*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-Texans Week 14 Dope Sheet:*
**HOUSTON (5-7) at GREEN BAY (5-7)
Sunday, Dec. 7 - Lambeau Field - 12 p.m. CST**
TEXANS COME TO LAMBEAU FOR FIRST TIME
- Houston makes its franchise debut at Lambeau Field Sunday as the Packers host the Texans.
- Green Bay enters the contest fighting for its playoff life, two games behind division-leading Minnesota with four games remaining.
- It must get back to its winning ways — first and foremost against the Texans on Sunday at home — if the team is going to entertain any postseason thoughts.
- The Packers lost another back-and-forth battle this past weekend at home to Carolina, its fourth loss this season by four points or less.
- Taking the lead on a field goal just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, it took the Panthers less than 30 seconds to march down the field for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.
- Houston comes into the contest off a short week, having defeated Jacksonville 30-17 in the franchise's first-ever Monday Night Football appearance to improve to 5-7.
- Now in third place in the AFC South, Houston is just 1-5 on the road this season.
IN THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
- Whether it involves fighting for division crowns, jockeying for playoff positioning or building momentum for next season, the final month of the NFL season and its importance cannot be understated.
- December football on the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field seems to almost define the Green Bay Packers, and like their storied past, is centered around winning.
- The Packers were 1-4 in the month of November as they fell from first to third place in the NFC North. Now, they must continue their trend of success over the season's final month in order to make a second consecutive trip to the postseason.
- Head Coach Mike McCarthy has continued the tradition of December success for the Packers. He is 7-2 (4-1 in 2006, 3-1 in 2007) over the final stretch since coming to Green Bay.
- Over the past 10 seasons, only the New England Patriots have a better record over the final month of the season than Green Bay. A look at the most successful teams, including regular-season game played in Jan.:
Team, W-L record (Pct.)
New England, 34-12 (.739)
Green Bay, 34-13 (.723)
Tennessee, 31-18 (.632)
Pittsburgh, 30-18 (.625)
Philadelphia, 28-17 (.622)
*Houston, 10-19 (.344)
*—Houston entered NFL in 2002; total includes MNF on 12/1
WITH THE CALL
- The Packers make their second and final appearance of the season on CBS. The network will air the contest to a regional audience.
- Play-by-play man Gus Johnson and color analyst Steve Tasker will have the call from the broadcast booth.
- 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 are in their 10th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 47 markets in six states.
- 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 705.
276 AND COUNTING...
- Sunday marks the 276th consecutive sellout (260 regular season, 16 playoffs) at Lambeau Field, the league's longest-tenured stadium.
- One of professional sports' most revered stadiums, Lambeau Field is hosting its 52nd season of football. A redevelopment completed in 2003 turned it into a year-round destination for Packers fans.
- The stadium is on pace for a single-season home attendance record this year, as well.
THE PLAYOFF PICTURE FOR THE PACKERS
- If Green Bay is to make a return trip to the playoffs this winter, it will almost certainly have to win all four of its remaining games.
- The club is almost certainly out of the wild-card picture, so it must win the division to continue playing into January.
- Within the NFC North, the Packers are one game behind the Bears and two games behind the Vikings.
- Chicago begins the first of three consecutive home games Sunday against Jacksonville. Four days later, the Bears will host New Orleans on a Thursday night before finishing their home slate against the Packers on Dec. 22. They finish the regular season at Houston.
- Minnesota travels to Detroit (Dec. 7) and Arizona (Dec. 14) before finishing the season with two home games. The Vikings host the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 21 and close with the N.Y. Giants on Dec. 28.
- None of Green Bay's remaining opponents is above .500. Chicago, at 6-6, has the best record of the upcoming foes.
TWO OF THE GAME'S BEST
- Packers WR Greg Jennings and Texans WR Andre Johnson, two of the game's biggest threats at the position, are enjoying outstanding seasons.
- Johnson has returned from a knee injury that sidelined him for seven games in '07 and is on pace for a career season. Through 12 games, he leads the league in receptions (88) and receiving yardage (1,146).
- Johnson leads the NFL with 58 catches for first downs, but faces a pass defense that has allowed the fewest first downs (93) in the NFL.
- Last Sunday, Jennings surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career. His TD catch vs. Carolina, his seventh of the season, marked the third consecutive week with a score.
- The duo will probably see each other once more on the playing field this season, most likely in Honolulu in the 2009 Pro Bowl.
- The Packers made several roster moves Monday, including releasing punter Derrick Frost.
- Frost appeared in all 12 games for the Packers and had 48 punts for a 42.1-yard average and 36.1-yard net average. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that backup QB Matt Flynn will serve as the holder for field goals and extra points.
- LB Nick Barnett, who suffered a knee injury at Minnesota, and DE Kenny Pettway, who also suffered a knee injury this past Sunday, were placed on injured reserve.
- DT Alfred Malone and CB Joe Porter were both signed from the Packers' practice squad. Both were added to the team's practice squad toward the end of the 2007 season.
- The Packers offense is slowly climbing the league rankings in third-down efficiency and may have the opportunity to cash in this weekend against one of the league's poorest third-down defenses.
- The Packers now rank seventh in third-down offense, having converted 75-of-169 (44.4%) opportunities. The Houston defense ranks near the bottom of the league, 26th, on third down, allowing opponents to convert 44.0% (62-of-141) of their opportunities. The Packers offense finished 2007 ranked eighth in the category at 42.6%.
- Green Bay's third-down defense has allowed 59-of-156 (37.8%), 15th in the NFL, and faces a Houston offense that has performed well (43.1%, 12th) thus far on third down.
- Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's fourth-ranked passer on third down with a passer rating of 106.8 (77-of-119, 64.7%, 970 yards).
- Eleven of Rodgers' 20 TD passes have come on third down. New Orleans' Drew Brees, San Diego's Philip Rivers and Dallas' Tony Romo are the next closest passers with nine TDs on third down.
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 WR 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 four games left, league records as well.
Team, Season (INT TDs)
San Diego, 1961 (9)
Seattle, 1998 (8)
Seattle, 1984 (7)
St. Louis, 1999 (7)
UPON A CLOSER LOOK AT THE STATS
- Some of the good, bad and strange statistics through 12 games:
- Aaron Rodgers' four rushing scores are the most by a Packers QB since Don Majkowski had five rushing scores in 1989.
- Green Bay's offense has 26 drives of 10-or-more plays. That's tied for the third-highest total in the NFL.
- Green Bay's pass defense has allowed 93 first downs through the air, fewest in the NFL. Tampa Bay is No. 2 with 110.
- Opponents have surely noted the disparity in Green Bay's first-down defensive statistics. Against the run on first down, the Packers allow 4.81 yards per rush, tied for fifth most in the NFL. When Green Bay defends the pass on first downs, it is holding opposing quarterbacks to a 63.6 rating, second-lowest in the NFL to Baltimore (57.7).
- Thanks in large part to CB Will Blackmon, Green Bay's punt return unit ranks fourth in the NFL. The club's punt coverage has been limiting opponents as well, ranking ninth in the league.
- It's kick return and kickoff coverage where special teams has been struggling. Green Bay's return unit ranks 31st, while its coverage has lacked in the last two weeks. It ranked 13th heading into the New Orleans contest but has slipped to 25th after two sub-par performances.
INJURIES SHUFFLE LINEUP
- C Scott Wells suffered a concussion in the Carolina game and will be challenged to make it this week, according to McCarthy.
- That would slide RG Jason Spitz over to center and move rookie G Josh Sitton into the starting lineup for his second career start.
- McCarthy said S Atari Bigby also will be challenged to play this week, meaning the Packers could continue to use CB Charles Woodson at the safety spot. S Aaron Rouse, who missed the Carolina game with an ankle injury, could also return to action.
- DE Jeremy Thompson (ankle, knee) is another player McCarthy said might struggle to play this week. DE Michael Montgomery started in his place, and the team also used LB Brady Poppinga at the end spot, his former position at Brigham Young, in passing situations.
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.
- The unit ranks third in the NFL with an opposing QB rating of 67.9. It ranks just behind Baltimore (58.4) and Tennessee (64.4).
- Green Bay's defense has been able to smother potential receivers, allowing opposing signal callers to complete just 54.0% of their passes. That is the second-lowest opponent completion percentage in the league, slightly behind the Baltimore defense (51.2%) ranked No. 1.
- In addition to holding opposing passers to a low quarterback rating and completion percentage, it has also surrendered the third-fewest gross passing yards at 2,365. Again, Baltimore ranks No. 1, with 2,289 gross passing yards allowed.
THUMB INJURY SLOWS GRANT'S PROGRESS
- Just as he began to bring his averages up to the stellar pace from a season ago, RB Ryan Grant suffered a sprained thumb and missed all of the second half against the Panthers. McCarthy, Grant, and running backs coach Edgar Bennett determined that ball carriage might be an issue and decided to rest the back for the second half.
- RB Brandon Jackson responded in spot duty, producing a season-high 80 yards, the second-highest total of his career.
- McCarthy made sure there was no doubt that Grant is still his starting back in Monday's press conference, and said that Grant will likely wear a splint on the thumb in Sunday's contest.
- Grant ranks No. 11 among running backs with 876 rushing yards. The Notre Dame product has 228 carries on the year, sixth-most among NFL backs.
- A healthy and rested Grant may prove to be bad news for the Texans. Prior to the injury against Carolina, Grant had rushed for more than 100 yards in his last two outings at Lambeau Field.
- Giving Grant the bulk of the carries seems to pay dividends for the Packers. When Grant has 19-plus carries, the team is 9-1. He managed just 12 carries against the Panthers before sitting.
ANOTHER TEAM RECORD - RETURN YARDAGE
- The Packers have 570 return yards on their 17 interceptions this season.
- That total bests the previous high marks 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.
IN THE RED ZONE
- The Packers were only able to score touchdowns on two of their four trips to the red zone on Sunday, while on defense they allowed the Panthers to score touchdowns on all five of their trips.
- On offense, the Packers have scored TDs on 22-of-36 possessions (61.1%), eighth best in the league.
- Stats show that the Packers may get a chance to raise that percentage against the Texans this weekend at Lambeau Field. Houston ranks No. 32, last among all clubs, in red zone defense. It allows opponents to score touchdowns on 69.4% of chances.
- Green Bay's defense inside the 20-yard line took a slide after its performance against Carolina. It has allowed 21 TDs on 39 possessions (53.8%), 21st among NFL clubs. It was ranked in the top 10 last week.
- A side result of a big-play offense is not as many trips inside the opponent's 20-yard line. In fact, Green Bay has scored 79 points on offense outside of the red zone (seven TDs, 10 FGs), ninth most in the NFL.
- The Packers defense has excelled in its takeaway ability thus far, and the red zone is no different. Of the 39 red-zone possessions, the Packers defense has come away with five takeaways. That ranks tied for second in the NFL with Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Its four interceptions in the red zone ranks tied for third in the league.
- QB Aaron Rodgers has made the most of his red-zone opportunities this season. Thirteen of his 20 TD passes have come inside the 20-yard line.
- Rodgers, who has not thrown an interception in the red zone this season, has the most red-zone TD passes without an interception by any quarterback in the league this year.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT:
Green Bay Packers vs. Houston Texans:
All-time regular season: 1-0-0
All-time, in Green Bay: First meeting
Last meeting, regular season: Nov. 21, 2004, in Houston; Packers won, 16-13
Mike McCarthy:27-19-0, .587, (incl. 1-1 postseason); 3rd NFL season
Gary Kubiak:19-25-0, .432; 3rd NFL season
Head to Head:Never met
vs. Opponent:McCarthy 0-0 vs. Texans; Kubiak 0-0 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).
GARY KUBIAK…Is in third year as the Texans' second head coach.
- Guided the Texans to their first non-losing season in 2007, going 8-8.
- Served as Denver's offensive coordinator from 1995-2005.
- Began his coaching career as the running backs coach at his alma mater, Texas A&M (1992-93), and broke into the NFL as San Francisco's quarterbacks coach, winning Super Bowl XXIX in his only season there (1994).
- Is a veteran of six Super Bowls -- three as a coach and three as a player. Was John Elway's backup in Denver from 1983-91.
THE PACKERS-TEXANS SERIES
- The teams have met only once, in 2004. The Texans are making their franchise's first visit to Lambeau Field.
- In that lone meeting, the Packers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 16-13 win at Reliant Stadium.
Packers WR Donald Driver is a Houston native, as is DT Johnny Jolly...Packers TE Jermichael Finley is from Diboll, Texas, and played two seasons at the University of Texas (2006-07)...Packers DT Alfred Malone, signed to the active roster this week from the practice squad, played two seasons (2005-06) with Houston...Texans RB Ahman Green, currently on injured reserve, played seven seasons in Green Bay (2000-06) and is the franchise's No. 2 all-time leading rusher...Houston FB Vonta Leach played three seasons with the Packers (2004-06), while backup QB Craig Nall spent two separate stints on Green Bay's active roster (2003-04, 2007) after being drafted by the Packers in the fifth round in 2002...Houston head coach Gary Kubiak was on staff at Texas A&M for two seasons (1992-93) with Green Bay assistant special teams coach Shawn Slocum...Houston assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs was on the Kansas City Chiefs' staff in 1993-94, McCarthy's first two years there...Texans assistant defensive backs coach Ray Rhodes was Green Bay's head coach in 1999, with McCarthy on his staff as quarterbacks coach...Houston linebackers coach Johnny Holland played that position for eight years with the Packers (1987-94) and is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame. He also was a Green Bay assistant coach from 1995-99...Texans defensive line coach Jethro Franklin held the same position previously in Green Bay (2000-04)...Houston TE Owen Daniels played at the University of Wisconsin, while P Matt Turk played at Wisconsin-Whitewater...Packers LB A.J. Hawk (No. 5) and Texans DE Mario Williams (No. 1) were the first two defensive players taken in the 2006 NFL Draft...Packers S Aaron Rouse and Texans LB Xavier Adibi and T Duane Brown were all college teammates at Virginia Tech, as were Packers G Jason Spitz, QB Brian Brohm and Texans DT Amobi Okoye at Louisville...Packers CB Tramon Williams and Texans RB Ryan Moats were teammates at Louisiana Tech, while Packers CB Will Blackmon and Texans DE Tim Bulman were teammates at Boston College...Finley and Texans DT Frank Okam played together at the University of Texas.
INDIVIDUALLY VS. TEXANS
- In the 2004 contest, WR Donald Driver had 10 receptions for 148 yards and a TD...Only six players on the Packers' current 53-man roster (Chad Clifton, Driver, Al Harris, Aaron Kampman, Mark Tauscher, Scott Wells) played in the '04 contest.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
- Nov. 21, 2004, at Reliant Stadium; Packers won, 16-13.
- The Packers trailed 13-3 in the fourth quarter but stormed back with 13 unanswered points to get the win in the franchise's first visit to Houston since 1992.
- Donald Driver's 24-yard TD catch early in the fourth quarter started the comeback, and Ryan Longwell added two field goals, including the game-winner from 46 yards out on the final play of the game.
- The rally marked the first time in 14 years a Green Bay team climbed out of a fourth-quarter hole of at least 10 points.