Sorry for being a couple of days late with this. I’ve been up north at meetings with a client for couple of long days and even longer nights, but I’m back and since we’re on to LA, I’ll make this quick.
Not to beat a dead horse, but we Packer fans often have to deal with the ‘you guys have only won two Super Bowls in 25 years’ comments slung our way. And I always answer that getting to watch the majesty of Favre and Rodgers week after week provides constant goosebumps; you never know what they’ll do next.
Sunday night, we saw Rodgers make a couple of throws that take your breath away. When he threw them, they both looked like throwaways. First, the deep pass that Jake Kumerow came up with and then the touchdown pass to Jimmy Grah…I mean, Jamaal Williams. Pure artistry. When I look back at the Rodgers era, it is plays like this that I’ll remember.
As for the game, the Packers punched hard in the first quarter and the Chiefs counterpunched in the second. What I really like is that the Pack made the necessary adjustments at halftime and Mike Pettine’s squad held the Chiefs to just over 100 yards of offense in the second half. And LaFleur found the perfect blend of Aaron Jones on the ground and through the air to keep the Chiefs guessing.
What I loved was the final five minutes. With the Pack backed up at the two, five minutes on the clock and nursing a seven point lead, they were able to run out the clock, with Jones running hard and LaFleur telling Rodgers on third and five to ‘go win the game.’ The pass to Jones in the flat put the game on ice. Packer teams in the recent past would have punted there and faced one last drive by their opponent.
Jones’ emergence as a dual threat, along with the expected return of Davante Adams allows us to dream that this offense hasn’t yet hit its stride, despite being a top five offense in October without Adams on the field. The emergence of Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow lessened the Pack’s need to add a receiver at the trade deadline–this offense will feature backs and tight ends as well as receivers, depending on the matchup. There’s enough talent on offense to win any game. Might they look to add an early pick or veteran next season? Sure, but it’s not a priority in 2019. It’ll be interesting to see if rookie Jace Sternberger, who will be activated soon, can be a factor in the offense coming out of the bye in a few weeks.
I’m not going to get too worked up about a win over the Chiefs without Mahomes and five other key starters. But this is a talented team with a lot of explosive playmakers that had ten days to prepare and were trying to avoid a third straight home loss. And playing in that environment, especially in prime time, is never easy. It was a solid win and this team has yet to lose on the road or in the division at the halfway point. That’s much more than we could have hoped for when the season started.
The biggest thing that needs to get fixed right now is the return game and they made the move on Tuesday, activating Tremon Smith from the practice squad and releasing Darrius Shepherd (I hope he ends up on the Pack’s practice squad, but another team might be interested). Smith will handle kick returns and my guess is Tramon Williams takes over as punt returner. Sure, he’s a bit long in the tooth for the job, but he’s dependable and I’d rather not put Jaire in harm’s way there.
I’ll be back in a couple days to preview the Chargers game, a ‘road’ game in LA, where I’m guessing at least 75% of the fans are Packer backers.