And parts of this game were ugly. If you told me that Rodgers would throw for less than 200 yards, take three sacks and have two interceptions, I would have been pretty pessimistic about the Packers' chances. Add in a a handful of players knocked out of the game (especially Ryan Grant), and the fact that the Packers old nemesis Michael Vick was running the defense ragged for more than half the game, and I would have been positively depressed.
And yet, despite causing a lot of heartburn in the 4th quarter, the Packers won the game, 27-20. They did it, not with the smoking hot precision offense I had expected, but with good to excellent special teams (Mason Crosby hit 49 and 56 yard field goals, the latter being an all-time Packer record, and Jordy Nelson averaged 31 yards per kickoff return), and with an impressive defense. With Atari Bigby and Al Harris scheduled to miss at least the first six weeks of the season, each Eagles receiver was held to less than 50 yards receiving. With the way DeSean Jackson was tearing up the league last year, that is a significant accomplishment. Justin Harrell was knocked out of the game with what looked like a serious injury, and Cullen Jenkins played with a broken hand and a club cast. Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews did most of the damage. Woodson was always around the ball, made a handful of tackles, forced a fumble, and almost had an interception. Matthews, after missing most of the preseason, had seven tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and was instrumental on the critical fourth down stop of Vick to preserve the victory. With Vick at quarterback, I would have given long odds that they would get a yard on fourth down to keep their drive alive.
So yes, I will gladly accept a mixed performance for a win in the opening game. This leaves the Packers tied for the lead in the division (with Chicago!), and with the Vikings and the Lions at the bottom of the division. The Packers did not show me what I wanted to see: that they are a dominating team that has a great chance to win every game. As a result, we will have to wait to see if they can start to pull things together over the next couple of weeks.