Had someone pre-told me that the Packer - Saints score would be 52 - 3, my response would have been, "How low can the Packers' season go?"¯ Such a response is the result of low expectations from even the most loyal of Cheeseheads in view of the 0 - 4 start to the season. Hold the phone"¦the score really was 52 - 3, but it was the Pack that gave the Saints the spanking! In an incredible change of events this past Sunday, the Packers changed their fortunes in a big way, running up the biggest Packer route since the height of the Lombardi era in 1966.
After a bit of a shaky start, the Pack completely took control of this game midway in the first quarter and never looked back. Sparked by a smothering defense and a rejuvenated offense which seemed to feed off of last Monday nights' fourth-quarter comeback, the Pack could hardly do wrong against the Saints. Al Harris got the defense going with a huge interception which he ran back for a touchdown to get the party started.
Prior to Sunday, the 2005 Packers have had a horrible turnover ratio. Turnovers may be the single most definitive statistic of wins/losses in the NFL. Against the Saints, the Pack forced five Saints turnovers and committed zero in turn"¦. a nice formula for a blow-out. Had the turnover ratio been just a tad more favorable in previous games, it is very conceivable that three of the Pack's four losses, by a total of six points, might have been averted.
But the fun had just begun against the Saints. Brett Favre celebrated his 36th birthday with a stellar performance, throwing 3 touchdown passes and playing with the abandon that has characterized his long Packer career. Favre may be getting long in the tooth, but when he is hot, he is still one to be reckoned with, and he still has a canon of an arm. He has always been a fan favorite. Cheeseheads in Lambeau serenaded him to a chorus of "Happy Birthday"¯ as the game concluded. What a fun day!
The Pack played this game with a horde of injuries. Add another major setback when running back Najeh Davenport, who was filling in for feature back Ahman Green, broke his ankle and will be lost for the rest of the season. Hopefully the bye week will allow Green and the others to heal up.
Who knows where the Pack goes from here. The November schedule is murderous. The 1 - 4 Packers go into the bye week on a very high note which has to boost their confidence. This is the same record they found themselves with last season when they came back to win a divisional title. Can they do it again? The odds seem stacked against this young, rebuilding squad, but who knows"¦.
The bye week allows players and coaches a week off for rest and reflection. Let's hope that the astounding victory over the Saints rejuvenates just the right amount of confidence to bring the Pack together in two weeks in the proper mindset to whip up on the disorganized Vikings.