Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has made no bones about it.
After opening 1-2 in each of the past three seasons, the Packers must start faster next season.
By a different measuring stick, the Packers have mastered the art of the fast start during McCarthy’s tenure.
Last season, Green Bay scored 151 points in the first quarter. Not only was that the most in the league, but it was the most in NFL history, according Pro-Football-Reference.com. (Kansas City scored 158 points in the first quarter in 1966 as a member of the AFL.) Green Bay scored a total of 161 points in the first quarter in 2012 and 2013.
That success carried over into the second quarter, when the Packers scored 159 points — which ranks merely ninth in NFL history. That added up to 310 points in the first half — a whopping 49 more than New England. Only the 2007 Patriots scored more first-half points in NFL history with 333.
The Packers outscored their opponents by 93 points in the first quarter — tied with the 2007 Patriots for the largest margin in NFL history. That’s typical of McCarthy’s teams. Three of the top 41 first-quarter differentials in NFL history have been achieved by his clubs, with the 2011 team tied for 31st at plus-66 and the 2009 team tied for 41st at plus-63.
Unbelievably, the Packers outscored their opponents by 164 points in the first half. New England (plus-95) and Dallas (plus-67), which ranked second and third in first-half differential, couldn’t match Green Bay’s dominance when added together. Green Bay’s margin ranks fourth in NFL history. (The 2007 Patriots are No. 1 at plus-196). The 2009 team is a 16th-ranked plus-133 and the 2011 team is a 22nd-ranked plus-123.
Most of the damage was done at Lambeau Field. From Week 2 against the Jets (first home game) through Week 14 against the Falcons (seventh home game), the Packers scored 89 unanswered first-quarter points at home. That was the longest run since the Dolphins scored 93 unanswered first-quarter points spanning the 1978 and 1979 seasons.
First-Quarter Scoring: NFL History
First-Half Scoring: NFL History
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.