“The Dallas Cowboys are farther ahead than we are right now. And that’s the facts.” Mike McCarthy.
That gets it pretty much right. The Cowboys were better last night and are a better team. We’ll have more throughout the day — including Andy’s report from the game. But here are a few quick thoughts.
*Cullen Jenkins was a monster. If the Packers can get that from him every game, it’ll go a long way toward easing my mind about our defensive line.
*That said, the defensive line was pushed around a lot in the run game and the linebackers were absent for large stretches of the game.
*Aaron Rouse was a decent replacement for Atari Bigby.
*I like Brandon Chillar. He made several plays yesterday, particularly in coverage. (McGinn says he wasn’t as good against the run — I didn’t see it, but I wasn’t looking.) Chillar himself seems to think he did well — he was way too happy in his interview with Packers.com after the game. We lost.
*But I want Bigby back as soon as possible. His thumping hits set the tone for the defense and scare receivers.
*Contrary to Bob McGinn, who writes today that Aaron Rodgers had a “mistake-punctuated night,” I thought Rodgers played well, given the relentless pressure he faced. It’s true that Rodgers held the ball too long a couple of times, but he also avoided several sacked by scrambling and made a couple of truly exceptional throws — the one he threw jumping off of his right leg to Greg Jennings should make Rodgers’ career highlight reel. Amazing. Rodgers wasn’t flawless, but if you would have told me before the seasons that he’s play this well against the Cowboys — and that it would be his worst game of the season by far — I would have cracked a PBR to celebrate.
*Jordy Nelson alligator-armed a pass badly in the second-half yesterday. He made some nice catches, but the one he wussed out on was the most memorable.
*Ryan Grant looks like he’s getting back to form. He didn’t have any explosive plays, but he was pretty solid.
*Brandon Jackson looked good. I’ve been skeptical of Jackson pretty consistently since the Packers picked him in the second round last year. I don’t think he’s special and I think there were plenty of more talented players available when we took him. But he did seem to run strong yesterday and consistently found holes — big and small.
*The offensive line was mediocre, bordering on very bad. They opened some holes for the running backs, but were beaten badly in the passing game. The injury to Scott Wells has demonstrated just how valuable he is. It’s in part because of Wells and his play but also because it allows Spitz to play in his regular slot. What we can know is that all of the shuffling on the O-line is problematic and needs to end as soon as possible.