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Eric Goska column: Green Bay Packers streak of 20-plus points on road ends at 9 games

Sep. 28, 2010
 
Had rookie tight end Andrew Quarless not dropped this pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter against the Bears at Soldier Field on Monday night, the Packers would have scored 20 points on the road for the 10th straight game. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette
Had rookie tight end Andrew Quarless not dropped this pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter against the Bears at Soldier Field on Monday night, the Packers would have scored 20 points on the road for the 10th straight game. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette

Pointed visits

Most consecutive road games scoring 20 or more points in Packers history.

No. Years
10 2001-02
9 2009-10
8 1994-95
6 1984-85
6 1995-96
6 2003-04
6 2006-07
5 1956-57
5 1960-61
5 1986-87

More

For more than a year, the Green Bay Packers had been the acquaintance that overextends his welcome.

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But instead of raiding the refrigerator and running up the phone bill, the Packers indulged their hunger for points, lots of points.

Not so Monday night at Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears often make their arch rivals earn every score. The Packers again attempted to behave more like house pest than house guest, but Chicago brushed them aside 20-17 to remain the only unbeaten team in the NFC.

Green Bay headed into the Windy City having scored 20 or more points in nine consecutive regular-season road games. That run was one short of the team record set in 2001-02 and was the longest active streak in the NFL ahead of the three in a row of the second-place Jets and Buccaneers.

For the eighth time in its last 10 out-of-town ventures, Green Bay jumped to an early lead. Aaron Rodgers led two scoring drives, one each in the first and second quarters, to build a 10-7 advantage at halftime.

The Packers appeared on their way to another 20 spot early. Rodgers went 4-for-4 his first time with the ball. He never encountered a third down as he capped a 6-play, 60-yard advance with a 7-yard strike to wide receiver Greg Jennings in the back of the end zone.

In the second quarter, Rodgers twice converted third downs on a drive that stretched nearly 8 minutes. He jitterbugged in the pocket before hitting running back John Kuhn for 10 yards and then found wideout Donald Driver for 9 as the Packers moved from their 7 to set up Mason Crosby’s 38-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

Packers statistics  |   Other NFL statistics  |  Standings  |  Matchups/Odds

Penalties, which numbered six in the opening 30 minutes, blossomed into an even dozen in the second half. A holding call on guard Mark Tauscher wiped out a touchdown pass to tight end Jermichael Finley. False starts and a delay of game call forced Tim Masthay to punt from his own end zone, a kick Devin Hester returned for a 14-10 Bears’ lead.

Rodgers got Green Bay its final points on his 3-yard run. More flags and James Jones’ fumble prevented the team from any further scoring.

Coach Mike McCarthy’s club was one of the league’s better road teams in 2009. The 242 points it amassed in going 5-3 was second only to the 256 of the Saints.

Its 27-20 win in Philadelphia continued the trend. In a slate of season openers that saw just four road teams emerge victorious, Green Bay’s point total was the highest of any visitor.

Now those days are memory. McCarthy, whose teams have averaged more points on the road (26.1 per game) than any coach in team history, heads back to the drawing board.

The Bears had been the last team before Monday night to deny Green Bay 20 or more points on the road. Chicago won 20-17 on a 38-yard Robbie Gould field goal in overtime on Dec. 22, 2008.

Extra point

How difficult is it to win on the road? In the last 40 years, visiting teams have won anywhere from 49.2 percent of the time (1972) to a low of 35.7 percent in 1985. Since 2007, that percentage has settled in at about 43 percent. With Green Bay’s loss, visiting teams are 20-28 (41.7 percent) this year.

Eric Goska is a Press-Gazette correspondent, a Packers historian and the author of “Green Bay Packers: A Measure of Greatness,” a statistical history of the Packers. E-mail him at aegoska@sbcglobal.net.

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