That was dope. If you were in attendance on Sunday Night, I hope you are still applauding yourself. The Lambeau Faithful was in terrific form. To celebrate, I pour a Vielle Reserva Prunus Armeniaca. A Crooked Stave GABF treat. A Golden Sour Ale. Aged in Oak Barrels. With Apricots. Gourmet! I'm so stoked that I'm also going to pour the 2015 version of the Crooked Stave Mama Bear's Sour Cherry Pie. It's a burgundy sour ale. Aged in oak barrels. With Colorado Montmorency Cherries. It's sharply sour upfront with a potent cherry feel in the middle of the palate and a perfectly sour finish that resides for a moment before it gracefully settles in the back of the palate. A delicious saliva begs for an additional taste. GABF week is beer heaven. Musically, yes, it's more Jimmy Cliff. The Black Magic vinyl spins. I couldn't find this record in America, so I had it shipped from London. It sounds immaculate. Except the "I Want. I Do. I Get." has a pop feel more than the traditional pop-reggae buzz. Regardless, it's a fitting play. The Packers wanted the victory. They did what was needed to get the victory. They got the victory!
Down 17-16. Seattle ball. 3:12 left in the third. At Lambeau. Here's what ensued:
* Micah Hyde with a good tackle in the open field.
* Pennel and Daniels getting a push.
* LAMBEAU CREATES MAGIC! The ball pops free. But, Pennel has a mental error as he was lined up offside. Unacceptable! Cannot trump the ghosts of Lambeau with stupid play. Combined with a 15-yard penalty by Mike Daniels. The G-Force had energetically created the turnover. The Packers lack of focus nullified it.
* The G-Force, once again, rises to the occasion. They force a timeout. Yes, there was a mystique to the Lambeau air that felt like it was 1996. It was boisterous thru the TV. LAMBEAU WAS ALIVE!
* DATONE JONES WITH THE PRESSURE! Forcing what should have been an intentional grounding call. On back-to-back plays, Jones had a great push.
* Hyde in man-to-man coverage against Baldwin in the slot. Stride for stride, Hyde glides. A monstrous defensive stop! The crowd did it's part!
* Then, it was 80 yards of pure brilliance! The stuff that defines a Champion. 2nd & 15 to start the 4th. 4-WR set. The MVP hits Cobb for 18.
* A bright strategic move: Starks exits, Montgomery enters. Cobb moves to the backfield. Davante Adams earns massive street cred. On a bum ankle, he mans up. He beats Sherman down the sideline. The MVP is looking for him, but Sherman grabs him. There's no call by the official, which is totally ridiculous. Still, it was the type of play that builds a Winning Locker Room. Adams was gutting it out.
* It's Rodgers to Cobb on a wheel route. On the play, Montgomery earns hustle points. Coming across the field, he adds 10 yards to the 19 yard reception. Montgomery got a chip on Wagner and then he drove Sherman backwards out of bounds. Montgomery showed no fear. He attacked the All Pro.
* It was Rodgers to Rodgers for 9 yards. Again, it was Montgomery laying the blocks to add yardage to what would've otherwise been a short gain.
* Rodgers to Cobb for a first down on 2nd and 1.
* If the 2015 Season turns into one to remember, I will point to a 1st and 10 play that started to make me a believer. Yes, for my eye, it was that defining. We'd yet see Montgomery catch a pass. Ball at the 34. 1st and 10. Trailing 17-16 to our greatest present day nemesis. Trips right. Montgomery is tightest to the formation. Adams is lined up close to Montgomery's right. Jones split wide right. Richard Rodgers is lined up to the left side of the formation. Cobb motions from the backfield to the wide left of the formation. The play was designed for Montgomery on a short out. Linsley snaps with 1 on the play clock. Montgomery catches the ball at the 32. Montgomery runs right at Sherman who gets off of the Jones block. Montgomery and Sherman lower their shoulders into each other. Montgomery bounces off of Sherman. 360 spin move. Montgomery absorbs contact from Bobby Wagner. Montgomery keeps his balance. He rumbles for 17 yards, 12 of which came after contact.
* Rodgers goes back to Montgomery for 2 yards.
* 2nd & 8. Rodgers goes to JJ. Rockin' the yellow wrists, JJ draws an illegal contact on a terrific out-and up route.
* 1st and goal. Montgomery in the backfield. Rodgers goes back to Montgomery for 5 yards.
* It's innovation. Busted play. The MVP on the move to his left. He hits Richard Rodgers for a TD.
* The Packers go for 2. With Bobby Wagner draped all over him, Richard Rodgers makes a spectacular grab.
* That was a first class drive. 10 plays. 80 yards. 6:16 off the clock.
* Jayrone Elliott! With the monstrous pick!
* I heart TJ Lang.
* Richard Rodgers isn't a great blocker. But, it was really nice to see him play with great fight. Played with passion. With high emotion.
* The Packers locker room has great camaraderie!
* THE MVP ON THE HARD COUNT! BELT YOU VERY MUCH!
* James Starks. Game ball. Ran hard. XLV-style.
* 3rd & 6. No Jordy. Ball at the 21. Clock ticking beneath 4:20. Seattle with only 1 timeout. I turn to my wife and say: "Star, you have to look to Montgomery here." Three wide with Montgomery in the slot. Richard Rodgers lined up next to the MVP, who is in shotgun. Cobb directly behind the MVP. Cobb goes in motion. The Packers play aggressively. On a crossing route, it's Montgomery locks down 13 yards.
* Jayrone Elliott goes tomahawk chop to force the fumble and seal the victory!
* The demons are behind us. Walk with confidence. We control our destiny. Let's own it. Anything less than 8-0 at Lambeau is unacceptable. We need that same type of crowd fire EVERY game this year. Multiple forced timeouts. Be proud, G-Force.
Here are some other quick vibes from the last week:
* Mike McCarthy might not be calling the plays anymore, but the crucial drive to start the 4th Quarter was vintage McCarthy. It had his stamp all over it.
* It's great to see the MVP with full mobility.
* Get healthy, EDDIE! Even if you need to rest for a week.
* Donny Barclay. Thrown into the fire, he performed admirably.
* TJ & Sitton. The best Guard combo in the league.
* The MVP used all of his tools. Got Richard Rodgers and Ty Montgomery involved when it mattered most. It was a beautiful thing.
* Randall Cobb. Arguably the best slot WR in the NFL.
* The 35-yard run by Starks was a big momentum shifting play. AQ81 had the big block on the play.
* Bakhtiari is such a gritty battler.
* Aaron Rodgers. In belt formation. MVP. MVP. MVP. Yes, for some teams, it's victory formation at the end of the game. For the Packers, it's belt formation.
* JJ! Yellow wrist it! Sorry I ever doubted you.
* Richard Rodgers in the end zone. Get used to it.
* At the end of the first half, how was that not pass interference on the JJ-butt play? And, again on the Richard Rodgers pass?!?! Brutal.
* Mason Crosby. Straight $$$!
* YELLOW JAKE! Epic special teams tackle.
* Throw the stats out the window, Clay was a force. A dictator.
* Like seeing Peppers at DT on 3rd down, even if he was largely ineffective.
* Nick Perry with solid effort. And, for the most part, good containment.
* Jeff Janis was a force on special teams. Fighting for playing time. Loved his fight.
* BJ RAJI! Dude is ballin'. My good buddy, Vargas, appropriately quoted Phish: "WON'T YOU STEP INTO THE FREEZER!" Need Raji to continue to win the line of scrimmage. Thought he made a statement early.
* Mike Daniels seems to be pressing a bit. Good energy. But, over pursuing.
* Great game, Datone Jones.
* Nate Palmer was a good student. In the right place. He just wasn't good enough. Also didn't like when had didn't help HaHa off the turf after HaHa dropped the diving interception. That's not the type of teamship that exudes throughout the Packers sideline.
* That's the Sammy Swagga I know and love.
* Need better, Casey Hayward. SHOWCASE those skills.
* Micah Hyde is playing really good football. Excited to see him get a chance to return a punt this year. Opposing punters have done a good job so far.
* Damarious Randall is earning playing time. Looking the part on the perimeter.
* Nice to see you, Morgan Burnett. Worried about your calf.
* No one on the team looks the part more than HaHa. Need him to take the next step. Desperately. He's in position, he just needs to finish.
* Jayrone Elliott. Two immense plays. But, want to see more effort as a pass rusher.
* Andy Mulumba. Know your role. Keep to your assignment. Do not lose containment.
* Mike Neal started well. But, what was that offsides penalty? Cost the Packers 4 points.
* The Packers no huddle offense is so special.
* I understand why the Packers wanted the ball to start the game. They wanted the fast start. But, it was so predictable that Seattle was going to start off fast in the 3rd Quarter. In the future, I'd trust the crowd to help get the Packers defense off of the field to start the game, so that the MVP gets the ball to start the 3rd Quarter.
* Dom Capers drew up a great game plan.
* Hated the QB draw play call on 3rd down near the goal line. Let's keep the MVP clean.
* At some point, when the Packers go Trips right, I'd like to see Cobb tight to the formation with Janis to his right and Jones split wide. Janis will get a free release. The defense will expect the ball to be thrown underneath with Janis being used as a blocker. Janis would be wide open on a fly route. At some point, they'll need him over the top. I'm probably just impatient right now.
* Really excited that Joe Thomas is back. He has natural instincts at ILB. Brought some force. Logical replacement for Barrington. Should aid the run defense.
* Josh Boyd wasn't playing well. Still, ugly to see that injury.
This week - it's the Chiefs. At Lambeau. On Monday Night Football. In a total trap game. The Packers and the fans better match last weeks intensity or the Packers will be 2-1.
Kansas City has strengths that play to the Packers' weaknesses. Expect some read option. Alex Smith doesn't offer what Russell Wilson does, but he will be plenty dangerous with his mobility. And, Jamaal Charles might be the best back in the NFL. Travis Kelce is a dangerous TE target who will give the Packers fits. James O'Shaughnessy will present a mismatch as well. Where Seatlle didn't use the TE, KC most certainly will. They could see as many as 10-12 targets this week.
The Chiefs have a finesse OL. They do well against speed rushers, but can be moved with power. I'm hoping Peppers, Neal and Perry can all provide a pass rushing lift. Thus far, our pass rush has been nonexistent. I'd also like to think that the Packers will be able to generate pressure via blitz disguise. The Packers defense has to be in attack mode.
The Packers should be able to neutralize Jeremy Maclin, Albert Wilson and Jason Avant.
Defensively, KC will give the Packers headaches. Especially without EDDIE at 100%. Justin Houston, Allen Bailey and Tamba Hali will pin their ears back. They can win with speed and power. Derrick Johnson still plugs up the middle of the field with excellence. The Chiefs have a great young secondary. Two years ago, I wanted Philip Gaines in GB. Last year, I was hoping the Packers would draft Marcus Peters. I thought he was the best CB in the draft. KC drafted him before he got to GB. Eric Berry, Husain Abdullah and Ron Parker will each make their presence felt. Weekly.
It'll be another test for Donny Barclay and David Bakhtiari. If they can win their battles, the Packers will be in good shape. If not, it'll be a dogfight.
I want to become a full-blown believer in the 2015 Green Bay Packers. Every year, Mike McCarthy teams improve. Except for 2011. But, I question whether we have the defensive personnel to get to the QB on a big 3rd down. Do we have the defensive intensity to stop the run? Is our secondary able to slow down a top shelf receiving core? If a solid TE is targeted, can we defend him? These are all valid concerns. Many of them will be tested. So, too, will be the ability of the Lambeau faithful to match last weeks intensity.
Andy Reid will devise a strategy to take care of the football. He'll try to win the middle of the field. Charles will pound away at the middle of the defense. Kelce and O'Shaughnessy will see multiple passes between the hash marks. Reid will slow down the game. He will try to win by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. He design a bunch of short routes that gets the fall quickly out of Alex Smith's hands. And, he will count on De'Anthony Thomas to make a big play. With Sean Richardson and Ripkowski questionable for the game, special teams could play a big role.
The MVP strikes first. He hits Cobb on a short down and out for a 3 yard TD. The Packers grab a 10-point lead, but the Jamaal Charles slashes away. Knifing through the defense, he quiets the crowd and cuts into the lead. But, the MVP isn't to be denied. Richard Rodgers grabs another TD. Nick Perry notches a sack. Cobb tops 100 yards. It's Rodgers to JJ on a double move.
Take PTO on Tuesday morning, Lambeau. Elevate to peak levels on Monday Night Football. Let's make a statement!
Go Pack Go!