I was lucky enough to go to the game last night. It was exciting and the atmosphere before the game was playoff-like. It was a fun game really until the second half. Players were pumped on both sides and the fans were all energized. Fun game to see live. In the end, the Packers were over-matched. I picked Dallas to win the Super Bowl because I expect them to continue playing like this.
- Dallas is good, very good on offense and defense. Their O-Line averages 6’6″ tall and 327.4 pounds a guy. That helps explain why our D-Line was noticeably dragging by the 3rd quarter or so.
- The Packers were seriously out-coached. When is Wade Phillips going to get credit for being a really good coach? We couldn’t keep up with their offense and their defense seemed to know exactly what was coming.
- Barber/Jones make for a scary duo – really good backs.
- Nobody is better at finding space than Jason Witten – this guy is really good.
- Aaron Rouse struggled with positioning in coverage on a few occasions – some of which were important (several Witten passes). There were a couple plays (the second Miles Austin catch) where I thought Bigby might have been in a better position to make a play. Overall he was OK but he seems a bit off in coverage
- Collins’ injury issues hurt the Packers. He often gets hurt during games and his absence then appears to disrupt the secondary. He had one break-down in coverage on Austin’s first catch, but outside of that, he was solid. There was a big drop-off when Peprah came in.
- Communication in the secondary was not effective, especially after the injuries.
- At one point in the 4th quarter I asked my friend why Dallas was throwing the ball at all considering they were running at will, and then we noticed that Woodson was the only secondary starter on the field. Smart coaching by Dallas and it worked.
- Rodgers was flustered. I don’t think he was bad necessarily, but he wasn’t good either. Romo faced similar pressure and seemed to demonstrate to me anyway, that he is a level above Rodgers because he found a way to make some key passes in the face of massive pressure. There were a few occasions when Rodgers tucked and ran prematurely. But his second half problem was that his eyes were locking on targets. He forced a few incomplete passes Jordy Nelson’s way because he was locked on him and the Cowboys knew where he was throwing it.
- Mike McCarthy’s play-calling was poor. He had poor game-flow and a poor mix of plays. I believe it was the second quarter when McCarthy seemed to abandon the run making defending the Pack fairly predictable. But throughout the game Dallas, to their credit, appeared to know exactly what was coming.
- Being at the game was helpful in that I noticed some stuff the TV coverage can’t pick up. One of these things was Dallas’ handling of our slant patterns. Not only was Rodgers pressured a lot, but his receivers weren’t getting too open. Dallas was dropping linebackers back and bringing safeties forward into the slant pattern zones cutting off that option – they did this very effectively. And, their corners were playing the slants big-time in part because they didn’t seem to feel threatened a pass over their heads.
- Before the game, I had indicated that Rodgers needed to try a few deep balls early to stretch the field and keep Dallas honest. Again, the Cowboys’ safeties were able to cheat up pretty far at times to make plays on the many slant patterns run and to even stop the run. The Dallas secondary bunched the field like an U-8 soccer game.
- Donald Lee needs to get more involved in the passing game. He wasn’t getting open in space or down the seam.
- The O-Line was very bad. They didn’t defend the pass rush and the holes our RBs had were pretty small. Grant and Jackson did well to get the yards they did.
- Our D-Line was dragging – lack of depth apparent. There were several 3rd and 4th quarter series-changes when a few of the guys seemed to barely make it off the field before our offense resumed play.
- A little concern from this Packergeek re Packer depth right now.
- Frost’s punting was not stellar. While his #s may not appear to be bad (49 yard average), his hang-time was weak.
- Rodgers didn’t throw a pick or fumble in a game he could have easily done so.
- Mason Crosby continues to show he may be one of the quietest, most effective draft picks in a long time. FGs and kickoffs.
- Will Blackmon. I love his energy on special teams and if it weren’t for the automatic flag thrown on 2 of his returns, he would have had good return numbers. He just makes plays too as he showed on defense prying the ball loose from Barber with 5 minutes left. He also would have had an interception if Collins hadn’t picked that one off in the end zone.
- Outside of giving up the costly TD to Miles Austin, Tramon Williams’ coverage disrupted 3 pass plays to TO. The first, he batted the ball down. The second two, Owens was Romo’s first read and Romo immediately had to alter his read (to Witten of course) because Williams was on TO tight.
- Good pass rush by the Pack – Romo too was under a lot of pressure last night.
- Donald Lee had some quality blocks on run plays and a few pass plays – especially against DeMarcus Ware.
- Jennings is a major playmaker. Sorry, I’ll say it right here – at least right now, he’s better than Moss and TO.
- Jackson was good – slippery.