14 quarters of play, Green Bay has a plus-12 turnover differential. That includes no giveaways in three straight games, the first time the Packers have done that since 1963.
All-time regular season:12-11-0 COACHES CAPSULESMike McCarthy:
All-time, postseason: 1-1
All-time, in Atlanta: 4-7-0
Streaks: Since 1974, no team has ever won more than two in a row.
Last meeting, regular season: Oct. 5, 2008, at Lambeau Field; Falcons won, 27-24
Last meeting, regular season, in Atlanta: Nov. 13, 2005; Packers won, 33-25
46-31-0, .597, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL seasonMike Smith:
28-15-0, .651, (incl. 0-1 postseason); 3rd NFL season Head to Head:
Smith 1-0vs. Opponent:
McCarthy 0-1 vs. Falcons; Smith 1-0 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 third year as the Falcons’ 14th head coach.
THE PACKERS-FALCONS SERIES
- Earned Coach of the Year honors from The Associated Press and Sporting News in 2008, turning around a 4-12 team and going 11-5 to earn a playoff berth in his first season.
- Secured the first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history with a three-game winning streak to close 2009, finishing 9-7.
- Previously served as defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars (2003-07) and as a defensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens (1999-2002).
- Before joining the NFL ranks, coached at San Diego State (1982-85), Morehead State (1986) and Tennessee Tech (1987-98). Played LB at East Tennessee (1977-81) and for Winnipeg of the CFL (1982).
- For a series that began with the Packers cruising to a 56-3 victory over the then-expansion Falcons in their first meeting in 1966, it has evolved into a closely contested rivalry. The Packers hold a modest 13-12 advantage, including postseason.
- Over the last decade-plus, Atlanta-Green Bay clashes have proven memorable. In 1994, the Packers defeated Atlanta in the final NFL game in Milwaukee (Dec. 18). QB Brett Favre’s lunging, 9-yard TD scramble on the game’s final play sealed the 21-17 victory.
- A scant year later, the Packers and Falcons crossed paths in the postseason for the first time - on Dec. 31, 1995, in Lambeau Field. With RB Edgar Bennett rushing for 108 yards, the NFC Central champion Packers pulled out a 37-20 victory with the aid of a 76-yard scoring punt return by rookie Antonio Freeman.
- In the 2002 regular season opener (Sept. 8), Favre and Michael Vick fought into overtime, with the Packers prevailing, 37-34. The Falcons, however, exacted revenge with a 27-7 win in the 2002 NFC Wild Card game, Green Bay’s first playoff loss in franchise history at Lambeau Field.
Packers WR coach Jimmy Robinson held the same post with the Falcons from 1990-93...Packers CB coach Joe Whitt Jr. broke into the NFL coaching ranks as a DB assistant for the Falcons in 2007...Packers S Charlie Peprah spent part of the 2009 season with Atlanta, appearing in two games for the Falcons...Peprah and Falcons G Justin Blalock were high school teammates from 1999-2000 at Plano East (Texas) Senior High…Peprah was also college teammates with Falcons QB John Parker Wilson at Alabama in 2005…Packers RB Dimitri Nance was on Atlanta’s practice squad before joining the Packers in Week 2 this season...Packers LB Clay Matthews’ father, Clay Jr., played three seasons for Atlanta (1994-96)...Packers FB Quinn Johnson and Falcons WR coach Terry Robiskie are cousins...Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis was a first-round draft pick by the Packers in 1983 and played four seasons in Green Bay before his career was cut short due to a neck injury...Packers LB Erik Walden is native to Dublin, Ga., southeast of Atlanta in the central region of the state…Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers has familiarity with a trio of Falcons assistants, including assistant special teams coach Eric Sutulovich, who served under Capers when he was the head coach in Houston from 2002-05...Falcons LBs coach Glenn Pires was the quality control and assistant LBs coach when Capers was the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins from 2006-07, and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey served in the same capacity opposite Capers in Miami in 2006 and as the team’s tight ends coach in 2007...Mularkey was the head coach in Buffalo from 2004-05 when current Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements served as his offensive coordinator for both seasons…The two also worked together in Pittsburgh from 2001-03 when Mularkey was the offensive coordinator and Clements the quarterbacks coach for the Steelers...Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez’s first two NFL seasons were in Kansas City with McCarthy on the Chiefs’ offensive coaching staff...Packers LB Matt Wilhelm and Falcons RB Michael Turner were teammates with the Chargers...Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and Green Bay NT B.J. Raji were teammates at Boston College and top-10 first-round draft picks in successive years (Ryan ‘08, Raji ‘09)...Falcons WR Michael Jenkins and Packers LBs A.J. Hawk and Matt Wilhelm were teammates on Ohio State’s national championship team in 2002...Green Bay FB John Kuhn and Atlanta CB Brent Grimes both played in college at Shippensburg and were the second and third players, respectively, following retired Green Bay LS Rob Davis, to come to the NFL from that school...Other college teammates include Packers C/G Jason Spitz and Falcons WR Harry Douglas (Louisville), Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and LB Desmond Bishop and Falcons S Thomas DeCoud (California), Packers CB Sam Shields and Falcons LB Spencer Adkins (Miami), Packers LS Brett Goode and Falcons DE Jamaal Anderson (Arkansas), Packers LB Clay Matthews and Falcons T Sam Baker (USC), Packers P Tim Masthay and Falcons DT Corey Peters (Kentucky), Packers WR James Jones and Falcons CB Christopher Owens (San Jose State), and Packers S Nick Collins and Falcons WR Eric Weems (Bethune-Cookman)...Packers college scouting coordinator Danny Mock spent 17 seasons (1980-96) with the Falcons in various roles...Packers asst. director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf worked three scouting internships with the Falcons...Packers asst. director of college scouting Shaun Herock worked summers as a ball boy for the Falcons during his youth and also worked as an intern in Atlanta’s scouting department for four consecutive years (1989-92) in college.LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
LAST MEETING, IN ATLANTA
- Oct. 5, 2008, at Lambeau Field; Falcons won, 27-24
- QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 313 yards and three TDs on a bad shoulder he had injured the previous week at Tampa Bay, but it wasn’t enough as Atlanta RB Michael Turner churned out 121 of the Falcons’ 176 rushing yards.
- Rodgers’ TD passes of 44 yards to WR Donald Driver and 25 yards to WR Greg Jennings tied the game at 17 early in the fourth quarter, but after the Falcons drove for a go-ahead FG, Rodgers threw an INT to LB Michael Boley and Turner’s subsequent 2-yard TD run made it 27-17 with 3:35 left.
- Atlanta WR Roddy White had eight receptions for 132 yards and a TD, accounting for roughly two-thirds of QB Matt Ryan’s 194 passing yards.
DOME AWAY FROM HOME
- Nov. 13, 2005; Packers won, 33-25
- Green Bay got its second win of the season behind 103 rushing yards and three TDs (one receiving) from rookie RB Samkon Gado, who was making his first career start on his 23rd birthday.
- The Packers sacked Atlanta QB Michael Vick three times, one each by LB Nick Barnett, DE Aaron Kampman and CB Al Harris. Barnett’s recovery of a White fumble and subsequent return to the Atlanta 2-yard line set up Gado’s third TD of the day and a 33-17 Green Bay lead late in the fourth quarter.
STAT OF THE WEEK
- The Packers are in the midst of a stretch where they will play three of four games in domes, an environment they have had some success in during Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure.
- With the 31-3 win at Minnesota this past Sunday, the Packers improved to 10-3 (.769) in the regular season in domes since McCarthy took over as head coach in 2006. That winning percentage ranks No. 1 in the league among teams with eight or more road dome games.
- McCarthy won his first six dome games as a head coach before the Packers fell just short at Minnesota in a 28-27 loss on Nov. 9, 2008.
- Green Bay’s offense has been productive indoors, averaging 375.2 yards of total offense and 31.4 points in the 13 dome games compared to averages of 355.3 yards per game and 23.9 points per game in outdoor contests over that span. In nine of the 13 dome games, the Packers posted at least 370 yards of total offense.
- QB Aaron Rodgers has a 108.3 passer rating in eight career starts in domes, with 2,255 passing yards, 17 TDs and just four INTs on 172-of-261 passing (65.9 percent).
- Rodgers’ 108.3 passer rating indoors since 2008 ranks No. 1 in the league among NFL quarterbacks over that span.
- The Packers’ defense has done its part as well, posting 29 takeaways and six touchdowns in dome games since ’06, including five contests with at least three takeaways. That has contributed to Green Bay’s plus-12 turnover ratio in dome games since 2006.
- What made last Sunday’s win more impressive was that it came against a Vikings team that entered the game 17-3 (.850) at home over the past three seasons. The Vikings allowed just 268.2 yards per game and 16.8 points per game in those 20 contests, and the Packers posted 374 yards and 31 points.
- Green Bay’s dome success will be put to the test this Sunday against an Atlanta team that is tied with New England for the No. 1 home record in the league since 2008 at 18-3 (.857). Falcons QB Matt Ryan has an 18-1 record as the starting quarterback at the Georgia Dome.
- This season, the Falcons have a plus-6 turnover margin at home, and have outgained their opponents by nearly 77 yards a game (396.0-319.2) and outscored them by more than 10 points a contest (29.8-19.0). Atlanta’s offense has also converted third downs at a 55.1 percent clip at the Georgia Dome this season.
MAKING THEM PAY WITH TAKEAWAYS
- Last season, Green Bay set a franchise record with an NFL-leading 16 giveaways, but this year’s team has accomplished something that even the record-setting 2009 squad wasn’t able to do.
- In the Packers’ 31-3 win at Minnesota on Sunday, the Packers did not turn the ball over, the third straight game that Green Bay didn’t have a giveaway.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a Green Bay team didn’t turn the ball over in three straight games came on Nov. 24-Dec. 7, 1963, behind a Bart Starr-led offense.
- The Packers’ last turnover came on an Aaron Rodgers interception at the end of the first half vs. Minnesota in Week 7.
- That gives Green Bay a streak of 14 straight quarters without a giveaway entering this Sunday’s contest at Atlanta.
- Rodgers has not thrown an interception in his last 112 passing attempts, his longest personal streak since a 159-attempt stretch from Week 16, 2008-Week 4, 2009.
- Rodgers’ four-TD passing game on Sunday at Minnesota was not only a regular-season career high for him, but it also placed him in some select company when combined with the zero interceptions. It was his eighth career game in which he had three-plus TD passes and no interceptions.
- According to Elias, only two other quarterbacks in NFL history have accumulated as many games of that type within three seasons of their first NFL start. New England’s Tom Brady had eight from 2001 to 2003 and St. Louis’ Kurt Warner had nine from 1999 to 2001.
PRODUCTION APLENTY INSIDE THE 20
- After tying for the league lead in points off of takeaways last season, the Packers are once again sitting atop the NFL rankings in 2010.
- Green Bay leads the NFL with 87 points off of takeaways, 12 points ahead of No. 2 Pittsburgh. The Packers are No. 5 in the NFL with a plus-8 turnover ratio, and have a plus-9 mark in just the last three games. Starting with the second half of the Week 7 Minnesota contest, the Packers have a plus-12 margin.
- Of the Packers’ 21 takeaways this season, 12 of them have been converted into TDs. That 57.1 TD percentage ranks No. 3 in the NFL behind only Buffalo (8-11, 72.7) and Kansas City (7-12, 58.3), and Green Bay’s 12 TDs off of takeaways lead the NFL.
- Green Bay is tied with four other teams for the No. 2 spot in interceptions (15), and the Packers are tied with Tampa Bay and New England for the NFL lead in INTs for TDs (three).
- With LB Clay Matthews’ INT for a TD in Week 9 vs. Dallas, the Packers have now posted at least three INTs for TDs in each of the last three seasons. That is the first time in franchise history that Green Bay has accomplished that feat. The Packers have posted at least three INTs for TDs in four of five seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field, as they have a current streak of 15 straight games at home with points scored that were set up by a takeaway. That home streak ranks first in the NFL.
- The Packers have had 10 different players post an interception this season, which is tied with Atlanta for No. 1 in the NFL, and that number is the most by the Packers in a season since 11 in 2002.
- Green Bay posted 30 INTs and 10 fumble recoveries in 2009, which it turned into 141 points. The 40 takeaways led the NFL, and the 141 points scored off those takeaways tied New Orleans for most in the NFL.
- The 30 interceptions led the league and was the team’s highest single-season total since 1981, when it also had 30.
- Last season Green Bay surpassed its 2008 total of 124 points off takeaways, which led the NFL. It also eclipsed its ’08 total in interceptions (22) and fumble recoveries (six) while at the same time protecting the ball at a better clip. Green Bay’s 16 giveaways was the lowest total in the NFL in 2009.
- If the Packers don’t commit a turnover, like they didn’t at Minnesota in Week 11 for the third straight week, they’re almost guaranteed to win. They have now won 43 of 47 games (.915) playing turnover-free football, since a loss at Dallas, Nov. 18, 1996. Green Bay’s only losses in such games during that stretch came three times against Minnesota, twice in Minneapolis (2005, ’08) and once at home (2009), and in Week 15 last year at Pittsburgh. Green Bay hasn’t turned the ball over in the last 14 quarters of play.
- Including playoffs, the Packers have won 45 of their last 49 games when they don’t turn the ball over. Under McCarthy, Green Bay is 19-3 (.864) when its turnover margin is plus-2 or better.
- During McCarthy’s tenure, the Packers have a 34-6 (.850) record when they come out ahead in the game in turnover ratio, and a 6-17 (.261) record when they lose the takeaway battle. The Packers rank No. 1 in the NFL with a plus-43 turnover ratio since 2006.
- Sunday’s game at Atlanta should provide a good measuring stick for a Green Bay team that prides itself on taking the ball away. The Falcons rank No. 3 in the NFL with just 10 giveaways this season. QB Matt Ryan ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with a 1.3 interception percentage (five INTs on 377 attempts).
- Since 2008, Atlanta is 17-1 when it wins the takeaway battle, including a 7-0 mark in 2010.
FEWER FLAGS ON THE FIELD
- Green Bay has had one of the more efficient red-zone offenses in the league over the past two seasons, finishing in the top 10 in the NFL in 2008 and 2009.
- Through Week 11, the Packers are off to another productive start, having scored touchdowns on 20 of 30 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 66.7 percent touchdown rate ranks tied for No. 3 in the NFL, and the 20 TDs rank tied for No. 5.
- Green Bay’s 155 points in the red zone this season (18 touchdowns, five field goals) rank No. 10 in the league. Its average of 5.17 points per red-zone trip ranks No. 5 in the NFL.
- The Packers have scored touchdowns on six of their last eight trips inside the 20-yard line, including both opportunities on Sunday at Minnesota.
- 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.
- Some of Green Bay’s success in the red zone has to be credited to the play of QB Aaron Rodgers, who has been one of the more efficient signal-callers in the league inside the 20 since taking over as the starter in 2008.
- In Week 7 against Minnesota, Rodgers threw a red-zone interception for the first time in 39 career starts. Since 2008, he has registered a 107.3 rating on 116-of-189 passing (61.4 percent) for 756 yards and 49 touchdowns with one interception in the red zone.
- According to STATS, Rodgers has connected on 31-of-47 passes (66.7 percent) for 218 yards and 13 TDs with one INT in the red zone in 2010 for a 107.1 passer rating.
CLAY FINDS A WAY
- One area of emphasis this offseason for the Packers this season was reducing the number of penalties, and that focus has paid dividends.
- Through Week 11, Green Bay ranks tied for No. 5 in the league with 53 accepted penalties (5.3 per game), a pace that would make for a dramatic improvement from 2009. The Packers check in at No. 3 in penalty yardage with 415 yards, an average of 41.5 yards per game.
- 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 one penalty for 5 yards this past Sunday at Minnesota, the Packers have been flagged just eight times for a total of 60 yards over their past four games. The Vikings contest was the sixth game this season, and the fourth straight, that Green Bay has been called for three or fewer penalties in a game, the best-single season mark since six games in 1974.
- The eight penalties over the past four games is the fewest by the Packers over a four-game span since they had eight from Nov. 19-Dec. 9, 1967.
- The performance at Minnesota on Sunday was especially notable. The one penalty at the Metrodome was the fewest in 28 games at the stadium, and the last time a team posted just one penalty at Minnesota was San Diego on Nov. 28, 1999. The last time the Packers were only penalized once in a game came at Chicago on Dec. 23, 2007.
- The six games nearly match the number of combined games with three of fewer penalties in the first four seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and Green Bay didn’t do it once last season. The Packers are 6-0 this season when they are penalized three or fewer times in a game.
- Green Bay recorded two games with three or fewer penalties in 2008, two in ’07 to end the regular season, and three in ’06.
- Since the Packers were flagged a franchise-record 18 times for 152 yards in the loss at Chicago in Week 3, they’ve committed just 27 penalties for 199 yards over their last seven games, an average of 3.9 penalties for 28.4 yards per game.
- 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 11.5 sacks this season.
- Matthews was named to the Midseason All-Pro Teams of Pro Football Weekly and Sports Illustrated, and was selected by the Dallas Morning News as the Midseason Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL.
- With a sack of QB Jon Kitna in the second quarter in Week 9 against Dallas, Matthews became the first Packer since the stat became official in 1982 to register a double-digit sack total in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.
- Matthews also posted his first career interception in Week 9, and returned the pick 62 yards for a TD on his way to earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in his career. It was the second TD of his career, and both of his scores have come in prime-time games. Matthews returned a fumble 42 yards for a TD last season in Week 4 at Minnesota on Monday Night Football.
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Matthews is the first NFL player since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 to register double-digit sacks and a defensive TD in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.
- With three sacks against the Buffalo Bills in Week 2, Matthews became the first Packer to post three sacks in back-to-back games since it became an official league statistic in 1982.
- The performance vs. Buffalo came a week after Matthews registered a career-high three sacks in the Packers’ 27-20 season-opening victory at Philadelphia.
- Matthews was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2, and he also won the award last season for his two-sack outing vs. Baltimore in Week 13 on MNF.
- Matthews’ six sacks in the first two games of the season were the most ever by a Packer to start a year.
- His 33 sack yards vs. Buffalo were the most by a Packer since DE Reggie White’s 35 on two sacks vs. Minnesota on Oct. 22, 1995. Matthews leads the league with 68.5 sack yards on the season. Aaron Kampman (108 in 2006) holds the single-season team record for sack yardage.
- 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 25 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’ 21.5 sacks since 2009 rank No. 1 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.
FIGHTING THROUGH ADVERSITY
- After recording six sacks in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the most by any NFL
- team on opening weekend, the Packers have followed that debut up with
- 23 more sacks in the next nine games.
- Green Bay’s 29 sacks as a team through Week 11 are tied for No. 4 in the NFL behind only San Diego (32) and Pittsburgh and Tennessee (30 each). The Packers rank No. 6 in sack yardage with 187, and have had 12 different players record a sack this season.
- Green Bay was shut out in the sack column for the first time this season in Week 6 against Miami, a game LB Clay Matthews missed due to injury. The Packers have failed to register a sack only two times in the past 18 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 29 sacks, 11.5 have come courtesy of 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 are already well ahead of their sack pace from last season, when Green Bay’s 29th sack didn’t come until Week 14 at Chicago.
- Green Bay has posted four or more sacks in a game four times already this season, which already eclipses the 2009 total of three. The Packers recorded 37 sacks last season, which was tied for No. 11 in the league.
- The Packers’ best league ranking in sacks was No. 3, a spot they held on three occasions (1965, 1966, 2001).
PROTECTION THE KEY
- 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 six players who started in Week 1 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 currently have 11 players on injured reserve, and seven of those players started at least one game this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other team in the league has more than three players on injured reserve that started a game in 2010.
WORKING THEIR WAY BACK UP
- 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 13 regular-season games, Rodgers has been sacked either once or not at all in seven of those contests, including Week 9 against Dallas when the line allowed just one sack.
- In his three years as the starting quarterback, there have been 15 games where the line has given up either one sack or no sacks of Rodgers. The Packers have a 12-3 (.800) mark in those contests.
- The effect that protection has is evident in Rodgers’ numbers in those games, as he has completed 346-of-495 passes (69.9 percent) for 4,046 yards and 31 TDs with just seven INTs for a 109.4 passer rating.
- The Packers have allowed 20 sacks this season (No. 11 in the NFL), much better than their 2009 pace when they gave up 41 sacks in the first nine contests.
- When Rodgers has been sacked four or more times in a game during his career, the Packers are 4-9 (.308).
- 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 six at RT with veteran Mark Tauscher sidelined due to injury. Tauscher was placed on injured reserve (shoulder) on Nov. 12.
SPREADING IT AROUND
- Green Bay’s offense hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success as it did last season on third down, but has registered strong outings in that area in each of the past two games.
- Entering the Week 9 contest vs. Dallas ranked No. 26 in the league with a 35.1 conversion rate on third down this season, the offense was successful on 10-of-15 third-down opportunities against the Cowboys, including 7-of-8 in the first half.
- That percentage of 66.7 was the best single-game performance by a Green Bay offense since the Packers were successful on 71.4 percent of their third-down opportunities (10-of-14) vs. Cleveland on Sept. 18, 2005.
- The Packers followed that up with an 8-of-15 outing (53.3 percent) on third down on Sunday at Minnesota, the first time this season Green Bay topped the 50-percent conversion mark in two straight games.
- With the strong showings the past two weeks, the Packers have moved up 16 spots in the league rankings in the category, checking in at No. 10 with a 41.1 conversion rate.
- The Packers were one of the best teams in the league on third down in 2009, as they converted at a 47.0 percent clip. That led the NFC and ranked No. 3 in the NFL.
- QB Aaron Rodgers’ play on third down was a big factor in Green Bay’s success as he ranked No. 1 in the NFL in passer rating on third down at 133.5. No other quarterback in the league threw for as many yards (1,710) or touchdowns (14) on third down as Rodgers, and his passer rating was the best in the NFL since Kurt Warner’s 137.3 rating in 1999 with St. Louis.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
- 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 for the offense.
- Brandon Jackson, who excelled in his role as a third-down back in 2009, leads the team with a career-high 488 rushing yards on 122 carries this season (4.0 avg.), and yards from scrimmage with a career-best 719.
- Jackson 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 registered one of the finest all-around performances of his career vs. Minnesota in Week 7, recording 104 yards from scrimmage (58 rushing, 46 receiving). His 36-yard pickup on a first-quarter screen pass was his career-long reception.
- Jackson also has 29 receptions for 231 yards (8.0 avg.) this season, with the yardage total a career high. It tops his previous mark of 187 yards receiving last season.
- Jackson is the first Packers RB since Ahman Green in 2006 to register 450 rushing yards and 200 receiving yards in the same season.
- Against Dallas in Week 9, Jackson posted a rushing TD and a receiving TD, only the second time in his career that he scored on both in a game (vs. Seattle, Dec. 27, 2009).
- The Packers rushed for 157 yards as a team at Washington in Week 5 on just 17 carries (9.2 avg.). It was the first time in team history that the Packers rushed for 150 yards in a regular-season game on fewer than 20 carries.
- The Packers’ rushing average of 9.2 yards per carry against the Redskins was the best single-game performance (min. 15 attempts) in a regular-season game in team history.
- John Kuhn, primarily at fullback during his first three seasons in Green Bay, has been given more opportunities to carry the ball at RB. Against Detroit in Week 4, Kuhn posted 34 of his 39 rushing yards on the final series, as the Packers ran out the final 6:32 in the 28-26 win. He has 175 rushing yards on 49 carries (3.6 avg.) this season.
- Kuhn recorded career highs in both carries (13) and rushing yards (50) against the Cowboys, 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 this past Sunday, posting 37 yards on 12 carries (3.1 avg.).
- The Packers have posted 28 runs of 10-plus yards this season, which is tied for No. 16 in the league. Last season Green Bay finished No. 23 in the NFL with 42 runs of 10 yards or more.
290 AND COUNTING
- Green Bay finished 5-3 on the road in 2009, the third time in four seasons it had finished above .500 under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- The Packers have been able to stay above the .500 mark on the road during McCarthy’s tenure, a notable achievement in the National Football League.
- Green Bay got off to a good start this year with a win at Philadelphia in the season opener. It was the fifth straight season under McCarthy that the Packers have won their first road game of the year. The Packers are 2-2 away from Lambeau Field this season, with three of their next four contests coming on the road.
- Since 2006, McCarthy’s first season as the head coach in Green Bay, only 11 of 32 NFL teams have regular-season road records over .500.
THE LAMBEAU ADVANTAGE
- Another packed house at Lambeau Field against the Cowboys in Week 9 brought the stadium’s consecutive sellouts streak to 290 games (274 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 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.
- 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 24-9 at home since 2007 including playoffs, a marked improvement over the prior three seasons (10-14 combined), including a 4-1 mark this season.
TAKING HIS PLACE AMONG THE GAME’S BEST
- Now firmly entrenched in his role as the face of the franchise, QB Aaron Rodgers has gone from solid first-year starter to one of the game’s top young signal-callers over the past three seasons.
- Through Week 11, Rodgers once again finds himself among the league leaders in several passing categories. He ranks No. 7 with 2,601 yards, tied for No. 5 with 19 TD passes, and tied for No. 3 in passes of 25-plus yards with 23.
- In the Week 11 victory at Minnesota, Rodgers didn’t throw an interception for the third straight game, and hasn’t been picked off in the last 14 quarters of play, a streak of 112 attempts without an INT.
- Rodgers threw four touchdown passes at Minnesota this past Sunday, 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) as the only signal-callers to post a 140-plus passer rating, 300 yards passing and four passing TDs in a game this season.
- The performance at Minnesota was the eighth game in which he had three-or-more touchdown passes and no interceptions. Only two other players in history have accumulated as many games of that type within three seasons of their first NFL start, Tom Brady with eight from 2001-03 and Kurt Warner with nine from 1999-2001.
- Last season, Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards as he became the first QB in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter.
- That yardage total finished just shy of Lynn Dickey’s franchise record (4,458, 1983) for passing yards in a single season.
- Rodgers joined Steve Young (San Francisco, 1998) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 TDs and rush for 300 yards and five TDs in the same season.
- In 42 career starts, Rodgers has eclipsed the century mark in passer rating 22 times and recorded 12 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 Tony Romo (34).
YOUTH IS SERVED
- CB Tramon Williams etched his name into the team’s record books with
- a pair of big plays in Week 5 at Washington, and he has delivered impactful
- performances throughout the season.
- With a 52-yard punt return in the second quarter and a 64-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, Williams became the first player in franchise history to post a 50-yard punt return and a 60-yard interception return in the same game.
- Showing just how rare the feat is, no player in team annals has ever posted both of those returns in the same season.
- Williams became just the third NFL player since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to accomplish the feat in a game, joining Dallas’ Deion Sanders (Sept. 21, 1998) and the late Darrent Williams of the Denver Broncos (Nov. 13, 2005).
- Explosive plays are nothing new to the fourth-year CB who went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech in 2006. Williams recorded a 94-yard punt return for a score vs. Carolina on Nov. 18, 2007, as well as a 67-yard kickoff return vs. Chicago that season (Oct. 7). Last season, he posted his career-long INT return with a 67-yarder vs. Chicago (Sept. 13).
- Williams is only the third NFL player whose career began since the 1970 merger to post a 90-yard punt return and interception and kickoff returns of 65 yards in a career, joining Adam Jones and Lemar Parrish.
- Williams leads the team with four interceptions this season, with all of them coming in the past six games. He posted a key second-quarter INT of Vikings QB Brett Favre this past Sunday. Williams’ 15 passes defensed lead the team.
- Williams has now posted four or more interceptions in each of the past three seasons. He is the only undrafted player in the NFL to accomplish that feat each of the last three seasons (2008-10).
- At New York 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. He is one of only two players in the NFL to record each of them in a game this season, joining Jacksonville S Courtney Greene (Week 2). It was the second straight season a Green Bay CB had accomplished that feat, with Charles Woodson registering all three last season at Detroit in Week 12.
- Williams was recently selected to the Midseason All-Pro team by the Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin.
- Whenever injuries occur, it is a chance for other players on the roster to show what they are capable of in an expanded role. For Green Bay this season, many of those opportunities have gone to younger players.
- Six Green Bay rookies have started a game in 2010, tied with Kansas City and New England for the most in the league. The last time the Packers had that many rookies start at least one game in a season came in 2007 (also six).
- S Morgan Burnett, a third-round pick out of Georgia Tech, became only the second Packers rookie safety to start on opening day since 1988. He opened the first four games, posting 15 tackles and an interception, before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in Week 4.
- Burnett was joined in the starting lineup in Week 1 by nickel CB Sam Shields, a non-drafted rookie out of Miami. It was the first time since the 1970 merger that the Packers started two rookie DBs on opening day. Shields has 12 tackles and an interception in eight games played with four starts as the Packers’ nickel cornerback.
- T Bryan Bulaga, the team’s first-round pick out of Iowa who worked at LT and LG all preseason, has started each of the past six games at RT in place of injured veteran Mark Tauscher, who was placed on IR.
- LB Frank Zombo, a non-drafted free agent from Central Michigan, has played in every game with five starts. He leads all Green Bay rookies with 45 tackles (30 solo) and a forced fumble.
- TE Andrew Quarless started his first career game vs. Detroit in Week 4 and figures to factor more prominently in the offense with starting TE Jermichael Finley (knee) lost for the season. Quarless posted 51 yards receiving at Washington in Week 5 to become the first Packers rookie TE to register a 50-yard game since Bubba Franks in 2000.
- Quarless scored his first NFL TD on a 9-yard reception in the Week 7 win vs. Minnesota.
- DE C.J. Wilson, a seventh-round selection from East Carolina, started for the first time in his career in Week 6 vs. Miami in place of an injured Ryan Pickett, and posted four tackles. He has seen significant time in the past four games, recording 20 tackles (12 solo) on the season. Wilson registered his first career sack in Week 9 against Dallas, bringing down QB Jon Kitna on the final play of the game.
BISHOP AND HAWK MAKING PRESENCE FELT
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 five games, and the tandem has taken advantage of the opportunities.
- Hawk leads the team with 86 tackles (62 solo) through nine 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 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 74 contests with 71 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 five starts, Bishop has registered 65 tackles, which more than doubles his best season total of 27 tackles in 2008. His 66 tackles on the season (45 solo) rank No. 3 on the team, and he leads Green Bay’s LBs with a career-best six passes defensed. Bishop has also posted a career-high two sacks.
- In the Week 7 win vs. Minnesota, Bishop made one of the game’s key plays when he picked off QB Brett Favre in the third quarter and returned the interception 32 yards for a touchdown. It was the first INT and TD of the fourth-year linebacker’s career, and the first INT return for a TD by a Packers LB since Barnett posted a 95-yarder vs. New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2005.
- With Hawk adding an INT of his own against the Vikings, the duo became the first Packers LB tandem to each post an INT in the same game since Barnett and Brady Poppinga posted picks at Miami on Oct. 22, 2006.
JENNINGS FLASHES HOT HANDS
- 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 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. 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.
- In Week 9, Clifton was matched up for much of the evening with Pro Bowl LB DeMarcus Ware, who came into the game tied for No. 2 in the league with eight sacks. Clifton limited him to just two tackles and no sacks as the line allowed just one sack of Rodgers on the night.
- After getting off to a slower start this season, WR Greg Jennings has been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL over the past five games.
- Since he posted 14 receptions for 183 yards (13.0 avg.) and three TDs in the opening five contests, Jennings has recorded 32 catches for 520 yards (16.3 avg.) and six TDs in the past five games.
- Jennings registered a career-high three TD receptions in Green Bay’s 31-3 win at Minnesota this past Sunday, becoming the first Packer since WR Javon Walker (Sept. 26, 2004) to record three TD catches in a game.
- Jennings caught seven passes for 152 yards, with the yardage total the second-best single-game mark of Jennings’ five-year career behind only a 167-yard outing at Detroit on Sept. 14, 2008. The performance on Sunday earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
- 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 is only the second NFL player this season (Tennessee’s Kenny Britt, Oct. 24) to post seven catches/150 receiving yards/three TD catches in a game.
- Sunday’s game 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 the three TD receptions at Minnesota on Sunday, Jennings now has nine TD catches on the season, which ranks tied for third in the NFL.
- It is the third time in Jennings’ five-year career that he has recorded nine or more TD catches (12 in 2007, nine in 2008) in a season. He joins Freeman, Sharpe and Don Hutson as the only Packers to have three nine-TD catch seasons.
- 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 is the fourth-longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season behind a pair of players from the NFC North, Chicago RB Matt Forté (89-yard TD reception vs. Detroit in Week 1) and Detroit WR Calvin Johnson (87-yard TD catch at the N.Y. Giants in Week 6), and Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson (88-yard TD catch at Washington in Week 10).
- It was the fourth 80-yard reception of Jennings’ career, moving him into the No. 1 spot in the franchise record books ahead of teammate Donald 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.
- When it comes to scoring passes, Jennings has an eye-popping average during his career. Of his 37 career touchdown catches, 15 (40.5 percent) have been at least 40 yards in length. He has a staggering average of 32.5 yards per TD catch, which ranks No. 2 among current players with at least 20 career touchdown catches.
- 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 10 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 average ranks No. 4 in the NFL. The Packers are one of only two teams in the NFL (Baltimore) 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 11, the Packers rank No. 10 in the NFL in red-zone defense, allowing their opponents to get into the end zone just 45.5 percent of the time (10 TDs on 22 opportunities). Green Bay’s opponents have come away with a TD or a field goal 81.8 percent of the time, which ranks No. 10 in the NFL. The Packers are giving up an average of 4.27 points per opponent red-zone trip, 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.
VERSATILITY ON DISPLAY
- After outscoring their opponents a combined 85-10 over the past three games, the Packers find themselves atop the NFL’s scoring differential column.
- The Packers have outscored their opponents 252-146 this season, and that 106-point differential is the largest in the NFL through Week 11. Green Bay ranks No. 6 in the NFL among teams with five or more wins with an average margin of victory of 16.43.
- Last season the Packers ranked No. 3 in the league with an average margin of victory of 18.27, their highest mark since a 21.31 mark in their Super Bowl season of 1996.
- In 2009, Green Bay ranked No. 2 in the league in scoring differential, with a 164-point advantage over its opponents (461-297). That was second in the league to only the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints’ 169-point differential (510-341).
- The Packers have been particularly productive starting each half this season. They have outscored their opponents 54-20 in the first quarter, and that 34-point margin in the opening quarter ranks tied for No. 3 in the league.
- Green Bay has been equally productive to open the second half, outscoring its opponents 66-23 in the third quarter. That margin of 43 points ranks No. 2 in the NFL behind only San Diego (460).
- The Packers rank tied for No. 1 in the league in scoring defense, allowing opponents an average of just 14.6 points per game. The last time Green Bay held its opponents to an average of under 16 points a game in a season came in the ’96 campaign when the Packers led the league in scoring defense at 13.1 points per game.
- The Packers rank No. 8 in scoring with an average of 25.2 points per game.
- When QB Aaron Rodgers scrambled for a season-long 27-yard gain to convert a third-and-6 against Dallas in Week 9 that set up a TD three plays later, it was just an another example of his ability to make plays with his feet.
- With 194 yards on 37 attempts (5.2 avg.) this season, Rodgers ranks No. 3 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 95 rushing attempts since 2009, nearly a quarter (24) have been for 10 or more yards. He has posted a 10-yard run in seven of 10 games this season, and in 18 of his last 26 games.
- Since 2009, Rodgers ranks No. 1 among QBs in rushing yards (510), rushing TDs (eight) and 10-yard runs (24).
AFTER ROCKY START, PACKERS ROLL
A LOOK AT THE SCHEDULE
- As Sunday’s game began, the Packers’ offense looked to be headed for a
- Metrodome disaster. Instead it turned into a demolition.
- The Packers shook off a sluggish – if not dysfunctional – beginning on offense against the Vikings and went on to throttle Minnesota, 31-3, to win their fourth straight game and remain tied for first place in the NFC North with the Chicago Bears at 7-3.
- In what was probably quarterback Brett Favre’s final game against his former team, the Packers may have put the final nail in their division rival’s coffin, dropping the Vikings to 3-7 and all but mathematically out of playoff contention.
- If this is indeed Favre’s last season, the final ledger will show him 2-2 against Green Bay. But as frustrating as it may have been to lose twice to the Vikings last season, this year’s sweep of the struggling neighbors is all that matters right now.
- “We definitely want to beat them while they’re down,” defensive end Ryan Pickett said. “We don’t want to give them any life in the division. It felt good to deliver a blow like that. That was our intention.”
- For a moment it looked like Favre might have the last laugh. How bad was the Packers’ start? Three possessions, one first down, two sacks, 14 total yards. Real bad, and the Metrodome crowd was amped up as a result.
- But the Packers took a collective deep breath and, in a testament to both their skill and poise, got their act together. A juggling 47-yard catch down the right sideline by Greg Jennings jump-started the offense on the way to four straight scores that turned an early 3-0 deficit into a 24-3 lead a few minutes into the second half, and the rest was academic.
- “We just came to the sideline and said, ‘Hey we’re not doing a million things wrong, we’re doing one thing wrong. Let’s just make the correction and get it done,’” left guard Daryn Colledge said of the two early sacks. “Everybody said, ‘All right, let’s do that,’ and everybody calmed down.”
- So did the crowd, as Jennings’ big play led to a field goal that tied the score and another deep ball to James Jones for 39 yards set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jennings for a 10-3 lead.
- Then the defense, which had kept the deficit manageable by holding the Vikings to only a field goal on their first four drives, made the play that truly turned the game around.
- With a first down at the Green Bay 25 and just under 2 minutes left in the half, Favre tried to hit Percy Harvin on a slant. Cornerback Tramon Williams jumped the route and intercepted the ball, and the momentum never left Green Bay’s side the rest of the day.
- The turnover set up a 53-yard drive for another Packers TD that came on a 3-yard fade to Jones with just 5 seconds left in the half.
- When the Packers then took the second-half kickoff and drove 73 yards for yet another score – a 46-yard catch-and-run by Jennings – it was 24-3 with 12 minutes left in the third and the offense had suddenly put up 260 yards in barely more than a full quarter of play.
- “We all said, ‘Hey, we got our mistakes out of the way. Let’s move past it and get this thing going like we know we can,’ and we did,” right guard Josh Sitton said.
- “For us to start slow like that and turn around and pick it up, especially that drive right before the second half, just shows the character of this team. Hopefully we can build off this momentum and keep it rolling.”
- They weren’t done yet, either. Rodgers threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day, and third to Jennings, from 22 yards out early in the fourth quarter for the game’s final points. That gave Jennings seven catches for 152 yards and a career-best three scores.
- It also gave Rodgers 301 yards on 22-of-31 passing, his first four-TD game in the regular season, and a 141.3 rating – the second-highest of his career behind a 155.4 mark last season at Cleveland. He also added 21 yards rushing on three scrambles, none bigger than the 15-yarder on the opening third down of the second half to keep Minnesota’s defense frustrated.
- “When he gets in a zone like that, there is no quarterback better,” Jennings said. “He is so accurate, able to extend plays with his legs, then he can run when you give him the lane. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense when you have a quarterback back there who can do everything you don’t want him to be able to do. It’s exciting for us.”
- So is the play of Green Bay’s defense, which was impressive for the third straight game. After the early field goal, the Packers shut the Vikings out over the final 51 minutes and made things miserable for Favre.
- He finished just 17-of-38 for 208 yards with no touchdowns and an interception for a 51.2 rating, the fourth time this season his rating has been at that level or below and second against Green Bay (50.4 rating in Week 7).
- It certainly was a far cry from his two dynamite performances against the Packers a year ago (135.3 and 128.6 ratings) when the Packers – as the players have reflected upon it now – put too much pressure on themselves to try to beat him.
- “I think last year we read a little too much into it,” cornerback Charles Woodson said. “We got ourselves too excited about playing against Favre and that whole dynamic. This year we came into these matchups just knowing we needed to go out and play good football, and good things would happen. We played good football for four quarters, and got a big win.”
- The defense also continued its strong run that has seen it allow just 10 points over the past three games and one touchdown in the last 13 quarters.
- Green Bay’s big lead forced the Vikings to abandon the run after running back Adrian Peterson had gained 51 yards on 11 carries in the first half. He finished with 72 yards on 14 rushes. The Vikings also didn’t crack 300 total yards until a meaningless 12-yard completion to running back Toby Gerhart on the game’s final snap.
- “I just told the defense when they play like that, we’re not going to get beat,” Rodgers said. “When they give up three points against a high-powered offense like that, there’s no way with the kind of firepower we have on offense that we’re going to get beat.”
- The win sets up what’s turning into a critical NFC showdown next week in Atlanta, where the Falcons have the best record in the NFC at 8-2, one game ahead of Green Bay, Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.
- The Packers deserve credit for getting themselves back in the hunt as quickly as they did. At 3-3 following consecutive overtime defeats to Washington and Miami, and with so many other NFC teams starting to make their playoff push, the Packers had no time to waste, and didn’t.
- “I don’t think anybody had their head down after the overtime losses,” Colledge said. “We knew we played close games and lost in the end because we made mistakes. It wasn’t because somebody was dominating us or we were getting blown out.
- “We’ve overcome the injuries, we’ve overcome the overtime losses, and now we’re rolling, and that’s what we need to continue to do. We need to go down to Atlanta and continue this trend.”
2010 SCHEDULE NUGGETS
- The Green Bay Packers’ 90th NFL regular-season schedule – headlined by six nationally televised games – was released in late April.
- Green Bay opened the 2010 slate on the road at Philadelphia before kicking off the home schedule with the Buffalo Bills in Week 2.
- Its first prime-time appearance – against the rival Bears in Chicago on Monday Night Football – came in Week 3. The NFL’s oldest rivalry was on display in prime time for a fifth straight season, with this first meeting of the year marking game No. 180 in the all-time series.
- 2010 marks the 18th consecutive season the Packers have appeared on Monday Night Football, the NFC’s longest streak.
- Three games are slated for Sunday night on NBC, including home games in Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings and a Week 9 contest vs. the Dallas Cowboys. It was the first time in team history that the Packers played back-to-back Sunday night games at home. In Week 15, the Packers are scheduled to take on the Patriots on Sunday night in Foxborough, though the game is subject to the NFL’s flex scheduling.
- The Packers got their first look at the new stadium in New Jersey in Week 8 against the Jets, where they experienced some cool fall temperatures. While games at Lambeau Field later in the season always provide a home-field advantage for the Packers, the 2010 schedule is nearly void of cold-weather road games. Green Bay is in the midst of three road contests will be played in domes (Minnesota, Atlanta, Detroit).
- That’s good news for a Green Bay offense that seems to thrive in domes. Including playoffs, the Packers played in a dome five times last season, exceeding 400 total net yards in four of those games.
- A number of games on the Packers’ 2010 schedule – namely those on national TV – are beginning to have a familiar feel. In addition to taking on the Bears for a fifth consecutive year in prime time, Green Bay took on Minnesota in prime time for a third straight season. The Packers and Cowboys met on national TV for the fourth straight season.
- The schedule concludes with two home games for the first time since 2005. One of the NFL’s best teams in regular-season games played in December and January, Green Bay may need to call upon that previous success for what could prove to be two very important contests surrounding the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Games against the Giants (Week 16) and Bears (Week 17) could determine not only the NFC North Division crown but conference playoff seeding.
- Green Bay’s bye week came in Week 10, the latest possible week for NFL teams. It marked the latest time in which the Packers have had a bye in franchise history, besting the Week 9 bye in 2004. The Packers played nine games before the bye and will have seven after the open date.
- Three of four games before the bye came at Lambeau Field, while four of five games after the bye are road contests.
- Immediately following the bye came an important division game last Sunday against Minnesota, the first of three straight road games played in domes. Under McCarthy, the team has now won four of five games after the bye week and 11 of its last 15 after the bye dating back further.
- Green Bay has always been a successful team after the bye and 2009 was no different, as the team compiled a 9-3 (.750) mark after the bye week. Since 2000, the team is 63-36 (.636) overall after the bye.
- Fifteen games are slated for Sunday, the most since 1993 (also 15).
- Seven of the final eight games are against NFC opponents.
- The Packers have six games on the schedule against 2009 playoff teams, including Week 1 at Philadelphia. Beginning in Week 7 vs. Minnesota, Green Bay played a stretch of four straight games against playoff teams from a year ago. The team traveled east to take on the Jets in Week 8 and hosted the Cowboys in Week 9 before the bye. The stretch concluded this past Sunday at Minnesota.
- The NFL’s oldest rivalry will see a first in 2010. For the first time in series history, Green Bay will host Chicago in the regular-season finale, set to be game No. 181 between the Packers and Bears.