*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.
A complete edition of the Dope Sheet will be available each week during the season in PDF format, located in the Packers.com Game Centers.
Here are some highlights from the Packers-Saints Week 12 Dope Sheet:*
**GREEN BAY (5-5) at NEW ORLEANS (5-5)
Monday, Nov. 24 - Superdome - 7:30 p.m. CST**
PACKERS, SAINTS SQUARE OFF ON MONDAY NIGHT
- Green Bay heads south to New Orleans for an NFC showdown on Monday Night Football. Each club comes into the contest at 5-5 and in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt.
- The Packers forced a three-way tie atop the NFC North behind a 37-3 victory over the Chicago Bears last Sunday. They controlled nearly every aspect of the game against their oldest rivals in what was clearly their most complete performance of the season.
- The Saints defeated the Chiefs 30-20 at Arrowhead Stadium over the weekend but remain in fourth place in the NFC South.
- The Packers lost their first two road games of the month by a combined four points. Despite the small losing streak, they have still won 10 of their last 15 away from home.
- Green Bay will look to snap that two-game road skid at the Superdome, a venue it has visited just once in the past 12 seasons.
- The Packers and Saints meet for the third time in four seasons. Green Bay holds a 14-6 advantage in the all-time series, which has never been played in prime time.
- Both teams make a return appearance on MNF after playing the Vikings earlier this season in the prime-time slot. The Packers beat the Vikings while the Saints lost at home. Green Bay will appear once more on Monday night in Week 16 at Chicago.
- The Packers, owners of the NFC's longest MNF appearance streak (1992-2008), have played remarkably even in the Monday night spotlight. Their all-time record in the game stands at 26-25-1.
WITH THE CALL
- ESPN enters its third 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 Tony Kornheiser for the 39th season of MNF broadcasts.
- 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 56-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo enter their 10th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 47 markets in six states.
- Westwood One will air the game across the country. Don Criqui (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (analyst) will call the action. Jim Gray hosts pregame and halftime shows.
- Univision Radio will broadcast the game nationally in Spanish. Rafael Hernandez Brito (play-by-play) and Eduardo Martell (analyst) serve as the broadcast team.
- 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 126 WTMJ feed) as part of the network's NFL Sunday Drive. DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game in HD on channel 206.
McCARTHY RETURNS TO BIG EASY
- Head Coach Mike McCarthy returns to the area where he grew his reputation as one of the NFL's most respected offensive minds.
- McCarthy spent five seasons (2000-04) with the Saints as offensive coordinator, guiding the club to the most prolific offensive era in the team's four decades. The team set 10 offensive team records and 25 individual marks with McCarthy as its play caller. Monday night marks his first game in the city since leaving in 2004.
- Not surprisingly, McCarthy's staff in Green Bay has strong ties to the Saints organization. Eight assistant coaches have spent time in New Orleans either as a coach or player.
- New Orleans coach Sean Payton was one of the finalists and interviewed for the Packers head coaching job prior to 2006 season. Both coaches led their new teams to an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
TEMPERATURE GOES DOWN, RUN GAME HEATS UP
- The Packers had their most dominating run-game performance to date against Chicago, totaling 200 yards on 38 carries (5.3 avg). Just one week prior, the Bears' No. 4-ranked run defense surrendered just 20 yards on the ground to Tennessee, one of the league's top rushing offenses.
- The 200 yards on the ground easily surpassed the previous season high (139) established in Week 1.
- RB Ryan Grant ran for a season high 145 yards and a touchdown, while RB Brandon Jackson contributed 50 yards on 10 carries.
- "I think Ryan and really the whole run game is in tune and I've really felt that way probably the last three or four weeks," McCarthy said. "We were able to commit to the run game. We had favorable down and distances for the most part in third down throughout the game. We were 50 percent. Frankly I felt we could have been higher than that and that gives you the ability to run the football. The most important thing I think for Ryan was he got to 25 attempts, and that's where he needs to be."
- The Packers had established more consistency on the ground the previous two weeks, with Grant picking up 4.5 yards per carry against formidable run defenses in Tennessee and Minnesota.
- It's no surprise that a team that plays its late-season home games during a Wisconsin winter will need to run the ball effectively.
- Including last season, the Packers seem to gain momentum in the run game as the season wears on. Last year the unit ranked last in the NFL through the first 10 weeks but churned out 100-yard performances in five of its last six games to finish 21st.
- The emergence of Grant had a lot to do with that late surge to finish the season, and the Packers hope to get a similar boost from the Notre Dame product again this year. The second-year back said he feels healthier than he's been all season after a nagging hamstring injury contributed to a slow start.
Category: (First 8 '07) - (Last 8 '07) - (First 8 '08)
Attempts: (175) - (213) - (217)
Attempts/Game: (21.88) - (26.63) - (27.13)
Rushing Yards: (577) - (1,020) - (809)
Yards/Game: (72.13) - (127.50) - (101.13)
Yards/Attempt: (3.30) - (4.79) - (3.73)
Touchdowns: (5) - (8) - (5)
THIRD-DOWN SUCCESS FOR RODGERS, BREES
- Coming off a 1-for-11 third-down performance at Minnesota, the Green Bay offense rebounded to convert 7-of-14 third downs against Chicago.
- The Packers now rank 13th in third-down offense, having converted 57-of-136 (41.9%) opportunities. The New Orleans defense ranks 13th on third down, allowing opponents to convert 37.3% (47-of-126).
- Green Bay's third-down defense has allowed 52-of-138 (37.7%), 14th in the NFL, and faces a Saints team ranked No. 4 in the category.
- No NFL signal callers have been stronger on third down than Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Brees (120.5) is the NFL's top-ranked passer on third down and is the only quarterback to have not thrown an interception on the down. Meanwhile, Rogers ranks No. 2 on third down with a passer rating of 114.5 (65-of-98, 66.3%, 778 yards).
- Ten of Rodgers' 15 TD passes have come on third down. San Diego's Philip Rivers is the next closest passer with nine TDs on third down.
HAWK MANS THE MIDDLE
- For the first time since his days at Centerville (Ohio) High School, A.J. Hawk lined up at middle linebacker, and the Packers didn't miss a beat.
- Also wearing the defensive mic in his helmet for the first time, Hawk orchestrated a defense that allowed 234 total yards, the second-lowest total of the season. The Packers surrendered just 177 yards at Seattle.
- Hawk matched a season-high with 12 tackles against the Bears.
- "Didn't even look like we missed a beat with the boundary communication and so forth, and (Hawk) was productive," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "He did a very nice job. I thought he did a great job playing downhill in his gap responsibility in the run game, and he was productive in the passing game."
RETURNS KEEP COMING
- DE Jason Hunter returned a fumble 54 yards for a score against Chicago, Green Bay's ninth return touchdown of the season, a Packers record.
- The fumble return set another franchise record, becoming the seventh defensive touchdown of the season.
- The Packers lead all NFL clubs in return touchdowns (9), defensive touchdowns (7) and interception returns for touchdowns (6).
- "A defensive touchdown or a special teams touchdown, they're just huge momentum swings in the football game," McCarthy said. "Having (nine) this year is just a credit to the players and the extra time that they've put in, particularly in our practice structure. We emphasize it all the time, and you can just see the urgency and aggressiveness of our coverage units on special teams and defensively, when they do have an opportunity to get their hands on the ball. And we're finding the end zone, too, which is exciting. But it's definitely a big lift for you football team."
- CB Will Blackmon has returned two punts for scores. The last Green Bay player with multiple punt returns for touchdowns in a season was CB Desmond Howard, who returned three for scores in 1996.
- Six TDs have come on interceptions returns: three by S Nick Collins, two by CB Charles Woodson, and one from S Aaron Rouse.
- The Packers have allowed just one return TD this season - a 38-yard fumble return by Tampa Bay.
- With six return TDs by interception thus far, Green Bay ties Vince Lombardi's 1966 championship club for the most in franchise history. Green Bay not only has an eye on its own record books, but with six games left, league records as well.
Team, Season (INT TDs)
San Diego, 1961 (9)
Seattle, 1998 (8)
Seattle, 1984 (7)
St. Louis, 1999 (7)
BREES AND RODGERS AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME
- Monday night's matchup features two of the league's hottest quarterbacks, as both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers rank in the NFL's top 5 in passer rating.
- Brees leads all quarterbacks with 3,251 passing yards and is on pace to break Dan Marino's single-season record (5,084 in 1984) for passing yards. Rodgers ranks eighth with 2,351 passing yards.
- Brees and Rodgers have been consistently good thus far. A look at the quarterbacks with the most games with a passer rating of 100.0 or better in 2008:
Player (Games over 100.0)
Philip Rivers, SD (6)
Aaron Rodgers, GB (6)
Drew Brees, NO (5)
Matt Ryan, ATL (5)
Kurt Warner, AZ (5)
TOUGH AGAINST QUARTERBACKS
- The more they study the Packers' pass defense, the more opposing NFL quarterbacks learn about just how well they've played thus far.
- Opposing signal callers have a 59.5 passer rating against Green Bay this season, the lowest rating in the NFL. It ranks just ahead of Tennessee's defense, which ranks No. 2 with an opposing QB rating of 60.9.
- Green Bay's defense has been able to smother potential receivers, allowing opposing signal callers to complete just 51.5% of their passes. That is the lowest opponent completion percentage in the league, slightly ahead of the Baltimore defense (53.7%) ranked No. 2.
- In addition to holding opposing passers to the lowest quarterback rating and completion percentage, it has also surrendered the fewest gross passing yards at 1,865. Tampa Bay ranks No. 2 with 1,943 gross passing yards allowed.
O-LINE HAS BEST OUTING
- None of the offensive fireworks would be possible without the steady play Green Bay gets from its offensive line.
- One week after a shaky performance in the Metrodome, the unit clearly had its best performance to date.
- "I thought they did an excellent job, both the run blocking and the pass protection," McCarthy said regarding the unit that had been criticized all week leading up to the Chicago game. "Number one, the communication was excellent. I think we had three mental errors, three or four mental errors on offense throughout the day, and some of them were questionable based on what they gave us defensively. But the run blocking unit, I thought we were able to get the running back to the second level repeatedly during the course of the game, evident by the statistics itself. I thought they did a very good job of establishing the line of scrimmage, and in pass protection, like we already talked about, Aaron wasn't even touched. They played at a very high level."
- No play personified their performance more than Grant's TD run. From the 4-yard line, the entire unit pushed the Bears defense back into the end zone, allowing Grant to run behind the right side of the line untouched for the score.
- Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, fixtures at tackle, remain the leaders of the group. The unit faces a Saints defense that has collected 18 sacks on the year. No Saints player has more than four sacks.
- Although not necessarily the sole forecaster of strength at the position, experience on the offensive line is often closely related to the ultimate success or failure of the collective unit.
- Clifton and Tauscher boast a combined 16 years and 237 career starts between them. All of that experience has come in a Packers uniform.
- A look at the longest-tenured tackle duos in the NFL :
- Jon Runyan (186) and Tra Thomas (159)- Phi. - 345 combined starts
- Chad Clifton (120) and Mark Tauscher (117)- GB - 237
- Walter Jones (178) and Sean Locklear (49)- Sea. - 227
- Flozell Adams (156) and Marc Colombo (49)- Dal. - 205
- Alex Barron (53) and Orlando Pace (149)- StL - 202
- The Packers have 533 return yards on their 16 interceptions this season.
- That total already ranks third in team history since the 1960 AFL-NFL merger.
- McCarthy said his team's ability to make a play after an interception is something the team has repped after every turnover in practice since he arrived in 2006.
- The Packers had 561 return yards on 27 interceptions in 1965. The following season, they had 547 return yards on 28 interceptions. The Packers won the NFL Championship both seasons.
**THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT:
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints:
All-time regular season: **14-6-0
All-time, in New Orleans:6-4-0
Streaks: The Saints have won two of the last three meetings.
Last meeting, regular season: Sept. 17, 2006, at Lambeau Field; Saints won, 34-27
Last meeting, regular season, in New Orleans:Sept. 15, 2002; Saints won, 35-20
Mike McCarthy: 27-17-0, .613, (incl. 1-1 postseason); 3rd NFL season
Sean Payton: 23-21-0, .522 (incl. 1-1 postseason); 3rd NFL season
Head to Head: Payton 1-0
vs. Opponent:McCarthy 0-1 vs. Saints; Payton 1-0 vs. Packers
MIKE McCARTHY...Is in third year as the Packers' 14th head coach.
- 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.
- Tied franchise record for most victories by a coach in his first two seasons (21).
SEAN PAYTON...Is in third year as the Saints' 14th head coach.
- Earned NFL Coach of the Year honors in 2006, leading the Saints to the NFC Championship Game for the first time in club history.
- His offense has ranked No. 1 (2006) and No. 4 (2007) in the league in his two years at the helm.
- Came to New Orleans after three-year stint in Dallas as assistant head coach, while also coaching the quarterbacks (2003-04) and coordinating the passing game (2005). Other NFL stops include the New York Giants (1999-2002), spending the last three seasons as offensive coordinator, and Philadelphia Eagles (1997-98) as quarterbacks coach.
- Passed for a school-record 10,665 yards at Eastern Illinois, then the third-highest total in NCAA Division I-AA history.
THE PACKERS-SAINTS SERIES
- These teams meet for the third time in four seasons after having met only once in the previous nine years.
- These clubs launched their series in 1968, when former Vince Lombardi assistants Phil Bengston (Packers) and Tom Fears (Saints) met in Milwaukee. The Packers, one year after winning Super Bowl I, defeated the second-year Saints 27-7. Fears, who coached Super Bowl I hero Max McGee with the Packers from 1962-65, was New Orleans' first head coach.
- Green Bay's 52-3 victory in 2005 was the most lopsided in the series history, eclipsing the Packers' 35-7 victory in New Orleans on Dec. 13, 1981.
- The Packers will play in New Orleans for the first time since 2002, the only time Green Bay has traveled to the Big Easy since 1995. Green Bay did defeat the New England Patriots, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI played in the Superdome, on Jan. 26, 1996.
McCarthy served as the Saints offensive coordinator from 2000-04...Other members of the Packers staff who coached in New Orleans include quarterbacks coach Tom Clements (1997-99), strength and conditioning coordinator Rock Gullickson (2000-05), offensive quality control Ty Knott (2003-05), tight ends coach Ben McAdoo (2004), assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss (2000-05) and wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson (2004-05)...Packers offensive line coach James Campen played two seasons in New Orleans (1987-88) after playing collegiately at Tulane, while assistant offensive line coach Jerry Fontenot played center for the Saints for seven seasons (1997-2003)...Packers defensive nickel package/cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington is a New Orleans native and graduated from Lutcher High School before playing collegiately at Tulane...Payton was one of the finalists and was interviewed for the Packers head coaching job prior to 2006...Saints assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt coached the defensive backs in Green Bay in 1999, the same year McCarthy was quarterbacks coach...Packers vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball spent the past six seasons (2002-07) with the Saints, the final two as vice president of football administration and the first four as senior football administrator...Saints backup QB Mark Brunell was a backup in Green Bay in 1994...Saints RB Aaron Stecker, a Green Bay native, is a product of Ashwaubenon High School, just blocks from Lambeau Field...Former college teammates include Saints TE Mark Campbell and Charles Woodson (Michigan), Saints DE Will Smith and A.J. Hawk (Ohio State) and Saints WR Robert Meacham and Justin Harrell (Tennessee)...Saints S Kevin Kaesviharn was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Packers in 2001, his first taste of the NFL after two years in arena football.
INDIVIDUALLY VS. SAINTS
CB Al Harris had the lone two-interception game of his career against the Saints in 2005, with both picks coming on consecutive possessions in the first quarter. He returned the first one 22 yards for a TD. Harris also had his first NFL sack in that same game, which also featured LB Nick Barnett's lone NFL TD on a 95-yard interception return...WR Donald Driver has 17 receptions for 252 yards and a TD in three career games against the Saints, getting eight catches for 153 yards in the 2006 meeting...WR Greg Jennings scored his first NFL touchdown, on a 22-yard catch, in that game, and DE Aaron Kampman recorded one of his four career three-sack efforts, forcing two fumbles, in that contest.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Sept. 17, 2006, at Lambeau Field; Saints won, 34-27.
- The Packers jumped out to a 13-0 lead, forcing turnovers on New Orleans' first three possessions.
- The Saints rallied to take a 14-13 halftime lead and pushed their advantage to 34-20, as Deuce McAllister ran for two scores and Drew Brees threw for two, to Devery Henderson and Marques Colston.
- The Packers got back within a touchdown on a 6-yard TD pass to Noah Herron with 4:18 left, and got the ball back a little over a minute later after a three-and-out. But the final drive, which crossed midfield, ended with four straight incompletions.
LAST MEETING, IN NEW ORLEANS
- Sept. 15, 2002; Saints won, 35-20.
- New Orleans QB Aaron Brooks became the first of Brett Favre's former backups to beat him since Ty Detmer in 1994, throwing for 217 yards and two touchdowns. Favre lost in the Superdome for the first time in 10 career appearances, including preseason games, a Super Bowl, and two college contests.
- Brooks' two TD passes helped stake the Saints to a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter. Behind two Favre TD tosses, the Packers got as close as 28-20 in the final period, but McAllister's 2-yard TD run with two minutes left sealed it.