Tracking the Packers' 5-WR set

November, 29, 2010
11/29/10
10:00
AM ET
The Atlanta Falcons entered Sunday's game at the Georgia Dome with the sixth-best run defense in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers ranked No. 19 in rushing offense and wanted nothing to do with that matchup.

How do we know? The Packers employed the rarely-used five-receiver set on 14 snaps Sunday. Before that point, the NFL's 32 teams had combined to use it on four snaps over the first 11 weeks of the season.

ESPN Stats & Information tracks this statistic, which is based on using five players whose primary position is wide receiver. It's a pure spread formation that includes no tight ends or running backs on the field.

Among other reasons, teams shy away from this approach because it leaves the quarterback without any extra protection and surrenders even the possibility of a running play. But you can't argue with the Packers' results Sunday:
Snaps with 5 WR: 14
Yards: 104
First downs: 5
Touchdowns:
2
Aaron Rodgers, by the way, completed seven of nine passes out of that formation for 95 yards.

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