Green Bay Packers offense at home on the road in 2009
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Green Bay Press Gazette
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby knew how to take to the road.
So, too, does the Green Bay Packers’ offense.
Coach Mike McCarthy and his wild-card warriors put the wraps on one of the best regular-season road shows in franchise history—at least from a statistical standpoint—with a 33-7 pounding of the Arizona Cardinals Sunday. This excellence in foreign lands bodes well for a club that will likely live out of a suitcase for the duration of its playoff run.
McCarthy’s offense became the first in team history to average better than 400 yards on the road. In producing 345 yards under the closed roof of the University of Phoenix Stadium, Green Bay finished with 3,208 yards, an average of 401 a game.
It also became just the second Packers team to secure at least 300 yards in each of its road games. McCarthy’s 2006 edition was the first to do so.
Green Bay’s barnstorming tour began with a 402-yard output at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis in late September. It featured stops in Minneapolis (424), Cleveland (460), Tampa (404), Detroit (422), Chicago (315) and Pittsburgh (436).
So productive were those visits that the Packers gained more yards out of town than at home. The 2,857 yards they earned at Lambeau Field is 351 short of what was manufactured elsewhere.
That might seem unusual, but it has become routine for McCarthy’s Packers. Green Bay also gained more yards on the road in 2006 and 2007 his first two seasons at the helm.
Aaron Rodgers has slipped comfortably into the driver’s seat when Green Bay is out and about. The quarterback posted passer ratings of better than 100 in six of eight away games including a mark of 117.1 against the Cardinals.
In those eight games, Rodgers completed 162 of 252 passes (64.3 percent) for a team road-record 2,311 yards. With 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions, his passer rating (108.4) is the best in 40 years, since Bart Starr’s 114.9 in 1969.
Starr, it must be noted, threw far fewer passes (71) and did not play from scrimmage in three of the club’s seven road games.
Rodgers directed scoring drives on each of the Packers’ first two possessions. He was nearly perfect (7-of-8 for 119 yards) during 69- and 86-yard advances that ended with 1-yard runs from running back Ryan Grant and Rodgers.
By the end of the first quarter, Green Bay had piled up 147 yards. Nothing out of the ordinary for a team that had better than 130 yards in the first 15 minutes in five other ports of call.
Rodgers continued, even as Arizona began substituting. He led two more scoring drives, the last capped by his 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jermichael Finley in the third quarter that gave Green Bay a 33-0 lead.
Rodgers exited. Though the offense had 311 yards, it still needed another 26 if the team was to leave its stamp on history.
Running back Ahman Green came through. Green carried seven times in the fourth quarter including the 14-yard gain that put the Packers over the top and allowed backup quarterback Matt Flynn to thrice kneel and close out the final two minutes.
Green Bay didn’t just pile up yards on the road, it also scored points. The team tallied 242, a club record for a 16-game season, easily breaking the previous best of 219 set in 2004 under coach Mike Sherman. By averaging 30.3 points a game, it joined the 1962 aggregation (31.0) as the only two squads to average better than 30 points a game on the road in team history.
In giving up 2,338 yards to its opposition on the road, Green Bay outgained its foes by 870 yards. That difference is a franchise record, breaking the previous mark of 857 set in 1964.
The ten Packers offenses that averaged more than 350 yards per game on the road.
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