Game Notes: Driver's Streak Sets Record


MINNEAPOLIS - It doesn't mean much to him after such a tough loss, but someday receiver Donald Driver will look back proudly on the record he set Sunday at the Metrodome.

Driver broke the franchise record for most consecutive games with a pass reception with his 11-yard grab to help set up a touchdown in the first quarter.

He caught a quick slant from quarterback Aaron Rodgers that he took to the Minnesota 1-yard line with just under 5 minutes left in the opening quarter, his 104th straight regular-season game with a catch to break Sterling Sharpe's previous team mark of 103.

Ryan Grant scored for the Packers on the next snap.

Including playoffs, Driver's consecutive games streak with a reception is 109, but that actually overlaps his regular-season streak. The 104-game string began with the 2001 regular-season finale against the New York Giants, but two games later in the NFC Divisional playoffs, Driver did not have a catch against St. Louis.

Beginning with the 2002 season opener, Driver has a catch in 103 straight regular-season games, plus six postseason contests. But because official team and NFL records are regular-season only, the 104-game streak is the one that counts in the record book.

The next record in Driver's sights is the franchise's all-time mark for receptions. With his five catches for 46 yards on Sunday, Driver now has 544 career receptions, 52 away from breaking Sharpe's team record 595.

Multiple safeties rare

The two safeties the Packers surrendered marked just the second time in team history that an opponent scored two safeties in one game. The other time was back on Oct. 21, 1973, when the Los Angeles Rams had two in a 24-7 win over the Packers.

Both safeties came in the second quarter. On the first, Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams swatted the ball out of Rodgers' hands. Rodgers regained control off the bounce and threw the ball underhanded as he was falling to the ground in the end zone.

Despite Rodgers' protests, he was called for an illegal forward pass, and the explanation given to Head Coach Mike McCarthy was that it was an "unnatural throwing motion." After the game, Rodgers said the referee told him the call was intentional grounding, but Rodgers thought he was outside the pocket, the ball got back to the line of scrimmage, and it was in the vicinity of tight end Tory Humphrey, all of which he thought should have negated an intentional grounding call.

"I wasn't 100 percent satisfied with his explanation," Rodgers said. "But that was an unfortunate play and I was just trying to avoid a safety and avoid giving the ball up."

The second safety came when defensive end Jared Allen beat left tackle Chad Clifton around the corner and made a clean sack of Rodgers in the end zone late in the second quarter, putting the Vikings ahead 14-7 at the time.

The last time there were two safeties in an NFL game was five years ago. On Nov. 16, 2003, Buffalo recorded two safeties in a game at Houston.

The safeties were the first scored against the Packers since Dec. 16, 2001, when Tennessee's Jason Fisk tackled running back Ahman Green in the end zone in Nashville.

{sportsad300}Return of 'Big Five'

With receiver James Jones active on Sunday, the Packers had all five wide receivers available for just the second time this season, and the 'Big Five' formation was employed a handful of times.

By unofficial count, the Packers went with their five wide receivers - Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Ruvell Martin and Jones - and an empty backfield on six snaps. Rodgers completed four of five throws for 51 yards while scrambling to avoid pressure and gaining one yard on the other play.

The first completion was a 15-yarder to Jennings that converted a third down and put the ball in the red zone, setting up the Packers' first touchdown. Two completions to Nelson on third downs both came up short of the first-down marker, but on the second one, Allen was called for roughing-the-passer and the Packers got a new set of downs.

The final "Big Five" snap of the game was on Green Bay's final drive, the deflected pass over the middle that Driver caught for a 19-yard gain just a few plays before the game-ending missed field goal.

Injury update

Linebacker Nick Barnett left the game early in the third quarter with a bruised knee and did not return. His injury will be further evaluated early this week.

Cornerback Jarrett Bush also left the game, with an ankle injury.

Safety Nick Collins left the game briefly with turf toe, but returned to action.

Linebacker Brandon Chillar was inactive due to a problem with his shoulder that was discussed the night before the game.

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