Packers XLV

Packers Don't Panic; Pass Playoff Test

Posted January 11th, 2016 @ 03:01am

Admit it. After the first quarter, you were thinking about the Packers' season in the past tense. It couldn't possibly have started any uglier. One first down in four possessions. The Pack gave up scores in every way possible: first a safety, then a field goal and finally a touchdown. It was 11-0 after one and the Pack looked lost.

The one glimmer of hope was the goal line stand by the defense that held them to that field goal and kept the game within reach. It foreshadowed the strong performance by that unit over 60 minutes. Yes, they got torched by tight end Jordan Reed. But they put constant pressure on Kirk Cousins, did not let DeSean Jackson beat them deep and contained the running game. It was the kind of performance we've come to expect from a unit that has played well all season.

But the story of this game was how Aaron Rodgers took over in the second quarter and began to look like the Aaron Rodgers we've come to love. Yes, he missed some passes that we're accustomed to seeing him hit. But he found his rhythm by speeding up the tempo and keeping the Skins off balance--twice catching them with 12 men on the field and getting Adams, Jones and Cobb involved.

In that 17-point second quarter, we also saw JC Tretter settle down at left tackle--he got his feet under him and provided solid protection from that point forward. Defensively, the Pack pitched a shutout, despite losing corner Quentin Rollins to a quad injury.

After Washington briefly regained the lead to start the third quarter, the Pack ramped up the rushing attack, alternating Lacy and Starks and controlling the line of scrimmage. The Pack scored on five straight possessions to put the game away--when is the last time this season they scored on five straight drives. Can't remember it happening.

Meanwhile, the Pack's defense dominated from that point on. Mike Neal and Clay Matthews were constantly in Cousins' face and the secondary held up its end. Even rookie Ladarius Gunter made a play or two, as he was forced into action with the Rollins injury. I'll take him on the field over Demetri Goodson any day of the week.

We went into this game knowing that Washington was not as good as its 9-7 record. They were a team that rode the arm of its hot quarterback, but had beaten up on a lot of mediocre teams and had not proven they could beat a quality team. Their defense needs a makeover and their running attack is the definition of average. The competition gets infinitely tougher next weekend.

But we'll savor this one for a few days. All we heard leading up to this one was that it was a bust of a season. That Rodgers and McCarthy were on the outs. That the Pack had no playmakers. That the running attack could be called 'the fat guy and the fumbler.' That none of the receivers could make a big catch in a big spot. That Rodgers was off and was no longer a guy who could carry the team.

For one week, they got their mojo back and now will be considered a dangerous opponent for the Cardinals, despite the fact that the Birds handed them their most embarrassing loss of the McCarthy era just a couple of weeks ago. That means nothing now, but the Pack will have to get ready on a short week and there's no guarantee Shields or Bakhtiari will be ready. We'll also await the severity of the injuries to Adams and Rollins.

But they do have a healthy Rodgers, whose offense will head to the desert brimming with confidence and primed for a little vengeance. The next playoff game Carson Palmer wins will be his first ever. They're coming off an embarrassing loss of their own and will have had two weeks to stew about it. Will they be able to put that loss behind them and take the Pack seriously?

The Packers will have to play even better to spring the upset next Saturday night, but for now, let's revel in a dominating road playoff win and dream about the fact that we're just two results away from the Pack hosting the Seahawks in an NFC title game rematch.

A long shot? Of course. But this is the NFL, where crazy penalties and missed chip shots change teams' destinies. Bring on the divisional weekend.

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Comments (17):

That was fun! It has been a while since we have seen Rodgers running around with a smile instead of running for his life. The Packers beat a suspect team, but maybe it will give the Packers a bit of much needed confidence on offense for a much larger test next week. Thank You JC Tretter for helping to put a smile on Aaron's face! I bet it is hard to smile when you are consistently being sacked. Go Pack!

on January 11th, 2016 at 02:32pm

The 2nd quarter was like when Ricky 'Wild Thing' Vaughn put on the glasses and asked to pitch to Parkman. It was the Packers we kind of remembered showing up again after months of stuff like the 1st quarter. Is it okay to feel good about this team again?

on January 11th, 2016 at 08:23am

the Pack are the worst team left in the playoffs. It will be interesting to watch how that plays out. Don't get to excited about beating the previous worst team in the playoffs.

on January 11th, 2016 at 09:19am

The time has passed for analyzing the Packers. We now know what they are capable of, and I will take the approach of one game at a time. I'm not thinking ahead past Saturday's rematch with the Cardinals. I can guarantee one thing for that game - it will be a lot close than the last time they met. GO PACK!

on January 11th, 2016 at 10:12am

Great job pack, you proved me wrong again. Did anyone notice, they they threw the ball on 1st down, 30% of the time and 90% of the time they picked up 7-12 yds. I sure did. keep it up next week. I even saw some crossing routes, an end around with Cobb, and slants.It helps this offense when you can't get open. Did You notice MM and n 12 had a little hug out before the game. looked awkward, but glad they did it. Now it sounds like Adams will be out, damn it. Abby will be next man up. will talk about the cards later. Where is cane and screech today? vikes played better then I thought, but found away to lose. Funny, last year when we out played the hawks for 3 qtrs. and found away to lose, all viking fans were having fun and said it made there year, how does it feel? So let's enjoy another game and see what happens, Enjoy the playoff season. Go packers.

on January 11th, 2016 at 10:39am

Just a couple of things to add - for the first time since 2010, the Packers defense is an asset and not a liability. Granted, they're not a shutdown unit, but they don't have to be. They were not the reason for the debacle the last time they played the Cardinals. Plus it was also good to see the offense become solidified and put together arguably their best game of the season when it mattered the most. But like I said, I'm in win one game mode, and won't look any further than that.

on January 11th, 2016 at 11:08am

I think one of the keys to the offensive production was that MM let ARodgers run the no huddle fast pace plays he seems to thrive on. Nice job by Tretter after first quarter. As Voice says...one game at a time. This blog should clean out now and the real fans will stay on. Cane must be hiding out in the Viking trophy room clutching to his Conference championship trophy while we march on. GO PACK GO !!

on January 11th, 2016 at 11:28am

Voice, you have been right about d. all year, OSSG and I were a little less optimistic as you were , great call. OSSG, I agree with the hurry up too, 12 looks so much more in in sink when doing that. but keep throwing on 1st down, not just 3rd.Tretter did do a great job after safety. anyone heard on bahktari? we have to have Shields though to watch brown for the cards. I am amazed when I started looking at how young that d is except for Peppers and maybe Raji. even 52 now. the rest are all 27 or younger. just wish we could get healthy. Go Pack

on January 11th, 2016 at 11:52am

Come on pollers, JC Tretter is the heady pick for the game ball! Rogers probably would have produced a whole lot of the same 1st quarter results if Tretter hadn't settled in and locked down his pass blocking. Am I right Siny, or am I right?

on January 11th, 2016 at 12:13pm

OLD SOUTH SIDE GUY did somebody invade your sacred little space? get a life .

on January 11th, 2016 at 12:37pm

All four away teams won on wild card weekend. Order has been restored to the universe. And yeah, one game at a time. We can smile this week and We've got a shot to win next week. That's all we can ask for.

on January 11th, 2016 at 12:40pm

Young North Side Guy....My life is wonderfull...thank you....This is not about me or my space. Any one who wants to comment can on this site. It's not a talking trash site...that's my only point.

on January 11th, 2016 at 12:50pm

I pulled that one out for you overmatched clowns. Uh---you're welcome. Though I do get tired of seeing The Paytaker taking credit for his teammates' plays. Maybe I'll throw a flag the next time he pulls that grandstanding stunt.

on January 12th, 2016 at 06:13pm

Oh thank goodness, I thought cheating ref guy was stuck under something heavy.

on January 12th, 2016 at 07:34pm

You guys are the better team. I'm just a jealous and insecure ninny who wishes I could be a Packer fan. Good luck the rest of the way, Pack!

on January 12th, 2016 at 08:17am

Either Cane lost a bet or that is not the real Cane. Can we get some clarification? Although Cane is welcome to become a Packer fan (and he already knows a lot about the team), I highly doubt he would willing speak such words.

on January 12th, 2016 at 08:50am

None of the above, Lynn. I'm just tired of living a life of lies. I figured if I was going to come out of one closet I might as well come out of them all.

on January 13th, 2016 at 08:06am

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