For the second time this year, at Philadelphia, the Packers defense rose to the challenge on the final possession to save victory. This time - it was T-Mon who made it feel oh, so sweet!
This team has a Championship caliber defense. This defense is loaded with playmakers. With closers. With game changers. At a time when we needed it most, the defense played exceptionally. Dom Capers has been a mastermind in the 2010 NFL Season. Each week, his defense amazes me. For the most part, we shut Michael Vick down. It was hard for me to imagine a scenario in which the Packers defense would make Vick look ordinary. Last Sunday, it happened.
If you've followed my writing in past, you'll know that I'm a firm believer in what I refer to as the CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE. It's when your offense is against the wall. Points are a necessity. You need a response. Usually, these drives occur between the final 7 minutes of the 3rd & the first 7 minutes of the 4th. Against Philly, I thought our CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE occured earlier. Leading 14-10 with 13:50 in the 3rd Quarter, it felt like momentum was changing. My pulse felt as though a TD was a necessity or else we'd be in trouble. We needed 7 points.
12 plays. 80 yards. 6:17 off the clock. Twice on 3rd down, Rodgers found Driver to move the sticks. Starks with 35 yards rushing. Then a beautifully orchestrated screen to B-Jack. Stellar!
Maybe, just maybe, 2010 will be remembered as the season for revenge. Starting with the Week 16 victory over the Giants, which could eventually avenge the '07 NFC Championship. The Wild Card victory against Vick would not only erase the 2002 loss to Vick in which he provided Lambeau its 1st ever playoff loss, but the Wild Card victory over the Eagles marks the 1st time the Eagles have ever lost a home Wild Card game. This week - it's the Falcons - who beat us in the '02 playoffs. It's time for additional revenge.
I'm heading to Atlanta to give as much G-Force as I can offer. I expect to see many Packer fans raising the volume with me.
The Claymaker! Lock him up for life! Congrats on the Defensive MVP award. Total stallion. He dominated Philly.
Erik Walden making in plays in space. He drops nicely in coverage. His long wing span makes him a challenge for opposing offenses. Still, I question his ability to play the run, but nonetheless, he's played well since Zombo's injury. Much better than we could have expected. Great sack. Nice to see the forced fumble. I was extremely impressed when he made the tackle against Vick on the opening series on 3rd down.
Congrats to Aaron Rodgers! 1st playoff win. Many more to come. I'm positive of it.
Coming into the year - who would have thought that one of the weaknesses at this point would be our WR's ability to hang onto the ball? While Driver was ol' reliable on 3rd down, he dropped a crucial ball. James Jones dropped - what could have been a dagger to close the 1st half. Jennings might have been credited with 2 drops.
James Starks. Keep runnin', kid! Keep fallin' forward. Muscle threw. Beat the 1st contact.
Really enjoyed the swing passes to Starks & Kuhn. Hope we turn to this if we struggle running the ball this week. Great to get a RB running with a head of steam on the outside.
Really impressed with the performance of our OL. Great game for Colledge & Wells. Thought they really opened up the cut-back. Colledge was also crucial on B-Jack's TD.
Is it just me or do defenders put hands in Bulaga's face all of the time? Wish this would get called.
Sammy Swagga continues to impress. He has a great future!
Liked Peprah's play against the run.
Desmond Bishop saves the season with the tackle against DeSean Jackson. Earned his extension with that tackle. Regardless of what happens in the future. HUGE play. Season saver!
AJ Hawk playing with reckless abandon. Playing super!
Capers blitz calling was exceptional. Delayed blitzes had Vick confused all day.
Tim Masthay is legit!
Aaron. Rodgers! TEN different receivers. Yes, 10! Let me repeat that, 10 different receivers! 3 TD's. That makes 7 TD's in 2 playoff games. Time to elevate even further, Aaron Rodgers!
Quinn Johnson has been terrific ever since the loss to the Lions. He's been delivering crushing blows. I also liked seeing him fight for the 1st down!
Fun to see Crabtree in the end zone, making noise & talking rubbish to the fans of Philly! Hilarity!
Defense rose to the task forcing a turnover and notching 3 sacks.
This week - we head back to the Georgia Dome. Though we lost over T-Day weekend, when I walked out of the Dome, it felt like we were the better team. It felt like we beat ourselves. It felt like we'd be back in Atlanta for the playoffs. It felt like we'd be able to beat them if we played them again. That time is NOW! I'm stoked to be a part of it.
Matt Ryan vs Aaron Rodgers. Two of the best young QB's in the league. The winner will surely be the favorite to go to Dallas for the Super Bowl. Regardless of the result between Chicago & Seattle. Ryan & Rodgers have developed into elite 3rd down QB's. Two of the best in the game.
Expect the Falcons to run the ball. To try to control the clock. I'd be surprised if the Falcons don't try to own the time of possession by running the ball approximately 30 times. And this is a big game for Erik Walden. Expect the Falcons to roll Tony Gonzalez in motion to the left side of the line of scrimmage. Line him up tight against the LT. Run at Erik Walden & Cullen Jenkins. After all, they had success running at Jenkins & Zombo in the regular season match-up. I imagine Snelling & Turner will pound away against us. This will also open up the play action for Atlanta. We'll see Ryan rolling out to his right where he'll find Roddy White matched up against T-Mon. White will run a number of 8-15 yard comebacks off the play-action. Meanwhile, Gonzalez & Jenkins will be running crossing routes. It'll be important for us to stay disciplined.
In response, I hope the Packers switch Jenkins & Raji when we're playing with only 2 down lineman. I'd move Jenkins to LDE & have Raji lined up next to Walden. Further, I'd put Woodson just outside Walden & I'd make it Woodson's responsibility to follow Gonzalez. Let's match our Hall of Fame DB against their Hall of Fame TE. It'd be a physical match-up. And, by doing so, it might limit Atlanta's ability to run the ball left. Should Gonzalez break into a pattern, Woodson will follow. Peprah gives support over the middle & Nintendo Nick gives T-Mon help over the top against Roddy White.
If Walden can win his battle this week, we might begin to refer to him as the 2010 version of Bruce Wilkerson.
Clay Matthews must win his battle against Tyson Clabo.
Call me crazy, but offensively, I want this game to be in the hands of Aaron Rodgers. The Falcons DB's can't stop our WR's. The strength of the Falcons Defense is the LB core. We need to get those LB's off the field. I imagine it'll be tough to run against them. I'm not suggesting that we abandon the run game. I'm simply saying that I'd like to see us come out throwing.
1st play of the game. I-Form. Quinn lined up in front of Starks. I'm going play-action. Up top to Jennings. Take a shot early. Let's make a statement from the start. Get rid of the butterflies. Launch it. Let our Pro Bowl WR make a play!
The pass can open up the run.
Curtis Lofton is a tackling machine. We need to put a helmet on him. If we can neutralize Lofton, we'll establish a run game. That's easier said than done. If Colledge, Sitton, Wells, & Quinn can get to the second line of the Falcons defense, Starks will be able to operate. Last time we matched up with them, the Falcons front 7 won the line of scrimmage & we had little to no running room.
I foresee a big game for Aaron Rodgers. I see deep balls to Jennings & Jones. Almost shockingly, Jones hangs on. Catches it in stride. For a big play.
Consistently, we're rolling Rodgers to right. And crossing routes will be the death of the Falcons defense. Their defensive front might be more physical than our offensive line, but we have too much speed on the outside. Deep crossing routes will bury Atlanta's secondary. It'll be important for McCarthy to devise a game plan that buys Rodgers additional time.
Tackle Eric Weems on special teams. Don't turn the ball over. And we'll be victorious. I'd almost guarantee it.
At some point, someone on our defense will make the play that will swing momentum in our favor. And, early in the 4th Quarter, Rodgers gets the ball leading 20-16. And, once again, it's 80 yards. 7 minutes off the clock. It's Rodgers to Jones in the corner of the end zone. 3 more TD's for Aaron Rodgers. It's the CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVE of the Divisional Playoffs.
Again, the defensive play of the Packers is beyond crucial! And thus, I see the Packers winning by two scores.
Packers 27. Falcons 16.
Keep believing & the Dallas dream will stay alive.
Go Pack Go!