Matt Trowbridge's notes from around the NFL.
The Packers led the NFL in penalties last year and were even worse Monday, getting flagged a team-record 18 times in a 20-17 loss at Chicago. Those penalties not only cost the Packers 152 yards, they wiped out a touchdown pass, a sack and a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions.
“All those penalties and having big plays brought back is a lack of focus and a lack of discipline,” linebacker Nick Barnett said. “I don’t want say we are a totally undisciplined team, but bottom line is we have to clean that stuff up on both sides of the ball. You can’t win a game like that.”
More of same for Bears?
Green Bay gained 379 yards but only scored 17 points against Chicago. Dallas turned 410 yards into only 20 points in a loss to the Bears. Now Chicago travels to New York, where the Giants just gained 471 yards but scored 10 points in a loss to Tennessee. Looks like another game made for Chicago’s bend but don’t break defense. But that only works with penalties, turnovers and stupid mistakes. The Giants did it all last week with 11 penalties, two red-zone interceptions, a lost fumble at the Tennessee 5 and two missed field goals.
Baltimore’s Anquan Boldin has 606 receptions in 98 games to become the fastest player ever to 600 catches. ... Two TD receptions for Randy Moss gave him 151 for his career. The 33-year-old Moss might even have a chance to catch Jerry Rice’s supposedly unbreakable mark of 197. ... The Patriots have won Tom Brady’s last 22 starts at home, tying John Elway and three behind Brett Favre with Green Bay from 1995-98. ... Antonio Gates passed Shannon Sharpe with his 63rd touchdown catch to rank behind only Tony Gonzalez (83) among tight ends.
Steelers win without passing
Pittsburgh may be heads and shoulders better than any other NFL team. The Steelers are 3-0 with Ben Roethlisberger suspended for one more game. His backups haven’t done much — Pittsburgh is tied with Buffalo for last in the NFL in passing yards (418) and ranks 30th in converting third downs (26.3 percent).
Moving the chains — or not
The one thing the Mike Martz offense has not done yet in Chicago is move the chains. For all of Chicago’s explosive plays — especially the passes over the middle that Ron Turner didn’t seem to realize existed — the Bears are tied for 28th in both third downs converted (10) and third-down percentage (29.4) through three games.
Kyle Orton and Denver are second in third downs (22 conversions) and second in passing yards (1,078).
Yards without points
The average NFL team scores a point for roughly every 15 yards gained, according to advancednflstats.com and coldhardfootballfacts.com. So a field goal from the 1 is a net gain of one point while a touchdown gains five points (assuming teams take over on the 30 after a kickoff). The Broncos (No. 25 and No. 28 under Cutler, even worse this year at 20.5 points per yard with Orton) never do this well. The top six teams in points per yards last year all made the playoffs and the No. 1 Saints won the Super Bowl.
Matt Trowbridge’s NFL Quick Shots appear Wednesdays. He can be reached at 815-987-1383 or email@example.com.