Matt Flynn is my new favorite Packer.
The third-year quarterback more than held his own in his first start on the road against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots Sunday night. He dominated the first half, not making a mistake until a pick-six early in the second half that was wideout James Jones’ fault, and finished with 251 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
He played like a winner, and set the tone for an underdog Packers’ offense that was expected to flounder after starter Aaron Rodgers suffered his second concussion of the season and couldn’t play. He gave the Packers confidence and, yes, even leadership when they needed it.
“I’m speechless,” Jones told the Journal Sentinel. “He came in and took control of this team. He played flawlessly, besides the turnover, which was my fault. He came in and stepped up. He’s a great quarterback and he’s got a bright future in this game.”
Mike McCarthy sang Flynn’s praises after the game, and even the world’s grumpiest old man, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, had to give it up for the kid.
“He does a good job managing the game,” Belichick said. “He’s a good quarterback.”
Flynn did have some clock management issues at the end of the game that could have cost the Packers the upset win, but I blame that more on McCarthy & Co. than an inexperienced backup making his first career start on a huge national stage.
“He was being really smart tonight,” Patriots safety James Sanders told the Journal Sentinel. “He didn’t force anything. When things were covered and nothing was open downfield, he used his check-downs. He made us work for 60 minutes, running the boots (bootlegs), a couple scrambles here and there.”
The 25-year-old was terrific most of the night, showing poise and accuracy that shut the Patriots-loving mouth of analyst Cris Collinsworth from time to time.
And, as Matt Bowen points out, Flynn may have made himself some money with the performance.
Whenever he hits free agency — or is in contract talks with the Packers — he can always turn on the tape from Sunday night’s game as proof of his ability.
I know I, for one, am sold.