Packers XLV

Flynn's 6-Pack Gets Pack Ready for Title Defense

Posted January 1st, 2012 @ 11:01pm

Sure, we all saw this coming. On a chilly, windy day at Lambeau with snowflakes in the air, backup Matt Flynn would make his second career start and deliver the best statistical day by a quarterback in Packer history.

In the process, the top seeded Packers sent a message to the Detroit Lions and the rest of the NFC: with nothing to play for and its three biggest stars taking the day off, the champs played a game against a much more motivated opponent and showed why its offense is ready for all comers in the post-season.

Flynn and Matthew Stafford combined for 1,000 yards passing, an NFL record, and it was Flynn's final drive that was his most impressive. Trailing  41-38 with just over two minutes to go, he led the Pack on an eight play, 80 yard drive--highlighted by a beautiful sideline lob to James Jones on the right sideline that put the Packers deep in the red zone. He then hit Jermichael Finley for the game winning score, his Packer record sixth TD pass of the day.

I love the fact that McCarthy had Aaron Rodgers on the headset in the first half calling the plays. He wanted to keep him in the game mentally, since he was inactive--the right call by McCarthy.

It wasn't always pretty. Purists will scoff that a January game at Lambeau with 1,000 passing yards is not great football. But it was a completely entertaining game and it puts the Packers in the right mindset heading into the playoffs.  Rodgers, Matthews and Woodson were inactive. The offense was also missing its right tackle, #1 receiver, #1 running back and all-purpose weapon Randall Cobb.  Yet they throw up 45 on the Lions, a playoff team needing a win to avoid a wildcard trip to the Bayou.

It's a crushing blow for the Lions who fall to the sixth seed and will have to face the red hot Saints at the Superdome next weekend. Good luck with that.

As for the defense without two Pro Bowlers, they gave up a ton of yards and points, but they took the ball away four times, twice each on picks and fumbles, and ended the game on Sam Shields' interception in the final minute.

On display on this day for the Super Bowl champs: a fantastic job by the coaches getting a focused effort from the players on a day where they had nothing tangible to gain. Kudos to the offensive line for rising to the challenge, to Ryan Grant on his 80 yard scamper on a screen pass, to Nelson (nine catches, 162 yards and three TDs), Driver, Jones and Finley for showing why this offense is so diverse and talented. And finally, to Matt Flynn for making himself millions of dollars on his next contract, wherever he lands. On this day he showed he has what it takes to be a starter in this league.

I've seen it theorized that Ted Thompson may elect to tag Flynn and trade him for multiple picks. That would take some guts, because you'd have to throw a ton of cap money his way and be sure you can find a taker at your price. It would also mean they couldn't tag Finley and would risk losing him. At any rate, something to think about after the season ends.

For now, we enjoy the first ever 15-1 Packer team--and the first in team history to sweep its division. A team with 14 days to prepare for, most likely, the Falcons or the Giants. And a team that delivered a message to the field: you'd better be prepared to score a lot of points to beat this team at Lambeau Field.

No matter who is playing quarterback.

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Comments (51):

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on August 21st, 2012 at 04:58am

Kristen Wiltse - Donald & I were thinking of you two diurng the game! So happy you both made it through! :) Might I add, that I also ended up cheering for the Packers because their colors are green and yellow/gold, which are our wedding colors (coincidence that they won? I think not!). Meanwhile, D was cheering on the Steelers. Poor guys. LOL!

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on January 19th, 2012 at 07:18pm

Keep on wiritng and chugging away!

on January 19th, 2012 at 07:59pm

On the last two blogs I said the mantra going forward is "40 for 40" !! Hopefully scoring 40 in 40 minutes and hoping the defense can hold the opponent off. We needed more than 40 to hold off the Lions but we did. This is what we will need to do in the playoffs....score big. My daughter made the trip from the Twin Cities and was kind of dissapointed Rodgers and the other key starters would not play....but it turned out to be a very entertaining game. Nice touch by MM letting Rodgers call those early plays. GO PACK GO !!

on January 1st, 2012 at 09:29pm

This was a fun game to watch. Well, we know we won't be seeing Pat Lee returning anything during the playoff. That said, here is what I saw. Clifton took his snaps got beat a couple times, but proved he could still play. Ryan Pickett is back and a much needed player. Clay has still not found a partner on the other side. Flynn can start in this league. I hope he ends up in the AFC. I think a sign and trade would be crazy. I can't imagine Ted doing it. Is it asking too much to go quality over quantity in this years draft? I say #1 priority is Defensive End. Green and Picket are not young and Raji is overworked. Jenkins is sorely missed and we have not been able to "next man up" that position. Maybe the bye week is a good time to do an early wish list for the draft?

on January 1st, 2012 at 09:32pm

Very well said my friend. Unfortunatly this was the first game that I was unable to watch due to a foot surgery and I so wish I could have watched but I listened. I just love the position that we are in and look foward to a long post season. Great blogs and I love your shows. Can't wait until tmrw at 10:45 with Mr. PA

on January 1st, 2012 at 09:43pm

Rodgers and Flynn? Feels a little like Starr and Bratkowski all over again!

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on January 22nd, 2012 at 04:19pm

How we tret our veterans is embarrassing. They gave their freedom for our country and deserve to be treated better. Thank you!

on January 24th, 2012 at 09:33pm

The Lions and their classless antics have me rooting for them next week. I would love to see the Packers really lay one on them and end their season when the whole world was watching.

on January 2nd, 2012 at 05:21pm

Funny how on Friday you said the Baylor/Washington game an embarrassment to football with no attention to defense but as you said "A meaningless Packer game becomes the most entertaining, memorable game of the season." Guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. By the way, Rodgers and Brees should be co-MVP. They are much closer than Manning and McNair were in '03 and Flynn's performance yesterday showed that if both Rodgers and Brees were both lost for the year in the preseason the packers would still compete while the saints would be sunk. End of the day one wins the other or tie should not offend anyone.

on January 2nd, 2012 at 08:44am

Hey Justin, don't diminish what Rodgers has accomplished just because the Packers coaching staff is better at developing QB's than the Saints are. Flynn turned the ball over twice yesterday and almost threw a game ending pick that went through the defender's hands. Would the Pack compete against good teams with Flynn? Probably. But against elite teams, I doubt it. And we don't know that Chase Daniel couldn't do the job in New Orleans because the Saints are always too busy, putting their starters back in, running up scores and padding their stats. The Packers are more concerned with the bigger picture: winning the Super Bowl.

on January 2nd, 2012 at 09:06pm

As crazy as franchise & trade sounds, it may be the way to go. There are some teams that will be willing to give up some serious picks/players for Flynn; remember the last GB backup QB to leave? Thinking Hasselback had some very good momenta for Seattle. Also, without Flynn, we need the next generation backup to a Packer QB great! By signing-trading Flynn, the Pack could have as many as 6 1st/2nd round picks. Too bad Flynn wasn't signed, not a terminal mistake, but a bad one...

on January 2nd, 2012 at 11:11am

I don't like the franchise Flynn plan. It just feels abusive. I know the Packers have the right to do it, but I don't like it. Flynn would be under one year contract, granted for good money, and he wouldn't get to choose the team he goes to. He would be stuck with a one year audition instead of the 5+ year deal he will probably get. Your taking money out of his pocket when he has been a good soldier. Now you can't use that tag on Finley, granted you will get some draft picks, which you'll have to use to try to replace Finley. I don't like it. We don't need to do it.

on January 3rd, 2012 at 09:57am

Al, there was nothing diminishing about my comment. I said that I think they should be co-MVP's, said that if either wins it outright that I would not have an issue either way, and frankly the Flynn commentary is more praise on McCarthy and Co than as rip on Rodgers. My goodness saying that someone is as good (never said he was better) than your guy is should not insult you or be taken as a diminishing of anyone.

on January 3rd, 2012 at 10:05am

Justin, thanks for the clarification. But I didn't take it as a personal insult. I simply doubted your assertion that Flynn could keep the Packers competitive without Rodgers. Against mediocre teams like the Lions sure but not against good teams. However, I'm afraid we'll have to disagree on Brees being equal to Rodgers. Brees threw multiple picks to cost his team two games against the Bucs and the Rams, who are two of the worst teams in the league. Ultimately, Brees played a role in his team losing the first overall seed in the NFC playoffs. He also lost the head to head matchup with Rodgers in the first game of the season. Yes, he broke some records and put up great stats,because he threw the ball more than anybody else. But Rodgers has been more consistent over the entire season. He only threw 6 picks to Brees' 13 or 14. Rodgers also threw one less touchdown than Brees despite throwing 155 less passes, not playing in the last game and parts of 4 other games. Rodgers also set a new NFL passer rating record, despite an average at best offensive line and the burden of covering for the leagues statistically worst defense. He's a more efficient quarterback than Brees and doing more with slightly less IMO.

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So many teams are desperate for a denect QB, it wouldn't surprise me if some team is chasing Flynn. Although I agree with Gary, taking Flynn vs. a rookie from college is probably a better gamble. However, if the rookie salary cap really does materialize, a rookie might be cheaper.

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