Packers on cusp of team scoring record

The Sports Xchange
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With four games of racking up at least 42 points already to their credit, the Packers stand a decent chance to threaten the team's single-season scoring record Sunday.

The league's biggest points producer with 420 is only 41 points shy of the record established by the 2009 team.

Still, Green Bay's potent offense, which is responsible for all but 42 of those points, isn't as concerned about how many points it can put up in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders as it is trying to make up for a sloppy performance last time out.

"The film's the best barometer," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "If you look at the stat sheet of the game, our guys did a lot of good things -- I don't want to take credit away from our players; those guys gave a great effort for us. But, the fact of the matter is there's some unclean things.

"Protection, at times, wasn't great. We didn't run the ball very well. Dropped the ball a little bit. We've got a lot of things to work on."

The Packers pulled out the 38-35 win at the New York Giants to improve to 12-0 with arguably the finest series by the offense all season. Aaron Rodgers and Co. had only 58 seconds at hand in the fourth quarter after the Giants tied the score at 35-35, but that proved to be plenty of time for Rodgers to complete four straight passes for 68 yards and set up Mason Crosby for the game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired.

The dramatic end result overshadowed some unsightly blemishes for the offense, prominent among them six dropped passes and five runs for losses by an ineffective group of running backs.

"You can't go backwards in football," Philbin lamented about the latter. "If you've got (defensive) guys in the backfield and you can't get to your aiming point if you're a running back, that's not good. Now, there were some good plays, obviously, but not the consistency that's going to lead you to say we had a good day running the football."

As for the prevalence of drops, which have cropped up on occasion this season, Philbin said succinctly, "We've got to catch the ball better."

"That's painfully obvious when you watch the film," he added, "and the unfortunate thing was there was a couple of big plays out there on some of those drops. Our guys historically have done a good job. (Sunday) was hopefully an aberration in that regard, but we've got to get back to the basics and do a better job focusing and concentrating and not worry about how many yards we're going to (get) maybe after we get the ball in our hands. First things first, take care of business."

--The timing couldn't be better for the Packers to offer their fans a chance to "own" a piece of major sports' only publicly operated franchise. The fifth stock sale in the team's 92-year history -- and the first since 1997 -- began Tuesday morning for major sports' only publicly operated sports franchise. The Packers planned to initially sell 250,000 shares at a cost of $250 apiece with a limit of 200 shares per person (including those purchased in the last stock sale).

The latest stock offering, which is being held to raise money for a planned $143 million expansion of Lambeau Field, will be conducted online at www.packers.com and through the mail.

Making a quasi-investment in the Packers would seem to be a hot buy right now, although the shares have no real financial value and are more to provide a keepsake stock certificate for fans. The NFL's most storied club hasn't fared any better than it has in the last calendar year, winning 18 straight games with a Super Bowl title thrown in for good measure.

The Packers are 12-0 this season. Green Bay clinched a spot in the playoffs and its first NFC North title since 2007 on Sunday, when it pulled out a scintillating 38-35 win at the New York Giants with a final-minute drive that ended with a Mason Crosby field goal as time expired.

Head coach Mike McCarthy doesn't foresee complacency coming over his players in the final four weeks of the regular season because they have plenty more to accomplish -- most notably, gaining home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs and possibly becoming only the second team to finish 16-0.

"Right now, our foot's on the gas, and we're going," McCarthy said Monday. "We're playing to win games."

The Packers play three of their next four games at home, beginning with a visit from the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Green Bay has a two-game lead over NFC West champion San Francisco (10-2) in the conference race.

While the team had a chance to savor the division title Monday, when commemorative T-shirts and hats were distributed in its Lambeau locker room, the focus quickly turned to the future.

"I've very impressed with what we've accomplished so far," McCarthy said. "But, there's so much more out there for us. Frankly, we just came off of a Super Bowl victory. We look at this as a step, we look at this as one of the mile markers on our journey to Indianapolis (for Super Bowl XLVI). We make no bones about it. Winning the Super Bowl is what this business is all about. Winning your division (and) home-field advantage is the best path to get you there. It's the preferred path."

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