Posted on: February 24, 2010 2:07 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2010 2:26 pm
Week 16: Packers vs. Seahawks; W 48-10; 10-5
After a heart breaker in Pittsburgh the Pack just had to win one of their last two games to ensure a playoff spot. The Seahawks never proposed a threat as the Packers shot out to a 24-3 lead at the half and completely dominated the Hawks. The Pack air attack wasn't the dominating offensive presence for the first time this year as Rodgers only had 237 yards and 1 touchdown, and was only sacked once. However, the ground game was outstanding combining for 153 yards with Ryan Grant leading the way with 97 yards and two touchdowns, Ahman Green had 29 yards and 1 touchdown, and Brandon Jackson had 20 yards and two touchdowns. Greg Jennings led the receivers with 4 catches for 111 yards and Rodgers one TD throw went to Jackson giving him 3 total touchdowns. The defense was all the more impressive as the picked off Matt Hasselbeck 4 times. Atari Bigby led with 2 picks and Nick Barnett led with 6 tackles and 1 sack. The Pack were now in and with the close of week 16 it became aware that week 17 against the Cardinals didn't matter at all because win or lose the Pack were heading to Phoenix for the Wild Card game.
Week 17: Packers at Cardinals; W 33-7; 11-5
The question that arose for week 17 was how would these two teams play each other knowing there would be a rematch just a week later. It didn't take long to figure out what Mike McCarthy had planned. The Pack didn't change a thing and played the way they had for the past 7 weeks shooting out to a 26-0 half time lead which was more than enough when the game was over. Aaron Rodgers went 21 of 26 for 237 yards, one touchdown, and also rushed for a score, and was sacked only once. Grant went for 51 yards and one touchdown. Donald Driver led with 6 catches for 65 and Jermichael Finley grabbed Rodgers one TD throw. A.J. Hawk led with 6 tackles and the defense gathered in 3 picks one of which was returned for a TD by Charles Woodson. In a game that didn't mean much the Pack looked great but were playing against the second and third teams of the Cardinals most of the game. Still many were confident that the Pack could put together the first playoff win in the Aaron Rodgers era.
Wild Card Round: Packers at Cardinals; L 45-51
Rodgers started off his first playoff start on a bad note throwing a pick on the very first play from scrimmage which led to a Tim Hightower score. On their second possession Driver fumbled on the second play which led to a Kurt Warner touchdown pass. On their third possession the Pack gained a first down then were forced to punt which led to a Neil Rackers field goal. On their fourth possession Mason Crosby's struggles continued as he missed a 54 yard field goal wide right in the second quarter. On the Cardinals' third play of the drive Woodson forced Larry Fitzgerald to fumble which was recovered by Clay Matthews and led to an Rodgers score on the ground. However, the Cardinal marched right down the field and Warner passed to Early Doucet for each of their second touchdowns. Then the Packs ensuing possession led to a Mason Crosby field goal at the end of the half as they trailed 24-10.
To start the second half the Cardinal marched down the field again as Warner threw to Fitzgerald for the touchdown. On the Pack ensuing possession Rodger marched them down and threw a TD pass to Jennings. The Pack the successfully recovered an onside kick and Rodgers again threw a touchdown to Jordy Nelson. The Cardinals then went down the field in four plays ending with a Warner touchdown pass to Fitzgerald. At the end of the third quarter the Pack trailed 38-24.
The third play of the fourth quarter found Rodgers throwing his third touchdown pass to James Jones. The Cardinals were then forced to punt and in three plays the Pack marched down the field and capped off the drive with a John Khun 1 yard touchdown run. With the score now tied at 38 the Cardinals simply moved down the field in 11 plays capped off with a Warner pass to Steve Breaston. The Pack then answered with a Rodgers pass to Spence Havner for a touchdown for the final score of regulation. At 45-45 the Pack got the ball in overtime first. Already with some officiating calls in question Aaron Rodgers found himself being sacked on the fourth play of OT and the ball being knocked out of his hands as Karl Dansby grabbed the ball and took it in for the game winning touchdown.
I'm not here to argue whether or not there were missed calls or anything like that. The Packer offense played great and the defense was awful. With so much controversy around the close of the game we forget that the Pack lost this game on their own. All game long the Cardinals did what ever they wanted on offense and the Packer offense showed its greatest weakness when Rodgers was sacked.
Posted on: January 27, 2010 11:59 pm
The Packers were a struggling team going in to a game against the Cowboys whom they had lost to each time in the last two years. Fortunately for the Pack the Cowboys were also a struggling team. It was a slow moving defensive game through the first three quarters with the Pack up 3-0 going into the fourth. Then Aaron Rodgers took over and scored 2 touchdowns (1 running, 1 passing) within 3 minutes of each other. The Cowboys never posed a threat after as the Pack won a game many expected them to lose. The offensive line story continued though as Rodgers was sacked 4 times. He went 25 of 36 for 189 yards. Ryan Grant carried 19 times for 79 yards. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and Donald Driver each had 4 grabs with Driver leading the way with 50 yards. Spencer Havner caught the only TD from Rodgers. The Pack continued to control the turnover battle with none and forcing 3 (1 INT, 2 FUM). They held the Cowboy offense to 278 yards and sacked Tony Romo 5 times. Charles Woodson was the defensive star in this one leading the way with 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception. It was a must win for the Pack, but they were still far from making a playoff run.
Week 11: Packers vs. 49ers; W 30-24; 6-4
The 49ers started the season off strong, but quarterback controversy was causing problems for their offense all season. A win for the Pack would match their win total of a year ago with 6 still to play. The Pack got off to a great start and led the Niners 23-3 at the half. However, in the second half it seemed the Pack let up a bit allowing the Niners back in the game as they outscored Green Bay 21-7 in half. The Niners scored their last touchdown with 5:56 showing on the clock and the Pack ran the rest of that time off with one possession to win it. Rodgers was great going 32 of 45 for 344 yards and two touchdowns and was sacked only twice. Grant was just as good getting the ball 21 times for 129 yards and a touchdown. Jermichael Finley led with 7 catches and Jennings led with 126 yards and a touchdown. Once again the Pack didn’t commit a turnover and forced the Niners into one big pick by Nick Collins which gave the Pack the short field to punch it in for their only second half score. They got to the QB 3 times and held the Niner offense to 284 yards. Aaron Kampman led with 4 tackles and a sack. The Pack nearly let this one get away, but held on. However, they still needed some big wins to deserve playoff consideration.
Week 12: Packers at Lions; W 34-12; 7-4
It was Thanksgiving Day in Detroit when the Pack came to town to play the Lions they shutout earlier in the season. However, it was Thanksgiving and the Lions are always confident on this day in their place. By the end of the first quarter they were showing it and led 7-0, but the Pack went on to score 27 unanswered points before the Lions added a safety and field goal in the fourth and Woodson closed the door for good taking a Matthew Stafford pass back for a touchdown. The Packer D picked off the rookie QB four times. Woodson was a nightmare for Stafford collecting 2 picks and sacking him once. Woodson also recovered a fumble for the Pack. Stafford was sacked twice and the Lion offense was held to 272 yards. A.J. Hawk led with 8 tackles. Rodgers was fantastic going 28 of 39 for 348 yards, 3 touchdowns, and was sacked only once. Grant was about average getting 20 carries for only 61 yards. Driver had a huge day with 7 receptions for 142 yards and a touchdown. Now with a three game win streak the 7-4 record looked fairly good, but the Pack were about to face probably their toughest 3 game stretch all season.
Getting Back to The Basics "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." ―Vince Lombardi
Posted on: January 20, 2010 5:20 pm
Some may consider the 2009 Packers season a disappointment. They lost both matches against Brett Favre and the Vikings, they gave the Buccaneers their first win of the season, and had a disappointing exit from the playoffs. However, I submit to you that this season was not a disappointment. After falling to a 4-4 record after a surprising loss Tampa Bay, many gave up on the Pack, but they responded and went on a tear winning the next seven of eight games and finished 11-5; 6-2 at home. After week 9 many said the Pack would finish 6-10 just like the prior season, but they didn’t. This amazing run the Packers made to reach the playoffs is unfortunately somewhat forgotten by losing in the wild card round, but that is not a reason to consider the 2009 campaign a failure, instead let us consider it a great success.
Week 1: Packers vs. Bears; W 21-15; 1-0
The Packer offense struggled to get going most of the game due in part to poor offensive line play (which was a continuous theme all the way into the playoffs). The Pack only gained 76 yards on the ground led by Ryan Grant with 61 of those yards and a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers finished 17 for 28 with only 184 yards and one touchdown which was the game winner with a little over a minute left. He was sacked four times. Greg Jennings led the team in receptions and yards with 6 for 106 and a touchdown. The defense allowed a couple of big plays, but ultimately kept the Pack in the game picking off Jay Cutler four times and had two sacks. Brandon Chillar led in tackles with seven. An exciting win for the Pack, but it showed signs of a long season ahead.
Week 2: Packers vs. Bengals; L 24-31; 1-1
A pumped up and confident Packer team welcomed the Bengals who seemed to be down and out after losing on a miracle play against the Broncos the week before. However, this was a back-and-forth contest that found the Pack on the losing end as they ran out of time in the red zone. The offensive line played even worse than they did the first week allowing 6 sacks. Grant ran for only 46 yards and Rodgers added 43 of his own, but only because he was running for his life. He also went 21 for 39 in the air for 261 yards and one touchdown. Donald Driver led the team in receptions and yards with 6 for 99 and a touchdown. The defense played decent forcing Carson Palmer to throw 2 picks and sacked him twice, but allowed Cedric Benson to run all over them for 141 yards. Charles Woodson led the team with 9 tackles and two picks returning one for a touchdown. A tough loss for the Pack considering they were in range to score, but simply ran out of time.
Week 3: Packers at Rams; W 36-17; 2-1
Against the Rams here in week 3 the Pack were looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Bengals and build momentum and confidence for the big matchup coming in week 4 against the Vikes. Fortunately the Pack focused in on the Rams and took care of business. The offensive line looked a lot better allowing only two sacks, but then again the Rams didn’t pose much of threat. Grant ran for 99 yards and the Pack overall ran the ball for 152 yards. Rodgers went 13 for 23 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Driver led the team with 4 receptions and Jennings in yards with 103. The defense played well forcing 3 turnovers, but only sacked the quarterback one time. A.J. Hawk led in tackles with eight. Perhaps the Pack allowed more points than they should have, but overall a dominating win which was just what was expected.
Week 4: Packers at Vikings; L 23-30; 2-2
The much anticipated matchup against Brett Favre and the Vikings didn’t turn out at all like Packer fans hoped. Instead all critics broke loose with negative statements as Brett carved up the Packer secondary, the defense failed to put pressure on the aging quarterback, and the offensive line once again played disgustingly horrible allowing an astounding 8 sacks. Grant actually seemed to run the ball his best so far going for 51 yards with a 4.6 yard average, but the Pack were simply playing catch-up all game. Rodgers went 26 for 37 for 384 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. In short, Rodgers played well for the most part, but could take the blame for the pick and a sack or two. Jermichael Finley led the team in receptions and yards with 6 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Clay Matthews personally kept the Pack in the game when in the second quarter he stripped the ball right out of Adrian Peterson’s hands and took 42 yards for a touchdown tying the game at 14. Nick Barnett led the team with 7 tackles. This loss gave way to all Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson haters and already some fans were giving up on the Pack. Now the Packers had three weeks to get their act together for the rematch at Lambeau Field.
Getting Back to The Basics "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." ―Vince Lombardi
Posted on: August 26, 2009 2:30 pm
I have been watching a lot of film from the 2007 and 2008 seasons of the Green Bay Packers. As a Packer fan I knew we had a good group of receivers, but when I really started analyzing them I realized that we have the best top to bottom receiving corp in all football. The names include Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, Ruvell Martin, Jordy Nelson as the top five. Let's look at a few reasons why most would not think that this is the best receiving corp.
First of all, you may be thinking if you're not a Packer fan that you have never even heard of the last three or at least one or two of the last three. Well, just because you have never heard of them or they are not big names arcross the NFL doesn't mean they aren't good.
Secondly, not a single one of these guys finished in the top five of any of the major receiving categories last year. Only Greg Jennings finished in the top ten in a few of them. He finished 6th in receiving yards, 9th in average yards a catch, 8th in touchdowns, and 8th in yards per game. Once again in 2007 Jennings was the only to finish in the top ten in any category. He finished 4th in average yards a catch and 4th in touchdowns.
So now you are wondering then why I think this group of receivers is the best in the league. Well, the reason none of these guys have finished in the top ten in any category the last two years except Jennings is this: because they are each so good at what they do Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have found it easy to spread the ball around to all five receivers as well as to tight ends Donald Lee and Bubba Franks. Because the Packers use the five receiver set so often the opportunities for one guy to compile league leading stats greatly diminishes.
Let us also just consider the two starters Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. Both of these guys finished with over 1,000 receiving yards in 2008. Therefore the two of them alone accounting for over half of Aarond Rodgers' passing yards. Driver finished with 74 receptions and Jennings with 80 receptions which means that nearly half the competions Rodgers threw were to these two men.
Now let us also consider that they have vastly improved in the turnover category. In 2007 they lost six fumbles, but in 2008 Jennings was the only one to lose a fumble and he did only once.
However, I could keep giving you stat after stat, but to truly see why these five guys are the best group in the business you'll have to go back and watch their performances the last two years. The yards after the catch and the fact that they are very difficult to bring down. These guys are tough in fact you rarely see Driver fall backwards when being tackled. He is always pushing and falling forward for that extra yard or two. Coach McCarthy even said that all five can line up in any spot on the line and play it well. Each one of them can play the slot and the wide out which makes the possiblities for the coaching staff endless.
No these guys aren't singularly the top elite receivers with Larry Fitzgerald or Randy Moss (although Jennings is close), but as a group they are undoubtedly in my (call it bias if you want) mind the best wide receiver corp in the National Football League.