Tag Archives: aaron rodgers

13 and Uh-Oh

The lowly Kansas City Chiefs have beaten the Green Bay Packers, 19-14. Most people were expecting a lopsided Packer victory; the Chiefs have an interim head coach after firing Todd Haley earlier this week, and their starting quarterback is on injured reserve, as is their best defensive back.

On the other hand, Green Bay receivers dropped at least four passes in the first half alone, and two offensive linemen were injured and did not return. Aaron Rodgers also had an off-day, though his completion percentage would still have been over 60 percent without the drops. And so they move from 13-0 to 13-1. Still not a bad place to be.

Here’s hoping they put up a better fight next Sunday, when they play the Chicago Bears in Lambeau Field.

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Super Bowl XLV: Packers 31, Steelers 25

Go Pack go, indeed.

The Bears Defense Has a Tough Job Today

Original version here.

Go Pack go!

Super Sunday

The Super Bowl starts in about four hours. I’m wearing my Aaron Rodgers jersey since I wish the Packers were playing, but I’ll be rooting for the Saints. In 43 seasons as a franchise, this is their first Super Bowl trip. As someone who grew up rooting for perpetually losing teams, I feel Saints fans’ pain. It would be good to see them win. Peyton Manning and the Colts got their rings a few years ago. I was rooting for them that day, not least because they played against the Bears.

After the game is over, an excruciatingly long 13 day wait begins. On that glorious day of February 20,  pitchers and catchers report for spring training. And my Brewers are looking pretty good this year. Their offense still looks top-notch. And they’ve done about as much as they could to improve their league-worst pitching staff. New pitching coach, lots of roster turnover. Can’t wait to see if the moves do any good.

Brett Bowl II: Vikings 36, Packers 28

I love my team. But the over-under on the time it takes me to get over a Packer loss is usually about ten minutes. I refuse to let a loss ruin my day. This game feels a little different.

Part of it is that the loss was avoidable. A dumb penalty by defensive tackle Johnny Jolly after a key third down stop in the red zone directly allowed a Viking touchdown instead of a field goal. That’s four points right there — half the margin of defeat — on one penalty.

And while I’m generally not one to second-guess football professionals who know far more about the game and its players then I do, I’ll go ahead and question Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ game planning.

The best way to force poor throws out of a quarterback is to apply pressure. Doesn’t matter how tough someone is, he’ll get scared if 300-pound men are in his face on every play. That means you blitz hard, and blitz often. The standout Packer secondary allows Capers to blitz with little loss in coverage ability.

I also saw some offensive issues. The Vikings have an excellent defensive line. That means you give your quarterback extra protection against them. The Minnesota secondary is that team’s liability, especially with its best player, Antoine Winfield, out due to to injury.

That means that keeping an extra player in to block, who could otherwise be an open receiver, comes at a small price. The Packers did little to max-protect, and little to pick on a depleted secondary.

The lack of protection meant Aaron Rodgers was limping by the end of the game. That could hurt the team well beyond this game.

But these things happen all the time, even to good teams. Why does this one still sting?

Chalk it up to cognitive dissonance. I still can’t forget how much Brett Favre has done for the Packers. It still outweighs how much he’s done to the Packers in the two times he’s beaten them. His contributions to Green Bay go well beyond his hall-of-fame statistics and durability. Those would be quite enough on their own.

His presence made the rest of the team better. Having Brett Favre at quarterback was what allowed the Packers to convince marquee free agents like Reggie White to put on the green and gold.

The team was a mediocrity from the end of the Lombardi/Starr era until Favre ambled in. That’s more than two decades. An entire generation.  Nobody wanted to play there. The weather is enough of a turn-off for most people. But if the team is perpetually bad, why bother signing with them? Players play to win, not to lose and be cold.

Then along came Brett. All of a sudden playoff appearances became a regularity. In Brett’s 16 years in Green Bay, the team only had one losing season. That’s unheard of. People like Reggie White and Charles Woodson came to to Green Bay of their own free will. The team was competitive every year. What a treat for Packer fans resigned to seeing loss after loss.

Brett Favre made Green Bay relevant again. How many players can do that for a team? That’s the real reason why Brett was so loved by his fans. Yes, he has a colorful personality and a compelling life story. If he wasn’t a winner, nobody would care.

That’s why it’s not the loss that bothers me so much. It’s been more than ten minutes by now. Heck, I’m a Brewer fan. I learned at an early age to let losses roll off my back like so much water off a duck’s back.

No, this one hurts because the person who brought my favorite team out of the NFL’s basement was working his hardest to throw it back down there. And without him, the Packers may well have never left it. How do you root against someone who did that for you? Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

Packers 26, Lions 0

The Lions have lost their 19th straight game in the state of Wisconsin. But the Packers also looked pretty ugly at times. Detroit was missing three of their four starting defensive linemen due to injury. Their backups still notched five sacks on Aaron Rodgers. The Packers also incurred thirteen penalties.

Rodgers is playing extremely well despite being under constant pressure from the opposing pass rush. One wonders how well he’d do with better protection.

But a shutout is still a shutout. The Packer defense was outstanding, hopefully proving that their quality game against the Vikings was not a fluke.