Singing the Blues in Nashville
The undefeated Tennessee Titans remained so this past weekend as they won a very hard-fought battle against the Green Bay Packers in overtime by a score of 19 – 16. The loss was a heartbreaker for the Packers as they played well enough to win against arguably the best team in the NFL, yet came up short.
It was a strange week in Titletown. Midweek Aaron Rodgers signed a huge, long-term contract with the Packers and later Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila was given his release to make room for the return of Justin Harrell. Rodgers’ contract confirms that the Packers think that they have the real deal in their quarterback of the future and I agree. Releasing KGB to make room for Harrell was a tough pill to swallow for Cheeseheads. KGB, the Packers’ all-time sack leader, has been not only a great football player but an outspoken advocate of his Christian faith and a great guy. His play had deteriorated lately though, and Father Time and injuries just caught up with KGB’s football career. Good fortune to KGB.
Back to the disappointment in Nashville, the Packers brought to the game some rested and healed warriors. In the early rounds the Packers’ defense bent but didn’t break against a grinding Titan rushing attack while the Packers’ offense sputtered against a really good Titan defense. Donald Driver had his best game of the year. Driver caught a touchdown pass from Rodgers in the first half to give the Pack an early 10 – 6 lead. That catch tied the all-time Packer record of catching a pass in 103 consecutive ball games. What an incredible accomplishment. Minutes later a couple of bad defensive plays by linebacker Nick Barnett allowed the Titans to drive down the field for a touchdown which gave Tennessee a 13 - 10 half time lead.
The second half saw the Packers’ defense step it up... until the final moments of regulation and the overtime period when they apparently fatigued. Defensive end Mike Montgomery and linebacker Brandon Chillar turned in their best performances as Packers, and with only 5 minutes left in the game the Packers had played well enough to tie the score at 16 and position themselves for a win on the road against a very good team.
With just two minutes remaining, a Packers’ drive stalled at the Titans 43-yard line and, facing a fourth and eight, Mike McCarthy chose to punt the ball rather than chance another offensive play or a very long field goal. The Packers never got the ball back for a chance to win this one and the Titans eventually sealed a victory with an overtime field goal. The Packers made too many mistakes and probably got out coached in this game.
Next week the Packers travel to the Humpty Dump to face the Vikings, who have an identical 4 – 4 record for a contest that could have play off implications. The Vikings two starting defensive tackles are under scrutiny for taking pills of a kind the NFL disapproves of and their availability for this game remains in question as I write this. Their impending suspensions may factor into the outcome of this intensive rivalry.
Talk back! Tell us what you think of this year’s teams. What would you do if you were in charge?
Go to winonapost.com, click on Football Forum to discuss this year’s season.