Matthews Shines as Pack Holds On for VictoryPosted:Sep 12th, 2010 11:24 pm
Imagine what Clay Matthews will look like on a dry, quick surface. He was a man among boys in the Packers' opener, relentlessly chasing the resurgent Mike Vick and making enough plays to hold off the late charging Eagles. He better not cut his hair until he has a bad week.
Besides Matthews, the special teams play stood out. Punter Tim Masthay effectively kept the ball away from the dangerous DeSean Jackson. Jordy Nelson had three terrific returns in the second half when the Pack was trying to cling to their once big lead and Mason Crosby made both of this field goals, including a Packer record 56-yarder. I feel much better about this unit after this game (I'd still like to see a punt returner).
Ryan Grant watched the second half in a walking boot. Don't know the seriousness as I write this, but obviously this would be a major loss for the offense. Brandon Jackson ran very hard, but the team elected to keep just two running backs and now may need to go out and find one. Kregg Lumpkin was claimed by Tampa Bay shortly after the Pack released him.
The Rodgers to Jennings connection was back, though Finley did not have the game many expected. The early protection issues were alarming, but they seemed to get their act together by the second quarter. Rodgers earns a B- from me. The second pick may be attributed to a wet ball, but he missed a few throws and wasn't real sharp. It was the opener after all, and the Eagles play hard defensively, we just have come to expect A performances from him. I'm guessing we'll see that next week against the Bills.
The youngsters in the secondary held up pretty well. Andy Reid chose not to attack Sam Shields, which is a head scratcher. The defense let about three picks get away and almost made Vick wake the echoes of his playoff win at Lambeau when he led the Dirty Birds to an upset win. With Kolb out with a concussion, I'm guessing Vick will get a chance to start next week and maybe hang on to the job for a while.
So the Pack is 1-0, winning in Philly for the first time since '62. I'll wait till I hear from the infirmary before I know exactly how I feel about week one. Very glad to win on the road. Bears looked putrid and were lucky to beat the Lions on a ridiculous NFL rule. We'll see them in a couple of weeks. Can't wait.