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Eric Goska column: Cobb surpasses 1,000 yards in seven games

Oct. 21, 2012
 

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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb celebrates after catching a 39-yard touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in St. Louis. / Seth Perlman/AP

All-purpose all-pros

Packers players with the most combined net yards (yards from scrimmage and yards on returns) after the first seven games of a season in team history.

YardsPlayerYear
1,158Billy Grimes1950
1,076Randall Cobb2012
979Roell Preston1998
974Dave Hampton1971
974Ahman Green2001
963Ahman Green2003
954Don Hutson1942
940Ahman Green2002

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Seven backs and two receivers who played for the Green Bay Packers are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

None of them ever made the type of splash that Randall Cobb has.

Green Bay won consecutive games for the first time this season by defeating the St. Louis Rams 30-20 on Sunday in the Edward Jones Dome. As he has done five times already this year, Cobb contributed more than 100 yards to the Packers’ cause.

The 64th player selected overall in the 2011 draft is a jack-of-many-trades. His talent and willingness to be utilized as more than a wide receiver have allowed him to tie a Packers record that has stood for 62 years.

By gaining 146 combined net yards against the Rams (yards from scrimmage plus yards on returns), Cobb pushed his season total to 1,076. Billy Grimes, in 1950, is the only other player in team history to surpass 1,000 yards in the first seven games of a season.

One-thousand yards has been a milestone sought since the dawn of statistics. To reach it so quickly is an accomplishment worth noting.

Forty-three players have amassed 1,000 or more combined net yards in at least one season for Green Bay since Don Hutson first did it in 1942. In all, the benchmark has been achieved 107 times.

Six players reached the summit in the first eight games of a season: Hutson (1942), Al Carmichael (1956), Jim Taylor (1962, 1964), Dave Hampton (1971), Roell Preston (1998) and Ahman Green (2001-2003). Only Grimes, a return specialist like Cobb, got there in seven.

In opening at receiver against the Rams, Cobb was making only the second start of his career. His first came against the Texans last week when he posted a career-best 102 yards receiving.

Cobb’s first touch from scrimmage in St. Louis was a 19-yard run. It was the longest gain on the ground by a Packer, and it set up Mason Crosby’s 47-yard field goal that put Green Bay up 10-3.

Cobb also caught two passes for 20 yards in the opening quarters. But the wideout saved his best work for the second half.

The Packers drove 80 yards to a touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter. Cobb capped the advance with a 5-yard TD catch from Aaron Rodgers, and the Packers led 17-6.

After St. Louis closed to 20-13 in the fourth quarter, Cobb earned first downs with receptions of 11 and 8 yards on another 80-yard drive. The receiver again had the last word when he snagged a 39-yard bomb from Rodgers on third down to put Green Bay ahead by 14.

Cobb’s afternoon consisted of eight catches (89 yards), one run (19), one punt return (15) and one kickoff return (23). He led all players in yardage, edging the Rams’ talented rookie, Chris Givens, who amassed 137 on a run, three receptions and two kickoff returns.

Cobb demonstrated he was special in his first game as a pro. In the 2011 opener, Cobb caught a 32-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 108 yards for a score in a 42-3 win over the Saints.

That evening, he amassed 175 combined net yards. By season’s end, his total of 1,616 yards (101 per game) was the best by a rookie since Bill Howton got 1,231 (102.6) in 1952.

This season, Cobb has topped 100 yards against the 49ers (230), Saints (154), Colts (196), Texans (211) and Rams. In averaging 153.7 yards per game, he’s on pace for 2,459.

Ahman Green is the only Packer to have crossed the 2,000-yard threshold. If Cobb stays healthy, Green’s team record of 2,250 yards set in 2003 could be in jeopardy.

Email Eric Goska at aegoska@sbcglobal.net.

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