*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-Bears Week 3 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Bears Week 3 Dope Sheet:*
GREEN BAY (2-0) at CHICAGO (2-0)Monday, Sept. 27 - Soldier Field - 7:30 p.m. CDT
PACKERS TRAVEL TO CHICACO FOR MONDAY-NIGHT TILT
- The NFL's oldest rivalry continues this Monday night as the Packers and Bears meet on the gridiron for game No. 180 in the all-time series with first place in the NFC North on the line.
- No two franchises in NFL annals have met more than Green Bay and Chicago, with the Packers winning both contests last season. The Bears hold a 91-82-6 edge in the series, which includes one postseason matchup.
- This will be the first time since 1962 that both teams entered the game with a 2-0 record. The Packers won that Sept. 30, 1962, matchup in Green Bay, 49-0.
- This will be the earliest in the season that the Packers have traveled to Chicago since 1995, when the teams squared off at Soldier Field in Week 2, also on Monday Night Football. From 2004-09, all six matchups in Chicago were in December or later.
- The Packers snapped a two-game losing streak in '09 with the win at Chicago, and have won 13 of the last 17 games at Soldier Field.
- Monday marks the first division game of the year for the Packers, who have a 17-7 (.708) mark against NFC North opponents under Head Coach Mike McCarthy. That record is first among NFC North teams, with Chicago checking in second at 15-10 (.600) since 2006.
- Green Bay will be looking to continue its early-season road success under McCarthy on Monday night. Since he took the helm in 2006, the Packers have a 6-1 (.857) record away from home in the month of September. That percentage is tied for No. 1 in the NFL over that span with the Indianapolis Colts, who also have a 6-1 mark.
- The teams won't see each other again until Week 17, the first time that the Packers have ever hosted Chicago in the season finale.
WITH THE CALL
- ESPN is in its fifth season as host of the most successful series in sports television history, Monday Night Football. Play-by-play man Mike Tirico is joined by analysts Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden for the 41st season of MNF broadcasts, with Suzy Kolber reporting from the sidelines during the game.
- ESPN Deportes will broadcast the game with Spanish graphics and commentary provided by announcers Alvaro Martin and Raul Allegre, with John Sutcliffe as sideline reporter.
- The contest also will air as a simulcast locally on WBAY (Ch. 2) in Green Bay and WISN (Ch. 12) in Milwaukee. ESPN International will air the contest in three languages to over 180 countries.
- 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. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (analyst) will call the action with Mark Malone reporting from the sidelines. Jim Gray hosts the pregame and halftime shows.
- 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 125 WTMJ feed) as part of the network's NFL Sunday Drive.
- DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 206.
FAMILIAR FOE ON MONDAY NIGHT
- This will be the 10th matchup for Green Bay on Monday Night Football against the Bears, the most for the Packers versus any other opponent in the NFL.
- The Packers hold a 5-4 advantage against Chicago on MNF, including wins in five of the last six contests.
- Green Bay owns the NFC's longest MNF appearance streak at 18 seasons (1993-2010). In the NFL, only Denver (19, 1992-2010) has a longer streak.
- The matchup with the Bears will be the Packers' lone MNF appearance this season, with three Sunday night prime-time games still on Green Bay's schedule. Green Bay's 15 games on Sunday this season are the most since 1993 (also 15).
- The Packers are 27-28-1 all-time in the regular season on MNF.
- This is the sixth straight season that the Packers and Bears have squared off in a nationally televised contest. It will be the second MNF game over that span (2008), with three Sunday night contests (2006-07, 2009) and a national TV game on Christmas Day in 2005.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. Chicago Bears:All-time regular season: 82-90-6
All-time, postseason: 0-1
All-time, at Soldier Field: 19-18-0
Streaks: The Packers have won three of the last four meetings.
Last meeting, regular season: Dec. 13, 2009, at Soldier Field; Packers won, 21-14
Mike McCarthy: 41-28-0, .594, (incl. 1-2 postseason); 5th NFL season
Lovie Smith: 56-46-0, .549 (incl. 2-2 postseason); 7th NFL season
Head to Head: Tied 4-4
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 4-4 vs. Bears; Smith 7-5 vs. Packers
MIKE 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.
LOVIE SMITH…Is in seventh year as the Bears' 13th head coach.
- With 54 regular-season wins, ranks third in franchise history behind Hall of Famers Mike Ditka and George Halas.
- Guided the team to its first Super Bowl appearance in 21 years in '06.
- Named the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2005 after he led a worst-to-first revival in the NFC North. The Bears' six-win improvement from the previous season was tied for the biggest in the NFL that year.
- Came to Chicago from St. Louis, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2001-03, helping the Rams return to the Super Bowl in 2001. Prior to that, coached LBs for Tampa Bay from 1996-2000.
THE PACKERS-BEARS SERIES
- No two teams have met on the gridiron more than the Packers and Bears. Monday they face off for the 180th time.
- The Packers swept the season series in '09 for the first time since 2003. That '03 sweep capped a seven-game win streak and an 18-2 stretch dating back to 1994. On only four occasions in NFL history has a team enjoyed a better 20-game stretch against a single foe.
- Chicago has swept the season series twice in the last five years (2005, '07), their only series sweeps since 1991.
- The Packers' 37-3 win on Nov. 16, 2008, marked the largest margin of victory in the series since Green Bay's 40-3 win on Dec. 11, 1994. Chicago's win in December of that year was just the second OT game in series history and first since Sept. 7, 1980, when Packers K Chester Marcol returned his own blocked FG for the winning score.
- The last time Green Bay led the overall series? On the heels of its three straight NFL championships, 1932, when the Packers led 11-10-5. Two months after Babe Ruth allegedly called his shot at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series, the Bears stole from Green Bay a fourth straight title (which at the time was determined by league standings). Chicago barely finished atop the league standings, which unlike today did not count ties. Had the league counted ties in standings, the Packers would have won. The next year, 1933, the NFL began determining its champion with postseason games.
Green Bay RB coach Edgar Bennett finished his playing career in Chicago (1998-99)...Packers asst. O-line coach Jerry Fontenot was a third-round draft choice of the Bears in 1989 and was a mainstay at C in his eight seasons (1989-96) in Chicago...Lovie Smith was a Univ. of Wisconsin assistant in 1987, while Bears LB coach Bob Babich spent two seasons on the Badgers' staff (1988-89)...Packers NT Ryan Pickett played in St. Louis for both Smith and Bears off. coord. Mike Martz, when Smith served as the Rams' def. coord. and Martz as head coach...Bears assistant DB/safeties coach Gill Byrd served as the Packers exec. dir./player prog. and comm. affairs from 1999-2001...Packers T/G Bryan Bulaga earned all-state honors as a senior at Marian Central Catholic High (Woodstock, Ill.)...Bears TE coach Mike DeBord was the head coach at Central Michigan when Packers DE Cullen Jenkins played there...Packers WR coach Jimmy Robinson was on the staff of Memphis (USFL) in 1985 when Bears RB coach Tim Spencer played for the Showboats...Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy was a teammate of Bears WR coach Darryl Drake with the Redskins in 1979...Bears asst. special teams coach Chris Tabor was the special teams coach at Utah State for Packers CB Jarrett Bush's final season there (2005)...Bears off. quality control coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker was a college teammate of Packers coaching admin. Curtis Fuller at TCU...Bears LB Hunter Hillenmeyer was taken by Green Bay in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft...Bears DE Julius Peppers was a key member of the Carolina defenses that Packers DL coach Mike Trgovac coordinated from 2003-08...Bears LB Nick Roach is a Milwaukee native who played in college at Northwestern...Packers QB Matt Flynn, FB Quinn Johnson and Bears S Craig Steltz led LSU to the BCS national title in 2007...Other former college teammates include Bears WR Rashied Davis and Packers WR James Jones (San Jose State), Bears DE Mark Anderson and Packers S Charlie Peprah (Alabama), Bears WR Devin Aromashodu and Packers CB Pat Lee (Auburn), Bears CB Zackary Bowman, S Josh Bullucks and Packers RB Brandon Jackson (Nebraska), Bears DT Marcus Harrison and Packers LS Brett Goode (Arkansas), Bears LB Brian Iwuh and Packers K Mason Crosby (Colorado), Bears G Lance Louis and Packers WR Brett Swain (San Diego State), Bears DE Henry Melton and Packeres TE Jermichael Finley (Texas), and Bears TE Greg Olsen and Packers CB Sam Shields (Miami).
INDIVIDUALLY VS. BEARS QB Aaron Rodgers is a combined 80-of-121 for 851 yards with five TDs and two INTs (93.4 rating) in four career games...WR Donald Driver's regular-season career-long catch was an 85-yard TD reception at Chicago (Champaign) on Oct. 7, 2002, on Monday Night Football. Driver needs just 75 yards receiving to put him over 1,000 against three teams (Minnesota and Detroit are the others)...WR Greg Jennings has four career TD catches, his most against any opponent, including the game-winning 50-yard TD in the '09 season opener...S Nick Collins has five career INTs, including a two-INT game at Chicago on Dec. 31, 2006, that featured a 55-yard TD return...The first two-INT game of CB Charles Woodson's career came at Chicago on Oct. 5, 2003, while playing for Oakland. Woodson has had four games with two INTs since coming to Green Bay.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Dec. 13, 2009, at Soldier Field; Packers won, 21-14.
- RB Ryan Grant broke off a 62-yard TD run on the Packers' first offensive play and went on to rush for 137 yards and two TDs on 20 carries as the Packers won their fifth straight game and swept the season series from the Bears for the first time in six years.
- The Bears rallied from an early 13-0 deficit and led 14-13 in the third quarter after QB Jay Cutler threw TD passes to Devin Aromashodu and Johnny Knox.
- S Nick Collins intercepted a Cutler pass to Knox in the fourth quarter and returned it 31 yards to the Chicago 11, setting up Grant's second TD run. A 2-point conversion pass to WR Greg Jennings gave the Packers a 7-point lead, and the Green Bay defense allowed just two first downs on Chicago's final three possessions.
- After recording six sacks in Week 1 at Philadelphia, the most by any NFL team on opening weekend, the Packers followed that performance up with four more sacks on Sunday against Buffalo.
- Three of those sacks against the Bills came courtesy of LB Clay Matthews, who leads the NFL with six sacks through Week 2. DE Cullen Jenkins has posted a sack in each game as well.
- Green Bay's 10 sacks as a team through two games ranks tied for first in the NFL with Detroit.
- The Packers lead the league in sack yardage at 68, highlighted by 12- and 13-yard sacks by Matthews on Sunday against the Bills.
- The 10 sacks are the most in a two-game span in Head Coach Mike McCarthy's four-plus seasons, and they're two better than Green Bay's best two-game stretch under defensive coordintor Dom Capers, who took over the defense last year. It is the most in the first two weeks of a season since the Packers racked up 12 in the opening two games in 2001.
- 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 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. Green Bay's 10th sack as a team didn't come until Week 6 vs. Detroit in 2009.
- Green Bay posted four or more sacks in a game three times in 2009 on the way to 37 for the season, which ranked tied for 11th in the league.
- Chicago's offense has allowed five sacks of QB Jay Cutler through two games, but only gave up one at Dallas on Sunday in the Bears' 27-20 win.
GETTING A RETURN
- After taking over the kickoff-return responsiblilities last year following Will Blackmon's season-ending knee injury in Week 4, third-year WR Jordy Nelson is off to a fast start in 2010.
- Nelson ranks first in the NFC and second in the NFL with a 31.0-yard average on seven returns. He trails only New England's Brandon Tate (34.1 avg. on nine returns), who had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Week 1. Nelson has returned his last five kickoffs to the 34-yard line or beyond.
- The Packers rank tied for second in the NFL through Week 2 in average starting field position after kickoffs at the 35.3-yard line. That is tied with New England and trails only Pittsburgh (37.8).
- Nelson posted a career-best 31.2-yard average (min. three returns) on five kickoff returns in Week 1 at Philadelphia, highlighted by a 51-yarder in the third quarter, the longest return in the NFL on Kickoff Weekend, that helped set up 32-yard TD pass from QB Aaron Rodgers to WR Greg Jennings just four plays later.
- That 31.2-yard average was the best by a Packer with five or more returns in a game since WR Roell Preston's 32.0-yard average on eight returns vs. Minnesota on Oct. 5, 1998.
- Nelson's 51-yard return at Philadelphia was the second-longest return of his career behind a 54-yard pickup in Week 17 at Arizona last season, the longest return by a Packer all season.
- The performance against the Eagles was the first time in Nelson's career that he posted two kickoff returns of 40-plus yards, and he became the first Packer to accomplish that feat since WR Koren Robinson recorded returns of 43 and 66 yards at St. Louis on Dec. 16, 2007.
- Nelson has now posted a kickoff return of 45-plus yards in each of his three seasons in the league. He becomes the first Packer since Corey Harris (1992-94) to record a 45-yard kickoff return in three consecutive seasons.
- Nelson's 25.4-yard average last season ranked 11th in the NFL, and was the best mark by a Packer (min. 25 attempts) since Allen Rossum registered a 25.8-yard average in 2000.
STAT OF THE WEEK
- With three sacks against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, second-year LB Clay Matthews became the first Packer to post three sacks in back-to-back games since it became an official league statistic in 1982.
- Sunday's performance came a week after Matthews registered a career-high three sacks in the Packers' 27-20 season-opening victory at Philadelphia.
- Matthews also became the first NFL player to register consecutive three-sack games since Seattle's Patrick Kerney (Nov. 18-25, 2007).
- Matthews' league-leading six sacks are the most by a Packer in the first two games of the season.
- 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.
- His six sacks over a two-game span ranks second in team history behind only Bryce Paup, who recorded 6½ sacks in Weeks 3-4 in 1991. Paup posted 4½ 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 18 career games played, Matthews now has posted two or more sacks in a game five times. That is a franchise record for the most two-sack games over that span to start a Green Bay career, breaking White's mark of four in his first 18 games with the Packers (1993-94).
- Matthews' 16 sacks since 2009 rank third in the league over that span behind only Denver's Elvis Dumervil (17) and Indianapolis' Dwight Freeney (16.5).
AN EMERGING PLAYMAKER
- After returning from a knee injury last season in Week 11 that had forced him to miss the better part of four games, TE Jermichael Finley was one of the more productive players in the league at his position down the stretch. Through two games in 2010, he looks to be picking up where he left off.
- Finley ranks second on the team and fourth among all NFL tight ends with 150 yards receiving on eight receptions this season, trailing only Indianapolis' Dallas Clark (163), Minnesota's Visanthe Shiancoe (162) and San Francisco's Vernon Davis (151) in the yardage category.
- His 18.8-yard average per catch leads the team and ranks second among TEs in the league behind only New England's Aaron Hernandez (20.9). He is tied for the NFL lead at the position with two catches of 25-plus yards.
- Finley posted the second 100-yard game of his career in the regular season on Sunday against Buffalo when he hauled in four passes for 103 yards, including receptions of 34 and 32 yards. The performance moved him into a tie for second among Packers TEs (Mark Chmura and Ed West) with two 100-yard games, trailing only Paul Coffman's career total of six.
- His average of 25.8 yards per catch vs. Buffalo on Sunday was the second-best single-game performance in team history (min. four receptions) by a tight end. Coffman's 30.5-yard mark on four receptions at Chicago on Dec. 18, 1983, sits atop the record book.
- Finley's nine catches at Pittsburgh last season in Week 15 matched the single-game team record for receptions by a tight end, and Finley finished tied for the No. 2 spot for catches in a single season by a Packers tight end with 55.
- In a season in which he set career highs in every statistical category, Finley's coming-out party came on the team's first appearance on Monday Night Football at Minnesota in front of the largest television audience in cable history. That game, he set a new regular-season career high in receiving yards (128), highlighted by his 62-yard catch-and-run TD. The catch marked the longest reception by a Green Bay tight end since Jackie Harris caught a 66-yard scoring pass against Denver on Oct. 10, 1993.
- Finley's day also stands tied for the most productive day by a tight end in team history. His 128 yards matched Harris' output from that Broncos contest, tying the franchise high for receiving yards by a tight end in a regular-season contest.
- And if the Week 4 game last season at Minnesota served as a coming-out party, the Wild Card playoff game at Arizona showed Finley's potential to take over a game. His 159 receiving yards set a new franchise postseason record and ranked second in NFL postseason history for a tight end.
- A look at where Finley ranks among NFL tight ends since returning from his injury in Week 11 last season.
1. Jason Witten, Dallas, 53
2. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis, 52
*3. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay, 46 *
Player, Receiving yardage
1. Jason Witten, Dallas, 670
2. Vernon Davis, San Francisco, 623
3. Antonio Gates, San Diego, 622
4. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay, 566
TAKEAWAY POINTS KEY FOR PACKERS
- In the second year of Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme, the Packers are once again showing their knack for taking the ball away, which the offense has continued to turn into points this season.
- The Packers have registered three takeaways in the first two games, turning each one of those turnovers into touchdowns. Green Bay's 21 points off of takeaways so far this season ranks second in the league to only Indianapolis' 24.
- Scoring points off of turnovers has become a trend for the Packers at Lambeau Field, as they have a current streak of 11 straight games at home with points scored that were set up by a takeaway. That streak ranks first in the NFL.
- The Packers will be facing a Chicago team that has turned the ball over just twice in its first two games, with QB Jay Cutler entering the game with a league-high 121.2 passer rating (five touchdowns, one interception).
- Green Bay posted 30 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries in 2009, which it turned into 141 points. The 40 takeaways also led the NFL, and its 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.
- Since 2009, 11 players on defense have intercepted a pass, a number that is tied for No. 2 in the league with three other teams. Only Buffalo (13) has had more players record an INT over that span.
- 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.
- If the Packers don't commit a turnover, like they didn't against Buffalo on Sunday, 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 without a giveaway.
ETCHING HIS NAME
- Packers K Mason Crosby put his name into the franchise record book when he connected on a 56-yard field goal as time expired in the first half at Philadelphia in Week 1.
- Crosby's kick topped the previous team record of 54 yards held by Chris Jacke (at Det., Jan. 2, 1994), Ryan Longwell (at Ten., Dec. 16, 2001) and Dave Rayner (at Phi., Oct. 2, 2006).
- Crosby's 56-yarder ranks No. 2 in the history of Lincoln Financial Field behind David Akers' 57-yarder vs. New England on Sept. 14, 2003, the first year the stadium was open.
- It was the second long field goal of the afternoon from Crosby, as he drilled a 49-yarder early in the second quarter. It was the first time in his career that he made two field goals from 49 yards or more in the same game. He became the first Green Bay kicker to do so since Longwell posted field goals from 51 and 53 yards at Atlanta on Nov. 13, 2005.
- Crosby's 49-yard field goal gave him 400 points for his career. By hitting that mark in just 49 career games, he tied for the second-fewest games needed to reach 400 points in NFL history, behind Jan Stenerud (47) and tied with Gino Cappelletti (49). Crosby's total of 397 points from 2007-09 were the most in NFL history by a player in his first three seasons.
- Crosby, who currently has 416 career points, has connected on all four of his field-goal attempts this season, and ranks fifth among NFL kickers with 19 points through Week 2.
EMPHASIS PAYING EARLY DIVIDENDS
- One of the areas the Packers were focused on improving this season was cutting down on penalties, and they couldn't have gotten off to a better start in Week 1 at Philadelphia.
- The Packers were flagged for just two penalties in the season opener against the Eagles, which tied Cincinnati for the fewest in the league on Kickoff Weekend.
- The two penalties called on the Packers were the fewest in an opening-day contest for Green Bay since Sept. 7, 1986, vs. Houston at Lambeau Field, when they were also called for two penalties.
- Sunday's penalty number also was the fewest under Head Coach Mike McCarthy since Dec. 30, 2007, vs. Detroit, when the Packers were also flagged twice. The best mark under McCarthy came the week before on Dec. 23, 2007, at Chicago, when the Packers were called for just one penalty.
- Through Week 2, the Packers are tied for No. 4 in the league with only eight penalties. Last season Green Bay was flagged 17 times in the first two games.
- That total of eight penalties is the fewest in the first two games during McCarthy's tenure, besting the mark of 10 in 2006. It is also the fewest by any Green Bay team through the first two games since 2001, when the Packers were flagged just seven times in the opening two contests.
- Green Bay led the league in penalties last season with 118 while ranking second in penalty yardage with 1,057. There wasn't much of a correlation between penalties and wins in 2009, with six of the seven most-penalized teams making the playoffs.
PRODUCTION FROM BOTH SIDES IN 2009
- Green Bay was one of two teams in the NFL in 2009 to have both the offense (No. 6) and defense (No. 2) rank among the league's top 6. Division foe Minnesota (No. 5 offense, No. 6 defense) was the other.
- The Packers offense ranked among the league's top 10 for the fourth consecutive season and was a unit that seemed nearly impossible to stop towards the latter part of the season. It topped the 30-point plateau in its last four contests and eight times overall in 2009.
- There was no shortage of statistical measures to show its strength, chief among them the 461 points scored, a new franchise record. The 1996 Super Bowl champion Packers had the previous team record at 456.
- It was just the third offense in franchise history to surpass 6,000 total net yards, finishing No. 3 in team annals with 6,065.
- Though its perimeter players are as dangerous in big-play production as any group in the NFL, Green Bay dominated the ball and controlled the clock in its second-half run and finished No. 1 in the NFL with a time-of-possession average of 33:03, establishing a new franchise standard since the statistic began being recorded in 1977.
- Green Bay became the first team in NFL history to have a 4,000-yard passer (QB Aaron Rodgers), 1,200-yard rusher (RB Ryan Grant) and two 1,000-yard receivers (WRs Donald Driver and Greg Jennings) in back-to-back seasons.
- On defense, veteran coordinator Dom Capers installed the 3-4 defense and led a unit that finished the year with the highest league ranking by a Packers defensive unit (No. 2) since the '96 Super Bowl team (No. 1).
- For the first time in team history, Green Bay ranked No. 1 in run defense. The unit allowed 83.3 rushing yards per game, the lowest average in franchise history.
- The Packers led the league with 40 takeaways and led the NFL with 30 interceptions, the first time the Packers led the league in interceptions since 1965 (tied with Washington for No. 1 that season with 27).
- Highlighting the defense's ability to take the ball away also brings the spotlight back onto the offense, which finished the season with 16 giveaways, fewest in the NFL.
ROOKIE D-BACK TANDEM MAKING IMPACT
- When the Packers lined up in their nickel formation to start the game at Philadelphia in Week 1, the secondary featured a pair of rookies for the first time in a Green Bay season opener since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
- Morgan Burnett, a third-round pick out of Georgia Tech, got the nod at strong safety next to veteran Nick Collins. CB Sam Shields, a non-drafted free agent out of Miami, opened up as the third corner with veteran corners Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams.
- Collins was part of the last rookie defensive-backfield tandem to start a game for the Packers. He and rookie nickel CB Mike Hawkins both started on Dec. 19, 2005, at Baltimore on Monday Night Football.
- With the start on in Week 1, Burnett became only the second rookie safety since Chuck Cecil in 1988 to start a season opener for Green Bay. Collins, who started all 16 games as a rookie in '05 out of Bethune-Cookman, was the only other one.
- Burnett posted the first interception of his career on Sunday against Buffalo when he took the ball away from WR Roscoe Parrish on a Trent Edwards pass in the flat. He is tied for second among NFL rookies in interceptions and has registered eight tackles, while Shields has five tackles in two games as the nickel back.
- They are part of a secondary that has helped the defense allow only 116.5 passing yards per game in the first two contests, good for the No. 3 passing defense in the NFL. That included just 62 net passing yards by Buffalo on Sunday, the fewest allowed by Green Bay since it gave up only 27 vs. Minnesota on Dec. 21, 2006.
286 AND COUNTING
- Another packed house at Lambeau Field against the Bills in the 2010 regular-season home opener brought the stadium's consecutive sellouts streak to 286 games (270 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 LAMBEAU ADVANTAGE
- 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 at 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 20-7 at home since 2007, 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 home W-L records since the '92 season:
Team, W-L record (Pct.)
Green Bay, 108-37-0 (.745)
Pittsburgh, 105-39-1 (.728)
Denver, 104-41-0 (.717)
Minnesota, 100-45-0 (.690)
Dallas, 97-48-0 (.669)
New England, 97-48-0 (.669)
- With a win at Lambeau Field on Sunday over Buffalo, Head Coach Mike McCarthy became just the second coach in team history to win four consecutive home openers.
- McCarthy joins 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 five NFL teams and one of just two (Washington) in the NFC to win its home opener each year from 2007-10. The others are Denver, New England, and Pittsburgh, with Baltimore awaiting its first home game of the season this Sunday having won three straight (2007-09).
TAKING HIS PLACE AMONG THE GAME'S BEST
- Now firmly entrenched in his role as the face of the franchise, QB Aaron Rodgers went from solid first-year starter to one of the game's top young signal callers in 2009.
- Rodgers ranked near the top of the NFL in most passing categories in 2009 and was honored as the NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October, the first such award of his career. He was the youngest of the six quarterbacks named to the Pro Bowl last season.
- In 2009, he engineered one of the NFL's most potent offenses, ranked No. 6 overall, and avoided costly mistakes, spearheading a team that had a league-low 16 giveaways (15 on offense).
- His 103.2 passer rating ranked fourth in the NFL. In addition, he was the game's top-ranked passer on third downs (133.5).
- The fourth-year pro threw for 4,434 yards, fourth most in the league. That total finished just shy of Lynn Dickey's franchise record (4,458, 1983) for passing yards in a single season.
- In addition to QB rating and passing yards, Rodgers ranked fourth in TD passes (30) and first in interception percentage (1.3).
- And just for good measure, he ranked second among QBs with 316 rushing yards on 58 carries (5.4 avg.), and added five rushing TDs.
- Rodgers joined Steve Young (San Francisco, 1998) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards and 30 TDs and rush for 300 yards and five TDs in the same season.
- The Elias Sports Bureau never intended for passer rating to measure the effectiveness of a signal caller in one game, but rather over the course of a group of games or an entire season.
- Having said that, Rodgers' performance in Week 7 last year in Cleveland (15-of-20, 246 yards, 3 TDs) earned him a passer rating of 155.4, the highest single-game rating (minimum 20 attempts) in the history of the franchise. It bested the previous high, Brett Favre's 154.9 rating set in Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003.
- It was Rodgers' fourth consecutive game with a passer rating over 110.0, becoming only the second signal caller in team history to eclipse the mark four straight times in a single season. The legendary Bart Starr accomplished the feat four straight weeks during the 1966 season (Sept. 18-Oct. 9) en route to an NFL Championship and Super Bowl title.
- Rodgers just missed becoming the first to do it in five straight games, registering a 108.5 rating against Minnesota the following week.
- Not only did the statistic explain his play last season, but just how efficient he has been since becoming a starter. In 34 career starts, Rodgers has eclipsed the century mark in passer rating 19 times.
THE BIG PLAY RETURNS
- Thanks to a bevy of talent around him at the skill positions, QB Aaron Rodgers did plenty of damage through the air in 2009 in his second season as the quarterback in Green Bay.
- When it comes to the long ball, few are as accurate as Rodgers. His 17 completions of 40-plus yards tied for the NFL lead in 2009 with Dallas QB Tony Romo and then-Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb.
- In terms of what coaches often classify as 'big plays' (gains of 20-plus yards), Rodgers had 55 completions, tied for the ninth-best total in the league and surpassing his 2008 total.
- The big plays have always been a staple of the offense under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, as the team ranked second in the NFL in gains of 20-plus yards when it went to the NFC Championship in 2007. That year, the team racked up 67 such plays, 52 of which came through the air.
- In 2008 when it went 6-10, the team had 58 plays of 20-plus yards, 12th best in the NFL.
- In 2009, the Packers finished 10th overall with 66 plays of 20-plus yards.
- Through two games this season, the Packers rank tied for No. 12 with seven plays of 20-plus yards, with all of them coming through the air.
ANOTHER FRANCHISE MARK
- WR Donald Driver, now in his 12th season, established yet another team mark last year in Week 13. Last season, it seemed as though franchise records fell on a weekly basis for Driver.
- 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. 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 9,118. Driver should surpass the mark sometime this season.
- Against Buffalo on Sunday, Driver scored on a 7-yard TD pass, the 51st receiving TD of his career. That moves him into sole possesion of the No. 4 spot in team history; he had been tied with Max McGee (50).
- The touchdown catch against the Bills was Driver's 20th career at Lambeau Field, moving him into a tie for second place with Sterling Sharpe, behind only Antonio Freeman (36). Driver already holds the Lambeau records for receptions (315) and receiving yards (4,323).
- Driver has been the model of consistency for the Packers, catching at least one pass in 129 consecutive games (135 including playoffs), also a franchise record. His consistency also serves as a great example for younger teammates, as Driver has rarely missed a practice in his NFL career.
- 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.
TOP 10 AGAIN IN 2009
- The offense registered over 400 yards against Seattle in Week 16, the ninth time in '09 it went over the mark. That ranked as the second-best single-season mark in franchise history (2004, 10 games). The unit found its stride toward the end of the year and again ranked among the NFL's top-10 offenses, a familiar place under play caller and Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
- Each year under McCarthy, it has finished among the league's top 10 offenses. Since 2006, New Orleans is the only other NFL team to have ranked in the top 10 each of the last four seasons. In 2009, the Packers averaged 379.1 yards per contest, its top average under McCarthy.
- In 2008, the Packers finished No. 8 overall with an average of 351.1 yards per contest. The unit finished No. 2 in 2007 (370.7 yards per game) and No. 9 in 2006 (341.1) under McCarthy.
- McCarthy spent six seasons as an offensive coordinator and play caller prior to his arrival in Green Bay (New Orleans 2000-04, San Francisco 2005). Twice the Saints ranked among the NFL's top 10 offenses.
PROTECTION THE KEY
- Green Bay's offensive line didn't allow a single sack of QB Aaron Rodgers on Sunday against Buffalo, the third time in his last five starts that he has been sacked only once or not at all.
- In his two-plus years as the starting quarterback, there have been 12 games where the line has given up either one sack or no sacks of Rodgers. The Packers have a 10-2 mark in those contests.
- The effect that protection has is evident in Rodgers' numbers in those games, as he has completed 257-of-382 passes (67.3 percent) for 3,146 yards and 25 TDs with just four INTs for a 109.9 passer rating.
- When Rodgers has been sacked four or more times in a game during his career, the Packers are 4-7.
- 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.
- After allowing three sacks at Philadelphia in the first half in Week 1 this season, the line has settled in and not given up a sack of Rodgers in the last six quarters.
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 will look to a couple of backs to carry the load.
- Brandon Jackson, who excelled in his role as a third-down back in 2009, started on Sunday against Buffalo, his first start since early in his rookie campaign of 2007 (vs. San Diego, Sept. 23).
- Jackson rushed for 29 yards on 11 carries, and scored on a 1-yard run at the end of the first quarter. He has 92 yards on 23 carries (3.2 avg.) in two games this season.
- John Kuhn, who worked primarily at fullback during his first three seasons in Green Bay, can expect to see more opportunities carrying the ball. On Sunday against the Bills, he posted career highs in both carries (nine) and rushing yards (36).
- Grant, Jackson and Kuhn have all posted explosive runs this season (12 yards or more), making Green Bay one of only three teams (San Diego and N.Y. Giants) in the league to have three backs with 12-plus yard runs.
- Each of those 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 seven runs of 10-plus yards ranks tied for No. 5 in the NFL.
DEFENSE GETS THE JOB DONE IN YEAR 1 UNDER CAPERS
- The Green Bay defense finished No. 2 in the league's final overall defensive rankings in 2009. Not since 1996, when it finished the year No. 1 overall and went on to win Super Bowl XXXI, had the Packers' defense ranked among the league's top units.
- Behind new defensive coordinator Dom Capers and all-everything CB Charles Woodson, the Packers thrived in their new 3-4 scheme. The team finished the season ranked No. 1 against the run, a first in team history, and No. 5 against the pass.
- The previous top ranking in franchise history in run defense came in 1972, when the team finished No. 2.
- Green Bay allowed an average of 284.4 total yards per game, second behind the N.Y. Jets (252.3) and ahead of No. 3 Baltimore (300.5).
- Green Bay's improved defense against the run kept opponents in long down-and-distances, enhancing the defense's ability to get off the field on third down. Through the first four games, the unit ranked No. 28. As soon as Green Bay began to stop the run, it shot up the league rankings in third-down defense, finishing the year at No. 9.
- One constant for the defense was its ability to take the ball away, registering 39 of the team's 40 takeaways. That takeaway total led the NFL in 2009, and it's something that has become a habit for the defense. It has registered at least one takeaway in 18 of its last 19 games.
- Whether they be caused by pressure from a deep and talented front seven, or a fantastic read by a ball-hawking secondary led by Pro Bowlers Nick Collins (six INTs) and Woodson (nine), those 40 turnovers led to 141 points, tied with New Orleans for the most points-off-turnovers total in the NFL.
- In the first two years of the Mike McCarthy tenure, Green Bay's defense was close to being a top-10 unit, finishing at No. 12 in 2006 and No. 11 in 2007. In 2008, it slipped to No. 20 before making the jump up to No. 2 last year.
- In Capers' previous stints as a coordinator, his units made a jump in the rankings in his first season. In Pittsburgh, the defense went from No. 22 to No. 13 in '92 under Capers, then continued to rise to No. 3 in '93 and No. 2 in '94. In Jacksonville, the defense climbed to No. 4 under Capers in '99 after ranking 25th the previous season. The Dolphins ranked No. 4 in 2006, Capers' first year, after ranking No. 18 in '05.
AS GOOD AS HE'S EVER BEEN
- At age 33, CB Charles Woodson enjoyed the finest season of his career in 2009, his first year in the 3-4 scheme.
- Woodson achieved the highest individual honor bestowed upon a defensive player, taking home The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award. He also was named an AP first-team All-Pro.
- Woodson became the fourth player in NFL history since sacks became an official statistic to record at least nine interceptions and two sacks in a single season. One of the players who previously accomplished the feat (Ed Reed - 2004) also went on to win Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson also led the Packers with four forced fumbles.
- Against Dallas, Woodson became the first NFL player to record two forced fumbles, an interception and a sack in a game since Steelers linebacker James Harrison accomplished the feat two years prior to the day vs. Baltimore on Nov. 15, 2007. In that contest, Harrison posted three forced fumbles, 3½ sacks and an interception.
- Against the Lions in Week 12, Woodson tallied two interceptions, including one he returned for a score, a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery, and held Calvin Johnson to two catches for 10 yards.
- Woodson was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for both his Dallas (Week 10) and Detroit (Week 12) performances, and naturally won NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November. Woodson also was honored as the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September and December, becoming the first NFC player to win the award multiple times.
- His Detroit performance marked the fifth multi-interception game of his career, and his fourth since coming to Green Bay.
- Woodson's INT return for a score against Arizona in Week 17 was his seventh with Green Bay, giving him eight defensive touchdowns with the Packers to establish a new franchise record. The seven INT returns for scores with Green Bay ties him for first on the franchise's all-time list with Hall of Famer Herb Adderley.
- In addition to his team-high and career-best nine interceptions, he established a new career high with 81 tackles, third most on the team. His previous career high had been 79, a total he accomplished twice before (OAK, 2000; GB, 2008).
- A skilled blitzer, he had two sacks on the year. His five sacks since 2008 is tied for the NFL lead among defensive backs (safeties and corners).
- His four forced fumbles tied for second among NFL defensive backs in 2009, and he is tied for the NFL lead this season among defensive backs with one forced fumble.
- There's no doubt Woodson's career has undergone a revitalization since coming to Green Bay. He now has 45 career interceptions, fifth among active NFL players. Of his interceptions, 28 have come in 64 games with Green Bay. In 106 games with the Raiders, he had 17.
CLOSING IN ON THE RECORD
- With eight tackles on Sunday against Buffalo, eighth-year LB Nick Barnett is poised to move into the No. 2 spot in franchise history for career tackles on Monday night.
- Barnett enters Monday's game at Chicago with 1,000 career tackles, just two shy of moving ahead of Johnnie Gray and his 1,001 career tackles (1975-83) for second in team history (statistic kept since 1975).
- Barnett also stands just 21 tackles shy of breaking John Anderson's franchise record (1,020), a mark he could hit in the next few games.
- "An organization like this with so many great players and so many great teams, to be able to lead anything or to take any records, that's huge," Barnett said.
- "It feels good to be able to do that. You don't see in this day and age a lot of players staying on one team for so long, and I've been blessed to be able to do that, and I hope to continue that."
- Barnett currently ranks tied for second on the team with 14 tackles (11 solo) through the first two games. Last season he led the team in tackles (122) for the fifth time in his career, a franchise record.
SECOND-HALF SCORING SPURT KEYS WIN
- The Packers came away with just 13 points on three first-quarter drives that went deep into Buffalo territory, and then failed to convert a single first down in the second quarter as they held on to just a six-point lead at the break. That all changed after halftime.
- Quarterback Aaron Rodgers led the offense on touchdown drives on each of its first three possessions in the second half, two of those aided by interceptions from a Green Bay defense that allowed just 186 yards of offense and only 62 net yards passing, on the way to a 34-7 win over Buffalo in front of 70,741 at Lambeau Field.
- The win improved the Packers to 2-0, the third time in four years under Head Coach Mike McCarthy that Green Bay has started off a season with two wins, with a matchup against the 2-0 Chicago Bears next Monday night at Soldier Field on the horizon.
- "I thought we were definitely ready to play," McCarthy said. "I thought we came out of the tunnel, the crowd's fantastic like it always is, opening day, a lot of excitement. I thought we played well in the first quarter. I thought frankly we were flat and sloppy in the second quarter.
- "And we just kind of re-started our engine at halftime and played the way we were supposed to play. I thought the defense really set the tempo in the tunnel with the takeaways."
- Rodgers quickly took the offense down the field on the opening series of the game, but wide receiver James Jones was unable to keep his feet in bounds inside the 5 on a third-and-3 pass from the 26, as Green Bay settled for a 44-yard field goal from Mason Crosby.
- After the defense forced a three-and-out by Buffalo on its opening series, Rodgers rolled out to his right two plays later to find a wide-open Jermichael Finley for a 34-yard pass over the middle to put the ball at Buffalo's 8. But the drive stalled, with Green Bay once again just emerging with three points from a 24-yard Crosby field goal.
- "I like converting those drives off with touchdowns, and didn't do that," Rodgers said. "Unfortunately the second drive there we made a good check and thought we were going to get a touchdown, but just couldn't get the ball in the end zone."
- The Green Bay defense came up with another three-and-out, and Rodgers guided the offense down the field on a 11-play, 72-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from running back Brandon Jackson, who was starting in place of an injured Ryan Grant, his first start since his rookie campaign of 2007.
- With a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Packers appeared poised to put Buffalo away early, but the Bills answered on their next drive. Running back Marshawn Lynch picked up the first first down of the day for Buffalo on a 14-yard run on the final play of the first quarter, and fellow back Fred Jackson finished an eight-play, 80-yard drive off with a 3-yard TD run. Of Buffalo's 80 yards on the series, 49 came on the ground, with another 24 courtesy of a Charles Woodson pass-interference penalty
- The Packers' offense couldn't maintain any rhythm the rest of the half, with Rodgers' only completion going for a 2-yard loss to wide receiver Greg Jennings as the offense went three-and-out on its two second-quarter possessions. After the defense stopped the Bills with just over a minute remaining and one timeout for Green Bay left, McCarthy elected to let Buffalo run the clock down as the Packers snapped the ball just once before heading to the locker room with a 13-7 lead.
- "I think that's a fence situation," McCarthy said. "What I am referring to, with the down and distance there, fourth-and-1, you call a timeout, that's an area of the field where there is a tendency for a fake punt or some type of plays is part of their planning, or part of their history, I should say
- "So I didn't want to call a timeout and possibly extend their two-minute drill. I didn't like the way we were playing at that particular time. I was fully aware that Buffalo was going to open up with the football so I felt it was important for us to get to the locker room."
- On Buffalo's opening series of the second half, Woodson and linebacker A.J. Hawk got pressure on quarterback Trent Edwards (11-of-18 for 102 yards and two INTs) on a third-and-8 from the Buffalo 39, and Edwards' pass over the middle went off the hands of wide receiver Steve Johnson and into the arms of linebacker Brandon Chillar, the first interception of the seven-year veteran's career. Chillar returned the pick 9 yards to the Buffalo 39, and the offense took advantage.
- On a third down at the 35, Jennings made a great adjustment near the left sideline for a 17-yard grab, and then Rodgers found wideout Jordy Nelson on an 11-yard pass over the middle. Facing another third down, this time at the 7, Rodgers absorbed a big hit from a Buffalo defender as he found Donald Driver on the left side of the end zone for a touchdown and a 20-7 lead.
- The defense forced another three-and-out, aided by a 12-yard sack of Edwards by linebacker Clay Matthews, who became the first Packer since 1982 to register back-to-back three-sack games. Rodgers completed four straight passes for 49 yards, before scrambling around right end for a 9-yard score.
- Green Bay's defense had one more takeaway in it, this time an interception from rookie safety Morgan Burnett as he took the ball away from wide receiver Roscoe Parrish on a pass in the flat at Green Bay's 48. Rodgers found Finley (four catches for 103 yards) over the middle to convert a third-and-15, before hooking up with Jones on a back-shoulder throw for a 30-yard score and a 34-7 lead, which turned out to be the final margin.
- Rodgers completed 11-of-13 passes in the second half for 145 yards and two TDs for a 152.7 passer rating, and the Packers converted on three of four third downs after going 4-for-8 in the first half.
- "In the second quarter we didn't convert third downs, and didn't make any plays," said Rodgers, who finished 19-of-29 for 255 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions for a 116.3 rating. "The third quarter the defense gave us some good field position and we executed.
- "That's the key with us, it's converting on third down. We did a better job today."
- It would be easy for the Packers to take the approach that they have won both games while playing less than their best, but McCarthy isn't going to allow his players to take that approach as they turn their attention to an early-season battle for first place in the division.
- "I think that's convenient to think that way," McCarthy said. "I'm not going to use it. I'm going to stay true to the film and the emotion that was very present in the second quarter. That's not the way we play. And we addressed it at halftime and our players responded. It's a hard-working bunch. The toughness and discipline is at the forefront of what we're trying to accomplish, improving on week to week.
- "It's a long year and you got to make sure you're ready to play them one at a time. I thought the preparation leading up to this was OK, and we need to get ready for Chicago."