Santa Claus visited Titletown this past weekend and he brought a big bag of presents for Cheeseheads. Not only did the Packers clobber the Seattle Seahawks Sunday by a score of 48-10, the New York Giants’ loss also means that the Packers will advance as a wild card player into the NFC playoffs. The exact disposition as to who will play whom is yet to be decided, but the news of the day is very good for the Nation of Cheese and demonstrates the resiliency of the 2009 Green Bay Packers.
The Packers entered their final home game as 14-point favorites over the Seahawks and they proved the odds makers correct as they totally dominated the game both offensively and defensively. Games like this one are to be savored, as the Pack just swallowed the Seahawks from the get-go. The game was essentially over when the Pack rolled up a 24-3 lead by half-time as the Packers’ playmakers emerged soon and often.
Early in the second quarter Ryan Grant exploded for a 56-yard touchdown run which brought his season totals to more than 1,200 yards. He doesn’t receive much credit for his accomplishments, but he is having a very good season. Grant was joined by fellow running backs Ahman Green and Brandon Jackson, who combined for five touchdowns on the day. The Packers’ offensive line has improved dramatically over the last half of the season to pave the way for the running backs. And isn’t that sweet with the playoffs only two weeks away.
The Packer defense was not to be outdone. Atari Bigby picked off two interceptions as the Packer defenders created four turnovers on the day. The whole group played well but Bigby really came alive as did rookies B. J. Raji and especially Clay Matthews. He is a stud ballplayer who has a non-stop motor and a seemingly brilliant future ahead of him. Matthews could well be the NFL’s defensive rookie of the year and Cheeseheads have Ted Thompson to thank for trading up to draft him last spring.
Another stud player that Thompson drafted is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers did on Sunday what no NFL quarterback has ever done when his passing yardage topped 4,000 yards in his first two years as a starter. His statistics this year are better than those of Benedict Favre. Favre, by the way, pulled rank on his Head Coach last week by telling him who was going to play and when, a move which may not bode well for the Vikings’ team chemistry. Stay tuned on that development.
Anyway, The Packers are off to Arizona to play the Cardinals next week for the regular season finale. They may be returning to Phoenix the following week also for the playoffs so it will be really interesting to see how Mike McCarthy plays his hand in play calling and personnel participation next week. The outcome of next week’s game is inconsequential. Some of the starters may be withheld to save the big guns and new looks for the playoffs. Cheeseheads can’t wait to see how McCarthy handles it.