The Green Bay Packers are moving on. The Packers beat the Eagles in Philly for the second time this year, finally achieving success in a city that has not been kind to the Packers in years past. With the win the Packers head to Atlanta to face the Falcons with a score to settle.
In week 12 the Falcons beat the Packers 20-17 in a game the Packers lost more than Atlanta won. A fumble by Aaron Rodgers inside the one, a boneheaded non-challenge play by head coach Mike McCarthy and the usual special teams gaffe after a tremendous late drive by Rodgers and the offense tied the game. Even the defense did not play up to snuff allowing Matt Ryan to complete 24 out of 28 passes.
But more on the Falcons later, lets look at the win over the Eagles first. Rodgers and McCarthy may not want to admit it but it was a huge win for the franchise, they needed to take the next step to restore faith in the team that refused to be held hostage by a player, contrary to popular demand. There were no rings handed out yesterday, so we are not over the hill yet, but at least we can see the top now.
It was big for Rodgers, who was becoming known as a stats guy and not a quarterback you can win with. It was big for McCarthy, who won’t admit it but has to feel he had to prove he can win without #4 at quarterback. It is big for the franchise because it shows that a small market team like Green Bay can compete with the big boys given the current NFL system. Maybe that helps in the negotiations between the players and the league over a new CBA.
My concern going into the Philly game was overconfidence by the Packers. It did not appear they were overconfident, maybe the opposite at times looking at the four fumbles they committed. Dom Capers’ defensive game plan for Michael Vick was a thing of beauty, Vick was rarely given the opportunity to get out of the pocket and when he did there was somebody there to keep him for going up field. He did throw for 292 yards but you can live with if he’s not running all over the field on top of it.
Vick is truly one of those guys you can “only hope to contain” and the Packers did just that. Offensively the Packers were one dropped pass by James Jones away from blowing out the Eagles. Take a 28-3 lead into the half and get the ball first to start the second half – 35-3 and it’s over. Even 31-3 and it’s over. Because of Jones’ drop, coupled with Rodgers’ fumble, the Eagles stuck around when they shouldn’t have. The Packers won’t get away with that in Atlanta.
Last week I was glad the game was on Sunday and not Saturday but this week I’m all for the Saturday game. The Packers have to be fired up knowing they finally broke through and probably want to get back on the field as soon as possible. They all said they wanted another shot at the Falcons six weeks ago and now they got it.
Let’s get it on!