Mike McCarthy’s halftime speech has entered the pantheon of great speeches. None of us know what was really said, except for the fact that Brady Poppinga said it was only PG-13. McCarthy has joined the elite, and his speech is now alongside such greats as John “Bluto” Blutarsky. The Packers followed one of the worst quarters in NFL history (7 plays, -4 yards) with a solid 3rd quarter (14 plays, 103 yards, 2 TDs). It wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor and the game Sunday wasn’t over at the half. Thank goodness.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1)Wow, do the Bills suck. This is the first key, because the Packers did not play very well. Fortunately, the Bills showed up to Sunday’s gunfight with a Fisher Price plastic butter knife. At least they upped their yardage this week. Maybe next week, they can hit 200 yds. Just an FYI- I believe the NFL record for worst average in yards per game belongs to the 1933 Cincinnati Reds with 115 ypg. They also scored 3.8 ppg that year. Surprisingly, they went 3-6-1. Something to shoot for Bills fans.
2) Our linebackers were amazing Sunday. Matthews, Hawk and Barnett combined for 23 tackles, 4 TFLs and 3 sacks (the last two were all Matthews). Throw in Chillar’s pick to open the 3rd quarter and you have complete domination. Dom Capers must just giggle to himself.
3) Having a back-up tackle was definitely a key Sunday. The Bills had no sacks this week. Imagine last year at this time. I’d have put the over-under at 15½ sacks. Bulaga may never relinquish the left tackle spot.
4) Perspective. We learned nothing Sunday. This is akin to the Badgers learning anything about themselves Saturday against Austin Peay. We woodshedded a team we were supposed to woodshed. I guarantee we’ll learn something Monday night.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Props to AJ Hawk, but Clay Matthews wins this week. 3 sacks for the second week in a row. He is the defensive Jermichael Finley. There is no one-man answer to stop him. It’s actually quite ridiculous if you think about it. And how in the hell does he weigh 255 lbs?
PLAY OF THE GAME
Dead for an entire quarter, Brandon Chillar’s pick ignited the Packers and pushed them out of the doldrums. The offense took Chillar’s cue and scored on Driver’s catch to make it 20-7 Pack. The Bills went from taking the lead to asking Trent Edwards to lead a comeback. Ballgame.
Wow, there’s a lot to talk about. Heck of a game. Probably the most talked about game on the national circuit today. Heartbreaking finish, but not backbreaking, although as I’m writing this, the Giants are about to go up 14-0 over the Skins. I’m taking a different slant on my postgame today. This game answered some questions but also brought up some new ones.
1) Mason Crosby is a full blown train wreck at this point. The Redskins shipped their kicker, the Cowboys theirs (and ironically, picked up Suisham). Crosby’s quote, “I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just got to keep watching the film, and hopefully we get out of it here.” The film??? Here, let me breakdown the film for you. You suck.
2) Jarrett Bush couldn’t cover an 84 year old woman with a walker. End of story. Instead of pointing and yelling “56 is the mike” I swear I saw Roethlisberger point and say “24 is on the field, 24 is on the field” about 6 times Sunday.
3) Tom Silverstein from the JS needs to settle. He wrote that the game Sunday showed the Packers’ defense is clearly not ready to go to any of the four NFC divisional leaders. Come on. First off, it was just one of those games. You could tell in the first 10 minutes. I wonder if the Eagles’ beat writers wrote the same thing last week after the Eagles gave up 38 to the Giants. Doubt it. Secondly, you just have to outscore ’em by one. One would think Capers will get aggressive the next time.
4) Donald Driver is in full blow up mode. Seriously, he becomes the Packers leader in catches and all of the sudden can’t catch a damn thing.
5) I’ve wondered if the opponents read ROTQ. Obviously they do. I mentioned some players from the Steelers offense in my pregame post. They all had monster games. Everyone of them.
6) We already knew, but Rodgers and Matthews. Holy crap.
Questions that need answering…
1) Why are Crosby and Bush still employed with my season ticket money? At this point I would rather see Gus, the kicking mule trot out onto the field. At least I wouldn’t close my eyes on extra points.
2) Why didn’t we bring in some fresh defensive linemen once the Steelers crossed the 40? It looked like the first episode of “The Biggest Loser” out there.
3) Does Edgar Bennett get paid for this week? We ran the ball 8 times and scored 36 points. Should have been enough.
4) Why not put Collins or another safety at backer instead of Hawk or Barnett in obvious passing situations? We have nickel and dime packages. What do you call 8 defensive backs…besides prevent?
5) Will the Packers make the playoffs? At this point, you can’t hope for the Giants to lose. You have to expect New York to win out. They hold the tiebreak over the Packers. We have to win out. One at a time. Bring on the Seahawks.
One last thing. Crosby and Bush are not to be named from this point on at ROTQ. They are now known as “The one(s) that shall not be named.” One last question that needs to be answered. Do either of them have a dog?
Flipping through my Sunday Ticket channels Sunday, I was shocked to see the Lions-Browns game was actually on. I knew it was blacked out in Detroit, but I would have figured the NFL could have done everyone a favor and blacked it out entirely, or even cancelled it. As it turns out, it was the most entertaining finish of the weekend. In fact, it’s the Game of the Week replay on the NFL Network this week. If you’re a Lions fan, you still had more negatives then positives. The positive is you won and Stafford was NFC Player of the Week. The negatives are: you gave up 37 points to a team that hadn’t scored 37 points all season, you had 3 turnovers and a safety, and your franchise QB almost had to cut his left arm off at the shoulder following the game. The loss of Stafford this week hurts the Lions a lot more then the two defensive injuries the Packers sustained Sunday.
As I have stated earlier on this site, so much of professional sports is showing up. The Packers learned their lesson three weeks ago, so there is no chance in my mind that they think they can coast through this game, even with Culpepper at the helm. On the other hand, there isn’t any real reason to be worried about this game. The Lions slashed one of the worst defenses in NFL history. Culpepper would have slashed the Browns. Big deal. I’ll tell you the real matchup of the year: Cleveland vs. Washington. Too bad they’re not scheduled.
Keys to the Game
1) Contain Calvin Johnson. He was inactive in the first game, and he’s coming off a 7 catch, 161 yard performance. This is a monstrous test for Dom Capers and the newly configured secondary. Normally, this would be Al Harris all day. The problem now is if you roll coverage over to help on Johnson, Pettigrew, their rookie TE, could have a field day. If you noticed last week, every time Woodson went off of Vernon Davis, they threw him the ball because he was WIDE OPEN. We’ll see how Capers defends this mess.
2) Continue the offensive balance. Last week, Green Bay had 32 rushes and 45 passes. For the Packers, that’s balance. Goal for Thursday is to be a little better than last week. Needs to happen to make up for the losses on defense.
3) Get off to a great start. If the Browns can score 24 points in the 1st quarter, just think what the Packers are capable of. Three things working in Green Bay’s favor here. Last week, the Packers had 17 first downs in the 1st half, the 49ers had 1. That stat is real. Secondly, the Lions defense is absolutely brutal; 31st overall, 32nd against the pass. Thirdly, Packers are 1st in the NFL in turnover margin, the Lions are T30th. On paper, the halftime score should be 67-0.
4) Build defensive chemistry with the new group. These guys need to be on the same page and every one of them needs to step up their game. This is the perfect game to get started with that. Unfortunately, we will be subjected to more Jarrett Bush then is recommended by the World Health Organization. Hopefully, he doesn’t infect the entire Packer Nation. Are there shots for this? Yep- whiskey.
Prediction- Green Bay 47, Detroit 17
You have 10 seconds to name five players from the Buccaneers. GO! Name their quarterback. GO! Didn’t think so. To show how bad the Buccaneers are this season, you can’t even access their 2009 stats on their website. They must not want to inflict any more pain on their fans. On a good note, the Bucs will be decked out in the old Tampa orange Sunday. Nothing brings back the memories of bad Tampa teams like the old Bucs colors and logo. Remember legendary coach John McKay, when asked of his team’s execution? “I’m all for it.” Here’s a video from the 1976-77 seasons. Enjoy.
On to the present. Unfortunately, it’s becoming evident that Mike McCarthy has no control over this team. When Johnny Jolly was asked about his asinine head butt against the Vikings, he said, “It was a call they could have called either way. It is what it is. I play like that every game. It ain’t going to change from here.”
When asked about the play and whether or not he should have been benched, McCarthy’s answer was, “By benching somebody, you could be taking away from your defense.” WOW. I guess that answers the questions about our penalty problems. If the head coach isn’t going to require and enforce discipline on the field, fans might as well expect the normal 42 penalties a game. McCarthy is asking for as much discipline as he shows at the buffet table.
Keys to the game
1) A repeat of Cleveland. Tampa Bay is 28th in the league in rushing defense and total defense. We pounded the run against the Browns, we’ll do the same against the Bucs. Ryan Grant is averaging 4.1 yds per carry, and he should average that or more Sunday. This is also the perfect week to debut Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton at tackle. We’re going to need production from these two guys if we want to make the playoffs, and this will be a good warmup for the Cowboys and 49ers.
2) Execute in the Red Zone. The Packers are 21st in the NFL in RZ offense and 28th in RZ defense. The Buccaneers are 7th in RZ offense. Improvement will get us in the playoffs, status quo will knock us out of the running.
3) Continue to win the turnover battle. Green Bay is currently T1 in the NFL with the Eagles at +12. They have the least amount of turnovers in the league with 5. They should be able to feast on the 28th ranked offense in the league.
4) The Packers need to dominate the first quarter. Tampa is running out of chances to prevent an 0-16 season. They still have to play the Saints and Falcons twice, @ Miami, @ Carolina, @ Seattle, and home against the Jets. The line will be +10 or more in every game. They might think this is one of those games they have a chance to win. End those ideas early.
Prediction- Green Bay 38, Tampa Bay 10
A few musings from Sunday’s game…
1) Loudest sustained booing I have ever heard in Lambeau. Of the people who were making noise, 95% were booing. Just our hatred of the Vikings, that’s all.
2) Loudest ovation I have ever heard in Lambeau, for Aaron Rodgers. Very cool.
3) Key to the game- Vikings return game has Percy Harvin. Packers trot out a 47 year old who has been out of football and lost his extra gear seven years ago. Wonderful.
4) McCarthy needs to explain their gameplan in the first half. There was no rhyme or reason to what they were doing. Stretch plays in the running game? You could strap a rocket pack on Ryan Grant and he still couldn’t get to the edge.
5) Jared Allen is good…we should block him.
6) Let me get this straight. You watch a guy rip your heart out for 16 years and he plays on the one team you hate. So he signs with you and you all buy his jersey and fall madly in love. Good Lord. The thing is, we don’t have anything to compare it to. The Vikings, Bears and Lions haven’t had a single Hall of Fame player come up through their organization and then sign with the Packers, mainly because none of them have had a Hall of Fame player.
7) Getting sick and tired of McCarthy explaining to us how they will “clean it up.” If McCarthy…
A) owned a restaurant, OCEA would have shut him down three years ago for rat infestation.
B) was a Hollywood drug addict, he’d have been dead three years ago.
C) was the President of Afghanistan, he would have been re-elected.
Good signs from Sunday…
1) The re-emergence of Greg Jennings. 8 catches for 88 yds and a TD is a good sign.
2) Nick Barnett has finally gotten the hint. Shut your damn mouth and make plays. 9 tackles, 7 solo. He has played well the last couple of weeks.
3) Every time Aaron Rodgers has the ball, you expect good things to happen. He really did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket Sunday and he continues to play well. The first half was garbage, but I credit that to a brutal gameplan.
4) The wildcard race will come down to Dallas, NYG, Chicago, Atlanta and GB. Two are in, three are out. Some big weeks coming up for the Packers.
I have a real problem with all of the people selling their Packers tickets for Sunday’s game. I didn’t even think about it for a second. Why wouldn’t you want to be at Lambeau Sunday? Even without the return of Brett Favre, this is a huge game in the NFC North. I don’t care if you need the money for your booze habit, you go. Need the money for health care? Rub some dirt on it..and go to the game. It’s going to be a classic. The Packers don’t introduce anyone on the visiting team anymore, so Favre’s name will never be announced. If he was, I would boo. He’s on the Vikings. I hate the Vikings.
Before we get to the keys to the game, how about the two attempted tackles by Favre last week after his fumble and pick in Pittsburgh. A complete embarrassment to anyone who has ever played the game. Wrangler should pull their endorsement deal with Favre, because chicks don’t wear Wranglers. No one should ever rip on a kicker or punter ever again before mentioning Brett Favre.
One more rant…the offensive playcalling for the Vikings is going to come back to haunt them. There must be some deal in place with Favre and Childress. Every time the Vikings are inside the 5, they throw the ball. Unreal. You have the best back in the game, and all they can think of is padding the old man’s stats. Keep it up Chilly.
If you are thinking part two will be anything like part one, think again. Also think about this if you’re a Vikings fan. In the first game, your QB played out of his mind, your defense had 8 sacks, forced 2 turnovers, Green Bay had 7 penalties, and you won by 7. That’s it. Seven. For all of the hype with Minnesota’s defense, it is the Packers defense that is currently 3rd in the NFL. Don’t talk about Detroit and Cleveland. The Vikings have already played both of them as well. Be prepared for a defensive clinic…by the Packers.
Keys to the game
1) Packers defensive domination continues. What a difference three weeks makes. Capers has the D running on all cylinders. I would take the Packers D-Line over the Vikings. We have one of the top set of LB’s in the league and I’m predicting 2 sacks from our defensive backs. The Packers defense will also be doing a Lambeau Leap.
2) Control Adrian Peterson without being conservative. Let the aggressive scheme contain Peterson. Granted, they did a hell of a job on AP the first time, but they sat back to cover the gaps, letting Favre have all the time in the world when they did throw the ball.
3) Rodgers stays hot. Hey, he was the NFL’s Offensive Player of the month. Enough said.
4) Control 1st down. Five of the eight sacks in the first game were on 1st down. Either by running the ball or utilizing the short passing game, the Packers need to pick up 4-7 yards on 1st down. Amazingly, Green Bay was 7-13 on 3rd down the first time, but you can’t let Jared Allen pin his ears back on 3rd and long.
5) The energy in Lambeau will be too much for the Vikings to overcome. For those who believe in karma, this isn’t karma. Favre having to come to Lambeau for the NFC Championship game in -15 degree weather is karma. Would you sell those tickets too?
Prediction- Green Bay 27, Minnesota 13
In my preview last week, I wrote that the Browns’ offense sucked. I’d like to publically apologize to all things that suck, because the Browns’ offense is way past sucking. They are a complete train wreck. We need to invent a new word to describe the Browns’ offense. On a related note, what did Brady Quinn do to Eric Mangini? It must have been something perverse to not even get a chance over the last few weeks, but this isn’t a Browns’ blog, so let’s get on to the Packers.
1) The Ahman Green signing has already paid dividends. Ryan Grant looked like a different back Sunday. Granted, it was against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, but he was explosive and running downhill. Nothing like a little competition to get someone going. The real test will be Sunday, but 41 team carries for 202 yards is a great boost!
2) 155.4- Aaron Rodgers’ QB rating on Sunday. It was perfect in the first half. It doesn’t matter who it’s against. Yikes! Another great sign is 8 targets for Greg Jennings. He still hasn’t had a break-out game, but I think he’s getting closer. Thankfully, Jermichael Finley only has a knee sprain.
3) 36.4- Derek Anderson’s QB rating. Don’t forget this guy has went to a Pro Bowl. The defense continues to get the big turnover and in successive weeks, has turned away teams inside the 10. This may not seem like a big deal, but it builds confidence for moments when we will need a red zone stop to win a game.
4) Two teams the Packers should have blown out. Two blowouts. Outscored Detroit and Cleveland 57-3. Outgained the two 895-388. Do it again Sunday!
In my bye week thoughts, I mentioned the Packers will be 4-2 going into their game against the Vikings. I personally see no way this doesn’t happen. Not only are the Cleveland Browns still playing like an expansion team, they had over 15 players held out of practice this week with flu-like symptoms. On a related note, 83% of Browns fans have been out of work with flu-like symptoms. They all become nauseous on Sunday afternoons. Watching the Browns play is now considered hazardous to your health. The CDC is investigating.
The Packers’ locker room is starting to look like a wing of the Packers Hall of Fame. Mark Tauscher is back, Ahman Green is back. Word is Lynn Dickey and Frank Winters were in for workouts this week. Also word in that the government inspected the players’ entrance at Lambeau to make sure it had wheelchair access. Just shows how little is out there on the free agent wire.
Keys to the Game:
1) Use the short passing game to open up the deep passing game. It looks like the Packers are not going to force the issue in terms of running the football. That’s fine. In fact, there was an article this week by Pete Dougherty in the Green Bay Press-Gazette that covers this topic. A six-yard quick out is better then our yards per carry rushing the ball.
2) Contain Josh Cribbs. With the exit of Braylon Edwards, he is Cleveland’s ONLY playmaker. He already has two returns for touchdowns, which in fact, is 33% of the Browns’ scores. They will also look to get him touches in the offense.
3) Another shutout for the defense. Let’s be honest. The Browns suck. They are 30th in scoring, 31st in total yards, and 31st in passing yards. They couldn’t score with a fistful of pardons in a female prison. The Packers D doubled their sack total last week and could double it again this week.
4) Play a cleaner game. They won’t have to be perfect Sunday, but the mental and repeated physical mistakes need to end. McCarthy pulled Brandon Jackson after he fumbled in the 2nd half last week; he needs to do the same with everyone else. How cool would it be to see an offensive lineman get pulled in the middle of a drive. That’s making a statement!
Prediction- Green Bay 27, Cleveland 0