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Packer Partisan (01/23/2008)
By Dave DeLano

Packers' Dream Season Ends

The NFC Championship unfortunately went to the New York Giants Sunday as the Pack lost a heartbreaker in overtime by a score of 23 - 20. Cheeseheads will no doubt lament this loss for a while, but when the 2007 season is analyzed in perspective, it was a hell of a ride and the future looks very bright in Titletown.

With the air temperature a couple degrees below zero and wind chills in the minus 20 range, it was a miserable late afternoon to play football. Conventional wisdom would favor the team that could run the ball best and that turned out to be the case. The Packer offense sputtered and stalled all evening and never could open holes for Ryan Grant. The result put undue pressure on Brett Favre's aerial assault to carry the offense and for a while he did.

But it seemed that the Packers' play-calling in this game was out of sync from the get-go. The Giants' defense played ½ step ahead of the Packers' offense and by halftime the Packers were fortunate to have a 10 - 6 lead, thanks to a 90-yard touchdown pass from Favre to Donald Driver. Just about every other offensive play the Packers attempted in the first half didn't amount to much.

The Giants took the lead on the first drive of the second half when they marched down the field courtesy of four Packer penalties. All-Pro cornerback Al Harris has had a tremendous season, but on Sunday he was awful. Giants' receiver Plaxico Burress had a field day matching up with Harris and the Packer brain trust was AWOL in reacting to getting him some coverage help. Burress caught 11 passes for over 150 yards on the day and proved to be the difference maker.

The game turned exciting in the second half as the lead changed hand 4 times. The drama continued as the Giants' field goal kicker missed two field goals late and the Packers had opportunities to score that were unfortunately squandered. It just wasn't to be though and Cheeseheads now have the rest of the winter to get over the disappointment of not getting into another Super Bowl and a chance for world championship # 13.

When the dust is settled on the Packers' 2007 season, one thing is very clear" that being that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy took this very young team much farther than any one could imagine. New challenges will present themselves in the spring as a new season develops, but the Packers' future looks bright. McCarthy's coaching will justly be rewarded with a contract extension and we go from there. It has been a wonderful season.

Sweeping the Vikings (again) makes any Packer season wonderful. A 14 - 4 season and taking the ride to the NFC Championship has been a hoot. Cheeseheads can take pride in a team that far exceeded expectations and have a nucleus of talented young players. That combined with a good management team provide much optimism for next year. 


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