Saturday, October 25, 2014

Geaux Pack Geaux!

I got kind of busy and did not post anything last week,  So it is time now to reflect on how the Packers, who were once a very disappointing 1-2, are now 5-2 and in relatively good shape.  "If the playoffs started today - the Packers would be the number 6 seed."  True, but awfully premature at this stage.  The Bears and Vikings seem well on their respective ways to self-destruction.  If only somebody could drop a couple of extra losses on the Lions, the Packers might really be primed for a trip to the playoffs.  Maybe the Lions, who are playing at 6:30 am Sunday morning (California time) can give us a good, early start to the weekend.

But first, a word or two about the Dolphins and Panthers games.  The Dolphins game started out with a very crisp Packers drive for a touchdown.  It looked like it might be an easy victory despite the heat and humidity.  But of course that is not what happened.  The Packers' defense played very well, with interceptions by Hayward and Shields, but the Packers' offense sputtered for the rest of the first half, which ended with the Packers only up by the score of 10-3.  I hate 7 point halftime leads, because one big play and the game is tied.  Sure enough, in the second half, the Dolphins scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives, with the Packers' defense looking really gassed on the second and third drives.  This put the Dolphins up, 24-17, in the fourth quarter.

Watching the game a second time, it is amazing how many plays and decisions that turned out to be game-saving were made.  Crosby's TD-saving tackle on a kickoff return before the Dolphins' first possession of the game.  The Packers' defense stopping Miami cold on 4th and goal from the 1 yard line.  With 4:13 left in the game, and with the Packers having 4th and 6 from the Dolphins' 12 yard line, McCarthy took the field goal and counted on the defense to get the ball back.  That looked like the wrong call to me at the time, given how tired the Packers' defense looked in the second half, but it worked out and the Packers' got the ball back with 2:04 left.  That final drive had plenty of drama.  Micah Hyde started it with a 17 yard return to the 40 yard line.  Then Starks gained 12 yards on the only play the Packers could really afford to try a running play (because of the 2 minute warning).  Then TJ Lang fell on the ball after it was stripped from Rodgers' hands, leaving the Packers with a 4th and 10, which they converted on a pass to Nelson.  And then, of course, with Dan Marino in the stadium, Rodgers pulled off the famous fake-spike pass to Davante Adams.  The rookie played like a seasoned veteran on that play, not only figuring out or realizing what Rodgers was up to, but making an excellent move to get more yards, and then ensuring that he would get out of bounds to stop the clock.  It wasn't just that play, either, as Adams played well for the entire game.  Finally, the game-winning TD to Quarless.

If any one of those plays and decisions had gone the other way, the Dolphins would have won the game.  Indeed, The Dolphins game was the sort of game that the Packers would have lost most of the time in recent history.  The elements were against them, and after giving up the lead, it would have been easy for exhausted players to accept the defeat and fold.  Hey, you can't win them all, after all.  But instead, they got a stop on defense when they needed it most, and they pulled off a highly improbable touchdown drive to win the game.  That win counts for a lot in my book.

The Panthers game was completely different - a dominant performance on both sides of the ball,  The Packers scored 21 points in the first 13 minutes of the game, and did not allow a single first down to the Panthers in that time.  It was one of those games where both starting quarterbacks sat out significant chunks of the fourth quarter, the Packers because the game was well in hand, and the Panthers because there was no hope and no reason to risk injury to Cam Newton.

With one more game before the bye week, it would be a huge advantage to come out of the Super Dome with another win, a 6-2 record, a 5 game winning streak, and no worse than a tie for the lead in the NFC North.  On paper, you would think that the Packers should win this game.  They are definitely on a bit of a hot streak, while the Saints are a disappointing 2-4.  Prior to the season, I counted this game as a loss for the Packers, but that was at a point when I assumed the Saints would be playing better than they have been.  But the Saints are a good team, better than their record, they have won 13 home night games in a row, they have won both of their home games this season, and they are pretty desperate for a win to stay in contention.  Beyond that, 3 of their 4 losses have been close (3 points or less).  Only the Cowboys blew them out, 38-17.  For all those reasons, I have to predict a Packers' loss tomorrow night.


  1. What a colossal disappointment! I've spent my life learning how to live through lessons taught by the great football coaches of our time. You know, the Phil Bengstons, the Dan Devines, the Don Mortons. Well, a couple of lessons that have stood me in good stead are (1) a team is only as strong as its weakest link; and (2) once you find that weak link, get rid of it or it will spread like a bad STD. Well, look what we have here? It's the Packers weakest link--the author of this piece of trash who was too busy probably taking penicillin shots to write his column last week. I know for a fact that the Packer players rely on this column in hopes that their name will appear, particularly if their contract is coming up for negotiation. And so our illustrious commentator decided that he could take last week off because he "was too busy". How do you think Coach would feel if Aaron Rodgers decides not to make the New Orleans trip because he needs to rake the leaves tomorrow. Frankly, this whole rag is starting to cost far more than it's worth. Now, in addition to the $30,000 annual fee he charges, our illustrious lazy scumbag is putting ads in this rag. I'm just about ready to cancel my subscription. My only hope is that Coach will get his team up for tomorrow's game notwithstanding the lack of performance of this member (and, as he will always remind us, part owner) of the great Green Bay Packer organization. Give this scoundrel a big boot and see if there are any other teams in the league who would put up with this crap. I, for one, have had it.

  2. Wow, I like getting comments on the blog, but next time don't hold back, let me know how you really feel. Speaking of that $30,000 fee, your credit card did not go through. Please send unmarked bills. Since you are dissatisfied with the product, I will knock 50% off the normal subscription price, and I will try not to disappoint you again.

  3. Wow indeed! If that is a serious comment, then - just stop reading.

    Thanks, as ever, T. Have to say I really enjoy your commentaries (and have done since the SEZ days). Worth far, far more that the $0 I pay for them :-)

    Sadly your prediction of the Saints game proved accurate. Damn hamstring injuries!

  4. Chris - not to worry. My buddy HLT eventually admitted that he was the author of the obnoxious note. I figured it was probably a friend giving me a hard time.