Impressive victory by the Packers. The final score did not represent too well how close this game was.
The Browns are a decent team. I am impressed by the fight they had in them after some things didn’t go their way. I am not really surprised though because I thought head coach Rob C would be a good head coach in the NFL.
There are very few QBs in the NFL who can effectively lead such an inexperienced offense to a much-needed win like Rodgers did. Manning maybe, Brees and sort of Brady (though they are winning for other reasons too). Rodgers was very solid yesterday with 3 TDs and completing nearly 70% of his passes.
It was great to see Boykin step in and produce like that. A lot of it is just having a phenomenal QB throwing him the ball – but he made a couple extra moves and had some nice YAC on his own. He could develop into another good player.
Eddie Lacy once again demonstrated that the Packers’ offense has truly developed another dimension with a strong ground game (82 yards on 22 carries and a TD).
McCarthy (and Rodgers?) however, called what seemed to me to be a very conservative game yesterday. There were few genuinely threatening down-field pass attempts and I think this allowed Cleveland’s defense to condense the field – crowding the line and jamming the passing lanes over the middle of the field in particular. We’re a very good offense and found enough holes to exploit to win the game, but my concern is that the playcalling seemed quite tentative. I think there were a few moments when the offense could have been more aggressive and busted the game open sooner. While again, things obviously ended up working out fine because we won, the concern would be that a better team might counter better/faster leaving us in a bind.
Our defense was very good again. It’s as though Capers has a much better read this year on opponents and what they are likely going to do. While Hawk, Micah Hyde, House, Lattimore, Burnett and some others are definitely playing well, I think the main reason for our defensive turnaround this year is that Capers is putting a better gameplan in place for each game (and calling a better game during the game). Yes, Weeden was shockingly bad early on – and that helped us establish momentum. But the defense was strong throughout and a lot of that has to do with the way Capers is calling these games. Nicely done Dom.
While Hyde and Boykin would be close seconds, I thought Davon House should get the game ball. His pick was nice but his defensive and special teams play overall was top notch.
Micah Hyde is really fun to watch. As reader Raymidge stated, he does have a “natural athlete” aura about him. He just moves like a very natural athlete. During the game yesterday I wrote a post saying that he may be one of the best athletes that TT has drafted. Football movement comes easily to him – kind of like watching Freddie Couples swing a golf club. Even on the passes that were completed to the WR or TE he was defending against, Hyde was all over the guy. Refreshing to see this. But it was his save of that sure return TD that was most impressive. He ran that guy down and swiped at his legs – just a heck of a play.
Speaking of athletic – Sam Shields had a few more really nice plays, one of which was a break-up of a sure TD catch. He’s been very solid this year.
I was also pleased to see Tramon get more involved and get that timely sack. And despite what I thought was a poor call for unsportsmanlike conduct, I was glad to see Tramon throw a WR down like that. He is better when he plays with a bit of a nasty streak in him.
Chris Banjo is coming along as a player. He was active on special teams and had a big hit on defense.
Lattimore seems to me to be a very sure tackler. In that regard, he reminds me of Desmond Bishop. Weeden had a play where he was about to leak out of the pocket and had room to run and Lattimore made a rangy, sure tackle that ended up going for a sack. It was impressive.
Overall, another very solid effort. This team is really exciting right now and despite some misgivings about the playcalling yesterday, I think the coaches (and Rodgers) deserve a lot of credit for taking a bunch of inexperienced young guys and coaching them up to the point where they are contributing big-time. Nicely done.
I hope Finley is OK. Sounds like the hospital ICU visit was mostly precautionary. I hope that’s the case and that he’s OK. He’s been a strong contributor this year and I know that just by being on the field, he creates significant and annoying match-up problems for opposing defenses. Get well Jermichael.
Maybe MM is saving something for later but I just can’t understand why he doesn’t haves a play package with both Lackey & Franklin on the field at the same time. I guess we will see as time goes on. Hell, he’s probably scared one (or both) will get hurt.
I may be way out over my skis here because the last two opponents haven’t been anything special, but I think this defense has a chance to be dominant. They seem to win a lot of individual battles and they are a much better tackling team than the past two years. The only thing holding them back is the occassional missed assignment/big play but I think those will be reduced the more they play together.
I think right now a part of the problem with the deep passing game is that Jordy Nelson is the only deep threat we have with any experience at all. And now with Finley out, defenses are going to be focusing on Nelson even more. Hopefully Boykin can make that a mistake,