Sweet 16: Packers Streak Rolls On, Thanks to Full NelsonPosted:Nov 20th, 2011 11:00 pm
We hoped to see a second consecutive defensive masterpiece within a week at Lambeau. Instead, we saw a mediocre Tampa Bay offense carve them up, not to mention the most embarrassing play of the season. LaGarrette Blount's 54 yard touchdown run featured more missed tackles than Rodgers throws incompletions in a game. It evoked memories of Marshawn Lynch's run against the Saints in the playoffs last season.
But despite the defensive lapses, Aaron Rodgers and the passing game delivered once again, with Rodgers and Jordy Nelson proving too lethal a combination for the Bucs to handle. Their final hookup, a 40 yard beauty on third down with the score a precarious 28-26, was a thing of beauty. And the hundreds of us packed into the Park Tavern could finally exhale. The Pack had its 16th straight win and are 10-0 heading into Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
There were some joyous moments. We saw the Pack unveil the Freezer, as B.J. Raji scored his first career touchdown, a la the Fridge. in the first half. We saw Tramon Williams have another two interception day and we saw Randall Cobb with another nice return that got the Lambeau faithful off their feet.
But what we take away from the game was a James Starks knee injury that looked really bad, though he was seen smiling in the locker room. We'll know more about his status when Mike McCarthy meets the media on Monday. We saw Rodgers take a couple of big shots and Jermichael Finley land awkwardly on his elbow. We saw Mason Crosby miss his first field goal of the year, a chip shot. With a huge divisional road game coming up in four days, we'll see how quickly everyone can recover.
Rodgers finished with three more touchdown passes and missed a 300 yard day on a one yard loss by John Kuhn. It wasn't his best day, but the weather was a bit of a factor and he missed a few throw he typically makes. His chemistry with Jordy Nelson is a thing of beauty. It was also nice to see Donald Driver get a few more passes go his way--he grabbed four for 72 yards.
Giving up 455 yards to a pedestrian offense at Lambeau in November is a concern. With hot QBs in front of them the next two games (Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning), the defense will need to be much sharper, or we will be in for some pinball type scores at Detroit and New York. Nice to see Mike Neal out there for the first time this season. Hopefully he will add some punch to the D-line.
The Packers get set to enter the Lions den on Thanksgiving. I'm glad the kitties came from way back to fend off the Panthers. A loss at home to Carolina would have had that Detroit team out for blood. Instead, they enter the game at 7-3 and in the playoffs as of now. Like the Packers, they're a one-dimensional offense. Stafford threw five touchdown passes on Sunday--none of them to Megatron, Calvin Johnson. The scoreboard will be poppin' on Turkey Day.
A franchise record 16 straight wins and counting. Number 17 would make the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and my brother's nachos taste sooo much better.
Since there's no "Packer Preview" before the Lions game, I'll do a podcast that will be available here on Thursday morning. Please leave your comments/questions in the comments section or via email and I'll read them during the podcast.