Sunday was yet another hurting Packer game. The Badgers and Packers both tend to be doing the same thing to me this year; they’ll get out to a nice lead and then end up blowing it. But me as a huge Packer fan always likes looking at the good that comes out of games.
I think as we seen in the Saints game and now against the Colts, Aaron Rodgers is starting to look more like the MVP we saw last year.
He’s still not taking as many shots down field as before, but when Cedric Benson is rushing for 80 yards a game there’s not a concern to take shots down field.
Benson looked very nice against the Saints recording 84 rushing yards and 22 receiving yards. They pulled out a win in that game and Rodgers was able to throw four touchdowns because Green Bay had a nice running attack.
Against the Colts Benson left off where he was a week before. He rattled off 20 yards on 7 carries and 21 receiving yards with two receptions. Then he got hurt. Everyone knew that was going to seriously hurt the Packers for the rest of the game, seeing how balanced they had things going early in the game.
The Packers were able to finish out the half on top 21-3. It really looked like it was well put away and all that remained was to see how ugly it was going to get. Well the Packers did what they shouldn’t have. They came into the second half a little too confident and blew the lead.
It was all up to Rodgers to make a comeback with 4:30 left. He did a nice job going down field and finding who has become his favorite target as of late, James Jones for a touchdown. It was all up to the defense to make a stop.
We’ve seen this defense do weird things so far in 2012. Against the 49ers it looked like the ailing defense from a year ago. Then they looked stellar against the Bears and Seahawks, but struggled against the Saints. I’m not too worried about the performance against the Saints. I’m a big believer that Drew Brees and company, despite being 1-4 now, is still one of the best offenses in football. It’s their defense that is really messing things up for them.
That final drive could’ve been interpreted a few ways. One, which every analyst in the world will say is that Andrew Luck is an elite quarterback. I don’t really think so. I say this, Reggie Wayne is one of the best receivers of his time. I was not a big believer in Andrew Luck at Stanford and still not now. Another good case to bring up is that they brought their emotions for Chuck Pagano. I’m a true believer that teams and players perform better when something tragic happens around them.
Lets go back to Reggie Wayne though. The Packers were playing Tramon Williams on Reggie Wayne and he seemed to have a field day on Williams. What the Packers should’ve done all game was put Charles Woodson as safety help on Wayne. Surprisingly enough Eric Walden did a good job stopping Fleener.
Coming into the game those were the only two threats I thought the Colts would bring through the air, and that seemed to hold true. Dwayne Allen did catch a touchdown, but other than that he, Donnie Avery, and T.Y. Hilton were basically not a factor. So if they would’ve kept Williams on Wayne, with Woodson as safety help, it could’ve prevented a loss. They did that against the Bears with Brandon Marshall and it worked well.
Another thing that goes unnoticed is the loss of B.J. Raji. Granted when you look at the stat sheet Raji seems to be ineffective this year, but he adds presence on the defensive pass rush. As an offensive line and coordinator you have to respect him, so that brings a more favorable match up for Matthews. Also, when the pocket collapses on the outside, the quarterback is taught to step up. Well if Raji is creating havoc, maybe not getting to the quarterback, but just prevents the quarterback to step up too much, the quarterback then has to run it up the middle because he can’t get outside to throw the ball away.
If you saw in the second half that’s what the Colts did. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis finally turned it on. They are two of the best pass rushers of their time and they give it their all during the whole game. So when they came in on the outside, that created room for Cory Redding, the defensive tackle to make plays on Rodgers and record two of the teams five sacks. Another problem the Packers need to fix.
Like I said before, I’m far from panicking. The Packers are only two games back with eleven to play. And five of the eleven are against teams in the division, so its defiantly not panic time yet.
Now yes, the Packers do have a few injury problems they’re going to have to resolve. Cedric Benson is a huge loss, but honestly I think Alex Green didn’t look bad. He was able to rush for 55 yards on nine carries which is a nice 6.1 yards per carry. He also busted out a nice 41 yard run and caught an eight yard pass out of the backfield. In the Packers offense with Rodgers under helm, its never say never.
Greg Jennings has been having problems all year, which is getting scarier and scarier. But when Rodgers utilizes Randall Cobb and James Jones, the Packers seem to work great because it takes pressure off of Jordy Nelson. I will admit though, that JerMichael Finley has been a big disappointment. There comes a time where the talk of his size and his athletic ability because he’s from Texas, needs to stop. He needs to become better in the red zone or else he may not be a Packer for much longer.
B.J. Raji should be good to go by Sunday night against the Texans. According to the Green Bay Press Gazette he “simply rolled his ankle.’ That’s nothing like a sprain, trust me. I recently sprained my ankle and it’s been hurting and sore for a couple weeks now.
I’m telling Packer fans right now; don’t’ push the panic button. Don’t bail and jump on the Texans or Seahawks band wagon because they have Badgers on their team. Granted our schedule doesn’t get any better playing on the road against Houston and a surging Rams team, but this team is too good to flounder just yet. Wait until Thanksgiving at least.