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Green Bay Packers QB Brett Hundley breaks longtime passing record

By
Rob Reischel, The Sports Xchange
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) rushes against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 12, 2017. File photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) rushes against the Chicago Bears during the second half at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 12, 2017. File photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Somehow, someway, Bob Avellini started 50 games for the Chicago Bears between 1975 and 1984.

Avellini bordered on awful during that time, throwing 69 interceptions, 33 touchdown passes, posting a hideous 54.8 passer rating and going 23-27 as a starter.

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According to Pro Football Reference, Avellini also set an NFL record by throwing the most passes in home games (127) without a touchdown since 1950.

Amazingly, Green Bay's Brett Hundley took that repugnant record from Avellini on Saturday night. And in today's NFL in which the offense has virtually every advantage, Hundley might have that record for many more years.

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Hundley completed his fifth straight start at Lambeau Field without throwing a touchdown pass. Hundley has thrown 162 passes at home without a touchdown.

With Hundley and the offense stuck in neutral, Green Bay dropped a 16-0 decision to NFC North champion Minnesota.

"Statistically, not great, I'll tell you that much," Hundley said of his performance at Lambeau Field. "That sucks because everybody wants to play great at home. For me, it hasn't been the greatest, but at the same time, I'm giving my all every game, and I'm not going to walk out of here with my head down.

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"Obviously, it sucks to lose and it sucks not to play great at home, but I'm giving it my all, and that's all I can do, no matter if we're home or away. So, my head will be held high and that's the name of the game."

There wasn't much reason for any of the Packers' offensive players to hold their heads high Saturday.

Hundley completed just 17-of-40 passes for 130 yards, a pedestrian average of only 3.25 yards per pass attempt. Hundley threw a pair of interceptions and finished with a grotesque passer rating of 30.2.

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In four of Hundley's five starts at Lambeau Field, he had a passer rating below 50.0. Those performances came against New Orleans (39.9), Baltimore (43.6), Tampa Bay (48.3) and Minnesota.

Hundley threw seven interceptions and no touchdowns at Lambeau Field. Amazingly, Hundley had eight touchdown passes on the road, and hasn't thrown an interception away from home since Oct. 15, the day he replaced injured starter Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone).

Hundley will enter the final year of his rookie contract in 2018. And Hundley's uneven performance the last two months leaves him with an uncertain future in Green Bay and the rest of the NFL.

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"It's so frustrating just because of the fact that I know what I can do," Hundley said. "I know what my expectations of myself (are). They're higher than anybody who is watching TV at this moment (or) any coach. I'm putting in the work, I'm doing what I have to do. But to go out there and not be consistent - which is my No. 1 goal - and just give our team an opportunity to win each game, that hurts.

"It's easy to go out there and just play, but when you've got 10 other guys busting their butt for you, I play for them. They're busting their butts for me, and all I try to do is just be the best I can, be consistent and give them an opportunity to win, and it's hard."

Green Bay was shut out for the second time this season, something that hasn't happened since Mike McCarthy's first season in 2006. The only other times since 1950 that the Packers were shut out multiple times in a season came in 1970 and 1988.

Green Bay's Mike Holmgren (112 regular-season games), Ray Rhodes (16) and Mike Sherman (96) were never shut out while coaching the Packers. McCarthy has now been shut out four times in 191 regular-season outings.

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"We didn't put the ball in the end zone. I mean, it's as simple as that," Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb said. "We had opportunities, we missed on opportunities. I've never felt more defeated, more embarrassed by a performance. Yeah, we had opportunities, and we didn't connect when we did."

Actually, the Packers didn't have many opportunities.

Green Bay punted the first five times it had the ball and didn't cross midfield on any of those possessions. The Packers drove to the Vikings' 15-yard line late in the first half, but Hundley was intercepted by Minnesota standout safety Harrison Smith.

"That was just a bad read, bad throw," Hundley said. "I could have dotted (Lance Kendricks) early. I held it and just misread it."

In the second half, the Packers turned the ball over on downs three times and punted once on their first four drives. Then on Green Bay's final possession of the night, Smith intercepted Hundley again.

"I was just playing," Smith said. "I was fortunate enough to get some opportunities and I took advantage of it."

The Packers' final offensive numbers were disturbing.

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Green Bay managed just 239 total yards and averaged only 3.7 yards per play. The Packers had just 12 first downs and went 4-of-15 on third down (26.7 percent).

Minnesota notched its first shutout since 1993, while Hundley and the Packers' offense heard it from the boo birds much of the night.

"Our defensive players work very hard," Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer said. "Our defensive coaches do a good job. And, we have good players and they play well together."

Hundley found that out the hard way Saturday and captured a record he most certainly didn't want.

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Wide receiver Jordy Nelson left late in the first half with a left shoulder injury and didn't return.

With No. 1 wideout Davante Adams already out, that meant the Packers' top three wideouts were Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis. Michael Clark and Jeff Janis also received playing time.

"It's rough, it's rough," Cobb said. "There was a bunch of injuries today, and I hate seeing all of my guys go down."

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Rookie wide receiver Michael Clark, who went undrafted last spring and spent most of the year on Green Bay's practice squad, was promoted to the active roster on Dec. 1. Clark got his first playing time against Minnesota and certainly impressed.

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The 6-foot-6 Clark caught three passes for 36 yards. He also made a 19-yard diving reception in which he fully extended for a ball from Hundley.

"I'm just having fun," Clark said. "I had a lot of fun out there just smiling. We're losing, it's not the outcome we want, but I had fun, too.

"I knew I was going to get called. Just being patient and don't make excuses, and take advantage of the opportunity when it came."

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Right tackle Jason Spriggs left on a cart after the first play of the game with a knee injury. Head coach Mike McCarthy wasn't sure the severity of the injury afterward, but sounded extremely concerned.

"I'm more concerned on a personal level for Jason because that really looked like a pretty bad injury," McCarthy said. "Yes, that's tough."

NOTES: TE Richard Rodgers left Saturday's game with a shoulder injury and didn't return. ... RB Aaron Jones left with a knee injury and didn't return. ... CB Davon House has been battling shoulder and back injuries for weeks. House left the game for a stretch in the third quarter, but returned later.

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REPORT CARD VS. VIKINGS

--PASSING OFFENSE: F - QB Brett Hundley's ineptitude at home continued with no touchdown passes and a 30.2 passer rating.

--RUSHING OFFENSE: C - Green Bay ran for 113 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. But Hundley accounted for 48 of those yards on five carries (9.6).

--PASS DEFENSE: A-minus - Despite playing with a mish-mash unit in the secondary, the Packers held Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum to 139 passing yards and just 5.6 yards per attempt.

--RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus - Minnesota's two-headed monster of Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon averaged 4.0 yards per carry.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: D-plus - Packers punter Justin Vogel struggled in the cold, averaging 38.5 yards per punt and a net of 36.7.

--COACHING: F - Head coach Mike McCarthy loves to fancy himself an offensive genius. Well, he's now been shut out twice in the eight games his team has played without Aaron Rodgers in 2017. "I ain't gonna lie," McCarthy said. "I thought we'd play much better." Most thought the Packers would be coached much better, too.

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