The Green Bay Packers put forth their best effort thus far in the 2003 season by routing the previously undefeated Seattle Seahawks 38 -13 at Lambeau Field Sunday. This game was an important win for the 2003 Pack that hopefully will generate confidence that should flow from soundly beating a good team.
There were lots of mixed emotions flying around last week from cheeseheads as well as some of the coaches and players. Cheeseheads well remember Mike Holmgren as a brilliant coach, who led the Pack to Super Bowl XXXI. But he left Green Bay in a huff, wanting more control and power, which he found in Seattle. Cheeseheads also remember Seattle's defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes with considerably less esteem for his general incompetence as Green Bay's single-season head coach in 1999. Ahman Green was traded to Green Bay by Mike Holmgren for a guy who never played a down for the Seahawks and there also was QB Matt Hasselbeck who was drafted by the Packers and served as 3rd string QB for Pack for 2 years before being traded to Seattle. Toss in Brett Favre's maturation during the Holmgren years and you have a recipe for a real interesting contest.
But it was the cheeseheads, Ahman Green and Brett Favre who had the day Sunday. Led by Green's powerful running and Favre's crisp passing, it was a delightful game to watch. The game started out a little shaky as the Pack's vulnerable defensive line couldn't mount a pass rush or stop the Seahawks running game. For some reason the linebacker and secondary blitzes, used successfully last week against the Bears, were not called in the first half. But the defense made adjustments at half time and stepped up their blitzes to shut out Seattle in the 2nd half. Linebacker Nick Barnett is a tackling machine and put in another solid performance. Safety Marcus Anderson also had a nice game, along with the entire aggressive defensive backfield.
Green rushed for 2 TDs and well over 100 yards. He is an outstanding back and must have been deeply gratified to run over his former teammates and the coach who gave up on him. Credit the offensive line too for their good work, allowing Green and Favre to turn in nice performances. The play calling was much better this week than in weeks past as Favre was able to sling the ball around to a host of receivers in typical Favre fashion. He seems to have gotten back his swagger as the balls seemed to have more zip on them than in previous games this season. Perhaps some of that comes from the confidence of having all his receivers healthy for the first time this season. At one point in the game, the Pack's offense scored a TD on 5 straight possessions. Such is their potential.
The Pack's performance of the past two weeks is encouraging and perhaps indicative of their potential, but it doesn't get any easier. Next week the 5 - 0 Kansas City Chiefs come to Lambeau. The Chiefs have a VERY good team this year. Priest Holmes is every bit as good as Ahman Green and that is saying a lot. The Chiefs also have an awesome talent in return man/receiver Dante Hall. This guy is incredible. He reminds me of Desmond Howard in his prime and he might even be better. The Pack better have their special teams in prime form next week because Hall can score any time he gets his hands on the ball. But the Chiefs can be had, especially if the Pack can continue to play without turnovers like they did against the Seahawks. If the Pack plays the Chiefs smart and minimize the efforts of Holmes and Hall, they have a decent chance of winning this game.