Before Sunday’s game television commentator and former pro quarterback Phil Simms said that he believed Aaron Rodgers is the best football player in the National Football League. Simms surely did not change his opinion after Rodgers led the Packers to a 49 – 23 rout over the Denver Broncos. The win gives the Packers a 4 – 0 record to close out the first quarter of the season, and they are tied in the North Central Division with the surging Detroit Lions who also have a perfect record.
The performance by Rodgers on Sunday was nothing less than phenomenal. He threw four touchdown passes, one each to his four top wide receivers, accumulated over 400 yards passing, was efficient in the red zone, threw a couple of pin-point passes and ran for two touchdowns. Rodgers is truly a great player and Cheeseheads were privileged to witness his best performance to date against the Broncos.
While Rodgers and the offense rolled up big numbers, once again the Packer defense struggled at times, which is a troubling pattern. In the second quarter the Packers fell victim to one of football’s oldest trick plays, the flea flicker. Once again too many yards were surrendered to the opposition’s aerial attack. Part of the problem is coverage. Safety Charlie Peprah turned in his second shaky start in as many weeks. The other part of the problem is getting a better pass rush orchestrated, and I am sure Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is well aware of both deficiencies.
This game was one of many big plays. Jordy Nelson caught a 50-yard touchdown and Charles Woodson’s interception and touchdown return were two of the best, but the play that really shined was Rodgers’ laser-beam touchdown pass to James Jones late in the third quarter. Unfortunately the Packers gave up some big plays too. The Broncos are not a very good team (Green Bay was a 13 point favorite) yet they were able to pull off too many “explosive” plays. This needs to be corrected as the competition stiffens starting next week.
Next week the Packers travel to Atlanta to play the Sunday night game against the Falcons. The Falcons have surprisingly struggled a bit this year. No doubt the Falcons will attempt to avenge the shellacking they received from the Packers last January in the NFC title game. Last year the Falcons racked up 13 wins and just 3 losses in the regular season. They have a good team. During the off season they packaged draft picks to move up to select wide receiver Julio Jones, who is a great talent.
The Falcons have one of the best power runners in the league in Michael Turner. In last year’s title game the Packers were able to contain Turner and such might again be the key to a Packer victory next week. The Packers have an offensive arsenal second to none. Rodgers & Company will put points on the scoreboard. The defense needs to tighten up on big passing plays and also contain Michael Turner in order for the Packer offense to do their thing.