Another week, another win, some more nervousness toward the end. Here are my 10 points to chew on:
1. Never underestimate a motivated Brett Favre. He’s like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods – great on any given day, but a beast when he has extra reason to want to beat you. He may have tried downplaying his desire for revenge on the Packers, but they way he played is proof of how much he wanted to show his former team what a mistake they made. When Brett finally does retire – hopefully not any time soon – and wends his way to the Hall-of-Fame, don’t be shocked if his speech, like Jordan’s, turns into a bitter litany of people who had to pay for slighting him.
2. The pass blocking could not have been better last night. The highlight was that long pass to Jeff Dugan where Favre had enough time in the pocket to pick out a new TV and iron a pair of Wranglers. The run blocking, conversely, did not appear as dominating. Second week in a row we had trouble generating a ground game against a 3-4. I don’t need to mention that we’re facing the 3-4 again 3 out of the next 4 weeks.
3. Adrian Peterson had a bad game. Yes he scored one touchdown – about the only running play all day that looked well-blocked – but his 2.2 yards-per-carry average was pitiful. And he had one of the worst fumbles you’re ever going to see in a professional football game, getting stood up and stripped along the sideline (it looked like a mugging more than a tackle). Peter King said it best on Twitter: “If you’re even a marginal NFL running back, you don’t give up a ball like Peterson just did.”
Maybe AD is the best player in the NFL, but he didn’t play like it Monday night.
4. The chemistry between Favre and the receivers seems to be coming along. He found Bernard Berrian 6 times for 75 yards, including that sweet touchdown where they burned Al Harris. He hit Sidney Rice 5 times for 70 yards. He only found Percy Harvin twice but it was for 39 yards. Favre had more yards passing against the 49ers but the passing game looked far crisper against the Packers, who are alleged to have a good secondary.
5. Charles Woodson got screwed on two penalties. That should not have been defensive holding when he was fighting with Visanthe Shiancoe down the sideline, and it should not have been interference when he appeared to pick off the pass intended for Sidney Rice in the endzone (the INT would’ve been wiped out by an offsides anyway).
6. Everyone sort of expected Jared Allen to go off, what with Chad Clifton being out of the line-up, but I don’t know if anyone anticipated him going quite as crazy as he did. One thing has become apparent about Mr. Allen: he shows up in big games. He made huge plays against Philly in the playoffs last year, and last night, he helped Brett get his revenge.
7. Brad Childress came very, very close to having a bad night. First, he failed to get the red flag out in time after that goofy 1st down catch by Greg Jennings off Donald Driver‘s tip, missing a chance to reverse the successful 4th down play and give his team the ball back. Antoine Winfield rendered that moot by intercepting Aaron Rodgers two plays later. Then, that miserable 3rd down pass play call when the Vikings just needed to keep it on the ground and run clock. Some are suggesting that Favre freelanced there but I don’t buy it. I think Chilly was trying to stick the knife in and…it was idiotic. Again, Chilly was bailed out, by Sidney Rice who made two good leaping plays on off-side kick attempts, keeping the Packers from completing an improbable comeback.
8. Jared Allen and Antoine Winfield put up superstar defensive performances, but the defense overall did not perform in superstar fashion. It got way too easy for Aaron Rodgers in those tense final minutes when it seemed the Packers might pull out a miracle. After the Jordie Nelson 33-yard touchdown catch, you could see Winfield mouthing, “What the hell was that?” Our safeties are okay in run support but they are not good in coverage. Thankfully, the Packers didn’t figure out how easy it might be to pass against us until it was too late.
9. Is it just me or do Chester Taylor and Brett Favre look like they’re pretty good buddies? Favre is always putting his arm around Chester and they did that butt-bump that ended up knocking Chester to the ground. Does Chester also enjoy hunting and light lawn work?
10. I have never been so appalled by a TV announcer’s performance as I was by Jon Gruden‘s last night. The fawning over Brett Favre passed well beyond unprofessionalism and into the realm of the surreal. The sad thing is that the alleged old-pro announcers, Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico, seemed to find Gruden’s slupring hilarious. I hope someone at ESPN sits down and has a chat with Gruden, and tells him to at least feign objectivity. Nothing during John Madden‘s long tenure as a Favre-lover came close to the display Gruden put on.
Topics: Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Al Harris, Antoine Winfield, Bernard Berrian, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Chad Clifton, Charles Woodson, Chester Taylor, Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Jared Allen, Jeff Dugan, John Madden, Jon Gruden, Michael Jordan, Mike Tirico, Minnesota Vikings, Percy Harvin, Peter King, Ron Jaworski, Sidney Rice, Tiger Woods, Visanthe Shiancoe