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Packer Partisan (10/31/2007)
By Dave DeLano


     
Favrelous Finish

The Green Bay Packers won their first game ever in the mile high city on Monday Night Football in electrifying fashion by defeating the Denver Broncos by a score of 19 - 13. The win came off the first play from scrimmage in overtime when Brett Favre hit Greg Jennings on a go pattern which dramatically ended the contest with the 82-yard touchdown strike.

This game was a bit of an ugly duckling for the Packers with way too many penalties on both the offense and the defense and too many missed tackles by the defense. Safety Atari Bigby, who thus far has had a solid season, had a nightmare game with four very bad penalties. Al Harris and A. J. Hawk didn't play well either. Fortunately for them, Nick Barnett and Aaron Kampman picked up the slack for the Packer "D." The defense bent but didn't break in this game but clearly they can play much better.

The Packer defense has had trouble all season covering the opponent's tight end and Monday night was no exception. Denver's only touchdown came in the first quarter and again the recipient of the touchdown pass was the Bronco's tight end. I like what linebacker Brady Poppinga brings to the party, but Brady is not a coverage-type guy. In college he played defensive end and he just doesn't have the skills to shut down the fleet-footed tight ends which many NFL teams now showcase. The Pack may have to upgrade that position in next year's draft.

Mike McCarthy is well aware that his running game is the worst in the league. With the Bronco's worst run-stopping defense, something had to give and it did. DeShawn Wynn went down to injury (again) after one running play, so enter Ryan Grant. Grant ran hard and did the best by far of any Packer running back this season. I am not sure that he is the long-term solution as a feature back, but he looked good Monday night. Grant finished with over 100 yards on the day and made a strong case for him to start next week.

But the story of this game was Brett Favre. Favre threw for two long touchdowns, including the game winner. Earlier in the game Favre hit James Jones on a 79-yard "go" route. In all, he passed for well over 300 yards and is playing as well as he has in many years. Favre just turned 38 (ancient by NFL standards) but is playing at a level which is surreal. Favre is one of the best football players ever and Cheeseheads in 2007 are very fortunate to bear witness. Monday night was really special.

Next week the Packers take to the road again when they visit the Kansas City Chiefs. The 4 - 3 Chiefs are coming off their bye week and any team doing so is a dangerous animal. Look for the 6-1 Packers to build on their running game and Ryan Grant to contribute more to balance the Packer's offense. 

 

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