Packers rewriting records on ground, in air

Eric Goska
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Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery (88) eludes Chicago Bears cornerback Tracy Porter (21) to score a touchdown in the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016 at Soldier Field.

Eddie Lacy never did it. Neither did James Starks.

In fact, there are a whole lot of individuals who played running back far longer than Ty Montgomery has who never achieved what the converted wide receiver did Sunday.

Montgomery rushed for more yards in the first half of Green Bay’s 30-27 win over Chicago than the Bears did the entire game. Only two players in Packers history amassed more real estate in the opening two quarters of a regular-season game than did Montgomery.

So productive were Montgomery, running mate Christine Michael and quarterback Aaron Rodgers that the trio set a team record for rushing average. One can go back through 1932 (and likely before that) and never find a group that averaged 9.83 yards per attempt as the Packers did at Soldier Field.

Montgomery gained 162 yards on 16 rushes (10.1 average). Just two Packers — Howie Ferguson in 1955 and Ahman Green in 2003 and '04 — produced a higher average on 15 or more carries in a regular-season game.

Similarly, only two players gained more yards in a first half than Montgomery (123). Gerry Ellis had 124 on eight carries against the Bears on Dec. 4, 1983, and Green stepped off 133 yards in eight trips against the Lions in the 2001 season opener.

The Bears finished with 95 yards on 19 carries.

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Montgomery earned the majority of his yards on three long runs in which he made some defenders miss and dragged others along for the ride. He had gains of 61 and 36 yards in the second quarter and took off for 26 in the third.

Najeh Davenport in 2004 (vs. the Rams) was the last to have three runs of 25 or more yards for the Packers in one game.

Michael (4 carries for 45 yards) and Rodgers (3 for 19) also carried from scrimmage. Michael’s 42-yard scoring run put Green Bay up 27-10 near the end of the third quarter.

For the afternoon, the Packers gained 226 yards on 23 attempts. It was just the second time the club surpassed nine yards per try in a regular-season game. The previous best was 9.23 (17-157) in a 16-13 overtime loss to the Redskins in 2010.

Torrid trio

Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson have been the big threats at wide receiver this season for the Packers. If one or the other doesn’t come through, the third usually will.

Sunday in Chicago, it was Nelson. The veteran wideout hauled in a 60-yard pass from Rodgers to set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning, 32-yard field goal with no time remaining.

The bomb was one of the few highlights from the trio against the Bears. It sent Nelson over 1,000 yards receiving for the season and tied him with the legendary Don Hutson for most catches (21) of 50 or more yards in franchise history.

Drops, an inability to get open and the Bears’ defense limited Cobb, Adams and Nelson. But this story is about more than one afternoon. It’s about three players who could become the most productive receiving trio in team history.

Nelson (82), Adams (65) and Cobb (60) have accounted for 207 receptions. That’s a team-best for three players through 14 games, breaking the previous mark of 197 established by Nelson (83), Cobb (76) and Lacy (38) with two games to go in 2014.

Cobb, Nelson and Adams have been busy since the opener in Jacksonville. There they caught 15 passes for 139 yards and two scores. The trio has caught at least nine passes for more than 140 yards in every game since.

The three gained a season-high 313 yards in a 47-25 loss to the Titans on Nov. 13. Their biggest haul was 25 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns in a 26-10 win over the Bears on Oct. 20.

Adams, Cobb and Nelson didn’t come close to that in the rematch. For only the third time this season (Lions, Redskins), they failed to combine for 10 or more receptions.

Nelson caught seven passes for 124 yards. Adams snagged two for 25. Cobb, targeted only once, was shut out.

Their totals should have been higher. Nelson let two long passes get away from him. Adams dropped a pair of touchdown passes.

Sunday was the first time this season that none of the three reached the end zone.

For Nelson, his effort in Chicago was his fourth time over 100 yards. He also surpassed that mark against the Lions (101), Titans (126) and Texans (118).

Adams also has had four 100-yard performances: Bears (132), Titans (156), Eagles (113) and Seahawks (104). Cobb had one (108) against the Giants.

Cobb, Adams and Nelson are the 10th trio to catch 200 or more passes for the Packers in one season. Sterling Sharpe (108), Jackie Harris (55) and Harry Sydney (49) formed the first with 212 in 1992.

Nelson (98), Cobb (91) and Lacy (42) grabbed a franchise best 231 passes in 2014. It’s a record that can be broken should Cobb, Adams and Nelson finish strong against the Vikings and Lions.

Band on the Run

The four regular-season games in which the Packers averaged better than eight yards per rushing attempt.

Avg.    Att-Yds     Date                      Opponent

9.83     23-226       Dec. 18, 2016        Bears

9.24     17-157       Oct. 10, 2010        Redskins

8.64     25-216       Sept. 29, 1985       Cardinals

8.25     28-231       Nov. 29, 2004       Ram

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