Indeed, in 2009, the defense was No. 2 in scoring defense (18.6), No. 5 in yards allowed (284.4), No. 5 in pass defense (201.1) No. 1 in run defense (83.3) and tied for No. 11 in sacks (37).
In 2010, en route to the Super Bowl XLV title, the defense was No. 2 in scoring defense (15.0), No. 5 in total yardage (309.1), No. 5 in pass defense (194.2), No. 18 in run defense (114.9) and tied for No. 2 in sacks (47).
Last Sunday against the Lions, the offense managed only two touchdowns – Rodgers’ 20-yard first-quarter TD to Jermichael Finley and his go-ahead 22-yard TD to Randall Cobb in the fourth quarter – but the Packers won because of safety M.D. Jennings’ 72-yard interception return for a touchdown and the way the defense, trailing 17-14, held the Lions to a field goal late in the fourth quarter when a touchdown likely would have put the game out of reach. Instead, by forcing a Lions field goal and a 20-14 lead after facing first-and-10 from the Green Bay 10-yard line.
“Detroit had a chance to put that thing away with a touchdown late and make it a two-score game,” Rodgers said. “We actually brought it over on the sidelines (as an) offense and said, ‘If our defense stops them, we’ve got to go make this stand. We got to score points here and take the lead because they’ve played so well and they’ve had a couple of stops in the red zone to hold them to field goals. They forced four turnovers.’
“They gave us the opportunities, and we didn’t make the most of them on offense until the fourth quarter.”
And yet, they won.
“What you want is a confidence level with your team that there’s going to be days that one side of the ball’s not clicking. And you’re good enough that the other side picks up the slack,” said Capers, a former head coach with Carolina and Houston. “To me, that’s an indication of a good football team.
“That way, you don’t always have to depend on having to outscore people. And obviously being a defensive guy, I’ve always felt that if you have a good defense, it gives you a chance.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.