Eric Goska column: Packers uncharacteristically generous

Nov. 25, 2012

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New York Giants cornerback Corey Webster runs back an interception as Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton (71) chases him during the first half of Sunday's game in East Rutherford, N.J. / AP

Handled with care

Since 1933, seasons in which the Packers averaged no more than 1.5 turnovers per road game.

Avg. Year No. Record
0.67 2012 4 7-4
0.75 2011 6 15-1
1.14 1972 8 10-4
1.25 2009 10 11-5
1.38 2004 11 10-6
1.50 1994 12 9-7
1.50 1996 12 13-3
1.50 2010 12 10-6


Green Bay had been traveling a bit lighter this season. Turnovers, for the most part, had been left behind when the team took to the road.

Then the Packers journeyed to East Rutherford, New York, where the Giants, like rogue baggage handlers, tore into them to expose those unmentionables that can so often lose games.

Green Bay committed two turnovers in its 38-10 loss to the Giants Sunday at MetLife Stadium. In one game, it had as many as it had in its previous four road games combined.

The Packers were fortunate they didnít have more. New York treated quarterback Aaron Rodgers like a piŮata, sacking him five times and batting him around all night.

Green Bay might also have had more than two turnovers had it had the ball more often. The Giants controlled the clock possessing the ball for 31 minutes, 13 seconds while running 62 plays to 58 for the Packers.

Football fields across the country have been littered with Packers turnovers since the team made its first road trip as professionals. On that day, Nov. 20, 1921, John Grover Malone lost a fumble and Curly Lambeau tossed at least one interception as the Cardinals and Packers played to a 3-3 tie at Normal Park in Chicago.

Since 1933, the year in which statistics on turnovers become more accessible, Green Bay has averaged better than one turnover per road game every season except for one. In going 15-1 last year, Mike McCarthyís Packers committed just six turnovers in eight road games (0.75 per game).

By averaging fewer than one a game, that team broke the previous record set by the 1972 club. In capturing the Central Division title, coach Dan Devineís outfit had but eight turnovers in seven road games (1.14).

The list of those who coughed up the ball last season is short. Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, and fumbles were lost by Randall Cobb (2), Ryan Grant and James Starks.

Prior to the Giants game, this yearís list was even shorter. With an interception in Lucas Oil Stadium and another in Ford Field, Rodgers had been the only Packer with a road turnover.

Thatís not to say there hadnít been some close calls. Cedric Benson, Cobb and Rodgers had all fumbled at least once, but someone was always been there to flop on the ball.

Against New York, Rodgers again was the guilty party. Late in the first quarter, he threw short for receiver Randall Cobb and cornerback Corey Webster intercepted.

Late in the second quarter, Rodgers fumbled after being hit by defensive end Osi Umenyiora. The ball richocheted off Jason Pierre Paulís helmet, but the big end came up with the recovery.

Lawrence Tynes followed the first turnover with a 43-yard field goal that gave the Giants a 17-7 lead. Ahmad Bradshaw converted the second lost ball into a touchdown with a 13-yard run that sent New York to a 31-10 halftime lead.

Despite these two turnovers, the Packers remain on pace to break last yearís record for fewest road turnovers in a season. To get it, they cannot have more than one giveaway in games at Chicago and Minnesota combined.

Extra points

The Packers had gone 11 straight road games (a team record) with one or fewer turnovers. Prior to playing the Giants, the last time they had two was Sept. 25, 2011 when Rodgers threw one interception and Starks lost a fumble.

Green Bay has been without a turnover three times on the road this season which ties the team record that is shared by the 2004, 2009 and 2011 clubs.

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports