Back to even! 2-2. A game out of first. The toughest month of our schedule is behind us. Now, we need to get hot.
Once again, the Packers dealt with shoddy officiating. This time, we prevailed. Be proud, Packers fans. Be proud. You stood tall. You were loud. You made Lambeau a difficult environment. Not necessarily for the Saints, but for the officials. And, when the game was on the line, the Saints were called for a questionable holding call, which put them back 10 yards. Hartley misses wide. Rodgers to Jones on 3rd down. And, the record is squared up at 2.
It felt good to see some Lambeau magic. Close games at Lambeau have not been kind to Mike McCarthy. Where previous head coaches found plenty of Lambeau victories in games decided by 4 points or less, despite all of his successes, Mike McCarthy had a 5-6 record in such games prior to beating the Saints. To say the least, it was more than enjoyable to see the Lambeau ghosts blow the ball wide left.
Quick vibes from the victory over the Saints:
* The NFL's MVP hasn't completely found his rhythm in the 2012 Season. Despite going 31-41 with 319 yards, 4 TD's and 1 interception, we've seen Rodgers miss some throws this year. It seems as though we've seen Rodgers "miss" on more throws in the first 4 games of this year compared to the entire regular season last year. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. Don't get me wrong, he's brilliant, but Rodgers has not been as razor sharp as he was last year. Take, for example, the first 3rd down last week. 3rd and 3. Jones runs a short crossing route approximately 1/2 yard past the sticks. He's open. If the pass hits Jones in stride, it would have been a 4-6 yard gain. Instead the throw was behind Jones. Jones had to stop his route and come back for the ball. Thus, he lost momentum and was stopped just shy of the first down. I'm positive that Rodgers will find his rhythm. It just hasn't happened yet.
* James Jones is having his best year as a Packer. He's on pace for career highs in catches, yards, TD's, and first downs. His yards per catch are down significantly, but, thus far, he has been a reliable target for Rodgers.
* I love the way Mike McCarthy is using Randall Cobb. The shovel pass! Felt like that play was out of the repertoire! It was brought back and Cobb ran it in splendid fashion.
* It was nice to see J-Mike picking up some yards after contact.
* Greg Jennings, BE GREAT, and BE HEALTHY.
* Really liked the play of the OL. TJ Lang can play.
* Benson is running hard. Falling forward with robust passion. 4.7 yards per carry with a long of 9 yards. That's consistent running. He also caught 4 balls for 22 yards. He's been a solid addition.
* Graham Harrell had one job and that was to hand off the ball. He failed miserably. It almost was a big enough play to change the entire season.
* In 4 games this year, Clay Matthews has more sacks than he did the entire season last year.
* Morgan Burnett & T-Mon need better communication. Like that they were both going for the ball, but man, where's the field awareness?
* Speaking of T-Mon. Dude is playing at a Pro Bowl level.
* Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillan will be in the Packers secondary for the next decade. They bring flavor to our secondary. Both are playing like veterans.
* Don't like it when Sammy Swagga finds his way into the slot. He does a decent job using the sideline as his friend. But, when he's in the middle of the field, he doesn't stand a chance.
* The Packers need more push out of the interior of the DL. I don't like it when Worthy is standing up. His strength is when he's got his hand in the mud. Let's simplify the game for Worthy. He made a great play on Clay's sack as he cleared the ally for Matthews to run through when he pushed the guard into the tackle.
* I like how Capers is moving Matthews around. Trying to disguise him. I like the inside stunts. I don't like how often he's standing over the guard. It's fine on occasion. But, it's been happening way too frequently.
* Would like to see more out of Mike Daniels. Was disappointed in him jumping offsides on the FG attempt. Further, I'd like to see him collapsing the pocket. His low center of gravity should allow for him to get a push. It hasn't consistently occurred. I believe we'll see improvement.
* Dezman Moses might have only had 1 tackle last week. But, he's active. And, he's passionate. Like his intensity. He brings physical anger to the field.
This week - it's the Colts. In Indianapolis. Plain and simple, the Packers aren't losing this game. In fact,it'll be convincing. The Colts can't run with the Packers. And they know it. So, expect them to try to be conservative. Look for a lot of 2-TE sets with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen trying to be active in the middle of the field. The Colts will try to slow the game down with Donald Brown and Vick Ballard. They'll use timely roll-outs and play-action passes. Thus far, Andrew Luck has done what he's been asked. He's been a decent game manager. Late in close games, he's effectively moved the ball and put the Colts in position to win.
Not this week.
While Fleener and Allen will test Hawk and DJ Smith over the middle, the Packers will adjust. Look for Morgan Burnett to play over the top and get an interception on an overthrown ball.
Sammy Swagga can run with Reggie Wayne. They'll try to beat Sammy on double moves, but if Sammy can stay focused and not bite on any routes, he won't give up the big play.
TY Hilton is a fun, undersized WR. He can get behind the defense if your not careful. But, he's not going to be doing any damage on the underneath routes.
Donnie Avery is well used in the system. They'll try to get him the ball in a variety of ways. Often sending him in motion. Look for a play-action pass in which Avery is used as a decoy coming around the formation on a reverse. Luck might try his luck and see if the design opens up a big play down the field.
Offensively, it's time to spread 'em out. The Colts can't cover us. They're also nicked up. Vontae Davis, Justin King and Pat Angerer won't play. Dwight Freeney is a gamer, but he's banged up and might be only used in a situational role. Therefore, let's chip Robert Mathis. Don't be too proud. Line Finley up right next to Bulaga. Have Finley knock Mathis off of his course. Mathis is a relentless speed rusher. But, if you give Bulaga an ounce of help, we should be able to contain him.
It wouldn't surprise me to see the Packers with a bunch of 4 WR and 1 TE formations. Some empty sets. With Cobb shifting as the focal point. And Driver seeing additional snaps. The Colts simply cannot cover us. And the NFL's MVP finds his stride in grand form.
Rodgers finishes with over 300 yards and 4 TD's. Matthews grabs another sack. It's a great day to be a Packers fan. For the first time in the 2012 Season, the Packers have a winning record.
Green Bay 41. Indianapolis 13.
Go Pack Go!