The Pack came out flat tonight and were schooled by a decent team early on.
The defense looked lost and out of rhythm. Capers and the whole defense just didn’t seem committed to whatever they were wanting to do.
In the second half – the defense looked totally different. They were tackling reasonably well and making big plays at big moments. Capers had to retool everything at halftime to bring about the change – heck of a coaching job and nice execution by a defense that looked borderline incompetent in the first quarter.
We were lucky that Atlanta seemingly ditched the run. Michael Turner ended up with a reasonable number of carries (16) but I think they could have run it a bunch more against us. They decided that they needed to pass to catch up way earlier than they needed to. And when they became pass happy – they became easier to defend.
Rodgers is amazing. 396 yards passing. He put the team on his shoulders when it was needed most. He is special.
At this rate, Aaron Rodgers could be one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game. The stats he is putting up put him in elite company – and he already has a Super Bowl. He is absolutely amazing.
How hard is it to defend a team throwing to 12 different guys? This is so smart offensively – McCarthy’s system of including so many different people makes it so difficult to defend because the D just has no idea who is getting the ball on the next play. Only a couple other teams seemed to have figured this out – it has helped New England win several Super Bowls and it helped us win last year.
I like the way James Starks runs. He just flattens defenders. And he gets the job done.
Eric Walden made his presence known a couple times hitting Ryan. While he didn’t get a sack, those hits were significant because in both cases, Ryan was rattled. He has to get to him if Matthews continues to not get to the QB (0 sacks and only 1 tackle tonight – though he did force a couple mistakes/penalties by Atlanta and forced the bad pass that was picked off by Peprah).
Sam Shields had a couple nice plays tonight. He continues to be a bit frustrating as he flashes greatness and then makes bad errors, but it seems to me he is just learning how to more effectively use his strengths (speed mostly) to defend the pass more effectively.
AJ Hawk was a bit better today. Again, he had 2-3 blitz calls and he was so slow on each that he didn’t get home – but at least he flushed Ryan out of the pocket on one and forced a throw away pass on the other. I suppose that counts for something.
Bishop remains beastly. That sack was huge – and one-armed. I don’t mind calling blitzes for him even though he’s not super fast either – because he’ll get home. He’s a playmaker.
Nice for Peprah to make a nice pick tonight. He’s a tough guy who plays hard and for the second consecutive year, he’s had to fill in as the back-up.
Finley was up and down tonight. Those drops were costly. But the thing that bothered me most was after a big-time drop in he 2nd half, on the next series he was flexing his muscle after a big catch. I know that’s “just how he plays” or whatever people will say – but I don’t like it. When you’ve made several boneheaded plays (including the TD drop in the first half), you quiet down and just go back to the huddle. Still – he’s a match-up nightmare and I’m not going to make anything more of the drops because I’m pretty sure we won’t see many more of those going forward.
Loved how Newhouse and Sherrod filled in tonight. Those guys played really well in a tough situation. And Rodgers and McCarthy for sure helped them by adjusting the game plan some.
Speaking of adjustments – I feel especially excited about McCarthy’s half-time adjustments. Whatever he said/did at halftime obviously resonated with the players. He is growing as a coach in front of our eyes and we should be excited that he and Capers not only develop good game plan – but can make some quality adjustments throughout the game. This used to be a criticism I’d have of McCarthy – that he wasn’t great with in-game adjustments. But he’s getting much better and when that is coupled with an already high quality game plan – that makes for some really good coaching.
Jennings was hilarious on that last TD. There was no way he wasn’t going to get to the endzone on that one. He knows he missed an opportunity to get a TD in the first half by not slamming on the brakes before drifting out of bounds. Frankly, I’m not sure any WR could have stopped before going out there but Jennings was really upset about it – because he demands so much from himself. That TD was really one of the best efforts I’ve seen in a long time from a WR – though he makes it look so easy.
Crosby is quietly having a great year. He looks very solid out there kicking FGs.
Jarrett Bush – once again making plays. I believe his final stats should show that he had 1 pick and 1 QB hit in limited playing time.
Overall – I’m concerned that we came out as flat as we did in the first half but I’m pretty excited about how we turned that game around. The better team won – Atlanta does not have a deep roster and they REALLY missed John Abraham today (we could have been in serious trouble if he’d played). I give a lot of credit for this victory to McCarthy and Capers in particular. Nice turnaround fellas.
Oh – and TT deserves some serious credit for helping this roster be deep enough to survive the loss of 2 starting tackles – impressive.
On DaveK’s final question, I think there is no doubt we have to swallow hard and root for the Bears. If the Bears go 3-2, they are still 2 games and a tiebreaker behind the Packers. Much more important to pin an “L” on the Lions.
Go Bears! PTTTOOOIE! After Atl’s 2nd drive the GB defense reappeared. This is a harbinger of things to come. What other team in the NFL has a QB who said the performance was sloppy and come out of the game with a 117 QB rating?
Going back to the late forties when I first became a Packer fan, I have never seen a team with this kind of potential. Lombardi’s teams were outstanding but it was expected. The current team at this time last year was looked at as developing but not ready to go all the way. One year later this machine is just getting better.
If the D plays like they did in the last 3 qrts of the Atl. game, there is nothing they can’t accomplish.
The Lipns are the Cinderella Story team right now; a LOT of people throughout the league are pulling for them as a feel-good story or team of destiny. It reminds me of the support New Orleans had a few years ago in the wake of Katrina. The air needs to be taken out of Detroit now, before they start to believe in themselves too much. Root for the Bears tonight, but don’t enjoy doing so.
My plan for tonight – cheering for the Brewers and ignoring football. Then, whatever the outcome of MNF, find the silver lining – of course, Detroit losing and sole possession of first in the division is a great outcome. On the other hand, the Bears losing – can’t really be too upset about that one!!
I am leaning towards rooting for the Lions. I just have this hunch the Lions are not as good as advertised. They beat TB, KC, MN, and the Cowboys in a game where Romo really helped them win that game with two awful pick-6 INTs. Now, if they go out and destroy the Bears tonight my opinion will greatly change.
The Bears are entering the soft part of their schedule. They win this game I can see them getting better and winning at home against MN and at TB. That leaves them 5-2 with some momentum and some time to improve. They drop this game and they are 2-3 and THREE games behind both Lions and Packers. It’ll take at least 11 wins to make the playoffs in that scenario and that means they would have to finish 9-3 which isn’t going to happen for this team. The pressure and criticism in Chicago would go to def-con 5 and I can see a team lead by Cutler going down the toilet. This is just a HUGE game for the Bears.
Best case scenario – the Lions win an ugly sloppy game and do little to change my mind that they are over-rated BUT at the same time send Chicago into a tail spin. Lions 13 Bears 3.