When shown the final carnage — six sacks and 16 quarterback hits — Daniels pumped his fist and quietly said, “Yes.”
“I said we needed to play better and we did,” Daniels said. “Sometimes it’s as simple as that.
With a big lead, Green Bay’s defense was unleashed. And Daniels was one of the ringleaders with 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits.
“It’s always good to be able to go out and play good, solid, tough, hard-nosed football like we did. When you do that, these results ...” Daniels said, distracted for a moment.
He looked down and — appropriately — saw a can of WhoopAss, an energy drink produced by the Jones Soda Co. of Seattle.
“Look at this,” Daniels said. “It’s pretty cool. I didn’t open it up yet.”
Metaphorically speaking, the Packers opened a can of whoopass all night on Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. The Packers’ six sacks equaled the team’s total from the previous four games. They hadn’t had a six-sack game since last year’s home game against Minnesota. That game, of course, went a full five quarters. Before that, they hadn’t recorded six sacks since piling up seven against Tennessee in Week 16 of the 2012 season.
Through the first four weeks of the season, only Washington has more sacks in a game. The Redskins had 10 vs. Jacksonville in Week 2. (That’s an incredible number; more incredible is the Redskins have a total of one sack in their other three games.) New England also had a six-sack game — against Minnesota, in Week 2. For further context, 10 teams don’t even have six sacks this season.
As for the 16 quarterback hits? It’s an enormous number. Since it’s not an officially recognized statistic, a league spokesman was unable to put any historical context on that number. Only the Redskins have more in a game this season, with 18 in that game against the Jaguars. Since coordinator Dom Capers took charge of Green Bay’s defense in 2009, its highest tally was 12 — in the aforementioned game against the Titans and also against Chicago in Week 2 of the 2012 season.
After each game, the Packers’ coaching staff does its own statistical tally. (That figure is not available to reporters until Tuesday.) Typically, the coaches come up with more hits than the on-the-fly stats taken during a game. During Capers’ tenure, the Packers had 19 quarterback hits against Washington in 2010 and 16 apiece against Indianapolis and Tennessee in 2012. Last season, the Packers never had more than 11.
“There was a lot of positive performances as far as we hand out game balls and things like that,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. “But I couldn’t tell you if it was the highest ever, but it was clearly one of our best performances.”
With Daniels and Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, the Packers have a formidable pass rush. While Green Bay had only six sacks in the first three games, teams frequently used a tight end of back to provide extra protection on passing downs. That rush is a key reason why Green Bay ranks second in the league in opponent passer rating at 70.5.
“Their objective is to protect the quarterback and if you can disrupt them, that can take them out their rhythm,” Daniels said. “You saw, we had two interceptions, one for a touchdown, and some good pass breakups as well, so it’s a team sport. They have to cover them in the back and we have to get after them up front, and I think we did that pretty well today.”
email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport. More stories from the Scout network you might enjoy:
Fantasy Week 5: Who's Getting the Ball?
Gotta Hear This: Snoop Raps About Son’s Football Team
Video: Watch an ISIS tank get torched by U.S. Military
Top NFL Running Backs of All Time
Former NFL All-Pro Gary Anderson Scores Big One