Big Win Clinches First-Round Bye

Green Bay extended its record to 13-0 by destroying the Raiders. The Packers set a franchise record for points in a season and Aaron Rodgers tied Brett Favre's single-season record with his 39th touchdown pass, but Greg Jennings was among those who were injured.

The Green Bay Packers, who are fighting for history, remain undefeated.

The Oakland Raiders, who are fighting Denver for the AFC West championship, didn't bother to show up for the second consecutive week.

The Packers improved to 13-0 and clinched a first-round bye by beating the mistake-prone Raiders 46-16 on Sunday evening at Lambeau Field. The Packers would wrap up homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs by winning at Kansas City next week.

On the other hand, the Raiders, who trailed 34-0 at Miami entering the fourth quarter last week, committed three turnovers and were guilty of eight penalties in falling behind 31-0 at halftime at an unseasonably warm Lambeau Field.

The victory wasn't without pain, though, as the Packers chase the second 16-0 regular season in NFL history and try to match the 1972 Dolphins as the league's only undefeated Super Bowl champions. On the first possession of the third quarter, top receiver Greg Jennings injured a knee and was driven to the locker room for further examination. Defensive end Ryan Pickett and promising running back Brandon Saine were taken to the locker room with head injuries. Rodgers also absorbed some big hits, including low by Jarvis Moss and to the blind side by an unblocked Aaron Curry, and finally was replaced late in the third quarter.

That's on top of the injuries heading into the game, with running back James Starks (ankle), guard Josh Sitton (knee) and inside linebackers A.J. Hawk (calf) and Desmond Bishop (calf) all sitting out the game. The backups to Hawk and Bishop, however, came up big, with D.J. Smith and Robert Francois recording interceptions and Francois forcing a fumble that resulted in a touchdown.

The Raiders had crossed midfield on the opening drive when Carson Palmer was pressured by Clay Matthews and threw into quadruple coverage, with Smith grabbing the first of the Packers' four interceptions. One play later, Ryan Grant made one cut, broke through an ankle tackle by Michael Huff and was off to the races for a 47-yard touchdown.

The Raiders crossed midfield again on their next drive until a holding penalty on Jared Veldheer and a false start by Khalif Barnes by made it first-and-25 and killed the drive. The Packers took over at their 20, with Rodgers punctuating an 80-yard touchdown drive with a 4-yard pass to rookie tight end Ryan Taylor.

Green Bay tacked on a field goal to make it 17-0, then made it 24-0 in rapid-fire fashion. Rodgers hit Donald Driver for 22 yards to the Raiders' 37, then hustled to the line of scrimmage and caught the Raiders with 12 men on the field. Knowing he had a free play, Rodgers fired deep to Jordy Nelson, who adjusted to the underthrown ball and made the catch while tumbling into the end zone.

Moments later, Charles Woodson jumped in front of a slant to Darrius Heyward-Bey for an interception to set up a short drive, which Grant capped by strolling through the middle of the Raiders' defense for a 6-yard touchdown. He hadn't scored all season.

Erik Walden added a defensive score for the Packers when fullback Marcel Reece was stripped by Francois. That touchdown gave the Packers 463 points, breaking the franchise-record 459 scored by the 2009 team.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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