By the slimmest of margins the Green Bay Packers squeaked out a 22 – 21 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday. It was the first victory for the Packers since Halloween and it was a long dry spell for Cheeseheads. The win, combined with a loss by Detroit, means that the Packers still have playoff possibilities if the Packers win their last three games and the Detroit Lions lose one more game.
This game would likely have been a cake walk if the Packers were performing with a fairly healthy squad against a pretty crappy Southern team like the Falcons, coming into Lambeau on a cold and snowy December day. But the Packers don’t have a healthy squad as once again they were absent their leader, Aaron Rodgers. Thus, Cheeseheads witnessed a nail-biter type game.
So it was Matt Flynn’s opportunity to see if anyone could win a game this year without Mr. Rodgers. The game started out well with a heavy dose of Eddie Lacy and a monumental 17-play drive which culminated with a Lacy touchdown and gave the Packers a 7 – 0 lead. However, it didn’t take long for Atlanta to get on the board as two touchdown passes flew by safety Morgan Burnett’s soft coverage and soon it was 14 – 7 Falcons. Flynn held the ball too long inviting sacks too many times and then threw a pick 6 just before intermission which left the Pack trailing 21 – 10.
The Packers clawed back in the third quarter with a pair of field goals. Early in the final quarter Mike Neal forced a turnover which led to a Flynn touchdown pass to tight end Andrew Quarless and gave the Packers their slim margin of victory. The Packers’ tight end group had been very quiet since Jermichael Finley’s season-ending injury. Quarless stepped up his game with six catches on the day.
The game ended with the Packer defense holding the Falcons scoreless for the balance of the fourth quarter, but there were two late three and outs where the Packers’ offense failed to put the game away. Cheeseheads have been so spoiled by # 12 salting games like this away, that we barely know how to process a tough win like this one. The Packer defense rose to the occasion, however, and came up with a couple of late stops when the team desperately needed them.
So, the Packers still have playoff viability. The Pack travels to Texas next week to play the Cowboys in Dallas but methinks we are going to need Aaron Rodgers to have a decent chance in pulling off a victory. The Cowboys have a fairly talented team and a first-class huckster for an owner, Jerry Jones. There is no NFL owner who is quite as awkwardly obnoxious as the Cowboys’ Jerry Jones. Jones likes to chum around with slimy politicians and has a long history of lining up outrageous schemes to get into the taxpayers’ wallets to enrich his personal portfolio. Jones is a good reason why I hope the Cowboys lose all their football games and it would be especially sweet if they lose one next week.
Cheeseheads need to keep their fingers crossed for a favorable medical report this week on Rodgers. Last week I thought the playoffs were beyond reach. Maybe a win over the Cowboys can help prove me wrong.