by Mark Metzler
My apologies to Paul Allen. I thought the long-time Minnesota Vikings’ announcer was perhaps the greatest homer in the history of football radio broadcasting. I cringe when I hear him do a game. But, I was wrong. The distinction for the greatest supporter of the home team belongs to the Packers’ radio broadcast duo of Wayne Larivee and Larry McCarren.
On Sunday, I was on the road, so I tuned into Larivee and McCarren on WTMJ out of Milwaukee to listen to the game. It had been years, and I had forgotten why I had stopped listening to them.
Even when they tried to be impartial, they couldn’t be in describing the Packers 24-10 win over the Washington Football team, formerly known as the Redskins, which Larivee and McCarren reverted to at least a half dozen times during the broadcast. When Washington scored early, they were deflated. When there was a Packers’ penalty, like an early interference call on Rasul Douglas, they described it as the worst call in the history of all of football. I think they were kidding, but I wasn’t too sure. When the Packers scored, they practically jumped through the dashboard.
From what I could hear, and what I could see on replays later, the Packers and Aaron Rodgers dissected the Washington defense, despite a strong pass rush for Washington, which sacked Rodgers three times early. All in all, Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, one each to Davante Adams, Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan. Again, Rodgers showed why he is a three-time MVP.
Washington, behind Taylor Heinicke was able to gain a good amount of yardage against the Packers, but unlike all of the year to this point, the Packers defense made some impressive red zone stops. Rashan Gary and Kingsley Keke came up with big plays for the Packers and newcomer Whitney Mercilius even played a little bit. Jaylon Smith played a little more as well. You have to give General Manager Brian Gutekunst credit for at least trying to go out and get players to help because of the Packers injury problems. In the long run, the Packers injury problems could end up as a positive as more players gain valuable experience because they have to play.
Unfortunately, we learned that rookie center Josh Myers was put on injured reserve last week. Preston Smith didn’t play, and Kevin King was out again. Though, I think that is usually for the better. Jaire Alexander remains out. Fortunately, left tackle David Bakhtiari may come back in time for Thursday night’s game against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals, who beat the hapless Houston Texans, 31-5. The game is in Arizona, and the Cardinals are 3.5-point favorites. After that, the Packers go to Kansas City to play the Chiefs, who were thought to be the best team in the league at the start of the season, but are now reeling.
While the Cardinals are the only NFC undefeated team, the Rams, Buccaneers and Cowboys also only have one loss. The Packers play the Rams in week 12. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. It seems clear, though, that the Packers will win the NFC North.
So far, the Packers have played OK, but not great. Most of the teams they have beaten have been relatively weak. Thursday’s game will be big, and I will get to see it on TV. I hope I don’t have to listen to Larivee and McCarren again.
One last note, I did like the throwback uniforms, the brighter green and yellow helmets. They were better than the throwback the team has used over the past decade or so.