Monday, January 16, 2012

Packers Man Up

TV viewers watched the Packers--Giants game yesterday and waited for the Green Bay offense to click into high gear. The Packers started out slow, but seem to hang tough with the Giants until they got roughed up at the end of half. Just short of field goal range, everyone was expecting a play to set up a field goal, but the Giants surprised with a Hail Mary pass that resulted in a touchdown.

Still, the sky was not quite falling--most Packer fans were probably thinking it would just take a little longer to catch up in the second half and then seal it. It never happened. Superior passing and pass coverage by the Giants was matched by dropped passes by the Packers. Defensive play-making by the Giants was matched by poor tackling by the Packers. Secure running by the Giants was matched by fumbles by the Packers.

Four Packer turnovers certainly contributed to the 37-20 drubbing. But it was still a difficult game to categorize. Mike McCarthy offered and accepted no excuses. It was not the bye week--or the preparations that did the Pack in according to their coach. According to McCarthy the third quarter was the turning point--the fact that the Packers had the ball almost the whole quarter and just got three points was the killer. It was an anemic performance by a high octane offense.

According to Aaron Rodgers, the Pack just turned the ball over too many times to win. The Giants covered guys well and condensed the pocket. We got beat by a team that played better.

When asked to put his spin on the 15-1 season, Rodgers said the season was disappointing. He expressed regret that the players who shared the locker room with him this year would not experience a championship season. He alluded to the fact that in the NFL players move on and next season's team would be a different one.

Just how different remains to be seen. But one thing is certain, the Packers were the class of the NFC this year. And in the NFC north, they were far better than the Lions, the Bears and the Vikings. That may not be the case next season.
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout by Patrick McCaskey.

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