As much as I hate to be a wet blanket, Green Bay Packers’ fans should not start chanting “Su-per-Bowl” just yet. Even though Aaron Rodgers continues to impress and the Packers came up with big play after big play, there is plenty of room to improve.
The final score, as they say, doesn’t indicate how close the game really was in the second half. Behind a seemingly out of gas defense and extremely conservative offense, the Packers allowed the lowly Lions to crawl back into the game and briefly gave up the lead during the fourth quarter.
In the end, Green Bay’s superior talent, along with a stupendously epic meltdown by Lions quarterback John Kitna, was just too much for Detroit to overcome. The Packers won 48-23 by scoring a mind boggling 24 points in the game’s final five minutes.
So, like I said, before we start chanting “Su-per-Bowl! Su-per-Bowl!” how about a healthy dose of reality?
- As crafty, cagey and wily as Al Harris and Charles Woodson are, it’s painfully obvious these guys are slowing down. Detroit took advantage of their age and the inexperience of Tramon Williams and Aaron Rouse during their second half run. Green Bay had better hope Pat Lee and Williams develop quickly, because I don’t think that the Packers have a lot of time left with what is still one of the best CB tandems in the league. Most of the time.
- Ryan Grant, as I predicted, is slow to regain his form and is nursing a sore hamstring. Thankfully, Kregg Lumpkin looks like the real deal and Brandon Jackson flashed some genuine playmaking ability. The Packers running game has to pick it up if they expect to continue winning.
- Why do the Packers always pull back when they have a lead? Twenty one points is a substantial lead in this league, but it’s not insurmountable. Mike McCarthy employed a ‘just try to hold on to the lead’ approach in the second half. While the Packers ran between the tackles for short gains and no first downs, the defense slowly became exhausted, paving the way for the Lions comeback. McCarthy has to develop a killer instinct and put opponents away when he has the opportunity. The Lions had no answer for Rodgers and company during the first two quarters. Their ineffectiveness in the second half was completely self imposed.
- Jarrett Bush. Always out of position. He missed an easy opportunity to down a punt at the one-yard line. Thankfully he doesn’t play much, but seems like he always finds himself in position to make a play and consistently whiffs.
- Aaron Rodgers is simply awesome. Or has been to this point. He still has a lot to prove, but what a start to the season. He has a relaxed demeanor which contrasts with the often spastic excitability of Brett Favre – which was fun to watch, but often lead to WTF-type interceptions or sacks for impossibly huge losses. Most impressive has been Rodgers accuracy and mobility, the latter we have not seen in Green Bay since Mark Brunell was riding the pine.
- Greg Jennings is on a another level this season. How did Ted Thompson find this guy? His first long play against Detroit, where he literally juked the defender off his feet and then juked, spun, cut and ducked his way for an extra 10 yards was completely insane. Thompson better pay this guy. His contract is up soon and it would be a disaster to lose him.
- I know I bashed Woodson a bit above, but broken toe or not, the guy makes play after play after play. Imagine if he had played at this level his entire career. Oakland fans have to be looking at the last three years and shaking their heads.
- My boy Jordy Nelson came up with his first NFL catch, which also happened to be his first NFL touchdown.
- Do you get the sense that Will Blackmon is starting to think he can take it back every time? I commend his confidence, but there were a few times where he should not have taken it out of the end zone. I gotta say though, it’s awesome to have a return man who’ll make other teams think twice. He’ll hit pay dirt again this season.
- AJ Hawk is finally showing why he was selected fifth overall a couple years ago. He was a disruptive force in the first half, tallying two sacks – one of which had Hawk leaping into the air over a blocker and taking Jon Kitna down in mid-air. He and his fellow linebackers had better be on top of their game next week. They’ll be facing a bruising run game and one of the best pass catching tight ends in the NFL. The outcome of the Cowboy game may rest squarely on the shoulders of Hawk, Barnett and Poppinga.
After watching last night’s Philly vs Dallas game, I feel like the Packers will have a shot against the Cowboys this week.
Obviously, the offense can put up huge numbers and Dallas is capable of giving up big plays. Also, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is a risk-taking QB and he will turn it over – like Favre. It’s critical that the Packers defense take advantage of any opportunities he presents. The Packers offensive line will have to play the game of their lives. Dallas’ front seven are fast and mean. If they protect Rodgers, the Packers can win it…
Have I mentioned how happy I am that football is back?