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Game Notes: Players Savor Victory Lap With Fans

In celebration of clinching a playoff berth, and to thank the fans for another raucous slate of home games at Lambeau Field, three players took laps around the field slapping high-fives with the front-row patrons at the conclusion of Sunday’s 48-10 romp over Seattle. - More Packers-Seahawks Game Center


In celebration of clinching a playoff berth, and to thank the fans for another raucous slate of home games at Lambeau Field, three players took laps around the field slapping high-fives with the front-row patrons at the conclusion of Sunday's 48-10 romp over Seattle.

Receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, along with cornerback Charles Woodson, took a victory lap of sorts immediately following the win, which gave the Packers a 6-2 home record in 2009.

"We appreciate our fans," Woodson said. "The one thing all of you have been around here know that no matter what, the fans are going to fill that stadium. It was the last home game of the season and they'll have to watch us on the road here coming into the playoffs. I just appreciate those guys for what they do for us."

It's still possible the Packers could have one more home game this season, but the odds are slim. Should the Packers enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the NFC and make it to the conference championship, they would host that game if the opponent is the No. 6 seed.

It's not likely to fall that way, of course, but anything is possible. For now, the focus was on celebrating a little with the faithful.

"These fans have supported me throughout my whole career, and to give them a little love, that's all you need to do," Driver said. "Shaking people's hands, you don't get to everyone in the stands, but just the people you can get to, it makes you happy, makes them happy and puts a smile one everyone's face."

Woodson even got a few chants of "M-V-P!" as he circled the field. As he concludes one of the finest seasons of his career, Woodson is in the running for the league's defensive player of the year award.

"It feels good," he said. "I just wish I could have got in the end zone for them so they really could have chanted it. I have had the support of the fans since I have been here as a player, and it's been fun to go out there and play in Lambeau week after week. For them to think enough of me and the way I play the game to give me that chant, it feels good."

Oh so close

All it will take is four more receiving yards from Driver, and the Packers will become the first team in NFL history to produce a 4,000-yard passer (Aaron Rodgers), a 1,200-yard rusher (Ryan Grant), and two 1,000-yard receivers (Jennings and Driver) in back-to-back seasons.

Last year the Packers accomplished that for the first time in team history. On Sunday, Rodgers' 40-yard pass to Jennings in the first quarter put both players over the mark. It is Jennings' second straight 1,000-yard season and he now has 1,084 yards in 2009. Rodgers now has 4,199 yards, becoming the first quarterback in league history to top 4,000 yards in each of his first two seasons as a starter.

Grant came into Sunday's game needing 95 yards for his second straight 1,200-yard campaign, and he got there with 97 yards, picking up three on his 16th and final carry of the afternoon on the final play of the third quarter.

The only one who didn't hit his mark yet is Driver, whose three catches for 33 yards leave him at 996 yards for the season. With four more, he'll hit 1,000 for the sixth straight year and seventh overall (to extend two team records).

"When you have a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher, and two 1,000-yard receivers, and a tight end that's emerging, a potential star in this league, I mean that is what you want your offense to look like," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Because there are going to be days where defenses are going to tilt one way or another and try to take a certain part of your offense away and you need to be able to go the other way. And that's the importance, that's the emphasis, that's the design of it.

"But you know, it starts at the quarterback. This offense is built around making the quarterback successful but you have to have the pieces around him. We're fortunate; we feel that we have a very good group of guys to work with here."

Other milestones

Defensive end Johnny Jolly got his hands on two passes on Sunday to give him 11 batted passes for the season. That sets a new team record in that category, which began being tracked in 1980. Jolly came into Sunday's game tied with Cullen Jenkins for the team mark with nine, which Jenkins reached in 2007.

Jolly nearly intercepted the first batted ball, when he leaped with both arms raised to deflect a short dump-off pass. It would have been his second interception of the season.

His other deflection came down near the goal line and did result in a turnover. With Seattle facing third-and-6 from the Green Bay 8-yard line in the second quarter, Jolly got a hand on Matt Hasselbeck's pass and re-directed it into the arms of a diving Atari Bigby at the goal line, keeping Seattle scoreless at the time.

Linebacker Nick Barnett also got in on a milestone, posting his fourth sack of the season when he brought down Hasselbeck for a 7-yard loss in the first quarter. That's a new career high for Barnett, topping the 3 1/2 sacks he had in 2007.

Scoreboard watching

After the game, players admitted to keeping an eye on the scoreboard for updates on the game between the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants, which had a direct impact on the Packers' playoff prospects. The Panthers won in a rout, 41-9.

The Packers of course needed Carolina to beat New York, and when the Panthers took the early lead, most of the guys on the sideline knew it.

"I was looking from the first quarter on," Rodgers said. "I was."

His reaction when the Panthers jumped in front?

"Hang on boys," Rodgers said. "Hang on."

{sportsad300}The margin became almost hard to believe. It was 3-0 after one quarter and kept climbing until it was 24-0 at the half.

"When we saw 17-zip, we looked again and said, 'Are they in New York? Or where are they at?'" Jennings said. "It works for us, so we'll take it."

McCarthy said he wasn't really paying attention, and when someone told him the halftime, he thought someone might be joking with him. He said he didn't see the score for himself until the fourth quarter.


When kicker Mason Crosby drilled a 52-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, it not only broke his streak of four straight games with at least one miss, it also was his first make of 50-plus since the season opener.

Crosby hit a 52-yarder in Week 1 against the Bears but had gone 0-for-4 from 50-plus since. More importantly, Crosby had missed a field goal from 43 yards or closer in each of his last four games, but he was 2-for-2 on Sunday, hitting from 29 and 52.

"It felt good, felt good to get that in there," Crosby said. "It showed some confidence, a little booster there, and we've got to have that rolling into the playoffs here. It was the coldest game of the year and I felt like I hit the ball really smooth today, so I was happy with that."

Injury update

McCarthy reported only two injuries to the Packers from the game. Guard Daryn Colledge tweaked an ankle but returned to the game. Safety and special teamer Derrick Martin also had an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.

Nose tackle Ryan Pickett was inactive for the second time in three weeks with his hamstring injury, and rookie B.J. Raji started the first game of his career in his place.

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