Packers blast Titans in battle for seeding
DEC 23, 2012 4:00a ET
Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, Ryan Grant scored twice and the Green Bay defense picked on Jake Locker early and often in a 55-7 rout of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
It was the most points scored by the Packers since they put up the same number against Tampa Bay on Oct. 2, 1983, and their largest margin of victory since a 52-3 win over New Orleans on Oct. 9, 2005.
"It was important for us to go out and dominate the opponents late in the year," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We have momentum going for us particularly what we've done over the last nine weeks, 10 weeks, so we wanted to take the next step as a football team and I felt we were able to accomplish that today."
The victory ensured the Packers (11-4) will be at least the NFC's No. 3 seed. They still have a shot at the No. 2 -- and the first-round bye that goes with it -- if Seattle beats San Francisco on Sunday night.
Green Bay finishes the regular season next Sunday at Minnesota.
The Titans (5-10), meanwhile will be smarting all week from what might be the worst loss in a season full of them.
The 55 points were the most allowed since Tennessee was shut out 59-0 by the New England Patriots on Oct. 18, 2009, and second time this season it had allowed 51 or more. The Titans needed until 1:39 left in the game to avoid the shutout.
"It's embarrassing to lose 50-something to seven," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "That's just not acceptable and we let it happen. Thank God we have that (game next week) because I wouldn't want this to be our last game of the year."
The Packers have been one of the NFL's best teams over the past two months, winning nine of 10 games. But they haven't always been at their best against inferior teams, struggling to put away the likes of the Jaguars, Cardinals and Lions.
That wasn't the case against Tennessee. Far from it.
The Titans had one of the NFL's stingiest defenses since giving up 51 points to Chicago on Nov. 4, allowing an average of 17.6 points to their past five opponents.
But Rodgers and the Green Bay offense may as well have been playing Madden NFL video game for as easily as they piled up the yardage and the scores on the Titans.
"We've got the people in the locker room to do that type of stuff every game," said James Jones, who had his NFL-best 13th touchdown reception.
"Each game presents its own challenges and it's not (always) going to be like that. But we feel like every time we take the field we should score every time we get the ball."
They didn't quite do that, though it probably seemed that way to the Titans.
Green Bay scored on nine of its first 12 drives -- one of those misses was the end of the first half -- and was six of seven in the red zone.
"We've got to have a serious self-evaluation. We have one more game and we've got to fix it," Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner said. "This is embarrassing. It was an embarrassing loss. The Packers are a great team and for us to get to what we want, we've got to be able to compete with those teams."
Rodgers finished 27 of 38, and matched his season high with 342 yards passing despite sitting for most of the fourth quarter. He connected with Randall Cobb (20 yards), Jennings (1) and Jones (12) for touchdowns, and also ran 6 yards for Green Bay's first score.
The Packers also cracked the 100-yard rushing mark for the sixth time in the past seven weeks, and their four touchdowns on the ground were one less than they've managed the rest of the year combined.
Cobb had another big day, breaking Ahman Green's single-season franchise record for net yardage the first time he touched the ball. He finished with 101 yards and has 2,342 for the year, 92 more than Green in 2003.
"He's a big-time player. He's fun to watch," Rodgers said.
Green Bay's defense, meanwhile, made life miserable for Locker and the Titans.
Tennessee's offensive line has been decimated by injuries -- it started its fifth combination Sunday -- and the Titans also were without leading receiver Kendall Wright.
But Locker didn't help matters. He was sacked seven times -- he tripped over his own feet on one -- and picked off twice, and finished 13 of 30 for 140 yards.
Tennessee managed to cross midfield just three times during the game, and only avoided the shutout on Kenny Britt's 2-yard catch with 1:39 left.
"We've got to be playing like this heading into playoffs," Rodgers said. "It's nice to get a win like this kind of going way and now we've got a tough one into Minnesota next week."
Notes: Titans RB Chris Johnson was held to 28 yards on 11 carries. .. With 100 yards on seven catches, Jones has at least one 100-yard game in each of his six seasons. His 722 yards also tops his previous season best. ... A.J. Hawk's two sacks tied his career best. ... Seven of the Titans' 10 losses have been by 14 points or more. ... Fifteen different Packers have had a full sack this season, matching the franchise high. ... Green Bay finished the regular season 7-1 at Lambeau.
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