The Green Bay Packers were fortunate to emerge from their skirmish with the Detroit Lions Sunday at Lambeau with a 28 – 26 victory. The good guys were thoroughly outplayed in this game, but the Lions could not break their losing ways on the road and thus the Packers improved their record to 3 – 1.
This game had its moments for Cheeseheads but this kind of football isn’t what was hoped for. Aaron Rodgers started this contest hot and completed three passes for touchdowns in the first half, but even in accomplishing that, the Packer offense sputtered. Moreover the Packers’ defense wasn’t able to get a handle on the Lions’ second string quarterback and his receivers. By halftime the Lions had racked up well over 200 yards in the air. If it were not for a comedy of errors and penalties by the Lions, the score could have favored the Lions; but by halftime the Pack led 21 – 14.
Early in the third quarter venerable all-pro cornerback Charles Woodson made a diving interception and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown. That score eventually made the difference in determining the outcome of this game. Woodson is truly a special player. His interception broke the all-time Packer record for interceptions returned for touchdowns (8) previously held by Hall-of-Famer Herb Adderley. The Packers needed that score as the offense went dormant in the second half, until their last drive.
Inexplicably the Packers did not throw a single pass in the direction of multi-talented Jermichael Finley in the second half as their omnipotent offensive juggernaut did next to nothing and the Lions clawed their way back into the game with four successive field goals. With the score precariously close, the Packers’ offense got the ball deep in their own territory with six and a half minutes left. Mostly behind the power running of John Kuhn, the Packers proceeded to grind out 73 yards on 11 plays to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Games like this one, ending with a win after an undistinguished performance, have Cheeseheads hoping that this talented team will improve their play as the season progresses. One cannot accuse the 2010 Packer team of peaking too soon. Hopefully the Packers’ offense will find their rhythm soon and the defense will improve. A.J Hawk and Tramon Williams had nice performances Sunday, but others need to step up their game as the competition gets tougher in the weeks ahead. Rookie safety Morgan Burnett tore up a knee against the Lions and will miss the rest of the season which creates a problem in the Packer backfield.
Next up for the Pack are the Washington Redskins. The ‘Skins have a dangerous veteran quarterback in Donovan McNabb. McNabb moved from Philadelphia to Washington this off-season and now leads a pretty talented offense. The Pack has struggled against scrambling quarterbacks this year and McNabb is one of the best. Look for the Packer offense to make a nice rebound next weekend against a Redskin defense that is statistically second worst in the NFL.