2011 October : Packers Insider

Packers rally, beat Falcons 25-14

October 9, 2011 by  
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By D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

~Green Bay, the defending Super Bowl champs, bounced back from a two-touchdown deficit Sunday night to beat the Falcons 25-14 in a nationally televised game at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons dominated early before the offense stalled. The Packers shook it off and quarterback Aaron Rodgers delivered 70- and 29-yard touchdown passes.

Great coaching adjustments by McCarthy and Capers, combined with another near-flawless game from QB Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers won by 11 in Atlanta.

The Falcons scored on their first two possessions, but couldn’t keep it going.  They punted on their next five possessions before being intercepted on the sixth. The defense gave up the big plays to Rodgers, who finished with 396 yards passing.

The Packers improved to 5-0, while the Falcons, the defending NFC South champions, dropped to 2-3. Last season, the Packers routed the Falcons 48-21 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

All of Atlanta’s losses have been in conference to Chicago, Tampa Bay and Green Bay.

The Falcons have two more conference games against Carolina and at Detroit before hitting their bye week.

To slow down the Packers’ explosive passing game, the Falcons tried to keep the ball out of the hands of Rodgers. And when Rodgers was on the field, the defense went after the reigning Super Bowl most valuable player.

Early on, the Falcons were successful on both fronts. They controlled the clock and got sacks from linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive end Lawrence Sidbury and defensive tackle Corey Peters. They did this without defensive end John Abraham, who was out with a hip injury.

For the second consecutive game, the Falcons scored a touchdown off their opening-game script. They stayed with their running attack during a 14-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Matt Ryan’s 4-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Roddy White in the back of the end zone. The drive took 6:45 off the clock. Fifty yards came from seven running plays, including 17 yards by wide receiver Julio Jones on a reverse.

The Packers turned the ball over on their first possession when cornerback Brent Grimes slammed into running back Ryan Grant and caused a fumble. Defensive tackle Vance Walker recovered at Atlanta’s 40-yard line.

The Falcons went into their no-huddle offense, though they weren’t in a hurry; it appeared they wanted to dictate the personnel matchups to the Packers.

The Falcons used a screen pass to Jason Snelling to gain 17 yards and had a 16-yard pass to Jones to drive down the field. Michael Turner capped the 10-play, 60-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run with 12:29 left in the second quarter to give the Falcons a 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Packers were set to score when they reached the Falcons’ 4-yard line. Yet after running back James Starks was stopped at the 2-yard line, Rodgers was dropped for an 11-yard loss by Weatherspoon, and Rodgers then was sacked by Sidbury.

Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby was summoned and converted a 32-yard field goal to make it 14-3 with 5:29 left in the second quarter.

The Falcons were held to three-and-out on their next possession, in part because of a holding call on right tackle Tyson Clabo. The penalty negated a 47-yard pass play from Ryan to Harry Douglas that would have placed the ball at Green Bay’s 33-yard line.

After punting, the Packers drove inside the Falcons’ 10-yard again before getting pushed back. Green Bay settled for 35-yard field goal from Crosby, cutting the Falcons’ lead to 14-6.

After an exchange of punts in the third quarter, the Packers’ Crosby tied a franchise record with a 56-yard field goal, pulling Green Bay within 14-9.

The Falcons’ offense sputtered again, after it moved away from the running attack, and was forced to punt. Green Bay struck quickly, Rodgers finding a streaking James Jones on a 70-yard touchdown pass to give his team a 15-14 lead. Jones got behind free safety Thomas DeCoud with strong safety James Sanders blitzing.

Full story here

Packers rally to beat Atlanta, Finley humbled

October 9, 2011 by  
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By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor

~ATLANTA, GA.  -Aaron Rodgers threw for 396 yards and two touchdowns in his return to the Georgia Dome. James Jones showed he’s still a threat as he caught a 70-yard touchdown with three minutes to go in the third quarter to give the Packers their first lead in the game and lead them to their seventh 5-0 record in team history. The Packers won the NFL Championship the previous six times they started 5-0.

Rodgers also completed passes to 11 other guys to tie a team record by hitting 12 different receivers.

Wide receiver James Jones hauls in a pass from QB Aaron Rodgers, and hangs onto it and runs it into the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown and a Packers lead. It proved to be the game-winner as the Packers defense made it stand up.

Last week, the Packers put up 49 points.  After the game, tight end Jermichael Finley complained that the Packers needed to get him the ball more, him being the playmaker.

Tonight in Atlanta, Ryan Grant’s early fumble helped put the Packers in a big hole, trailing the Falcons 14-0.

But the general, Aaron Rodgers, calmly led the Packers back and eventually a win over Atlanta, 25-14.

Along the way, Finley dropped a perfect 3rd and long pass for a touchdown, on a throw that hit him right in the hands, between the two 8’s.

He also dropped a key 3rd down pass later in the game, although it was a big shot to the head he took. And he couldn’t haul in the pass to him on the 2-point conversion which would have put the Packers up 17-14 instead of 15-14.

Tight end Jermichael Finley makes a catch Sunday night in the Georgia Dome. Finley loves the spotlight and loves the glory, but he had a couple of big drops in the game which could have proven costly. Fans (and probably coaches and teammates) hope it was a humbling lesson learned for Finley after last week's complaint about him not getting enough action last week in a 42-point offensive outburst.

The only bad news from the game was the apparent hamstring injury suffered by the anchor at left tackle, Chad Clifton. With right tackle Bryan Bulaga already out hurt, this forced the Packers to have rookie Derek Sherrod move in at right tackle, and caused Marshall Newhouse to move over to the important left tackle spot.

It wasn’t pretty initially, but the youngsters did alright for themselves after awhile, and they look like the Packers might be fine with the kids at the bookends.

No word on how long Clifton will be out, but Bulaga was feeling better last week and was itching to get back in now. He might be ready next week, and might be needed as there are no real backups at OT if it’s down to Newhouse and Sherrod again. Mark Tauscher might be meeting his personal trainer early Monday morning to get him back in shape. Tony Moll was given a look last week, but wasn’t offered a contract.

However, Dom Capers adjusted his defense, and the troops pitched an impressive shutout of Matt Ryan’s offense after those first two Falcon drives that put them up 14-0.

Packer safety Charlie Peprah comes up with a brilliant interception of Matt Ryan in the 4th quarter which was paramount in the Packers comeback victory over the Falcons.

So the Packers move to 5-0, and will welcome the 0-4 St. Louis Rams to Lambeau Field next Sunday at noon in hopes of going to 6-0. The Lions will try and move to 5-0 Monday night at home when they host the Bears. How long as it been since Packer fans rooted for Chicago, and Devin Hester?

Gunslinger throws another interception

October 5, 2011 by  
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By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor

~Packer fans loved Brett Favre. Since he took over in 1992 from the Majik Man, til his emotional retirement press conference in the winter of 2007-08, fans lived and died with the gunslinger.

Over those 16 years as the starting quarterback for the Packers, Favre had more than his share of great moments. His longevity allowed him to set all the records, both good and bad. 

He had many fantastic finishes. In regular seasons that is.

But playoffs? That was another story, as older Packer fans can attest to with the wounds still in their hearts.

His biggest failure may have been when he failed to lead the team on the final drive in Super Bowl XXXII against Denver, where his last pass was a force to the covered Mark Chmura, and his earlier interception proved fatal.

Or perhaps you most remember his playoff game in St Louis in which he threw six interceptions, including three pick-6 touchdowns. You thought Romo serving up two pick-6’s last week to Detroit was bad. Favre beat that, plus threw in three more interceptions.

Maybe you still remember Favre freezing up against Atlanta, in handing the Packers their first ever home playoff loss, to the still-wild Michael Vick and his Falcons. The Packers were an 8-point favorite that game.

If that wasn’t bad enough, perhaps the playoff loss, also in Green Bay, to Daunte Culpepper and the Vikings scarred you.

No? How about a few years later in the playoff loss at Philadelphia? Sure, the Packers defense blew that game on the famous (infamous) 4th & 26 play of McNabb to Freddie X. But that only forced overtime. In overtime, the Packers and their sensational running game got the ball first and figured to pound the ball into field goal range behind 1800-yard rusher Ahman Green.

The Packers running game had already accumulated over 200 yards against the soft Eagles front 7. But Favre had other ideas. The Gunslinger decided to throw up a Hail Mary-like prayer bomb on the first play of overtime, to Javon Walker. When Walker saw Eagles safety Brian Dawkins playing 20 yards deep, he ran the alternate route.

Favre didn’t care because he wanted to be the Gunslinger Hero and wasn’t going to let anything change his plan. So he fired it up and Brian Dawkins basically received a punt, and setup the game-winning, season-losing field goal.

That was the season the Packers could have won the Super Bowl as the Eagles then lost at Carolina in the NFC Championship game, where the Packers would have probably won. Well, not necessarily won because Favre could have thrown that one away too. But the Packers were better than those Panthers.

If that playoff heartbreak didn’t finish off your heart, then the 2007 NFC Championship loss, again at home, again in overtime, against Eli Manning’s Giants surely did.

Enough about the on-field playoff failures of the Gunslinger (of course, he added one more amazing choke-job, heart-breaker to the Viking nation).

Favre’s comments about Aaron Rodgers have been ripped apart for what they are: a backhanded slap at Aaron.

From Mike & Mike, to Kevin Blackistone, J.A. Adonde, and Bob Ryan on Around the Horn today, to Mike Wilbon on PTI today, everyone can see the bitter, jealous, sad 40-something.

He’s still a media-whore, who loves to get his name on the scrolling ticker. Of course, he didn’t send those filthy texts to Jen Sturger to get headlines, but he does go out of his way to get headlines. He always has.

He claims Rodgers should have won a Super Bowl earlier.”I’m going to be honest, I was not surprised,” Favre said. “The biggest surprise to me would be that he didn’t do it sooner.”

Sooner? Rodgers won his Super Bowl in his third season starting. Favre took five years to win his one and only, which was thanks to MVP Desmond Howard and MVP-runner-up Reggie White, in that Super Bowl win over New England.

“I could see the talent pool across the board was outstanding,” Favre said. “Now our season (2007) kind of ended up being a reflection of that. We came close, and I think we took a lot of people by surprise, but guys emerged rather quickly.”  

“And I’d like to think that he watched, he learned, he’s very bright and he got a chance to watch and see successful teams do it right. And so he just kind of fell into a good situation. So I’m really kind of surprised it took him so long.”

So Favre wants to take credit for Rodgers’ success now?
What did Rodgers learn from Favre? How to choke away a game, a Super Bowl, in the playoffs?

That may have rubbed off on Rodgers because in Rodgers first playoff game, in his second season starting (2009), Rodgers did fumble away the playoff game in overtime at Arizona, to lose it in Favre-fashion: gut-wrenching.

But Rodgers quickly “unlearned” that, and his next season, well, we all saw what happened. Rodgers did something the Gunslinger never did, and never will: win a Super Bowl MVP and carry the team through the playoffs to glory.

Today, we in the media asked Rodgers for his comments on the matter.
Notice the difference in class.

Rodgers said, “You know what, I’m just, the only thing I want to say is I’m just really proud of our guys and what our team did last season. It was a great accomplishment. It took all 53 of those guys and obviously it got the attention of a lot of people and we’re proud of the fact that we achieved the ultimate goal as a team.”

Yes, Favre may be sitting on his couch in Mississippi, but he’s still able to throw pick-6’s. Fortunately, this one didn’t break any Packer fans hearts. And this one was returned for a touchdown by the reigning King, Aaron Rodgers. And he didn’t spike the ball in spite. He handled it with pure class. Again.

Packers coaches looking to fix safety problem of leaky unit

October 4, 2011 by  
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By Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

~Green Bay – Rolling along at 4-0, tied for the best record in the National Football League, the Green Bay Packers wouldn’t seem to have any worries.

They haven’t lost a game since Dec. 12 and are outscoring their opponents, 148-97, through the first quarter of this season.

Still, there is a measure of concern outside the building that the Packers aren’t playing defense the way they did a year ago and that at some point the offense isn’t going to be able to bail them out.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers isn’t blind to the numbers – 28th in total defense, 18th in points allowed and 31st in passing yards allowed – and won’t deny this isn’t the way he expects his unit to look come December.

But he doesn’t share outsiders’ opinion that the pass rush is nonexistent and he isn’t blitzing enough to create pressure.

Green Bay Packers safeties coach Darren Perry talks with Morgan Burnett and Nick Collins during the second quarter of their game against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, September 18, 2011. Shortly after this photo, Collins season ended, and Burnett had to carry the backfield back there instead of learn and be the sidekick to the Pro Bowl veteran.

Rather, he points to failures elsewhere, most notably the deep secondary, that showed up again in the Packers’ 49-23 victory over Denver on Sunday.

“To me, that’s the biggest area we have to improve in,” Capers said. “You’ll hear me say this all year: If you want to keep people out of your end zone, you have to keep them from getting yardage in big chunks.”

Capers didn’t specifically single out safety Morgan Burnett, but he didn’t have to because Burnett was clearly responsible for two of the biggest plays in the game and another big play that was wiped out by penalty. Of the two plays that did count, one led to a touchdown and the other was a touchdown.

The Packers knew they’d have to take some lumps with Burnett replacing injured Nick Collins as the deep guy, but they also don’t expect him to bite on a flea-flicker where his responsibility is to stay deeper than the deepest receiver.

“They had three (big) pass plays that all ended up in scoring drives, touchdowns,” Capers said. “That’s the way it is. You can trace those big plays and normally they end up with points on the board. We have to do a better job.”

If Burnett stops both plays, the Packers would have given up 307 passing yards instead of 384.

Plenty of people will argue that Burnett might not have had to make those plays if the pass rush had been better, but the Broncos created a wall of protection around quarterback Kyle Orton and let him play-fake the defense to death.

None of that would have happened if the run defense had been better, Capers said. Plus, he could have been more aggressive with his blitzes if running back Willis McGahee wouldn’t have busted out a 28-yard run in the first quarter.

“We didn’t play the run quite as well yesterday as we have the first three games, but they’re a pretty good running team and when you get into that type of game if they can mix in the play-action pass and run, they keep you off-balance a little more,” Capers said. “They make you a little bit more cautious at times about calling blitzes and pass pressures because you don’t want those runs to come out of there for 30 or 40 yards.

“You are more vulnerable with the more people you’re bringing.”

Statistically, the Packers are behind the 2010 team in sacks after four games (16 to 11) and opponent quarterback rating (71.0 to 88.6), but one very important area in which they are ahead is turnovers.

Last year, they had seven take-aways (five interceptions and two fumble recoveries) after four games; this year, they have 11 take-aways (eight interceptions and three fumble recoveries). They are hemorrhaging yards to the tune of 335.8 per game – second worst in the NFL to New England’s 368.8 – but the turnovers have helped them stay in the middle of the pack in points allowed.

The defense has battered some opponents, such as the Bears' Jay Cutler here, and their running back Matt Forte. The Packers held Forte and the Bears to their worst rushing game in decades in week three. The next week, Forte rushed for a record 200+ yards. The problem has been the Packers busted coverages with no Nick Collins back there, and Sam Shields, Woodson, and Tramon Williams giving up some big plays.

Linebacker Desmond Bishop’s forced fumble illustrated how the Packers are living these days. He got beat down the field by tight end Daniel Fells for a 22-yard gain to the Packers 4-yard line but stripped Fells of the ball and caused a turnover.

“We’re just scratching the surface,” Bishop said. “Even our offense, which had a phenomenal game, left some plays out on the field. The defense, we left a lot of plays out on the field. We have a lot of growing to do still.”

Capers pointed out that in the fourth game last year, the Packers gave up 431 yards to Detroit at Lambeau Field. They then allowed more than 350 in each of the four games after that before settling down and playing a tougher brand of defense.

“That’s the challenge, not where you are but hopefully where you’re heading,” Capers said. “I am encouraged where we can go if we can keep people healthy and keep the same lineup out there and get a little continuity going.”

As for the pass rush, Capers seemed satisfied with what he was getting out of linebacker Clay Matthews and his blitz packages, even though Orton was brought down only once in 35 times he dropped back to pass.

The defense is averaging a sack every 15 pass attempts compared with one every 11 for 16 games last year, so there is a drop-off. Capers said Orton’s experience as well as the Broncos’ running game caused him to back off on blitzing and rely more on his front four.

That hadn’t been the case the first three games when the linemen were mostly focused on stopping the run.

Asked how the defense can provide more pressure, Bishop said: “I guess blitz. Blitz a little bit.”

“We can do better,” he added. “I think we will get better. We have to make a conscious effort to do better.”

Full story HERE

Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley contributes to offense as a decoy, too

October 4, 2011 by  
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By Mike Vandermause, Green Bay Press-Gazette

~Not everyone was happy about the Green Bay Packers’ offensive performance against the Denver Broncos Sunday.

Despite an awe-inspiring six-touchdown, 507-yard effort by the offense, Jermichael Finley wasn’t pleased with his limited production.

Finley caught three passes for a season-low 28 yards against the Broncos, who often double-teamed the Packers’ dangerous tight end and forced quarterback Aaron Rodgers to look elsewhere.

Jermichael Finley leaves Soldier Field all smiles after he scored three touchdowns to propel the Packers over the Bears. If he can remain a team-first attitude, he can have a long and prosperous career, with perhaps more Super Bowls than any TE. Shannon Sharpe set that standard. Finley, and this Packers team, have a chance to match and perhaps surpass it.

“Their main focus you could tell was stopping Jermichael,” said Rodgers.

After watching Finley catch three touchdown passes against the Chicago Bears the week before, the Broncos were bound and determined not to get beat that way. In a classic case of picking their poison, the Broncos chose instead to meet their demise at the hands of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and the rest of the Packers’ talented receiving corps.

That is the beauty of the Packers’ multi-dimensional attack, which can gash an opponent in so many different ways that opposing defensive coordinators are throwing up their hands in utter befuddlement.

Finley didn’t do much damage catching passes against the Broncos, but his mere presence opened things up for the wide receivers. Jennings, Nelson, Donald Driver and James Jones were all part of the Packers’ touchdown parade, and they can give Finley some credit for that.

But the Packers tight end was feeling a little lonely and frustrated. Finley suggested afterward that the coaches will have to come up with ways to combat double-teams against him.

“We’ll have to go back, not being selfish or nothing, but go back and dial up something so you can get your playmaker the ball in games like that when it’s close,” said Finley.

On the contrary, if a defense is so worried about Finley to the point that other receivers are running free, isn’t that what the Packers would welcome?

The goal, first and foremost, is to win games. What better way to accomplish that than to give Rodgers, the team’s true playmaker, the football and let him guide the offense up and down the field at will using any number of weapons at his disposal?

Rodgers has emerged as the best quarterback in the NFL and is on pace to pass for 5,300 yards this year, which would shatter Lynn Dickey’s single-season franchise record by an astounding 842 yards. If Rodgers keeps this up, he will also connect on 412 passes, produce 48 touchdown tosses, complete 73 percent of his throws and finish with a passer rating above 120. Those numbers would not just break but destroy franchise records.

One key to those gaudy statistics is Rodgers doesn’t need to focus on any single target. If Finley or Jennings or Nelson isn’t open, he’ll go through his progressions and find someone who is.

Finley is one of Rodgers’ most dangerous targets and is sure to produce more big games this season. His strong work ethic and desire to be great are admirable traits.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting the ball, as long as it comes with the understanding that Finley is one component of a highly explosive attack and quiet games like he had against the Broncos are part of deal.

The Packers proved last season they can win a championship without Finley, who injured his knee and was lost for the year in early October. There is no question they are a better team with Finley in the lineup, but his role goes beyond racking up big receiving numbers.

Sometimes serving as a decoy is what’s best for the team.

The Bears adjusted their defense to take away Greg Jennings after he opened up with five catches on the first drive against them. That allowed Finley to get matched up on single coverage mismatches, to the tune of three touchdowns.

Full story HERE

“People will take notice”

October 3, 2011 by  
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By Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette

~This was an old-fashioned mismatch.

The Denver Broncos, rebuilding and with a new coaching staff, had nowhere near the talent or cohesion to keep up with the high-riding Green Bay Packers, who are coming off a Super Bowl title and have one of the early contenders for this year’s most valuable player award in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers and his well-stocked offense by now surely have the NFL’s attention after a nearly unstoppable performance that included 507 yards in offense in a 49-23 blowout of the Broncos on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

“I’m sure people will take notice,” nose tackle B.J. Raji said. “It’s hard to overlook an undefeated returning Super Bowl champion.”

“(Former quarterback Brett Favre) had a lot of weapons,” Donald Driver said, “but he never had this many weapons, I can promise you that.”

Yes, the Packers are 4-0 at the one-quarter mark of the NFL season, one of only two unbeaten teams left in the league. The other is their fast-rising NFC North Division rival Detroit Lions, who on the road came back from a 24-point deficit to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 34-30. The Packers and Lions don’t meet for the first of their two annual games until Thanksgiving Day.

“Fine with what (the Lions) are doing,” Packers cornerback Charles Woodson said, “but it’s about what we’re doing over here. We’ll worry about our record, and when that time comes (to play them), it comes. But we’re looking to go 5-0 next week.”

The Packers’ start suggests this could be one of the best offenses in team history.. Maybe the best. It’s early, but the Packers’ 148 points are the most they’ve scored in the first four weeks in their 91 seasons in the NFL.

Rodgers is the driving force behind those numbers. The 27-year-old had one of the best games in his four years as an NFL starter, a day in which he threw for more than 400 yards, threw four touchdown passes and scrambled for two more scores. No player in NFL history has ever done that in a single game.

Rodgers put up a passer rating of 134.5 points. It would have been higher if an accurate throw early in the fourth quarter hadn’t popped off receiver James Jones hands for an interception by Jonathan Wilhite. Even so, it’s the sixth-highest passer rating in Rodgers’ career, playoffs included.

Four weeks into the NFL season, Rodgers has the league’s best passer rating at 124.6 points.

“Last year, we won the Super Bowl in large part because of what A-Rod does as a quarterback,” Woodson said. “He’s going to continue to be mentioned with his contemporaries as one or two or three of the best in the league. He’s deserving of that.”

Denver coach John Fox said: “(Rodgers) is playing as well as any quarterback that I have seen, and this is my 23rd season (in the NFL).”

On this day, the Broncos decided they weren’t going to let tight end Jermichael Finley beat them, and they didn’t. Finley caught three passes for 28 yards, a 9.3-yard average.

“Every time (Finley) was split out, they made sure they had a guy high and a guy low,” Rodgers said. “They were dropping down a defensive end on that side to stop him.”

But taking out Finley came at a considerable cost. Rodgers completed 76.3 percent of his throws (29-for-38) for a career-high 408 yards. His five wide receivers combined for 20 catches for a staggering 330 yards. That included long strikes to Greg Jennings (43 yards in the first quarter), Jordy Nelson (a 50-yard touchdown on a deep post pattern in the first quarter) and rookie Randall Cobb (a 61-yard completion that set up a touchdown in the third quarter that blew open the game at 41-17).

Rodgers’ four touchdowns were to four different players: Jennings, a 17-yarder; Nelson, the 50-yarder; Donald Driver, an 8-yarder; and Jones, a 16-yarder.

After the game, Driver, who’s in his 13th season with the Packers, said he thinks Rodgers has a chance to go down as one of the all-time greats in league history and called this the most talented offense he’s been a part of.

“(Former quarterback Brett Favre) had a lot of weapons,” Driver said, “but he never had this many weapons, I can promise you that.”

The Packers’ defense wasn’t good statistically — it gave up 384 total yards, including 273 yards passing to quarterback Kyle Orton. But 78 of those yards came in later in the fourth quarter, after the game’s outcome was long settled.

Full story here

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers throws, runs into record books

October 3, 2011 by  
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By Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Press-Gazette

~There have been and surely will be more meaningful games than this one in Aaron Rodgers’ NFL career.

In terms of importance, a Week 4 regular-season game against a rebuilding AFC team won’t rate too high.

Yet no matter how many playoff games Rodgers plays in and no matter if he wins another Super Bowl MVP, the Green Bay Packers quarterback might be hard pressed to put together a more complete and dominating performance than he had Sunday against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field.

“He is playing as well as any quarterback that I have seen, and this is my 23rd season,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “He has a pretty good supporting cast, and Mike McCarthy and his staff do an outstanding job. They are pedal-to-the-metal, and they execute very, very well.”

Four touchdowns passing, two touchdowns running and 400-plus yards through the air. No NFL quarterback in history had ever pulled off that trifecta, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In a 49-23 dismantling of the Broncos, the Packers quarterback put together a game that won’t soon be forgotten.

“I can’t remember all the great games, but doggone that was pretty,” Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie said. “Touchdown passes. Touchdown runs. Doggone.”

Missing their best cover cornerback, 13-year veteran Champ Bailey, the Broncos tried to make sure Packers tight end Jermichael Finley didn’t have another three-touchdown game like he did the previous week at Chicago, so they rolled coverage his way. Rodgers easily recognized it, and got every one of his receivers involved. He found Greg Jennings single covered — and once even uncovered — in the seam. He hit James Jones in the post and Donald Driver across the middle. He went deep down the field to Jordy Nelson and even got rookie Randall Cobb involved late in the game.

The result was a 29-for-38, 408-yard passing day — a regular-season career high for passing yardage and the third highest single-game total in franchise history.

“Numbers can be misleading at times, as far as your comfort and feel,” Rodgers said. “I felt like the ball was coming off pretty good today. I didn’t feel like my feel in the pocket was maybe where it had been in some other games or late in the season last year at times. But it was one of those days where they made coverage mistakes and a couple of drops in coverage, and we made them pay for it.”

Full story HERE

Green Bay Packers good, but want to be great

October 3, 2011 by  
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By Mike Vandermause, Green Bay Press-Gazette

~Donald Driver has an appreciation for Green Bay Packers history. The 13-year veteran receiver has watched old films of the Glory Years during Vince Lombardi’s coaching tenure and knows all about greatness.

That’s why Driver doesn’t want to settle for winning just one Super Bowl championship. He isn’t satisfied that the Packers are off to a 4-0 start for just the third time in the past 45 years. He has no plans to rest on the laurels of the Packers’ most recent triumph, a 49-23 thrashing of the badly overmatched Denver Broncos Sunday.

“We can be one of those great teams,” Driver said. “When they talk about those Vince Lombardi teams, they talk about how great those teams were. They don’t talk about how good those teams were.”

Driver and his teammates only needed to look around at Lambeau Field to be reminded of the Packers’ storied past. Members of the Packers’ 1961 championship team were honored at halftime, and that club opened the floodgates with the first of five titles under Lombardi.

Those are the kind of standards Driver aspires to, and he’s not alone in the Packers locker room. There was no sense of contentment in pummeling the Broncos because that’s what the Packers were supposed to do.

“I feel we got a win today but I don’t feel any complacency in here,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “Everyone I talk to, the only thing you hear ’em say is, ‘We can get better, we can get better.’ So that’s definitely a good sign.”

Offensively, the Packers were a well-oiled, finely-tuned machine against the Broncos. They piled up 507 total yards, Aaron Rodgers threw for a career-high 408 yards, and their six offensive touchdowns seemed effortless. It left the Broncos shell-shocked and in awe.

“They played a great game and they’re a great team,” Denver safety Rahim Moore said. “Me personally, that’s probably the best team I’ve ever played against in my life.”

Of course, Moore is a rookie and has limited NFL exposure so his words shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Besides, the Packers aren’t fishing for compliments. They have high standards but are careful not to get too full of themselves.

Full story HERE

Broncos lose laugher to Aaron Rodgers, Packers

October 2, 2011 by  
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By Mike Klis, Denver Post

~GREEN BAY, Wisc. — For a little more than 2 hours, Aaron Rodgers had a new toy.

"They're pedal to the metal and they execute very well." — Broncos head coach John Fox on the Packers offense.

He would push a button, and watch the Broncos’ secondary slowly shuffle while Packers receivers would sprint. He’d pull the trigger while the Broncos’ defensive backs were looking this way and the next thing you know, Rodgers was throwing to a wide open receiver over that way.

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers​ beat up the Broncos so bad in a 49-23 victory Sunday before a sellout crowd of 70,529 at Lambeau Field, it was almost funny.

“They’re pedal to the metal and they execute very well,” said Broncos coach John Fox.

On one play, with just seconds remaining in the first half, Packers receiver Greg Jennings​ was so ridiculously open on a simple straight route in what was supposed to be the congested red zone, his touchdown celebration was to hold up his arms in disbelief and ask, “What happened?” How could a guy be so wide open on such an uncomplicated route?

Rodgers smiled and threw a touchdown pass. He smiled and ran for a touchdown. He smiled and smiled and smiled. He threw for four touchdowns and career-best 408 yards. He ran for two more touchdowns. No Packers quarterback ever had thrown for four touchdowns and rushed for two in the same game.

Packers receivers' Donald Driver and Greg Jennings celebrate Drivers' touchdown catch in the second half. Jennings also caught a Rodgers TD pass. So did WR James Jones. And WR Jordy Nelson. Last week TE Jermichael Finley caught 3 TD passes.

“Tempo was a little bit slower than maybe we’d like,” Rodgers said. “Felt funny when we first started … it didn’t feel like we were going to put up 42 points on offense at that point.”

This was the NFL’s best quarterback having the kind of game that convinces every last holdout trying to argue someone else is best. Rodgers led the Packers to three playoff road victories last season, then all but singlehandedly defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

The defending Super Bowl MVP, Rodgers has the Packers off to a 4-0 start while posting the league’s best passer rating 124.6. He is completing 73 percent of his passes. He has 12 touchdowns against two interceptions.

“He’s up there in the top 3 quarterbacks in the league,” said Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams. “His timing and his precision with his guys right now is No. 1.”

He is the best. And a Broncos secondary without cornerback Champ Bailey​, who missed his third consecutive game with a hamstring strain, was nothing more than something to toy with.

Full story here

Source: Jordy Nelson gets 3-year deal

October 2, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By John Clayton, ESPN


The Green Bay Packers and wide receiver Jordy Nelson agreed to a three-year, $13.35 million contract extension over the weekend, a source said Sunday.

The deal includes $5 million in guarantees, the source said. There are incentives in this contract that could make it worth $15 million over three years, according to the source.

The 6-foot-3, 217-pound Nelson has emerged as one of Green Bay’s top wideouts. In four games, he has 15 catches and a 19.2 yards-per-catch average.

Jordy extended. Jermichael next?

The contract will pay Nelson an average of $4.8 million in each of the first two years, according to the source.

The source said Nelson’s deal runs through the 2014 season.

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