Game Notes: Blocked FG First Since '05

The Packers’ defensive linemen had a good day getting their arms and hands in the way of Peyton Manning’s passes, and Johnny Jolly also succeeded in getting his arm in the way of a field-goal attempt. Of all the big plays made by Green Bay’s defense on Sunday, don’t underestimate Jolly’s block of Adam Vinatieri’s 45-yard field goal try midway through the third quarter. - More Packers-Colts Game Center


The Packers' defensive linemen had a good day getting their arms and hands in the way of Peyton Manning's passes, and Johnny Jolly also succeeded in getting his arm in the way of a field-goal attempt.

Of all the big plays made by Green Bay's defense on Sunday, don't underestimate Jolly's block of Adam Vinatieri's 45-yard field goal try midway through the third quarter. It came with the Packers ahead 24-7, and had Vinatieri made it, the Colts would have pulled back within two scores with plenty of time remaining.

Instead, after the block, the Packers responded with a field goal of their own and the Colts never did get within two scores in the second half.

Interestingly, the blocked field goal was the first of the Mike McCarthy era. The last time the Packers blocked a field goal was on Nov. 6, 2005, when Cullen Jenkins blocked one against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jolly's block also came one play after one of the defensive linemen's three batted passes at the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackle Colin Cole knocked down Manning's third-down pass to force the field-goal try. Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett also knocked a pass down at the line in the first half, and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila did so in the second half, snuffing out a short dump-off to the running back.

Aggressive approach

Two early, aggressive calls by McCarthy let his players know he wasn't just paying lip service to his messages about playing aggressively this week.

First, immediately after taking a 3-0 lead on the game's first possession, the Packers tried a surprise onside kick. It didn't work, as the ball skipped out of bounds, but with a better bounce the Packers appeared to be in good position to recover.

Then later in the first half, with the Packers leading 10-7 and facing fourth-and-1 at their own 44-yard line, McCarthy decided to go for it. A risky move in Green Bay territory to be sure, but even after Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy called a timeout, McCarthy stuck with his decision and his play-call, and Ryan Grant went around right end for 7 yards and a first down. The Packers finished that drive with a touchdown for a 10-point halftime lead.

"I was not surprised but more energized by it," defensive end Aaron Kampman said of going for it on fourth down. "It shows confidence in us as a defense and in us as an offense. That was a gutsy call to do that.

"We rally behind that, as a defense I know we do, and on offense they do as well. We're going to impose our will, and to do that was great. Same thing with the onside kick early on. To take some of those chances was a good message to us."


One of the key matchups heading into Sunday's game was the Colts' ultra-quick pass-rushing defensive ends, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, against the Packers' veteran offensive tackles, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.

It was clearly advantage Packers here.

Freeney and Mathis were held sackless, as was the entire Indy defense, and the Colts' ends combined for just four total tackles (three solo, one assist). The Packers' ball-control offense and second-half lead played a key role here, not allowing Indy's ends to just turn it loose to come after the quarterback.

"Playing in favorable down-and-distances, and keeping the third downs where you can keep the pass rush under control and so forth, that's important," McCarthy said. "When you get in third-and-long against the Indianapolis Colts, you're playing uphill."

Freeney was credited with two of Indy's three quarterback hits in the game, while Mathis did have a tackle for loss on a running play.

"You can't say enough about the job Chad and Mark did on both (Freeney) and Mathis," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "I really did not get pressured much at all, got hit maybe two or three times. It gives you a lot of confidence when you're dropping back and you don't have to worry about those guys as much.

"We gave (Clifton and Tauscher) help at times, but those guys did a great job on Freeney and Mathis in the pass game and we were able to rush for over 100 yards as well."

Climbing the charts

Receiver Donald Driver had three catches in a span of four plays on a second-quarter touchdown drive on Sunday, and he eclipsed a couple of milestones in the process.

First, on his 24-yard grab over the middle to start the drive, he passed Antonio Freeman as the all-time leader in receiving yards at Lambeau Field. Driver came into Sunday's game 19 yards away from breaking Freeman's mark of 3,477 yards.

Then three plays later, with his third catch of the day, Driver passed James Lofton for second place on the franchise's all-time list for receptions. Lofton had 530 receptions with the Packers, and Driver entered Sunday's game with 528.

Driver also extended his streak of games with at least one reception to 102 and will tie Sterling Sharpe's franchise mark in that category with a catch in two weeks at Tennessee.

{sportsad300}Driver finished his day with four catches for 35 yards. He now has 3,494 receiving yards at Lambeau and 532 career receptions. The only player ahead of him in the latter category now is Sharpe, who had 595 catches from 1988-94.

Driver would have to average exactly seven catches per game over the season's final nine games to catch Sharpe's franchise record this season. That seems highly unlikely at this point, but at a more modest four catches per game, he could surpass Sharpe midway through 2009.

Injury update

The Packers' only injury from Sunday's game was to rookie defensive end Jeremy Thompson, who sustained a stinger.

That's especially good news with the bye week coming up, which will help several players either injured or playing hurt to heal up, including Rodgers (shoulder), cornerback Charles Woodson (toe), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (tricep), offensive tackle Chad Clifton (hamstring), center Scott Wells (shoulder/chest), linebacker A.J. Hawk (groin), safety Atari Bigby (hamstring), defensive ends Jason Hunter (hamstring) and Michael Montgomery (ankle), and cornerback Al Harris (spleen).

"This falls at a very good time for us," Kampman said of the bye. "We've kind of limped in a little bit to the season with different injuries, we've had our share of them during season. This is the perfect time for us to regenerate and rebound and get ready for some physical games coming up."

The Packers come back from the bye week with a road game at Tennessee, currently the league's lone undefeated team at 6-0.

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