Monday, December 23, 2019

Streaking Packers Roll in Minnesota

By Eric Goska
Mason Crosby, shown here in his rookie season, has scored in
101 of the 103 regular-season road games in which he has played.
(Eric Goska photo)
The Green Bay Packers manhandled the Minnesota Vikings 23-10 Monday night.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Green and Gold extended one of the longest-running shows in NFL history.

Give the Packers credit. They dominated defensively in capturing the NFC North Division title while improving to 12-3. They held the Vikings (10-5) to seven first downs and 139 yards of offense.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s unit never let KirkCousins get comfortable. Za’Darius Smith (3.5), Kenny Clark (1.0) and PrestonSmith (0.5) combined to sack the Vikings quarterback five times for 40 yards in losses.

Cousins’ final accounting came up far short of what his team needed. He completed 16 of 31 passes for 122 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a rating of 58.8.

The Vikings, on the other hand, could not prevent the Packers from scoring. They can take comfort in the fact that they are not the first to have failed in that regard.

Where were you in December 1990? Some of you, most assuredly, were not yet born.

On Dec. 16, 1990, Green Bay (6-7) visited Philadelphia (7-6). Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham (241 yards passing; 56 rushing), defensive end Reggie White (1.5 sacks) and others proved too much for the Packers who were throttled 31-0.

That was the last time the Green and Gold failed to score in a regular-season game away from Lambeau Field.

Five teams have fashioned road scoring streaks of 200 games or more: New Orleans (288), Green Bay (232), Washington (231), San Francisco (211) and Dallas (209). The work of the Saints and Packers remains ongoing.

The Packers got to 232 when Mason Crosby kicked a 42-yard field goal with two minutes left in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Those three points moved the team past the Redskins into second place alone on that short list above.

Coincidently, Washington’s run of 231 – then the NFL record – was halted 18 years ago when the Redskins visited Green Bay and lost 37-0.

Three decades worth of scoring is commendable. One might expect such an accomplishment to occur at home.

But the Packers – who have been shut out six times at Lambeau Field since 1990 – have taken a road less traveled.

Their feat bears further examination.

The streak began on the final weekend of the 1990 season when the first George Bush occupied the White House. Starting quarterback Anthony Dilweg tossed a scoring pass to receiver Sterling Sharpe, and Chris Jacke kicked two field goals in Green Bay’s 22-13 loss at Denver.

Since then, seven other starting quarterbacks have helped sustain it. Brett Favre (64-63 record) and Rodgers (44-43) head the list, followed by Don Majkowski (1-5), Brett Hundley (2-2), Mike Tomczak (1-2), Matt Flynn (1-2) and Scott Tolzien (0-1).

The Packers have been held to a single field goal four times during this long ride. Favre was at the helm for three of them – at Tampa Bay (3-31) and at Detroit (3-17) in 1992, and at Baltimore (3-48) in 2005. Rodgers started at Detroit (3-7) in 2010.

Green Bay was held to a single score on 14 occasions. Not surprisingly, the team was winless in those games.

Only once did the Packers triumph with fewer than 10 points. Crosby booted three field goals in downing the Jets 9-0 on Halloween 2010.

In the vast majority of games (217), Green Bay posted a score before halftime. In another 14, it got on the scoreboard before the fourth quarter opened.

The streak almost ended 23 years ago in Dallas. The Cowboys were pitching a shutout until Brett Favre found Derrick Mayes in the end zone with less than two minutes remaining.

Had the Green and Gold come up empty, the streak would have withered in Texas after just 46 games.

In fashioning this long-running roadshow, the Packers have scored against every one of the other 31 teams at least twice. Aside from the Bears, Lions and Vikings (29 games each), Green Bay has tallied points most often against the Buccaneers (16), Cowboys (9) and Panthers (9).

If any club was capable of snuffing out Green Bay’s penchant for scoring, it was the Vikings. Minnesota, with its no-nonsense defense, is among the top 10 teams in fewest points allowed.

But Aaron Jones (12 points), Crosby (9) and Geronimo Allison (2) ensured that didn’t happen. Jones counted on runs of 12 and 56 yards, Crosby nailed three field goals, and Allison hauled in a pass for a 2-point conversion that put Green Bay up 17-10 in the third quarter.

Obviously, furthering the streak – as impressive as it is – takes a back seat to victory. Perhaps the Packers can again do both (extend and win) Sunday in Detroit to cap one of the most improbable regular seasons in team history.

Extra point
Prior to its current record, Green Bay’s best road scoring streak had stretched for 85 straight games. It lasted from Nov. 9, 1958, through Dec. 13, 1970. The Lions scuttled it with a 20-0 win at Tiger Stadium to close out the 1970 season.

Scores of Road Trips
The five teams that fashioned road scoring streaks of 200 or more regular-season games.

Games      Team                  When                 Record
   288*       Saints                  1983-2019          145-143-0
   232*       Packers               1990-2019          113-119-0
   231         Redskins             1971-2001          117-114-0
   211         49ers                   1977-2004         119-91-1
   209         Cowboys            1960-1988          112-95-2

*active streak
source: Pro Football Reference


  1. clearly one of the more obscure (and arguably meaningless) team stats in nfl history.....of more import, inquiring minds want to know if 1990 qb Anthony Dilweg is any relation to Lavern Dilweg?

  2. Allen and Cousins both lost huge games, this weekend. They have to learn to win these big games, but they get another chance in the playoffs.