PACKERS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH WITH 10-3 WIN OVER THE BEARS
- The Packers beat the Bears, 10-3, on Sunday at Lambeau Field to clinch a playoff berth, the 26th postseason appearance in team history. It is the third time they have advanced to the playoffs in the past four seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy and it is the team’s 13th appearance in the past 18 seasons.
- At 10-6, the Packers posted double-digit wins for the second consecutive season, the first time they have accomplished that feat since 2003-04.
- It was the Packers’ third straight win over Chicago at Lambeau Field, their first three-game winning streak at home against the Bears since 2001-03.
- The victory was Green Bay’s fifth straight at Lambeau Field as they finished 7-1 at home on the season. That is the second time in the past four seasons (2007) that the Packers have posted a 7-1 mark at Lambeau Field.
- The win was Green Bay’s 11th victory in its last 12 contests at Lambeau Field and gives the Packers a 26-8 (.765) mark in the last 34 regular-season games at home. That record ranks No. 1 among NFC teams at home over that span.
- The Packers finished 4-2 in NFC North contests, their fifth straight season with at least four wins in the division. Green Bay joins New England as the only teams in the league to accomplish that feat over that span (2006-2010).
- As the No. 6 seed, Green Bay will travel to Philadelphia (No. 3) next Sunday to face the Eagles in a NFC Wild Card contest at 3:30 p.m. (CST). It will be the third postseason meeting ever between the teams, with the previous two (Dec. 26, 1960; Jan. 11, 2004) both coming in Philadelphia.
OTHER POSTGAME NOTES:
- Today’s paid attendance was 70,833. It was the 293rd consecutive sellout (277 regular season, 16 playoffs) at Lambeau Field.
- The Packers finished the season ranked No. 2 in scoring defense at 15.0 points per game (Pittsburgh, 14.5). That ranking is the best since Green Bay finished No. 1 in 1996 (13.1), and is the second-best mark by the Packers since the NFLwent to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
- Green Bay’s 24 touchdowns allowed this season were the fewest since the 1996 team gave up 19 touchdowns.
- The Packers’ six sacks matched their season high (at Philadelphia, Week 1) and gave them 47 for the season, their best total since they recorded 52 in 2001. The 47 sacks are also tied for the fifth-best single season mark in team history.
- The Packers finished the season with 22 giveaways, which gives them a total of 59 over the past three seasons. That is the fewest by Green Bay over a three-year span since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The previous low was 67 giveaways from 1994-96.
- Green Bay’s 78 penalties on the season are the fewest in franchise annals since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The previous low was 80 penalties in 1983 and 2001.
- For the first time in franchise history, the Packers had three wide receivers post 50 catches in the same season with Greg Jennings (76), James Jones (51) and Donald Driver (50) all recording 50 receptions.
- Jones finished the season with 679 receiving yards, eclipsing his previous career high of 676 in 2007.
- With a 101.2 passer rating for the season, QB Aaron Rodgers became the first quarterback in team history to post back-to-back 100-plus passer rating seasons (103.2 in 2009).
- With 12,394 yards since 2008, Rodgers ranks No. 2 in NFL history behind only Kurt Warner (12,612) for the most passing yards by a quarterback in his first three seasons as a starter.
- Rodgers’ 65.7 completion percentage for the season ranks No. 2 in franchise annals behind only Brett Favre’s 66.5 percent mark in 2007.
- P Tim Masthay’s net punting average of 37.6 for the season ties the top single-season mark by a Packers punter since 1976 (Jon Ryan, 2007).
- LB Erik Walden’s two sacks of QB Jay Cutler were the first sacks of Walden’s career.
- DE Howard Green’s 9-yard sack of Cutler in the third quarter was his first as a Packer and the second of his career.
- CB Charles Woodson’s fourth-quarter sack was his second of the season, his third straight season with two-plus sacks.
- S Nick Collins’ fourth-quarter interception was his fourth of the season, his third straight season with four-plus INTs.
- K Mason Crosby’s 509 career points (2006-2010) rank No. 2 in NFL history for the most points scored by a player in his first four seasons behind only New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski (513, 2006-09).
GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY:
(on what he told his team after the win) “I’m just proud of them. We’ve had a difficult road we traveled this year and we’ve met every challenge. We’re at 10 wins and we’re one of six teams in the NFC. This is an exciting day for the organization. It’s an exciting day for our fans. And we’re excited as a football team. We’re really looking forward to preparing this week and going up there and competing against Philadelphia in this tournament. I’m very proud of our football team, just everything we’ve accomplished. Nothing has come easy for us and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Chicago came in here and battled like they always do. That’s the type of game you should expect when Chicago and Green Bay get together and we didn’t disappoint tonight.”
(on the play of the defense) “I thought our defense was outstanding. I thought our defense and special teams clearly were the two major factors in the victory today. The defense kept them out of the end zone, the special teams, I haven’t seen the statistics, but I would think we won or were very close to winning the field position battle. I thought Tim (Masthay) was excellent with the backed up punts. Offensively, it was not our best day, no question. The field position, the turnovers with the field position we had, but 10 points was enough to win today. I was just very, very proud of our defense and special teams, the way they carried this game.”
(on Erik Walden’s performance) “Well, he’s just an excellent example of what’s going on in our program. It’s a credit to our program. It starts with the personnel acquisition, and the coaching staff getting players ready and Erik Walden coming in and taking full advantage of his opportunity. I can’t say enough about the young man and the way he’s performed and the way he’s worked. The extra hours that you saw him and Kevin Greene put in throughout the evenings upon his arrival here. We’ve done a very good job getting players ready to play in a short period of time. Our team is formed, this is who we are as we head into the playoffs.”
(on if he feels the NFC is wide open) “We’re worried about Philadelphia. This and that, that’s for you people to write. Philadelphia is a hard place to win. I’m sure our team looks a lot different than the first time we met to start the year. It’s one at a time. We feel very good about our chances. We’ll play anybody, anytime, anywhere. That’s been our motto and we’re well oiled. We’ve been challenged and we’ve learned from those challenges. Trust me, we’ll be ready when we get to Philadelphia.”
(on Tramon Williams’ big punt return) “Tramon has been very consistent for us in the punt return. We felt like we’ve been close on really both the punt and the kickoffs all year. Hopefully the playoffs is when we finally get it to come all the way out of the back end and score. He’s done an excellent job fielding the ball, he does an excellent job in his reads. It was a wall return, so he did a very nice job.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER A.J. HAWK:
(on defending against Michael Vick) “He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now and as a defense he presents a lot of problems. For us, it’s going to be a huge test, but that’s what the playoffs are about. That’s what makes the game fun to watch and I think it’s going to be fun to play in and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER GREG JENNINGS:
(on the role of the passing game down the stretch) “That’s what we hang our hat on – we’re a passing team. We have to be able to run the ball sometimes, but when we need a play, we’re trying to throw the ball. We’re expecting guys to make plays when the ball is in the air and we were able to do that down the stretch.”
(on trying to maintain consistency on offense) “We need to make sure we come out on top from the start. We’ve seen what we can do when we get a fast start, our defense plays phenomenal regardless of the start we have. That’s what our mindset needs to be. Obviously, (Philadelphia) has an explosive offense and we have an explosive offense, and we need to have that next Sunday and early.”
(on bouncing back from his early dropped pass) “I pretty much knew I was going to get another opportunity after having the drop. It’s all about how you bounce back. Obviously, we got another opportunity. You have to have the resolve to bounce back and make the play the next time, and we were able to make it.”
PACKERS DEFENSIVE TACKLE B.J. RAJI:
(on the defense’s ability to limit the Bears’ starting offense) “That’s what defense is, you’re defending. We don’t worry about where the team gets the ball at, your job is to stop them and we did that today.”
(on the team’s momentum entering the playoffs) “We take a backseat to nobody on defense. We have the players, the scheme and the coaches. It’s just a matter of executing and if we do that, we’re tough to beat.”
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:
(on if they knew they needed to win coming into the game) “We had an idea. Obviously, we went into the game knowing that we controlled our own destiny and with a win and we’re in. I think some of us were keeping tabs on the Tampa score. I don’t know if it was deliberately or on accident, none of the scores were up on the board from the games we needed, but I think we figured Tampa won and we had to win.”
(on what it means to make the playoffs given all the injuries) “I think it says a lot about the kind of men we’ve got from the top floor down. Guys made tough decisions and we’ve stuck together, followed our coaches, and believed in each other. I think it says a lot about the guys who stepped up.”
(on what the mood was at halftime) “There was definitely some nerves at halftime. I think just frustration was the biggest thing and knowing that we needed to win and knowing that we were struggling on offense. There wasn’t a whole lot said as far as rah-rah or anything. It was just ‘Hey, let’s play better. Let’s execute better.’”
(on if this team is capable of winning a string of road games in the playoffs) “We’re going to have to, but it starts this Sunday in Philly. We made that trip earlier in the season (but) I think they’re a different team now. Obviously Mike (Vick) was playing at a very high level. He’s a tough guy to scheme against so I know Dom’s (Capers) going to have his hands full, and then defensively, they do a number of different things. They’re very well-coached, they gave us some problems when we played up there. We weren’t overly efficient on offense, so it’s going to be important for us to have a good week of practice.”
(on Donald Lee making the most of his limited opportunities) “It’s been a different role for Donald Lee this year but he’s made the most of the last couple weeks of having a big catch in a timely spot. That’s a play that we actually ran a couple of years ago at home against the Bears and had success and threw a touchdown to him. It’s fun to get him involved. He’s a veteran guy who a lot of guys respect, and it has not been the kind of year I think he wanted, but for him to have the go-ahead touchdown tonight was really important for him and for me.”
PACKERS LINEBACKER ERIK WALDEN:
(on winning back-to-back games to make the playoffs) “We put ourselves in that situation, so we knew coming in we had to have this win. Regardless of whatever we had to do, we had to come up with the victory, and that’s exactly what we did.”
(on sacking Bears quarterback Jay Cutler twice) “It felt good because I hit him a couple times in college because we played Vanderbilt. He’s a great player, but we knew we had to get to him if we were going to have any success and winning the game today.”
(on proving himself) “I was just doing my job. It was only one game, I was just happy we got the win for my teammates and my coaches. We have a lot of work, so we’re just going to go back and watch the film, and get ready for Philly.”
PACKERS CORNERBACK CHARLES WOODSON:
(on the Bears keeping their starters in) “We knew what it was going to be, it’s a rivalry game. We knew they weren’t going to pull their guys. They want to beat the Packers and the Packers want to beat the Bears. Why not give the fans a great game? I think that’s what they did today. Of course, they would’ve loved to knock us out, but here we are still standing.”
(on Erik Walden’s performance) “What he did today, that’s all-star material the way he played out there today. He was a large factor into our win today.”
CHICAGO BEARS HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH:
(on the loss) “In a rivalry game like this, you expect the game to go right down to the end, which it did. You have to give the Packers a lot of credit. They had to come in and win the football game and they made a few more plays than we did today. We did some good things. There were times when we had control. You have to score points though. You have to get the ball in the end zone and we had some opportunities. The turnovers really hurt us. On the other side, the takeaways by our defense really kept us in it. I am so proud of the effort that we gave today. I am disappointed in the loss today, but not disappointed in what the team has been able to accomplish up to this point of winning the NFC North and getting the bye week.”
(on if he was concerned about the offense’s lack of production in this game) “Not at all. Our offense has done too many good things this season. This is a good defense and you have to give them credit, but again we had ourselves in position at the end of the game to tie it and possibly win it so there is not a whole lot of disappoint on my part.”
(on Jay Cutler’s performance) “We would like to have a couple of throws back, but I thought Jay played hard like the rest of our football team. He has done a great job this year of leading us to 11 wins so far.”
(on Chicago’s pass protection) “I think it is a concern anytime you give up a sack, but it was a little too much pressure of my quarterback today and there were a lot of reasons for that. There is nothing negative about what happened today. We have a little bit of time to clean up the things we need to. This was a good measuring stick for us as we go forward.”
BEARS LINEBACKER LANCE BRIGGS:
(on the loss) “We had an opportunity to knock (the Packers) out of the playoffs, but we didn’t do it. We played hard and I thought it was a good game all the way up until the end. We lived up to what we said we were going to do. We did a lot of good things, and this was good preparation going into the playoffs. I know a lot of guys feel good going into the playoffs.”
(on the defense’s performance) “The last couple weeks, teams have been scoring a lot of points on us, so defensively it was important for the Packers to only get 10 points. We were effective and we did the things we needed to do. We were very disciplined, that’s really what it comes down to against a high-powered offense, to be as effective as we were.”
(on the atmosphere of the game) “It was big time. We knew going into it that it was going to be a fight. This was a fight for the Packers to get into the playoffs, so we expected it.”
BEARS QUARTERBACK JAY CUTLER:
(on not being able to make big plays) “They kept us out of sync. We didn’t change a lot from last game to this game and I think they did a really good job of taking away some of our hot reads. They did some really good stuff to us. They had a really good game plan with some of their slot blitzes and mixing things up with the coverages.”
(on how this game prepared Chicago for the playoffs) “We haven’t had a lot of crowd noise this year so I think it was really good for myself and the offensive line being in a hostile situation. It was a valuable experience for myself and some of the young guys in this offense.”
(on his upcoming first playoff game) “It should be fun. I think this team is excited and I think we have a lot of confidence right now.”
(on his last second interception) “It was a little high. It was cover two. I threw it a little bit high and it drifted on me.”
BEARS WIDE RECEIVER DEVIN HESTER:
(on the starters playing the entire game) “We’ve got a bye week coming up. We don’t want to be out three weeks without playing, so I think it was a good idea for the coaches to play the guys. That would have been three whole weeks of not playing.”
(on the team’s offensive performance) “The main thing this week was keeping our guys healthy for the playoffs. We know what we’ve got to work on, but the biggest thing was keeping everybody healthy.”
(on having a first round bye in the playoffs) “I have a little time to get my little nicks and bruises to heal. Other than that, it will just be some time to get away from football a little bit.”
BEARS LINEBACKER BRIAN URLACHER:
(on the starters playing the entire game) “It was nice to play the whole game, it keeps us in shape because we’re off next week. We have a bye next week, then we’ve got to come back and play a game that counts for something.”
(on the team’s effort) “The effort was good. For a team not playing for much it was nice to see our guys played hard the whole game.”
(on facing the Packers in the season finale) “It doesn’t matter who we played, honestly. Coach was going to play us no matter who we played and we were going to play hard to win the game.”
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