When Does A Loss Feel Like A Win?Posted:Dec 20th, 2010 4:16 am
No, the loss in New England didn't really feel like a win. But it felt a whole lot better than last week's loss.
The Pack played well enough to beat New England and snap Tom Brady's 26-game home winning streak; but the failure to capitalize on three potential interceptions was the difference. So was the ridiculous kickoff return near the end of the first half by an offensive lineman that sapped the Pack of the momentum of a ten point lead.
It began on the game's first play, when Mike McCarthy tried an onside kick that gave the Pack possession and got them on the scoreboard first. More than anything, we learned that Matt Flynn was up for the moment. Yes, he made some mistakes. But considering the circumstances he was facing, he played beyond everyone's expectations, except maybe his dad Alvin's.
If Rodgers is not ready to return next week, and barring a setback he should be back behind center next Sunday, at least the Packers know that Flynn can lead this team if he's needed.
The positives: Brandon Jackson flirted with a 100 yard rushing game and John Kuhn converted a number of key third downs with extra effort and broken tackles. The offensive line played light years better than last week--blocking well in the run game, protecting Flynn and avoiding penalties.
The defense was outstanding. Late in the third quarter, they had given up just 129 yards to the Patriots. That's unheard of. Bishop and Raji made a number of big plays and the back end held up despite the loss of Nick Collins, who injured his ribs in the first half.
The final drive ended in an ugly fashion, as you might expect from a QB who's never been in that situation before. If the Pack picks off one of those passes, if they tackle the offensive lineman on the return, if they have one more timeout at the end, they may have registered one of the upsets of the season.
Instead, they leave Massachusetts at 8-6 and hoping for a wildcard berth. Wins by Philadelphia and Detroit made the path a lot clearer. The Pack controls its playoff destiny. If they win their final two games, they're in the playoffs as, at worst, the #6 seed. That's all we can ask for after a season filled with devastating injuries and close losses.
Take care of business at Lambeau and we likely get a playoff game in Chicago. Sounds like fun.