Two years after he co-founded the Packers with Curly Lambeau, George Calhoun began writing a piece called The Dope Sheet, which served as the official press release and game program from 1921-24.
Honoring Calhoun, the first publicity director, the Packers are running this weekly feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com.
This is an abbreviated version of the Packers-Vikings Week 7 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Vikings Week 7 Dope Sheet:
MINNESOTA (2-3) AT GREEN BAY (3-3)
Sunday, Oct. 24 - Lambeau Field - 7:20 p.m. CDTPACKERS HOST VIKINGS IN PRIME-TIME DIVISIONAL GAME
- Green Bay hosts the division-rival Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night at Lambeau Field in a nationally televised game.
- This is the third straight year and the fifth time in six seasons that the border rivals have squared off in a prime-time matchup.
- It is the first time since 2003 that the teams will meet in a Sunday night contest. Green Bay won the Nov. 2, 2003, matchup at the Metrodome, 30-27. Prior to that the teams had squared off on Sunday night twice before (1990 and 2002).
- The Packers have an 18-8 (.692) mark against NFC North opponents under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, which ranks first among NFC North teams over that span, including a 10-3 (.769) mark at home. Green Bay’s divisional record since ’06 is tied for fourth in the NFL, and the Packers have posted a 4-2 record or better in the division each season under McCarthy.
- Sunday night’s contest is the second straight home game for a Green Bay team that is in the midst of a stretch of three of four games at Lambeau Field.
- Green Bay had its six-game home winning streak snapped this past Sunday in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins, the third loss for the Packers this season by three points and their second straight in overtime. The Packers have won 20 of 29 games (.690), including playoffs, at Lambeau Field since 2007.
- Next Sunday, the Packers will travel to New York to face the Jets in a noon (CDT) contest at New Meadowlands Stadium. It is the first time since 2002 that the Jets have hosted Green Bay. Minnesota visits New England next Sunday for a 3:15 (CDT) game with the Patriots.
WITH THE CALL
AN EVENLY MATCHED SERIES
- 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 broadcast 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. Minnesota Vikings:All-time regular season
- Few rivalries in sports have exhibited the parity of the Green Bay-Minnesota series since it began in 1961.
- Through 98 meetings, which includes one postseason game, the Packers hold a slight 49-48-1 advantage over the Vikings.
- Fans can bet on a back-and-forth contest when these two clubs meet, one that always seems to come down to the final possession. In fact, 13 of the past 15 regular-season games have been decided by seven points or less, the lone exceptions being the Packers’ 34-0 blanking of the Vikings in 2007 at Lambeau Field and Minnesota’s 38-26 victory in Green Bay last season.
- Not only do the games seem to always come down to the last possession, but more recently they have come down to a final kick. From 2004-2008, six out of the 10 contests were decided by a field goal at the end of the fourth quarter. Vikings K Ryan Longwell kicked two game-winning field goals – for the Packers – in the ’04 meetings.
- The Vikings swept the series in 2009 and have won the past three matchups against the Packers. Prior to that, Green Bay had won each time against Minnesota in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s first five games vs. the Vikings.
0-1All-time, in Green Bay:
The Vikings have won three straight. Last meeting, regular season:
Nov. 1, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Vikings won, 38-26COACHES CAPSULESMike McCarthy:
42-31-0, .575, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL seasonBrad Childress:
39-33-0, .542 (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season Head to Head:
McCarthy 5-3vs. Opponent
: McCarthy 5-3 vs. Vikings; Childress 3-5 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 fifth year as the Vikings’ seventh head coach.
THE PACKERS-VIKINGS SERIES
- Led Minnesota to back-to-back NFC North titles the past two seasons, reaching the NFC Championship last year.
- In his 33rd season of coaching and his 13th in the NFL. Broke in as Colts’ quarterbacks coach (1985) and spent seven years (1999-2005) in Philadelphia, where he was offensive coordinator.
- Also coached at four colleges, including the University of Wisconsin (1991-98). The staff at Northern Arizona (1986-89) included future NFL head coaches Bill Callahan, Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid.
- In his past 10 seasons in the NFL with Minnesota and Philadelphia, has won six division crowns and made seven playoff appearances.
- This marks the 99th meeting between the border rivals.
- Few, if any, rivalries in sports have exhibited more parity. The Packers own a slight advantage over the Vikings (49-48-1, including playoffs) in the all-time series.
- The Packers’ five-game winning streak that was snapped in 2008 was the longest streak for either team since the Packers won five straight from 1983-85.
- The series began when the Vikings entered the league in 1961, and Vince Lombardi’s Packers won nine of the first 10.
- Over the last 16 seasons (1994-2009), these teams have accounted for 12 NFC Central/North division championships.
Vikings QB Brett Favre played 16 seasons for the Packers (1992-2007), leading the team to four NFC Championship Game appearances and two Super Bowls, and setting all the major NFL passing records for career attempts, completions, yards, TDs and INTs as a member of the Packers...Vikings K Ryan Longwell is Green Bay’s all-time leading scorer, having racked up 1,054 points in nine seasons with the Packers (1997-2005)...The Vikings’ coaching staff has several ties to the University of Wisconsin, where Childress (1991-98) and asst. offensive line coach Jim Hueber (1992-2005) worked together, where offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell played QB (1992-95), and where asst. DB coach Matt Sheldon coached DBs (1997-99) and special teams coordinator Brian Murphy (2000-05) held various recruiting and administrative roles...Bevell also was a Packers offensive asst. coach from 2000-05, including QB coach (2003-05) for Favre, while Sheldon grew up in Wausau, Wis. ...While running Seattle’s drafts, Packers GM Ted Thompson selected Vikings G Steve Hutchinson in the first round in 2001; Hutchinson and Packers CB Charles Woodson were teammates on Michigan’s 1997 national championship team...Packers DE Michael Montgomery was with the Vikings during the 2010 preseason...Vikings TE coach Jimmie Johnson played for Kansas City for one season (1994) when McCarthy was an offensive asst. there...Vikings DB coach Joe Woods held the same post at Western Michigan when Packers WR Greg Jennings played there (2002-03)...Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and Vikings LB coach Fred Pagac coached on the staff together at Ohio State in the early 1980s...Vikings OL coach Pat Morris was a college teammate of Packers LB Clay Matthews’ dad at USC in the mid-1970s...Packers asst. OL coach Jerry Fontenot played for the Bengals in 2004 when Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was on Cincinnati’s staff...Packers C Scott Wells and Vikings G Anthony Herrera blocked on the same offensive line at the University of Tennessee...Other former teammates include Packers LB Brandon Chillar and Vikings P Chris Kluwe (UCLA), Packers LB Brady Poppinga and Vikings FB Naufahu Tahi (BYU), Vikings CB Asher Allen and Packers DE Jarius Wynn (Georgia), Vikings DE Everson Griffen and Matthews (USC), Packers WR Brett Swain and Vikings LB Heath Farwell (San Diego State), and Vikings RB Albert Young and Packers T/G Bryan Bulaga (Iowa)...Green Bay director of research and development Mike Eayrs (similar capacity, 1985-99) previously worked for the Vikings, as did Packers VP of football administration/player finance Russ Ball (1999-2000), VP of sales and marketing Tim Connolly (1998-99), and staff writer Tom Fanning (1999-2007).INDIVIDUALLY VS. VIKINGS
QB Aaron Rodgers’ first NFL start came against Minnesota at Lambeau in 2008, and he was 18-of-22 for 178 yards with a TD for a 115.5 rating. His 81.8 completion percentage was the second highest in league history for a QB making his first start. Rodgers also threw for a regular-season career-high 384 yards in the first meeting last season...WR Greg Jennings has 29 catches for 386 yards and two TDs in eight career games against the Vikings. He also caught Favre’s record-breaking 421st TD pass at Minnesota in 2007...WR Donald Driver established a career high for receiving yards with 191 against the Vikings at Minnesota (Nov. 12, 2006), topping the 162 he had on Dec. 24, 2004, also at the Metrodome. Driver also had a career-high 11 receptions (tie) in that 2004 contest, as well as a career-long 45-yard run on Nov. 2, 2003. In 21 career games, his 84 receptions for 1,223 yards and six TDs are second-most in all categories against any opponent (Detroit)...S Atari Bigby made his first NFL interception to seal victory at Minnesota in 2007; his INT in 2008 (Sept. 8) clinched another victory. LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Nov. 1, 2009, at Lambeau Field; Vikings won, 38-26
- Vikings QB Brett Favre and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers combined for seven TD passes without an INT as Minnesota swept the season series for the first time since 2005.
- Vikings RB Adrian Peterson rushed 25 times for 97 yards and a TD, a 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal in the first quarter.
- Favre (17-of-28, 244 yards, 4 TDs) threw TD passes to TE Visanthe Shiancoe and WR Percy Harvin to stake the Vikings to a 24-6 lead midway through the third quarter before Green Bay rallied.
- Rodgers (26-of-41, 287 yards, 3 TDs) threw a pair of TDs to TE Spencer Havner as the Packers, helped by the recovery of a fumbled kickoff, pulled within 24-20 late in the third.
- Vikings TE Jeff Dugan and Packers WR Greg Jennings traded TD catches as Green Bay stayed within one score, at 31-26, with 10 minutes left. But Favre threw his fourth TD pass of the day, to WR Bernard Berrian, with 3:48 to go to seal the game.
TAKEAWAY POINTS KEY FOR PACKERS
- In the second year of Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme, the Packers are once again showing their knack for producing takeaways, which they have continued to turn into points this season.
- Of the Packers’ nine takeaways this season, six of them have been converted into touchdowns. That 66.7 TD percentage ranks first in the NFL (minimum five takeaways), and Green Bay’s six touchdowns off of takeaways leads the NFL.
- Green Bay’s 42 points off of takeaways so far this season rank No. 4 in the league behind Detroit (47), Atlanta (43) and Tennessee (43).
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field, as they have a current streak of 13 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 (12) are one of only five teams in the league to have 12 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 in ’08. 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 Buffalo in Week 2, they’re almost guaranteed to win. They have now won 39 of 43 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 42 of their last 46 games when they don’t turn the ball over.
CLAY FINDS A WAY
- Despite sitting out this past Sunday’s game vs. Miami due to a hamstring injury, the first time he missed a game in his career, LB Clay Matthews leads the NFL with 8.5 sacks through Week 6.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 also became the first NFL player to register consecutive three-sack games since Seattle’s Patrick Kerney accomplished the feat (Nov. 18-25, 2007).
- 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 53.5 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 21 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’ 18.5 sacks since 2009 lead the NFL, ahead of Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware (18) and Philadelphia’s Trent Cole (17.5).
- 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.
OFFENSE STARTING FAST
- The opening drives of a half set the tone for a team, and Green Bay’s offense is off to a productive start in that department this season.
- In the first six games this season, the Packers have come away with points on their opening offensive drive four times, twice scoring touchdowns while also kicking two field goals. Their 20 points this season on the first drives of the game rank tied for No. 3 in the NFL behind only New Orleans (31) and Philadelphia (21). Green Bay ranked tied for No. 6 in the NFL in 2009 with 37 points on opening drives.
- The Packers have also scored two TDs and one field goal on their opening drive of the second half. Those 17 points rank tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Atlanta (19), and Green Bay is already on the heels of the 2009 team that scored 20 points all season on opening second-half-drives (No. 20).
- Green Bay has averaged 49.7 yards on its first possession of the second half this year, and the shortest drive, a 39-yarder vs. Buffalo in Week 2, resulted in a touchdown after LB Brandon Chillar returned an interception to the Bills’ 39 to set the offense up with a short field.
- The Packers did not score a touchdown on the first drive of the second half all of 2008, part of a 34-game span without a TD on the first possession after halftime that started late in 2007 and ran all the way until Week 16 vs. Seattle last season.
- Green Bay snapped that streak with a 6-yard TD run from RB Brandon Jackson against the Seahawks last season, and have now scored a TD on the opening drive of the second half in four of the past eight regular-season games. They have scored points on the first possession of the second half in five of those eight games.
STAT OF THE WEEK
THE MEDICAL REPORT
- On Sunday against Miami, WR Greg Jennings caught an 86-yard touchdown pass from QB Aaron Rodgers, the longest catch by a Packer in a regular-season game in over 15 years.
- It was the longest reception by a Green Bay player since Robert Brooks hauled in a 99-yard TD from 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.
- The 86-yard TD was the career-long for the fifth-year wide receiver, topping his 83-yard TD grab at Pittsburgh on Dec. 20, 2009, and it was also the fourth 80-yard reception of Jennings’ career.
- Those four 80-yard receptions in the regular season are a franchise record, topping the mark of three set by Driver. Jennings’ four 80-yard receptions rank tied for No. 1 among active players with Buffalo WR Lee Evans.
- Of Jennings’ 32 career TD catches, 14 of them (43.8 percent) have been at least 40 yards in length. His average of 34.4 yards per touchdown catch ranks No. 1 among active NFL players with 20 career touchdown receptions, ahead of Minnesota’s Bernard Berrian (34.0) and Washington’s Santana Moss (32.9).
- Jennings’ 86-yard reception is the third-longest play from scrimmage in the NFL this season behind a pair of players from the NFC North. Chicago RB Matt Forté had an 89-yard TD reception vs. Detroit in Week 1, while Detroit WR Calvin Johnson posted an 87-yard TD catch at the N.Y. Giants in Week 6.
PLENTY OF PRODUCTION INSIDE THE 20
- Every team in the league has to deal with injuries at some point in the season, and the Packers have already had to deal with a season’s worth in just the opening six weeks.
- The Packers have lost four players who started in Week 1 for the remainder of the season due to injuries, two 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.
- 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.
- Against Miami on Sunday, the Packers were without NFL sack leader Clay Matthews (hamstring) and starting DE Ryan Pickett (ankle) for the first time this season, as well as nickel LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder) for the third straight game and starting RT Mark Tauscher (shoulder) for the second straight contest. Nickel CB Sam Shields returned on Sunday after missing the previous two games with a calf injury.
- Matthews and Pickett both tested their injuries prior to the game against the Dolphins, but were not ready to return to action. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said the team will take the week before determining what their status is for Sunday night, but he is hopeful they will return.
- For a team that has been hit hard by the injury bug, any good news is welcomed, and the Packers are expecting to see the three players on the PUP list back on the practice field on Wednesday for the first time this season. That group includes a pair of veteran starters, S Atari Bigby and CB Al Harris, and rookie RB James Starks.
- 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 six games this season, the Packers are off to another productive start, having scored touchdowns on 11 of 17 trips inside the opponent’s 20. That 64.7 percent touchdown rate ranks No. 5 in the league.
- Green Bay’s 86 points in the red zone this season (11 touchdowns, three field goals) rank No. 11 in the league. The only times the Packers did not score when they got inside the opponent’s 20 was at Chicago in Week 3 when Mason Crosby’s 37-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter was blocked, in Week 4 when they drove inside Detroit’s 20 on the final possession of the game but ran out the clock in the 28-26 win, and in Week 5 at Washington when they didn’t convert a fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the second quarter.
- 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 38 career starts with Green Bay, Rodgers has yet to throw a single interception in the red zone, posting a 109.4 rating on 104-of-168 passing (61.9 percent) for 649 yards and 42 touchdowns.
- According to STATS, Rodgers’ passer rating of 122.1 this season in the red zone ranks No. 5 in the league (min. 15 attempts). Rodgers has connected on 19-of-26 passes (73.1 percent) for 111 yards and six TDs with no INTs in 2010.
- 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 this past Sunday 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 81 rushing attempts since 2009, nearly a quarter (19) have been for 10 or more yards.
YOUTH IS SERVED
- 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 15 more sacks in the next five games.
- Green Bay’s 21 sacks as a team through Week 5 rank tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Tennessee (24). The Packers also rank No. 2 in the league in sack yardage with 148 yards and have had eight different players record a sack.
- The Packers’ 21 sacks through the first six games are the most by a Green Bay defense to start the season since the 2001 squad registered 23 in the opening six contests. The 2001 defense went on to post a franchise-record 52 sacks that season.
- Green Bay was shut out in the sack column for the first time this season this past Sunday against Miami, failing to register one for just the second time in the past 15 regular-season games.
- The 21 sacks to start the season were also 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 two teams in the league (Tennessee) to post two five-sack games in 2010.
- Of the team’s 21 sacks, 8.5 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. Green Bay is one of only five teams in the league to have two players with four-plus sacks (N.Y. Giants, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tennessee).
- 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 21st sack didn’t come until Week 11 vs. the 49ers.
- 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.
- 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, which is tied with 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 10 tackles and a pass defensed in four games played.
- 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 two games at RT in place of injured veteran Mark Tauscher.
- LB Frank Zombo, a non-drafted free agent from Central Michigan, has played in every game with two starts and ranks tied for third among all NFL rookies with two sacks. He leads all Green Bay rookies with 20 tackles (13 solo).
- 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 50 yards receiving in a game since Bubba Franks in 2000.
- DE C.J. Wilson, a seventh-round selection from East Carolina, started for the first time in his career this past Sunday vs. Miami in place of an injured Ryan Pickett, and posted four tackles.
288 AND COUNTING
- 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 interception 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 this season with two interceptions, having posted a pick in each of the last two games. It is the fourth time in his career that he has registered an interception in back-to-back games, with the most recent instance coming in Weeks 12-13 last season.
- Williams posted a career-high 22 passes defensed in 2009, and ranks second on the team this season with eight (Nick Collins, nine).
THE LAMBEAU ADVANTAGE
- Another packed house at Lambeau Field against the Dolphins in Week 6 brought the stadium’s consecutive sellouts streak to 288 games (272 regular season, 16 playoffs).
- The 2009 home game against Minnesota saw the largest regular-season crowd in Lambeau Field history (71,213).
- 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 20-9 at home since 2007 including playoffs, a marked improvement over the prior three seasons (10-14 combined).
- Since Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren began the revitalization of the franchise in 1992, Green Bay owns the best home record in the NFL. A look at the top regular-season home W-L records since the ’92 season:
Team W-L record Pct.
Green Bay - 109-38-0 (.741)
Pittsburgh -106-40-1 (.724)
Denver - 104-43-0 (.707)
Minnesota - 102-45-0 (.694)
New England - 99-48-0 (.673)
Dallas - 97-49-0 (.664)ELITE COMPANY
STILL GETTING THE JOB DONE
- With a win at Lambeau Field in Week 2 over Buffalo, Head Coach Mike McCarthy became just the second coach in team history to win four consecutive home openers.
- McCarthy joined the legendary Curly Lambeau as the only coach in franchise annals to win four or more consecutive home openers. Lambeau accomplished the feat three times (1923-27, 1929-32, 1938-41) in his 29-year coaching career in Green Bay.
- Green Bay is one of only six NFL teams and one of just two (Washington) in the NFC to win its home opener each year from 2007-10. The others are Baltimore, Denver, New England, and Pittsburgh.
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 strong start in 2010.
- The franchise’s all-time receptions leader with 675 in his career, Driver leads the team in catches this season with 28 receptions for 307 yards (11.0 avg.) and three TDs.
- 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 133 consecutive games (139 including playoffs), also a franchise record. That streak ranks third among active NFL players behind only Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward (183) and Atlanta’s Tony Gonzalez (153).
- 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.
- Green Bay’s offensive line didn’t allow a single sack of QB Aaron Rodgers in Week 3 at Chicago, the second straight game that the sixth-year QB was not sacked.
- 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 nine regular-season games, Rodgers has been sacked either once or not at all in four of those contests.
- In his two-plus years as the starting quarterback, there have been 13 games where the line has given up either one sack or no sacks of Rodgers. The Packers have a 10-3 mark in those contests.
- The effect that protection has is evident in Rodgers’ numbers in those games, as he has completed 291-of-427 passes (68.1 percent) for 3,462 yards and 26 TDs with just five INTs for a 108.1 passer rating.
- The Packers have had their struggles the past two weeks, allowing a total of nine sacks against Washington and Miami after giving up only five sacks in the first four 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, a pace that would have put the Packers in the top five in terms of sacks allowed if kept up over a 16-game season.
SPREAD IT AROUND
- 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 305 yards on 67 carries this season (4.6 avg.), and yards from scrimmage with 409.
- 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, who worked 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.
- Grant, Jackson, Kuhn and QB Aaron Rodgers have all posted runs of 17 yards or more this season, Each of the backs registered a 12-yard run in the season opener at Philadelphia, the first time since Dec. 19, 2005, that the Packers had three RBs post an explosive gain. Samkon Gado, Tony Fisher and Noah Herron each rushed for a 12-yard gain at Baltimore in 2005.
- Green Bay’s 18 runs of 10-plus yards rank tied for No. 11 in the NFL. Last season the Packers ranked No. 23 in the league with 42 runs of 10 yards or more.
ANOTHER OVERTIME, ANOTHER TOUGH LOSS
- The wonder for the last few weeks has been how many more injuries the
- Green Bay Packers can absorb. But now the more pertinent question is how many more down-to-the-wire defeats can one team take?
- Sunday’s 23-20 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field was the Packers’ third loss in their last four games, all on last-play field goals and the last two in overtime. The defeat drops the Packers to 3-3, not at all where they envisioned sitting after a 2-0 start.
- “I wouldn’t say it’s deflating, but I think it’s one of many reality checks that we need to tighten up, obviously,” linebacker Brad Jones said. “We can’t have any more losses. We can’t lose to teams that we should beat. Miami is a good team, but we know what type of team we have, and even with all the injuries we do have, we still know what type of team we are, and we shouldn’t have losses like that.”
- That’s been the refrain after each of the three close defeats, all by three points – at Chicago on a Monday night, at Washington in overtime last week, and then at home against Miami following an intense and physically and emotionally draining fourth quarter and overtime session on Sunday.
- The Packers needed to overcome a huge, momentum-turning call by the officials to give themselves a chance to win this one.
- Midway through the fourth quarter with the game tied at 13, the Dolphins punted on fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 43-yard line. But following a commercial break, the officials determined that Packers linebacker Robert Francois was lined up directly over the center and right on the line of scrimmage, penalizing the Packers 5 yards due to a new rule put in place this year for the safety of long snappers.
- The Packers contended that Francois was lined up more than a yard off the line of scrimmage, and was therefore legal, but the argument went nowhere. The Dolphins were given the ball back following the penalty and had a first down at the Green Bay 38.
- Four plays later, Miami quarterback Chad Henne caught the Packers in a blitz while rolling to his right and executed a perfect throwback screen to tight end Anthony Fasano, who was wide open. Fasano waltzed into the end zone untouched for a 22-yard TD and a 20-13 Miami lead with 5:10 left in the fourth.
- “That’s one of those mysterious things you just have to play through,” said defensive end Cullen Jenkins, one of many players in the locker room afterward who was careful with his words so as not to draw a fine from the league. “You have to overcome it.”
- The Packers nearly did, driving 69 yards in 12 plays to get the tying touchdown with just 13 seconds left in regulation. The drive included two receptions for 37 yards by Jordy Nelson and a 20-yard catch by Greg Jennings to convert a fourth-and-7 at the 2-minute warning and make it first-and-goal on the 9.
- After quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambled for 8 yards down to the 1, running back John Kuhn was then stuffed on both second and third down, setting up fourth-and-goal. After both teams called timeouts, Rodgers came out in shotgun but with an eye on the Miami defensive front, because the Dolphins had left the center uncovered on the previous play, increasing the odds of a successful quarterback sneak.
- Miami made an adjustment, but Rodgers saw the opening he needed anyway and proceeded to very cleverly fake out the Dolphins defense, stepping forward as though he was calling an audible. Only he put his hands under center, took the snap and walked in over left guard standing up to tie the game.
- “They lined up with a guy over the center, but the next guy out was outside the tackle on the left side,” Rodgers said. “So I told (the offensive linemen) I was going to act like I was changing something and then just went up there and quick snapped it and got it in there.”
- The Dolphins won the overtime coin flip, went three-and-out, and the Packers did the same. Green Bay punter Tim Masthay then hit a poor 37-yard punt that Davone Bess fair-caught at the Miami 48, and the Dolphins took advantage of the field position with a seven-play drive that ended with Dan Carpenter’s game-winning 44-yard field goal six minutes into OT.
- But afterward the Packers weren’t putting this loss on their defense, which has been devastated by injuries and lost outside linebacker Brady Poppinga to a knee injury in the first half. That left a unit already missing Pro Bowler Clay Matthews with just Jones, rookie Frank Zombo and former practice-squadder Francois to play outside linebacker the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the banged-up defensive line, missing Ryan Pickett and Mike Neal, was rotating rookie C.J. Wilson and second-year man Jarius Wynn in and out as two of the four viable linemen.
- Still, the cobbled-together group held the Dolphins to just 20 points in regulation despite Miami’s 150 yards rushing and receiver Brandon Marshall’s 10-catch, 127-yard day. The defense struggled to pressure Henne (23-of-39, 231 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 82.3 rating) but got an interception from Tramon Williams that preceded an 86-yard TD pass from Rodgers to Jennings (six catches, 133 yards) in the first quarter, and a key fourth-down stop at the Green Bay 27-yard line late in the third quarter.
- “I thought they were hanging in there, bend do not break, keep them out of the end zone,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought our defense played well enough for us to win that game based on the position they were in.”
- But the offense didn’t. A second straight abysmal day on third downs (3-for-13, after going 2-for-13 last week at Washington) and five sacks of Rodgers (18-of-33, 313 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 84.5 rating) led to a nearly 10-minute disadvantage in time of possession (37:56 to 28:03).
- The offense came up empty on two consecutive drives that crossed midfield in the second quarter and then couldn’t generate a single first down with the game tied at 13 in the fourth quarter or on its overtime possession.
- “All of it, all of it,” Jennings said when asked what was wrong. “He (Rodgers) is getting hit too much, we’re not putting ourselves in position to be successful on third down, which means we’re not doing the things we need to do on first and second down. It’s collective. There’s no one position, none of that. It’s everybody.”
- Added Rodgers: “We have to figure something out offensively and help our defense out a little bit. I think they’ve played well enough to win the last two weeks and we just haven’t gotten the job done. When your defense is holding them to 16 last week and 23 this week, we feel like we should win those games.”
- But the Packers haven’t, and instead of pulling into a first-place tie in the NFC North on Sunday with the Chicago Bears, who also lost at home, they’re .500 and still trying to catch a break.
- As many players noted after the game, there are still 10 games left in this long season, and everyone remembers how the Packers were 4-4 at the midway point last year before putting things together to go 7-1 down the stretch and make the playoffs.
- But as Rodgers said, this was supposed to be the game the Packers regained some momentum heading into a week when cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby are eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list and could provide some reinforcements for the depleted defense.
- “We’re getting hopefully two studs back this week on defense, three if you count Clay,” Rodgers said. “We need those guys back. We need to be at full force.”
- But there’s no telling what a win or two these last couple of weeks without them may have meant for the season going forward. The Packers can only hope they won’t end up looking back and lamenting the missed opportunities.
- “We have a little time, but time is of the essence,” Jennings said. “Every win is important. When it comes down to it end of the year, these are the type of games -- this week, last week, Chicago -- those are the types of games you look back and say, ‘Man, if we could have got that one, where would we have possibly, potentially been?’”