Packers-Bears Press Box Notes

061231_bears215.jpg



TONIGHT: Winners of three straight, the Packers have played their way onto prime-time, their first foray into flexible scheduling. The league announced Christmas night that the Packers and Bears would kick off the NFL's final regular-season game, on NBC…Having overcome a 1-4 start, and a 4-8 mark as recently as Dec. 3, the Packers have remained in contention for the playoffs entering the final weekend of Mike McCarthy's first season as head coach…For the second time in three years, the Packers close the regular season at Soldier Field…Green Bay is 11-1 (.917) over its previous 12 regular-season finales, the league's best mark since 1994. The Packers have won three straight season-enders, including Jan. 2, 2005, at Chicago…The Packers haven't lost consecutive games at Soldier Field since 1990-91. Green Bay had won 12 straight at the stadium — and 13 straight series road games, including 2002 at Champaign — until the Packers came up on the short end of a 19-7 decision last December…For the second year in a row, the Packers close the regular season against the NFC's best team. Seattle, like the Bears having clinched homefield advantage, rested many of its starters in the second half on Jan. 1, 2006, at Lambeau Field, a 23-17 Green Bay victory.

**

AVENGING DIVISION LOSSES: The Packers since 2000 are 9-2 with an opportunity to avenge a division loss from earlier in the season.

The list:

*(Year

Earlier loss -- Rematch)*

2000

vs. Chicago -- W, at Chicago

at Detroit -- W, vs. Detroit

at Tampa Bay -- W, vs. Tampa Bay

2001

at Tampa Bay -- W, vs. Tampa Bay

at Minnesota -- W, vs. Minnesota

2002

at Minnesota -- W, vs. Minnesota

2003

vs. Minnesota -- W, at Minnesota

2004

vs. Chicago -- W, at Chicago

2005

at Minnesota -- L, vs. Minnesota

at Detroit -- W, vs. Detroit

at Chicago -- L, vs. Chicago

**

NOTABLE POTENTIAL CAREER HIGHS —

(total -- current high: year)

LB Nick Barnett*

9 passes defensed -- current high: 9 in 2003

S Nick Collins*

96 total tackles -- current high: 96 in 2005

LS Rob Davis*

9 special-teams tackles -- current high: 10 in 1996, 2005

WR Donald Driver

7 TD receptions -- 9 in 2002, 2004

QB Brett Favre

571 pass attempts -- 607 in 2005

CB Al Harris

3 interceptions -- 4 in 1999

DT/DE Cullen Jenkins*

46 overall tackles -- 49 in 2005

27 solo tackles -- 28 in 2005

DE Aaron Kampman*

102 total tackles -- 105 in 2005

TE David Martin

21 receptions -- 27 in 2005

198 receiving yards 224 2005

2 TD receptions 3 2005

* — most defensive stats based on coaches film review, not on press box totals

**

NOTABLE ESTABLISHED CAREER HIGHS —

(total -- previous high: year)

S Nick Collins*

78 solo tackles -- 66 in 2005

13 passes defensed -- 9 in 2005

WR Donald Driver

89 receptions -- 86 in 2005

1,272 receiving yards -- 1,221 in 2005

DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila*

40 solo tackles -- 39 in 2005

DT/DE Cullen Jenkins

6 1/2 sacks -- 4 1/2 in 2004

DE Aaron Kampman*

76 solo tackles -- 62 in 2005

15 1/2 sacks -- 6 1/2 in 2005

S Marquand Manuel*

101 total tackles -- 67 in 2005

73 solo tackles -- 54 in 2005

DT Ryan Pickett*

7 passes defensed -- 6 in 2003

DT Corey Williams*

44 total tackles -- 34 in 2005

29 solo tackles -- 21 in 2005

6 sacks -- 2 in 2005

CB Charles Woodson

7 interceptions -- 5 in 1998

24 passes defensed -- 21 in 1998

* — most defensive stats based on coaches film review, not on press box totals

**

AS A TEAM —

-For the 14th time during Brett Favre's 15 seasons (1992-2006) as the Packers' starting quarterback, the Packers prepared for their final regular-season game knowing they at least had a shot at the playoffs. The team finished 4-12 in 2005.

-Green Bay has an outside shot at eclipsing the 1997 franchise record for gross punting average (45.04). The team also could finish with its lowest-ever net punting average (35.46 in 1978).

-Packers punt returners have just two fair catches this season. The franchise low is five, set during a 14-game schedule in 1971.

-The Green Bay offense needs 39 passing attempts to break the team's single-season record (626 in 2005).

-The Packers' defense has 18 interceptions this season. Combined over the previous two years, the Packers also had 18 (eight in 2004, 10 in 2005).

**

IN SEASON FINALES: The Packers are 11-1 (.917) in regular-season finales since 1994. No other team owns a better record during that span. Their only loss was Dec. 29, 2002, at the N.Y. Jets.

**

NEW YEAR'S EVE IS SPECIAL IN TEAM ANNALS: The Packers have never lost on this date — claiming all four New Year's Eve contests.

-Today marks the 39th anniversary of the Ice Bowl, when the Packers knocked off Dallas. The Dec. 31, 1967, contest — Vince Lombardi's final game on the Lambeau sidelines — was one of the most memorable contests in sports history.

-The Packers played their first NFL title game on Green Bay soil Dec. 31, 1961, and blanked the Giants, 37-0.

-The Packers closed 1995 with a Wild Card playoff win over Atlanta at Lambeau Field.

-One year earlier, on Dec. 31, 1994, Green Bay held Barry Sanders to minus-1 yard in a throwback Wild Card win over Detroit at Lambeau.

**

ON NBC: The last time Green Bay played on the network also was the network's last NFL broadcast prior to 2006, Super Bowl XXXII in San Diego, Jan. 25, 1998. The Packers lost, 31-24, to the Denver Broncos.

-In the regular-season, however, the Packers own a 13-game winning streak on NBC.

-Green Bay hasn't dropped a regular-season game on NBC in 15 years, since Nov. 10, 1991, when Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Don Beebe topped the Packers, 34-24, at Milwaukee County Stadium. Marv Albert and Paul Maguire were in the television booth as Buffalo improved to 10-1.

**

DETERMINING THE PACKERS' FINAL 2007 OPPONENTS…

If these teams win…

Atl over Phi and Car over NO, Then the Packers HOST...CAROLINA

Atl over Phi and NO over Car, Then the Packers HOST...ATLANTA

Phi over Atl and Car over NO, Then the Packers HOST...CAROLINA

Phi over Atl and NO over Car, Then the Packers HOST...CAROLINA

If these teams win…

StL over Min and SF over Den, Then the Packers TRAVEL TO...ST. LOUIS

StL over Min and Den over SF, Then the Packers TRAVEL TO...ST. LOUIS

Min over StL and SF over Den, Then the Packers TRAVEL TO...SAN FRANCISCO

Min over StL and Den over SF, Then the Packers TRAVEL TO...ST. LOUIS

**

EVEN IF THEY DON'T GET IN: The fact that the players were even able to discuss playoff tiebreakers with media is remarkable, considering the team's adversity at the beginning of the year — and even the beginning of this month. Even if the Packers don't qualify for the postseason, they still could:

-Finish 5-1 in their division, which would tie the Bears, Eagles, Chargers, and Ravens for the NFL's best mark. New Orleans or Carolina also will join the group today.

-Win their last four games, a strong springboard into the 2007 season. The last time the club swept its final four contests and didn't make the playoffs was 2000. Green Bay went 12-4 and advanced to the Divisional playoffs one year later.

-Finish 5-3 on the road, the best mark for a Green Bay coach in his first season (Phil Bengtson was 4-2-1 in 1968).

**

ON DEFENSE: Bob Sanders' defense since Oct. 22 has improved from 32nd in total yards allowed to 13th.

-Instrumental during the club's current winning streak, the defense has allowed only 246 total yards over the last two games.

-Last week vs. Minnesota, the Packers held the Vikings to 104 yards, Green Bay's best defensive effort in that category since Dec. 1, 1985, when the club limited Tampa Bay to 65 yards in the snow at Lambeau (the Buccaneers' quarterback in that game was future Hall of Famer Steve Young.)

**

STINGY AFTER TURNOVERS: The Packers have turned the ball over seven times over the last two games but opponents have just 10 points off those turnovers.

-Green Bay gave up a field goal vs. Detroit Dec. 17 and Fred Smoot returned a Brett Favre interception for a touchdown vs. Minnesota Dec. 21. In other words, Green Bay's defense has blanked opponents five of the last six times the unit has had an opportunity to restore momentum following a Packers turnover.

-The Packers have forced four punts and an interception over those five drives.

**

SOLDIER FIELD POOL REPORTERS: Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times and Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.

**

{sportsad300}WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY -

76 CHAD CLIFTON:

-Will play his 100th NFL game.

80 DONALD DRIVER:

-Needs 11 catches to become only the third player in franchise history with 100 in a season, joining Sterling Sharpe (112 in 1993, 108 in 1994) and Robert Brooks (102 in 1995).

-Needs two touchdowns to match his single-season career high, nine (2002, 2004). Driver enters with seven.

-Has 33 career TD receptions from Brett Favre. The duo needs one to break a tie on the franchise's all-time list with No. 4 Cecil Isbell-Don Hutson (33) and two to match No. 3 Lynn Dickey-Paul Coffman (35).

-Needs one 100-yard game to match No. 6 Billy Howton and Max McGee (17). Driver enters with 16 career 100-yard receiving games.

-Has a reception in 79 consecutive games, the franchise's second-longest streak behind Sharpe's 103 (1988-94).

4 BRETT FAVRE: On the NFL's all-time passing list…

-Is expected to play in his 239th straight game (257 including playoffs). He should start his 237th consecutive game (257 including playoffs), extending the NFL's record among quarterbacks.

-Bids for his 50th regular-season win in the month of December. His 49-17 (.731) career record in the month is one of the best in NFL history.

-Needs one win to match No. 2 Dan Marino (147-93-0, .613) and two to tie No. 1 John Elway (148-82-1, .643). Favre enters third on the all-time quarterback wins list (146-90-0, .619).

-Needs three TD passes to reach 20 for a 13th consecutive season and extend his NFL record.

88 BUBBA FRANKS:

-Needs one TD reception to reach 30 career. In team history, only 11 previous players have reached the milestone, including Donald Driver this season.

30 AHMAN GREEN: On Green Bay's all-time rushing list…

-Needs 12 rushing yards to reach 1,000 and surpass Jim Taylor's record of five overall 1,000-yard seasons. Green also has five.

-Needs 24 rushing attempts to surpass No. 1 Jim Taylor (1,811). Green enters with 1,788.

-Needs 117 rushing yards to top No. 1 Taylor (8,207). Green enters with 8,091.

-Needs three receptions to surpass No. 7 Max McGee (345) on the team's all-time receiving list. Green enters with 343 in a Packers uniform, already most ever by a Packers back.

-Will become one of only three players ever to lead the Packers in rushing for six overall seasons, joining Clarke Hinkle (seven) and Jim Taylor (seven). Green has led the team five seasons.

-By leading the team in rushing touchdowns for a sixth overall season, would tie No. 1 Clarke Hinkle (six).

33 WILLIAM HENDERSON:

-By playing in his 188th game in a Packers uniform, will surpass Hall of Famer Forrest Gregg (187) on the team's all-time list, trailing only Brett Favre (237), Bart Starr (196) and Ray Nitschke (190).

85 GREG JENNINGS:

-Can become the first Packers rookie with four TD receptions since Ed West (TE) had four in 1984. The last rookie wide receiver with at least four was James Lofton, who had six in 1978.

-With 45 catches, already has the most by a Packers rookie since Sharpe had 55, the team's rookie record, in 1988. Jennings needs two receptions to top No. 4 James Lofton (46 in 1978), four to surpass No. 3 Gerry Ellis (48 in 1980) and nine to top No. 2 Billy Howton (53 in 1952).

-With 632 receiving yards, already has the most by a Packers rookie since Sharpe had 791 in 1988. Jennings needs 160 to surpass Sharpe's total, No. 3 in team annals behind Howton's 1,231 (1952) and Lofton's 818 (1978).

74 AARON KAMPMAN:

-Bids to become the first Packers player to lead the NFL in sacks. After Elias changed a scorer's decision earlier this week and gave San Diego's Shawne Merriman an extra ½ sack, Kampman entered the weekend second with 15½.

-Needs one sack to become just the eighth player to record 30 in a Packers uniform, and three to tie No. 7 Vonnie Holliday (32) on the all-time list.

9 JON RYAN:

-Needs to average at least 51.7 yards on three punts, 50.0 on four punts, 49.0 on five punts or 48.3 on six punts to eclipse Craig Hentrich's 45.04 gross average in 1997 — the franchise record.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising