Defense Delivers Season-Defining Win

On a blustery Halloween afternoon in the shadows of the Big Apple, it's fitting that defense ruled the day. Green Bay's patchwork unit held up against the run, forced three big turnovers and posted the team's first road shutout since...well since Don Majkowski was under center for the Pack. Combine that with some boneheaded coaching moves by the equally blustery Rex Ryan and the Pack had a 9-0 win over the Jets.

Halfway through the season the Packers find themselves in first place in the North. 11 players on injured reserve, including five starters, yet the Pack with this win re-establish themselves as NFC contenders with one more home game before a much needed bye.

Let's start with Ryan. Trying a fake punt on 4th and 18 from his own 20 in the first quarter? Are you kidding me? Yes, they came within one yard and a Packer challenge of converting, but it turned into the only points of the first half and it was the first of Ryan's mistakes. He challenged a fumble call that shouldn't have been challenged and it cost him late, when Charles was credited with a pick that would have been overturned had Ryan had any challenges left.

Offensively, the Pack lost Donald Driver early and then saw Andrew Quarless injure a shoulder. Neither would be a factor. Jennings and Nelson shined in the passing game, while James Jones will see his drop in his sleep tonight--a catch that would have changed the game dramatically.

A game ball goes to Tim Masthay, who had by far his best game as a Packer, consistently pinning the Jets deep. On a windy day, he delivered a performance that will ensure the Packers won't bring in any possible replacements during bye week.

But this game belonged to the Packers defense. Raji, Jenkins, Bishop, Hawk, Matthews, Williams, Woodson, Collins, Peprah...to a man they stepped up and kept a team averaging 27 points from scoring a point--on their home field.

Shutting out the Jets will define the identity of this team. With the injuries to Grant and Finley, it's clear this offense will not be as dynamic as we had hoped, but the defense is acquiring a swagger. A swagger that the rest of the league will take notice of.

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