The Packers won, and they won big. However, 14 of those points came on two bad Kitna passes taken to the house by Woodson and Collins, respectively. This game was far closer than I am comfortable with. I’ll be honest; the last 5 minutes of the game, I was ridiculously on-edge, and I shouldn’t have been. Thank the football gods for Charles Woodson’s timely interceptions. The second one that went for six was made the cake. And Nick Collins’ pick-six was the icing. Really, really good icing. Wish I could’ve seen it.
All day, I’d been trying frantically to find and, if necessary, download different programs that will let me watch the Packer game online. So far, I’ve been able to get a program that gives me audio only and one that gives me the Chiefs-Raiders game when it says I’m getting the Packers-Lions game. TVUPlayer, you were WRONG. After an hour, I gave up. NFL GameCast was going to have to do.
So here’s what I’ve been able to observe through GameCast and sparse highlights on CBS (which was showing Minnesota achieve mild success against a suddenly very mortal Indianapolis squad, even though Indy ended up making a game of it and taking the win on a Vinatieri FG):
- There’s a reason Aaron Rodgers was touted as a possible first overall pick. The guy has mad game, and we saw it today. He’s accurate, going 24/38 for 328 in the game, including a 16/20 showing in the first half. That’s an 80% completion rate. And, he’s spreading around the ball to all his receivers extremely well, completing passes to 7 different Packer players. And, he’s shown that he can throw it deep, as well as intermediate and short throws, racking up 210 yards by halftime. And, he got 3 touchdowns! In the first half! His fourth quarter performance was admirable as well; he essentially got the game back for the Pack. The fumbles are concerning, but he did enough good in this game to make up for it.
- The Rodgers-Jennings connection is a good one ̶ they’ve got three passes of 50+ yards in the first two games.
- I would have liked to see the running game more prominent in the first half, but I guess when you have a bunch of passes going for big gains (one 60+, two 20+ in the first half), it’s not as big of a deal. Plus, with Wells and Sitton out and Grant kinda-sorta-injured, the running offense isn’t at full strength. I think this game would have been much better controlled had the running game been on the same level as the passing game. That concerns me for next week.
- The defense started off doing a great job limiting big plays, especially in the first half. The Lions only managed five plays of 10 yards or more, and only one of 20+. I believe that they allowed a whopping 125 yards and 3 points in the first half, which is pretty good considering the skill of the top two Detroit wideouts.
- Roy Williams and Megatron were well controlled in the first half, which says a lot for the defensive scheme and execution. Both managed to get some big completions, including Johnson’s touchdowns, which brought Detroit back into the game. This also worries me for next week; the defense needs to close these types of games out.
- I know what you’re saying, that Green Bay made three interceptions on Detroit’s final three (meaningful) drives, two of them going for touchdowns. But Detroit had gotten desperate, and Jon Kitna is not the most clutch QB out there. This game easily could have ended 34-25, which is OK, but with more disciplined tackling, it could have stayed at 34-18.
- Finally, I hope that Atari Bigby is ok for next week. He left in the first half and I’ve not heard from him since.
Finally, an amusing anecdote from a friend who was able to drive to Detroit for the game: Because of the lack of interest in the team, my buddy John and a few other guys were able to get tickets on the Packers’ sideline in the first few rows. Great seats, and for cheap! Anyway, they got to the stadium at about 9 in the morning and went in as soon as they could. They found their section and were watching the warm-ups, and John managed to spot Detroit GM Matt Millen.
Now, you don’t need me to tell you that Matt Millen is a guy who has received more than a little attention regarding the makeup, assembly, and performance of his team. Does anyone remember Charles Rogers? Mike Williams? The Caleb Campbell fiasco? I almost feel sorry for everyone in Michigan, but then I remember that they have the Pistons, who consistently beat up on our Milwaukee Bucks, not to mention the Red Wings.
Anyway, Millen was just ‘Millen’ about (thanks, folks, I’ll be here all week), and John managed to flag him down. Naturally, he and his compadres were all wearing Packers gear and stood out against the blue/white color scheme in Ford Field. So Millen jokingly accused them of trespassing in enemy territory. The guys laughed it off as such, and Millen continued by saying, "I’m kidding, I’m actually kind of a Packer fan." To which John replied, "You must be, considering how you run the team." And Millen just laughed. Now if that’s not a sign of either total incompetence or total incomprehension, I don’t know what is.
Apparently, they saw Ted Thompson too. They said he looked stoned. But, then again, that’s how he always looks. At least he doesn’t draft like it.