Packers XLV

Remember That Slow Start? Me Either.

Posted January 9th, 2017 @ 02:01pm

I have no idea where to start.

Think about where the Packers stood through the first 25 minutes of this game. Would you ever, in your wildest dreams, imagine that over the final 35 minutes Aaron Rodgers would toss four touchdown passes, finish with more than 350 yards passing and a QB rating of 125?

As lost, broken and out of sync as the offense looked through the first five drives, they were nearly unstoppable the rest of the way. A deep sideline route to Davante Adams seemed to be the spark. The incredible Hail Mary touchdown to Randall Cobb at the end of the half was the detonation. Despite losing Jordy Nelson to a brutal hit to the ribs, the offense that we've watched over the last six weeks found its footing in the second half, led by Cobb whose return was precisely what the doctor ordered.

Leon Hall will be fined for the hit that ended Nelson's day, and maybe his season. That's little consolation to Nelson and the Pack. His magical season will earn him the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, but he will be sorely missed in Dallas, if indeed his rib injury is as bad as it looked. But as things go in the NFL, you gotta move on and Cobb's three touchdown day was a loud reminder of how big a weapon he is for this offense.

The Pack escaped falling into too deep of a hole early, thanks in part to solid red zone defense and an equal measure of dropped passes. OBJ's drops were a sign of his day to come--he was a complete non-factor, thanks in part to LaDarius Gunter's strong coverage. The defense was solid for 60 minutes, with Damarious Randall holding up well and giving up very little production.

The special teams edge went the Pack's way too, with Jacob Schum flipping field position at a few key times and Micah Hyde doing damage as a punt returner. This unit will also need to win next week in Dallas, if the Packers hope to spring the upset.

But naturally, the story of this game, like all games, was the play of Rodgers, who shook off a very lethargic start and destroyed the Giants from the last play of the first half all the way to the end. It took a while to take advantage of the loss of corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who left the game early with a leg injury; but once Rodgers found matchups he liked, he took full advantage with Cobb and Adams the main beneficiaries.

There were a few head scratchers, most notably McCarthy's indefensible decision to go for it on fourth and one on the Pack's side of the field, while nursing an eight point lead early in the third quarter. There was no reason not to kick the ball away and make Eli Manning try to lead his team on a long drive. Instead, he took over at the 40 and two plays later it was a one point game.

There are times to be aggressive and there are times to be smart. McCarthy blew that one, but it ultimately didn't come back to haunt him. The Packers also give away their precious timeouts too freely and will cost them one of these days. They wasted one when they didn't get a player off the field in time early as the Giants were lining up to punt. They gave away a couple more when the play clock was winding down. Those timeouts are gold--think about the play just before the Hail Mary. If Jared Cook doesn't drop that pass the clock would have run out--the timeout that was wasted on the Giants punt would have come in mighty handily had he made that easy catch.

But hey, it all worked out and the Pack's second half performance should serve notice to the rest of the NFC. No matter how shaky things start, Rodgers and the Packers can score on anyone. They just put up 38 points on the best defense in the playoffs. They might need every one of those points next Sunday in Dallas.

Green Bay hasn't won a playoff game there in 50 years and they are underdogs in Sunday's divisional round matchup. We have all week to wonder how they'll stop Zeke, Dak and Dez, but rest assured, Cowboys fans will be wondering the same thing about the hottest, most dangerous player in the league.

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Comments (7):

Any ghosts lingering around Lambeau from the 2007 & '11 playoffs were thoroughly exorcised in this one; though at the beginning they seemed to be trying to make a reappearance. The Packers have been giving payback with interest on teams that have frustrated them in postseason in recent history. The Giants, Niners and Seahawks have all felt the wrath of Green & Gold. That now only leaves the Cardinals to whom the Pack still "owes" something for playoff defeats past. But next is a club that was a postseason nemesis of the Pack 20 years past. Green Bay will be looking not only to advance this year but deliver a little payback to four straight playoff losses at Dallas since winning the 1966 NFL title game there. The challenges only get tougher the further along the world championship trail a team goes.

on January 10th, 2017 at 05:27am

LDF, ditto,I said 1st one to 17 wins. looked like it until 2 minutes left in half. great job 12 and MM play calling. Caper's d is amazing me so far. I loved them going for it. but , use Michael or fake it, and Rodgers could walk for 3 yds every time. like the way they kept passing with 11 point lead. boys this week, let's find out for sure what o line is the best, there better at the run, were better at the pass. it helps to have Elliott.there going to try and control the ball, and keep 12 on the bench, may have to play man to man and put Burnett on line to help with run, take our chances with dak 's passing game, keep 21 back there to double team bryant.. PISSES me off with Jordy, damn guy leading with his helmet, But, if he catches it the 1st time, it would not have happened either. no luck. we could really use 87 this week in the dome. hopefully 12 will remember the super bowl and how hot he was then, just like he is now.. Need GERONIMO to step up, along with Cook. need 38 again to win, don't know if we will get enough possessions to score that much though, unless we get 2 turnovers again. lastly, for my man the Voice, did you notice, Cook and Peppers ? 2 free agents that really helped us win that game, I know OSSG did. to Davey, 12 is MVP, I don't care what you say or how it's voted. Go Packers.

on January 10th, 2017 at 12:23pm

NFL fan first, we all have reservation about whether this is a Superbowl team. Superbowl are hard to win. What we do know, is that we have a chance. If we can beat the Cowboys, which is no small task, you will see an explosion of excitement as expectation will soar. Me, I'll stick believing that we got a fair chance... any given Sunday.

on January 11th, 2017 at 01:03pm

Yes, Larry, I get it. It's the Big $$$ free agents I have a problem with. That being said, if any of you were a betting man, would you seriously bet against Rodgers and the Packers right now? They are on a light-out level right now, and are full capable of running another table. LOOK OUT!!

on January 11th, 2017 at 04:42pm

congrats on getting this far! Great for the fans. But do you think besides the MVP to be QB, is this is a championship squad? I respectfully question it.

on January 11th, 2017 at 11:51am

Well, I was wrong about just about everything I wrote last week. I'll tip my hat McCarthy as well. I don't always like the plays he calls, but we deserve the credit for the stuff that works too. I didn't mind the fearless go for it call. I understand why he thought they were feeling it. I didn't like the play selection, but hey he gets right more than a lot of coaches. This was a beautiful game. I loved how even with a lead the defense stayed greedy. Though trying to run back that last ball was just silly. I guess they were just having too much fun.

on January 9th, 2017 at 04:25pm

GO PACK GO....They certainly did...I wont talk about all the obvious big plays and big game players...but will point out some of the overlooked that all contribute to the big picture win. Julius Peppers had maybe his best game of the season...not all sacks but deflecting balls and getting in Manning face. Thomas and Ryan at the linebacker posts were solid in tackling and covering. The Twin killer B's...Bactari and Buluga are so solid we take them for granted. The Boys bring a different challenge...a much more potent offense...but a defense that at least on paper was not as daunting as the Giants. Lets keep rolling. GO PACK GO !! PS: Where are Cane and his followers. Probably hanging out in that Viking Trophy Room...as it has a lot of open space to accomodate them.

on January 9th, 2017 at 11:31am

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