Packers make history with another fast start at home
Coach Mike McCarthy has it on a quick key in his brain. Bring up any game at any time, and he will preach about the importance of starting fast.
But he may, just may, be able to put that one in his back pocket for a while.
The Packers have done the near impossible, making starting fast at home look almost routine.
On Sunday they became the first team in NFL history to score 28 or more points in the first half in four consecutive home games. On the season, in five home games, Green Bay has outscored the opposition an astounding 128-9 in the first half.
Throw in the second half, and Green Bay has scored in 14 of its last 16 quarters at home, including putting up back-to-back 50-point games for the first time in team history. In the only two quarters it didn't score, it led Carolina 38-3 entering the fourth and was up on Minnesota 42-0 going into the fourth quarter.
That's the definition of a home-field advantage.
Naturally, the question of the day is just how are they doing it? As you might suspect, there is no magic formula, and the answer isn't nearly as exciting as the play on the field.
"We're just out there executing right now," said receiver Jordy Nelson, who had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. "I think we're being extremely aggressive, coming out and throwing the ball the last couple of games. And, again, just making plays when they come.
"You can't design it up to get 60- or 70-yard plays off of base routes. They play different coverage and it's a whole different situation. It's capitalizing on the situation and making plays when they're there."
And as Randall Cobb — who hauled in 10 balls for 129 yards — noted, it's all about adhering to the routine and preparation.
"I think that's the key to the whole thing," he said. "We can never get too high on ourselves or too low, just continue to stay consistent in what we do. Continue to execute the plays that are called and continue to put points up."
So can the Packers find a way to find that kind of production on the road? Will it be necessary moving forward?
"Absolutely, you've got to be able to carry your stuff on the road," Nelson said. "You see it across the league, it's hard to win on the road."
Heading into the Sunday night game, only eight of 32 teams had winning road records, and the Packers were not one of them with a 2-3 road mark.
"The good teams are going to do it," Nelson said, "and those are the teams that will be around late in the year."