What are Packers missing? Sacks, turnovers
September, 13, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesJay Cutler has not enjoyed much success of late against the Green Bay Packers.
In Week 1, the San Francisco 49ers scored 30 points in their road win against the Green Bay Packers.
It’s only one game for Packers fans, but consider this: That was the first time the 49ers scored at least 30 points on the road against a non-divisional opponent since December 2003.
Now, the Packers – on a short week -- will be charged with trying to stop a Chicago Bears offense that scored 41 points in its season opener.
When the Packers won 19 straight regular and postseason games spanning the 2010-11 seasons, they forced 51 turnovers and forced 45 sacks. That translates to a takeaway every 24 snaps and 2.4 sacks per game. In the five games since, Green Bay has forced just seven turnovers (one every 48.4 snaps) and seven sacks (1.4 per game).
Perhaps a visit from Jay Cutler is just what Green Bay’s defense needs.
Since the start of 2008, Cutler has thrown two touchdowns and nine interceptions on throws at least 15 yards downfield against the Packers. In fact, Cutler has thrown at least one interception on such throws in each of his last six games against the Packers, and hasn’t thrown a touchdown against Green Bay since 2009.
Cutler’s counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, has struggled as well on throws downfield. ESPN.com NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert wrote earlier this week how Rodgers and the offense have had very little success on throws 15 yards or more downfield in their last five games.
A neglected running game could be one reason defenses have shut down Rodgers when he tries to stretch the field.
Against the 49ers, the Packers ran 61 offensive plays, and 31 came without a true running back on the field. The 31 plays without a running back are the most for Green Bay since the start of the 2008 season.
Green Bay called a run on just nine of those 61 plays. That’s less than 15 percent, by far the lowest run percentage of any team in Week 1. (The New Orleans Saints were second at 17.2 percent.)
Also, the Packers haven't had a 100-yard rusher since Week 5 of 2010 (Brandon Jackson against the Redskins). That’s 28 straight regular-season games and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it’s by far the longest active streak without a 100-yard rusher in the NFL.