Packing the Stats: Balanced Offense Performing with Increased Efficiency All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Packing the StatsThere’s no doubt that Green Bay Packers fans have experienced a rough start to the 2013 season. Among losing games to the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals, the Packers have been without a number of key players due to injuries. But, in spite of this, we’re finally starting to see this team come together and work with efficiency.

It hasn’t been an easy transition, though. We’ve been used to a high-flying offense that made big plays down the field and racked up quick points, and it has taken some getting used to a more balanced offensive attack. Yet this newfound balance has paid major dividends.

Here is a look at some basic statistical categories for the Packers offense this season compared to their overall results from the last two years (from

Statistical Category 2013 2012 2011
Points per Game 30.3 27.1 34.1
Yards per Game 438.9 357.2 404.1
Points per Play 0.448 0.419 0.547
Red Zone Scoring % (TD) 50.00% 68.52% 65.22%
Yards per Play 6.5 5.5 6.5
First Downs per Game 23.0 21.2 22.2
First Down per Play 0.340 0.327 0.357
Average Time of Possession 31:57 30:06 30:28
Third Down Conversion % 46.39% 41.00% 48.50%
Rushing Attempts per Game 29.6 26.7 24.6
Rushing Yards per Game 141.4 104.6 100.3
Rushing First Downs per Game 7.6 5.1 5.7
Yards per Rush Attempt 4.8 3.9 4.1
Rushing Play % 43.76% 41.20% 39.43%
Rushing First Down % 32.92% 23.88% 25.66%
Pass Completion % 67.07% 67.14% 67.34%
Passing Yards per Game 297.4 252.6 303.8
Yards per Pass Attempt 8.4 7.2 8.7
Passing First Downs per Game 13.3 13.4 14.4
Passing First Down % 57.76% 63.25% 64.81%
Average Team Passer Rating 108.0 107.1 119.4
Passing Play % 56.24% 58.80% 60.57%
QB Sacked % 6.39% 8.03% 7.01%


I think it’s interesting to not only look at the overall improvements from last season (which are striking), but also to look at how this offense has changed from the high-scoring juggernaut of 2011. For example, the overall performance indicators for 2013 are generally better than 2012, but not quite as good as 2011. Categories like Points per Game, Yards per Game, and Points per Play clearly show this. However, notice that the Yards per Play statistic is the same in 2013 as 2011, and the number of First Downs per Game is slightly higher than both years.

These numbers just prove what we’ve known all along: the running game has made this a more powerful and balanced offense.

The commitment to the running game has helped the Packers control the pace of the game and wear down defenses. Their Average Time of Possession (31:57) for 2013 is significantly higher than the past two years. And while Aaron Rodgers hasn’t posted crazy passing stats, he is being sacked less, which might be even more important. Furthermore, his Pass Completion Percentage and Average Yards per Pass Attempt is close to what it was in 2011, which indicates a similar level of efficiency despite a drop in quantity.

Now take a moment to notice the rushing statistics. This year beats the previous two in every single category, and in some cases by a vast margin. If you haven’t given Mike McCarthy credit for succeeding in his public promise of an improved running game, then you either (a) haven’t been watching the Packers offense closely or (b) are too stubborn to admit he’s actually done it.

Even though it might have taken them a few games to find their identity, the Packers have finally shown that they can use their balanced offense effectively and efficiently. If they can clean up their red zone struggles – which might be slightly overblown according to Zach Kruse at CheeseheadTV – then this team will be a daunting matchup for opponents. No matter what, though, it’s been fun getting used to this new and efficient offensive attack.


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


12 thoughts on “Packing the Stats: Balanced Offense Performing with Increased Efficiency

  1. Great work Chad. Thanks.

    When the schedule came out in April I thought there was an 80% chance we’d lose at SF and a 70% chance we’d lose at CIN.

    But I also thought that would eventually be a good thing. Get the toughest ones out of the way fast.

    Assuming no more injuries to starters, and with CM3, Cobb, Perry, Jones and possibly Finley coming back soon, GB just may be the best team in the NFL come January.

    13-3 and homefield advantage is a distinct possibility. Not a probability at this point, because we are effectively 2 behind Seattle, and 1 behind SF and NO, but they don’t have easy schedules down the stretch. We do.

    1. Concur with you Meat that this is a very interesting and revealing comparison. Not quite as optimistic on the record front, but after 4 straight W’s getting high hopes are understandable.

      Request for Chad:

      Would you do a similar one on the Defense? And if I we get really needy, maybe Special Teams, too?

      I think that both/all of these would present a more complete picture of this years team, although in all of them I don’t think there’s a stat line for luck, providence or fate.

  2. This team is playing more ‘football’ than just ‘oohs and aahs’ as in the last two years.The RZ has suffered but working in the run in that area will pay off larger later than the misses cost us earlier.

  3. The offensive line is better, way better. Was Saturday that bad? Also does anyone know if we are still zone blocking. I thought I heard that was scraped.

    1. We are power blocking more frequently- you will see a pulling guard or a trap block here and there- but we’re still more or less a zone blocking run team.

      The difference is players are executing and finishing.

      Watch the offensive linemen right after the snap of the ball. If two linemen attack the same defensive lineman for a moment before one of the OL disengage and move downfield to block someone else; they are zone-blocking. If you see that happening on one side of the line, chances are you’ll see a offensive lineman on the other side of the line attempting to cut block a defensive lineman- in other words, blocking low and trying to take their legs out from beneath them. They do this so if there isn’t room on the front side of the play for the RB to find a hole, he can cut back to the opposite side and find a crease to run through.

      1. The cut blocking on the back side of the play cuts down on pursuit and opens up the cutback opportunities too. It doesn’t even have to be a complete cutback, just a cut upfield as the pursuit from the backside isn’t able to make tackles.

        Overall your very correct in your explanation.

    2. Packers are using some zone, some power blocking and some trap blocking. They haven’t used exclusively zone blocking for awhile. Even the year they won the SB they were already starting to mix power and trap blocking. Its been a gradual transition from almost exclusive zone plays to a combination of different styles over the past 4 seasons or so.

      Zone blocking wasn’t scrapped but like most teams they are now using plays w/ each of the different blocking types.

  4. Nicely done! I’m glad to see the sack % going down. Aaron’s % chance of getting hurt goes down at the same time.

  5. Hey Chad great work! One thing you missed is turnovers from the packers defense in 11 and 12 impacting time of possession positively; this lends to your argument the packers are significantly better on offense being -2 on turnovers on the year and beating TOP for both seasons!

  6. “Their Average Time of Possession (31:57) for 2013 is significantly higher than the past two years.”

    By significantly do you mean statistically significant? Or is it based on observations rather than running an analysis?

  7. very nice use of stats across the 3 years (assuming this year continues as such). I have to imagine, the 2013 stats will improve as players return, the rookies and players in new positions (OL, OLB) get more comfortable. Finally…this is also very impressive considering the quality of defenses GB faced (49ers, Bengals, Lions, Browns).

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