The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Green Bay Packers Sunday by a score of 19 - 14 in a game that epitomized the Packers' frustrations this year. Another serious injury to a key offensive player, too many turnovers, poor special teams play and the inability by the offense to score points contributed to the Packers' ninth defeat this year, ensuring their first losing season since 1991.
Cheeseheads have been spoiled for so long that suffering through a disappointing season like this one is really frustrating. Young Cheeseheads can't even remember their beloved green and gold playing this poorly. More seasoned Cheeseheads like me remember 20 something years of crappy teams that followed the phenomenal Lombardi era success in the 1960s. But"¦here we are and it ain't pretty.
The 2005 Eagles are a pretty beat up lot and could have easily been defeated Sunday, but that wasn't to be. The Packers spotted the Eagles a 10-point lead to start the game, as the offense came out sputtering as Brett Favre struggled with accuracy issues. Samkon Gado came through though with a couple of strong runs and the Pack came back to take a 14 - 10 lead at halftime.
But that was all the offense that the Pack had to offer. Bubba Franks took a nasty hit and was carted off to the hospital. The offense lost three fumbles on the afternoon, two on special teams, and Favre threw two interceptions. Five turnovers on the road don't win games and the Pack wasn't able to score in the second half in spite of a pretty gallant effort by the Pack defense. The defense gave up some yards on the ground, but that was to be expected with the marginal talent of the Eagles' quarterback.
The troubles on offense are a multitude of things. Ex-Packer general manager Ron Wolf commented this past week about the talent level of the Packers' current receivers and running backs. Wolf thinks that Donald Driver is the only legitimate receiving threat that the Packers currently have, and the backs, with the possible exception of Gado, are NFL Europe caliber. I think he is right. Cheeseheads can be proud that the team has never quit this year, but it will be nice to see this season end so we can regroup for 2006. The talent level just isn't there this year.
Next up are the Chicago Bears, who are on a roll. The Bears have put together an interesting formula for a winning season with a smothering defense to compensate for a rookie quarterback and marginal talent on offense. They are currently running the table with a seven-game winning streak and, as always, the Packers - Bears rivalry will be an interesting spectacle. For that very reason, throw away the gamblers' odds for this game. Maybe a snowstorm next weekend in Chicago will render marginal offenses into an old-time black-and-blue defensive struggle. That might resolve some Cheeseheads frustration.