Improved Play Gets Pack a Win on the Road
It was a refreshing change to see the Packers not get pushed around like they have been the past three weeks. With improvements made, it was the Packers that did most of the pushing against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday as they prevailed by a score of 27 – 17.
The first half was a bit boring as neither team executed a single explosive play. The Packers were obviously committed to getting their running game going against the Seahawks and again this week it was difficult. Left tackle Chad Clifton continues to struggle getting his game together. His aching knees must be really bad as he just doesn’t seem to be able to get leverage on his drive blocks like he has in past seasons. Ryan Grant got a lot of carries and decent yardage, but he still needs more from the guys up front.
The Packers tried a few running plays out of their old “power” blocking playbook to try to get something going. The “power” blocking strategy incorporates pulling a guard from the side opposite from where the running play is designed to go… in theory providing an extra blocker. The Packers used a heavy dose of these plays back when Ahman Green was in his heyday. It didn’t seem to matter though which play design was used Sunday as the Packers’ offensive line still isn’t creating sufficient holes for Grant.
The halftime tie of 10 – 10 was broken late in the 3rd quarter when Aaron Rodgers hit Greg Jennings with a 45-yard touchdown pass. Jennings is having a fantastic season, statistically leading all receivers in the league. Rodgers is still nursing a sore shoulder but continued to impress with his poise and accuracy throwing the football. This score proved to be the turning point in the game as the offensively-challenged Seahawks didn’t have the firepower to play catch up.
Credit also goes to the Packer defense. Aaron Kampman and Colin Cole gave the Packers a pass rush and Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson provided timely interceptions to ensure the victory.
The Packers have a bye week the week after next and it will come none too soon to heal up some of the wounded. Before we get there, the Indianapolis Colts come to Lambeau next week and will provide a tough challenge. The Colts have a very talented aerial attack with Peyton Manning at the controls and are coming off a big win last week. However, they have not been the powerhouse this year that they have been recently.
The Packers’ banged-up secondary, missing starters Al Harris and Atari Bigby, have risen to the occasion in recent weeks. Charles Woodson is playing at an all-pro level and Nick Collins is having a breakout year.
Hopefully the Packers’ defensive line can put some pressure on Manning. Look for the Packers to activate defensive tackle Justin Harrell this week. Harrell apparently is finally healthy and anxious to legitimize the Packers’ lofty investment in him. With all of the Packers’ problems on the defensive line this year, Harrell, the Packers’ first-round draft pick last year, just may factor into the Packers’ fortunes this year.