Packers XLV

Fifth Straight Win Has Pack Eyeing Lead in North

Posted November 19th, 2012 @ 02:11am

The Packers' fifth straight win was not the most artful, dominant, or comfortable of the season. But it was workmanlike: the offense converted a drive when it needed it most and the defense made a stop when it had to. The result: a 24-20 win over the Lions that has the Pack poised to return to the top of the North when week 11 is complete.

I thought the Packers' offense would move a bit more effortlessly, in light of the Lions' injuries in the secondary and the return of Jordy Nelson and John Kuhn to the offense. But Nelson did not appear close to 100% and the offense never found a flow, hampered by penalties in the first half and Rodgers was not his usual laser sharp self on this day in the Dome.

But what matters is the Packers found a way to get a divisional road win and continue their mastery over Detroit. They kicked dirt on the Lions' playoff chances, dropping them to 4-6 with the 9-1 Texans coming to town on Thanksgiving Day.

Here's what I liked: offensively, Jermichael Finley returned to the offense with a couple of big plays. He was inexplicably left uncovered on the Pack's first TD of the day and then made a nice catch and run down the sidelines late to set up the game-winning TD pass to Randall Cobb. Speaking of the mercurual second year receiver, he proved to be the difference again, catching nine balls and running the ball a couple of times. It was not his best day as a returner, but he's becoming the Pack's most dangerous pass catching weapon.

Defensively, the pass rush did its job despite the absence of Clay Matthews. Five sacks of Mtthew Stafford, including two by Erik Walden and one by Matthews-fill-in Dezman Mosses. Couple that with four takeaways and the Packers defense stood up tall on this day. Yes, they allowed Megatron to go off--and Morgan Burnett should have swiped the pass that he caught for a touchdown, but all in all they kept the Lions in check and made a great stand in the game's final two minutes that allowed the Pack to escape with a four point win.

Which brings us to Mason Crosby. My Twitter feed blew up in the second half with calls for the return of Ryan Longwell. Mason Crosby's funk has developed into a crisis. He missed two more on Sunday, before nailing a 39-yarder with a minute to go to extend the lead to four. But he is a mess right now and despite Mike McCarthy's announced commitment to Crosby after the game, the leash is getting shorter. It's incredible to watch a normally consistent kicker completely lose all confidence, but it's where Crosby is right now and he'll face another pressure cooker next Sunday night in New York.

But that's something we can worry about next weekend. For now the Pack sits at 7-3 and if the Bears lose in San Francisco on Monday night the Packers will be sitting atop the North through ten games, by virtue of their win over the Bears. Next up, we'll monitor the health of Matthews and Raji, who limped off the field late and see how many healthy bodies they haveready to go against the rested Giants in a big prime time affair next weekend.

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Comments (6):

This was an ugly game. Even with 5 sacks I think everyone could see Matthews absents. The pursuit just wasn't the same. That said, the defense did it's part, especially since they scored. I think what was weird was McCarthy trying to get the run/throw mix right. It just didn't look like the were able to build on any thing and even were trapped by their own success at times. What happens next week.. I don't know. I'm just sighing with relief for now.

on November 18th, 2012 at 09:52pm

Sherrod done for the season. He will be on IR by the weeks end if he is not already. Line looked bad but D-line (tackles in particular) is Detroits stength. They manhandled EDS and Saturday. Even Sitton got worked pretty badly. A win is a win. Won't be surprised if we lose next week and won't think that is the end of the world. -- Youth on defense is stepping up and getting better. Starks looked better. If Finley can become reliable, they will get dangerous. The middle will be open again next week. We have to use it. GoPack!

on November 19th, 2012 at 02:45pm

A win is a win but if the line plays like that again they will be in big trouble. Nice to have escaped Detroit against an obviously desperate team. I would be all fans hope that the squad continues to get healthy and the players getting time on the field will go a long ways towards a deep playoff run. For now at one game at a time and the Bears playing in San Fran, things standingswise look pretty good. The thought of having to rot for the Vikings next weekend though may still be a bit difficult.

on November 19th, 2012 at 05:01am

I was really pleased at how the young secondary performed against some excellent receivers. I'm not so pleased about the run stopping by our D. Even with Raji, Lions always seemed to get 4-5 yds every time they ran the ball. I'm surprised that they kept throwing making yardage like that. This team continues to win even with a major portion of them are backups. I can't say enough about how they, and especially the coaches, have kept this team winning. With many of the starters coming back in the next couple weeks all rested we should be ready for a big push into the playoffs. Can't wait. Strange to say this but it was surprising to not see Jones make a spectacular catch, we had to leave that up to Cobb.

on November 19th, 2012 at 09:16am

Yes...a win is a win in an ugly game....but still some concerns. If the Pack had lost this game I know most would put the blame on Crosby. But...my take would have been MM's mysterious play calling. The Lions have a weak secondary and yet he was focused on the run. Starks had some nice carries....but how many of you wince like me when our 2nd and 2's turn out to 3rd and 4's. Rogers said after the game he did not like the teams flow or his flow...except for the last drive. If we look back and see when Rogers and the team have the best flow it is when they are in the no huddle ( think the Houston game). What happened to it? Does MM have no confidence in it with Nelson not 100% or is he saving it? Hard to determine. Also ..some concern about our OL....did anyone notice MM voicing some displeasure on the sideline to a puppy faced Dietrich-Smith during the game ? When is Sherod going to be ready to contribute? He is a #1 draft choice and lets hope he is not on the same road as a past #1 Harrell the DL. The best part of this game was the play of the young secondary. Sam Shiels when he is ready to come back may be relagated to a backup and please keep Jared Bush on special teams where he is having an all-pro year and out of pass coverage plays. Still looking for that peaking stride when the injured guys get back....GO PACK GO !!

on November 19th, 2012 at 11:26am

I'm not sure about the majority of Packer fans out there, but I'm a very happy guy today, and the reasons are simple - they won a tough, grind-it-out game against a dangerous division rival on the road with a depleted roster and a kicker that has (hopefully temporarily) lost his mojo. I'm not going to spend time picking this game apart and make a list of the coulda-shoulda-wouldas, because it won't help me feel any better than I do now. The offense isn't lighting it up like last year, and you know what? I don't care. As long as the Pack has at least one more point on the scoreboard than their opponent, I'm a happy guy. And with the Bears starting to head for hiberation, I'm that much more happy today.

on November 20th, 2012 at 03:04pm

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