Though the Packers' 2014 season is not over, the regular season is, and as we prepare for Sunday's Divisional Round matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, we are taking a look back through the stat sheets and grades. For each position group, we've identified a handful of stats or numbers that help explain how the units played, were utilized, or some combination of both.
Let's dive in by looking at the offense.
Aaron Rodgers was the league's second-most efficient quarterback on passes longer than 20 yards, as he had a passer rating of 124.5 on those passes, second only to Peyton Manning at 124.7. Rodgers did average a league-best 18.16 yards per attempt on long passes, however.
Another fun fact about Rodgers: though he was only blitzed on 21.6% of his dropbacks, he threw 13 of his 38 touchdowns (34%) when facing the blitz. He also had a better yards per attempt against the blitz (9.3) than he did facing four or fewer rushers (8.2).
Only one back forced more missed tackles in the passing game than the Packers' Eddie Lacy, who had 24, according to Pro Football Focus (Le'Veon Bell from the Steelers was credited with 29). Lacy finished with the fourth-most missed tackles forced overall (73), behind only Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, and Bell.
Lacy also caught 42 of the 50 passes thrown his way, a catch rate of 84%, and his 427 receiving yards represent a 66% increase over his rookie season.
How good was Jordy Nelson this year? His 98 receptions rank fourth on the all-time Packers list for a single season, behind Sterling Sharpe's 1992 and '93 seasons and Robert Brooks' '95. As you know, Jordy set a record for the most receiving yards in a season by a Packer with 1,519, and his 13 touchdowns are tied for sixth in Packers history.
Randall Cobb was no slouch, either. He had 91 catches, good for 7th all-time, his 1,287 yards rank him 13th in team history and his 12 scores are tied for 10th. To have a pair of performances like that in a single year is certainly an unprecedented feat in Packers history.
The line allowed pressure on Aaron Rodgers at a lower rate than only three other quarterbacks with 200 or more dropbacks. Rodgers was pressured just 26.5% of the time, and only Peyton Manning, Kirk Cousins, and Andy Dalton were pressured at a lower rate. Further underscoring the line's excellent pass protection is Pro Football Focus' Pass Blocking Efficiency metric, which put the Packers' group in second place behind Denver.
Josh Sitton was especially exceptional in pass protection, earning the top PBE value among all qualifying guards and not being credited for a single sack allowed all year.
Mike Daniels was good. Really good. He averaged more than 2.5 QB pressures per game and was third on the team in "stops", despite being eighth on the team in tackles. He added 5.5 sacks as well, which makes him the only Packers defensive lineman in the current 3-4 era (since 2009) to have more than 5 sacks in multiple seasons.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the year, Letroy Guion was second to Daniels among all defensive linemen in total snaps. Josh Boyd and Datone Jones each played fewer than 400 snaps, while Guion was on the field for 555.
The Clay Matthews/Julius Peppers experiment worked. The two combined for 18 quarterback sacks, the most by an outside linebacker tandem since the Packers went to the 3-4 in 2009. They also combined to knock down 9 passes at the line of scrimmage and forced nine turnovers (three interceptions and six forced fumbles). Peppers added three fumble recoveries as well as taking both of his interceptions to the house.
On the inside, a major shift in tactics took place in week 13's game against the Patriots. From that game onward, A.J. Hawk never played more than 50% of the snaps in a game, after being above 90% in eight of the prior 11 games. Sam Barrington took over, playing more than 60% of the snaps in each game thereafter.
The Packers got interceptions from eleven different players this season, including all seven defensive backs who played meaningful snaps this season. Those seven players ended up with a total of 13 picks, but also added two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries on the season.
That's the good. The bad? Six of the seven players on the defense with the most missed tackles were in the secondary. Rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix led the way with 15, and Sam Shields was next with 11. All told, the top seven in the secondary (those two plus Tramon Williams, Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, Casey Hayward, and Davon House) missed a total of 64 tackles, or an average over 9 per player.
Any discussion of the special teams has to begin and end with the fact that the Packers had seven kicks blocked this season - three field goal attempts, two extra point attempts, and two punts.
Mason Crosby went 27-for-33 on field goals this year, a hit rate of 81.8%. However, if he had made the three kicks that were blocked (no guarantee, I know, but bear with me here) he would have been 30-for-33 and would have been over 90% for the first season in his career. Either way, it was a far cry from his abysmal 2012 season, and even with the three blocks he exceeded his career average.
Tim Masthay's season started off well, but he struggled down the stretch. Eventually, he finished with a career-low number of punts (49) but his gross punting average ended up at 44.1 yards, right in line with his career average of 44.3. He did land a career-low number (and rate) of punts inside the 20-yard line, though.