In the wink of an eye, my Winter Wonderland vacation to Green Bay, WI bettered itself. The Seahawks loss coupled with the Packers win gave us a 1st round bye. Reason for celebration. Philly defensive dominance over the Cowboys brought meaning to the rest of the Regular Season.
Now, there is no such thing as resting players. The Regular Season is about continuing to find traction. It's about keeping the momentum rolling. It's about peaking at the right time.
The victory at St. Louis was great. However, in my mind, it was not Super. I'm not being a bad buzz. I'm being who I am, which is an optimistic realist.
First off, props to the fans that made the trip to St. Louis to support the Pack. PatRad, Mark, Jason, you made a difference. The "Go Pack Go" chants were heard through the TV. Pat yourselves on the back.
Twice, I thought the Packers had a chance to put the dagger in the Rams by showcasing the Championship Drive. When the Packers got the football in the 4th Quarter after Jeff Wilkins missed the FG, I thought that a TD would have secured the victory. We moved the ball down to the 7 yard line and stalled. The FG was nice, but the Rams kept the lead at 2 scores.
No worries. The Packers get a stop. Followed by great field position, but Favre threw the pick which prevented the Packers from generating a 3-score lead.
So, enough with me nitpicking. This was a great win for the Packers. It was arguably our best Special Teams since the '96 Super Bowl. Think about that. As I jogged through my memory bank, the only game that I could think of was the 2001 Buccaneer game at Lambeau when Allen Rossum returned a late punt return for a TD and a Packer victory.
K-Rob, T-Man Williams, and Willie B. have changed the face of our team. They're clicking late in the season. They're making us more dangerous. It's an added element to an already thriving team.
They said that we could not run. And then 6 of the last 8 games, Ryan Grant ran for at least 88 yards. Additionally, he's scored 6 TD's in the last 6 games. The skeptics were quieted. There were questions about our return game. Then Willie B. goes wild against the Raiders. Then against the Rams, K-Rob and Willie B. both provided great field position for the Packers offense.
'Tis the season to be Jolly! Johnny, that is. Boy, do we miss Johnny Jolly. Jolly and Pickett were a tremendous run stuffing tandem. Corey Williams has not been a stalwart run stuffer. Williams became the everyday player when Colin Cole went out against Detroit. In Williams' three games as a starter, he has 5 tackles and no sacks. For informational purposes only, Justin Harrell has 6 tackles in the last two games combined. Corey Williams is playing for a contract. I'm on record as saying that I hope the Packers show him the money, but Corey Williams must earn that money RIGHT NOW.
Admittedly, our defensive line is starting to concern me. At times, in consecutive games, the Panthers, Lions, Cowboys, Raiders, and Rams offensive lines pushed us around. The Raiders did it with the least success, but Fargas did run for 3.8 yards per carry. To me, much like early in the season, we're slowly becoming a bend but don't break defense. I thought that we were becoming a dominant defense during the stretch against Washington, Denver, KC, Minnesota and the first half of the Carolina game.
I am encouraged because the defense has made game changing plays. Props to Ras-A-tari who has temporarily quieted the critics with 3 picks in 2 games. Yesterday, the Packers had 4 sacks and 2 interceptions. Against the Rams, Nick Barnett played the best game of his NFL career. 13 tackles, all of them solo. 2 sacks. Barnett played like a fierce mad man. He played with a vengeance. He was the leader of the defense. He showed why he deserves a Pro Bowl berth. AJ Hawk played with aggression. He had 7 tackles, all of them solo. He also had a sack. We knew that we could get to the QB if we blitzed. Barnett and Hawk proved us right.
However, if teams are going to try to run right at us, Brady Poppinga must elevate. If Poppinga cannot be a force against the run, he does not have a spot in our starting line-up. Brady, do not over pursue! Keep your gap! Play your lane! Attack!
In closing, cheers to Brett Favre! Another record. Favre to Driver was fitting. Another victory. 2 more TD's, which leaves him 4 short of 30. He's passed for 30 TD's eight times in his career.
12- 2. The Bears on tap. Dallas at Carolina on Saturday night. Washington at Minnesota on Sunday night. The Packers need a Washington victory so that the Week 17 match-up between the Redskins and Cowboys has playoff implications for the 'Skins. Does it get any better than
It's Bear week,