|Photo by Rob Grabowski, USA Today Sports|
Either the league is serious about preventing helmet-to-helmet hits, or it is not. If it is, Meriweather should be suspended, especially because he has a history as a head-hunter. Ndamukong Suh just last week got a $100,000 fine, when anybody else without his history would have been fined much less. Given Meriweather's history, nothing but a suspension will suffice.
But back to the game itself, a game filled with big smiles on the Packer sidelines and in the stands. The Packers completely dominated the game, from start to finish, leading at one point in the third quarter by 31-0, before finishing the game 38-20, a misleading score if I ever saw one.
My favorite things about this game? Just about everything. Better decisions on kick returns by Jeremy Ross, a score on the opening drive despite back-to-back sacks, aggressive play on offense, including the no-huddle and a 4th down touchdown pass, aggressive play on defense, including swarming run defense and nice use of blitzes at appropriate times. James Starks, playing in relief of Eddie Lacy, had the first 100 yard rushing game by a Packer since Brandon Jackson did it in 2010. He also made great decisions on individual running plays, and he was the beneficiary of the Packers' old staple play, the screen pass - something they should run more often, because it was successful in both games this season. The only real negative was the fact that the Packers gave up 4 sacks, which is not the way to keep Aaron Rodgers upright and healthy the whole year.
Speaking of records, Aaron Rodgers tied the Packers' single game passing record at 480 yards. He shares that record with the perennial backup, Matt Flynn (now playing backup for the third team in as many seasons). The Packers also had a 400 yard passing game and a 100 yard rusher in the same game for the first time in the long history of the franchise. To take it one step further, no team in NFL history had a 450 yard passing game and a 125 yard rushing game in the same game, until the Packers did it on Sunday. And finally, the Packers had the second-most YAC (yards after catch) in a game in the history of the NFL on Sunday (295 YAC).
So at 1-1, trailing the Bears by a game in the NFC North, the Packers have something to build on as they play the Bengals, in Cincinnati on Sunday, hoping to go 2-1 before their very early bye week. In the wake of the 49ers game in week 1, I was personally worried about the possibility of the Packers going 0-3. I was still worried about 1-2, but frankly the Bengals did not impress me that much in their Monday night game. They do have a fearsome pass rush, they have the great A.J. Green and a developing running game with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard. But I think the Steelers are pretty much all done, and yet they were able to stay close to the Bengals for most of the game. So I think a team like the Packers has an excellent chance of beating them, even on the road.