Packers Analysis: Open Letter To The Packers' Runners, Defense and Special Teams
Sorry, defense. Sorry, running game. Sorry, special teams.
I owe you an apology.
That's because I'm one of the people who got absolutely enthralled by the performance of the Packers' passing game during the four game, meaningless preseason, and forgot about the rest of you guys when I made my prediction about this year.
(I basically said the Packers' passing game was awesome, but didn't say much about the running game and was concerned about the lack of pass defense in the preseason and the 2009 wildcard game, along with the lack of special teams all year.)
On a day that Aaron Rodgers was good, but pretty human, you guys saved the day.
With an injured Ryan Grant midway through the game, Brandon Jackson did a reasonable job of channeling his form from the 2007 divisional playoffs against Seattle, when he scored three touchdowns. He had just 63 yards Sunday, but it was enough to keep what sometimes was a fearsome Philly rush off of Rodgers.
|Packers 27, Eagles 20
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Defensively, the Packers owned the game, completely owned the game. That was, until that Michael Vick guy came in.
I started having flashbacks to the 2002 wildcard game debacle against the Falcons, when he completely threw the Lambeau Field playoff home advantage out the window for all time.
There were plenty of times when I heard Larry McCarren utter the words "if it wasn't Michael Vick, that would have been a sack."
That was, until the final drive, when Clay Matthews showed he can even sack the shiftiest quarterback this side of Fran Tarkenton, or this side of history.
Then came the final stop of Mr. Fast Legs when he got stoned...absolutely stoned....by Brad Jones and company on 4th down.
That was the most beautiful regular season dagger call from Wayne Larrivee's mouth that I can remember, exorcising 48 years of pain in Philadelphia.
Add the special teams, mainly in the kickoff return game of Jordy Nelson and the kicks of Mason Crosby.
Nelson made Wayne Larrivee gather in visions of Desmond Howard...and for good reason. His return to midfield put the Packers in position for the score that upped the tally to 27.
And oh, did they need all 27.
Plus, I think the leg of Mason Crosby (which was very errant last year in short distance kicks) now needs to be registered with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. His leg is a dangerous weapon from long distance, especially proven by a team-record 56 yard field goal to end the half.
Another set of insurance points that were critical.
The fumbles of Rich McGeorge, the leaps of Randall Cunningham, the errant leg of Brett Conway, the 4th-26 and stupid overtime throw by Brett Favre are all forgotten. (At least right now.)
A good chunk of the credit is due to the running game, special teams and defense.
Give credit where credit is due.