Packers make history ... but it's not easy

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 06, 2011



By Scott Kacsmar
Cold, Hard Football Facts Streaker


There have been some impressive win streaks throughout the NFL’s 92-year history. Stringing together many wins in a row usually requires some luck along the way, or at least some very close wins that could have gone either way. For example, the 2003-04 New England Patriots needed 4 fourth quarter comebacks and 8 game-winning drives to keep their record 21-game winning streak intact.
 
After we hinted at the record first on the Cold, Hard Football Facts, we can now say it’s official. After their 45-38 victory over San Diego, we’ve never seen anyone do what the Green Bay Packers just achieved on Sunday.
 
Historic Winning Streak: The 2010-11 Green Bay Packers are the first team in NFL history to win 14 consecutive games without trailing in the fourth quarter.
 
Not once. They’ve only been tied in the fourth quarter in one game, and that lasted for just 138 seconds. The 1942-43 Washington Redskins previously held the record with a 13-game streak. Now they’ve been surpassed, and who knows how far Green Bay can extend it.
 
How does the team that we told you before the season started can’t win the close games fix that problem? They simply avoid them by being that much better than you the first three quarters.
 
Longest All-Time Winning Streaks Without Trailing in 4th QT
Team Season(s) Winning Streak Games Tied in 4Q Championship?
Green Bay Packers 2010-11 14 1 Yes
Washington Redskins 1942-43 13 1 Yes
Indianapolis Colts 2005 11 0 No
Pittsburgh Steelers 1975 11 2 Yes
Dallas Cowboys 1971-72 11 1 Yes
Tennessee Titans 1961-62 11 0 Yes
Green Bay Packers 1928-29 11 2 Yes
New York Giants 1927-28 11 0 Yes
Frankford Yellow Jackets 1924-25 11 0 No
Baltimore Ravens 2000-01 10 1 Yes
Dallas Cowboys 1993-94 10 1 Yes
Pittsburgh Steelers 1976 10 0 No
Miami Dolphins 1973 10 0 Yes
Baltimore Colts 1968 10 1 No
Chicago Bears 1942 10 0 No
Detroit Lions 1934 10 0 No
 
Once again this table includes the only 16 teams to ever have at least a 10-game winning streak without trailing in the fourth quarter.
 
A closer look into the 14-game win streak:

Green Bay's 14 Game Streak
Game Opponent Lead After 3 Closest 4th QT Margin Final
1 NY Giants 14 14 45-17
2 Chicago 0 0 10-3
3 at Philadelphia 11 5 21-16
4 at Atlanta 28 21 48-21
5 at Chicago 14 7 21-14
6 Pittsburgh 4 3 31-25
7 New Orleans 8 8 42-34
8 at Carolina 10 7 30-23
9 at Chicago 10 10 27-17
10 Denver 25 25 49-23
11 at Atlanta 1 1 25-14
12 St. Louis 21 21 24-3
13 at Minnesota 16 6 33-27
14 at San Diego 7 7 45-38
 
The bye week didn’t slow Green Bay down. After extending their lead to 45-21, history looked inevitable for the Packers. The Chargers mounted a rally, but fell short on their last two drives.
 
It was the ninth time in 14 games that Green Bay’s defense protected the one-score lead in the fourth quarter.
 
At 14 games and counting, it’s not too early to look ahead at the all-time winning streaks in NFL history and where Green Bay fits. The following is the longest winning streak (playoffs included) each of the 32 teams have ever had.
 
Longest Franchise Winning Streaks
Team Games Season(s)
New England Patriots 21 2003-04
Chicago Bears 18 1933-34, 1941-42
Denver Broncos 18 1997-98
Miami Dolphins 18 1972-73
San Francisco 49ers 18 1989-90
Oakland Raiders 17 1976-77
Pittsburgh Steelers 15 2004
Green Bay Packers 14 2010-11
Indianapolis Colts 14 2009
Washington Redskins 14 1942-43
New Orleans Saints 13 2009
Baltimore Ravens 12 2000-01
Dallas Cowboys 12 1971-72
Minnesota Vikings 12 1969
New York Giants 12 1986
Atlanta Falcons 11 1998
Cleveland Browns 11 1951, 1953
Jacksonville Jaguars 11 1999
San Diego Chargers 11 1961, 2009
Seattle Seahawks 11 2005
St. Louis Rams 11 1969
Tennessee Titans 11 1961-62, 1993
Arizona Cardinals 10 1948
Detroit Lions 10 1934, 1953-54
Buffalo Bills 9 1964
Kansas City Chiefs 9 2003
New York Jets 9 1986
Philadelphia Eagles 9 1949, 1960, 2003
Carolina Panthers 8 1996
Cincinnati Bengals 7 1970
Houston Texans 6 2009-10
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6 1996-97, 1999
 
Still some serious work to be done for the all-time streak, but you can see the rare company they are in. When it comes to not trailing in the fourth quarter, they are unmatched.

What about the Chargers?

While Green Bay’s window appears to be as wide open as Greg Jennings against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday’s game also highlighted the San Diego Chargers, who are heading in the wrong direction.
 
The Chargers lost their third consecutive game by one score. Philip Rivers, now 2-9 in fourth quarter comeback opportunities since 2010, threw three interceptions for the first time in his career, including two that were returned for touchdowns in the first quarter. Rivers already entered Week 9 with a league-leading 11 interceptions and 14 turnovers.
 
To this point, Rivers has put himself in position to continue on a Hall of Fame-pace and consideration as one of the best quarterbacks of his era. However, his legacy could be one that is as cumbersome as any quarterback’s ever has been.
 
Should Rivers never find that success of a Super Bowl championship, he may only be remembered as the best quarterback not named Dan Marino to never reach that goal. That’s the kind of praise many quarterbacks would love to have, but compared to his peers, it’s going to be the void in his resume that haunts him. It’s what makes him stand out, in a bad way.
 
There’s always going to be Eli Manning, the quarterback San Diego traded on draft day to get Rivers. Eli pulled off the huge upset in Super Bowl XLII; just two weeks after Rivers lost his opportunity against the undefeated Patriots.
 
The Chargers had the tough decision to make after 2005 between Rivers and Drew Brees, and they chose Rivers. No one could fault them at the time, but Brees has gone on to New Orleans and is turning in one of the most prolific runs in NFL history, and was Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XLIV.
 
The other franchise quarterback taken in that 2004 draft class was Ben Roethlisberger, taken seven spots after Rivers. He’s only gone to three Super Bowls, winning two of them, and knocked Rivers out of the playoffs in 2008.
 
There’s the quarterback Rivers has never beaten, Tom Brady, who has won three Super Bowls. Rivers is 0-5 against the Patriots when Brady starts (0-2 in the playoffs).
 
There’s the quarterback that Rivers has often beaten, Peyton Manning, but unlike Manning, Rivers hasn’t taken San Diego to two Super Bowls like Manning has since 2006.
 
Finally there was Rivers’ opponent on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers, the reigning Super Bowl MVP. In their first career meeting, Rodgers threw just five incompletions and four touchdowns. Rivers threw six touchdowns, but two went back the other way.
 
Rivers turns 30 next month, so he still has time, but how much longer will the window stay open for a player like Antonio Gates, and is Norv Turner even going to return next season? Such problems moving forward could hinder the chances of San Diego getting to a Super Bowl. That’s if their championship window hasn’t already closed. Just beating Oakland on Thursday would be a relief.

As for Rivers, "worst day ever" is quickly turning into his "worst season ever", and we know that doesn't sit well with him.


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