The only sound that can accurately depict my feelings is Chester Bennington going into one of his trademark psychotic screaming fits. Yes, I made a Linkin Park reference. As bad as that is, this game was worse.
This was a huge game. I realize it was only week 3, but it was still a huge game. This was the first real test of where Green Bay was as a team. The Vikings? Talented, but underachievers because of their coaching and QB issues. The Lions? Epic fail, save for Megatron. The Cowboys were the first real team the Packers have faced.
And they failed. Miserably.
I hate Dallas. I hate the Cowboys, I hate the Mavericks, and if I knew any other sports franchises Dallas had, I'd hate them too. But I respect them. The Cowboys are a solid team, probably the best in the NFC, and should be the favorite going into the playoffs.
Then again, perhaps I'm allowing my inner Chicken Little too much control. There were some good things:
- Charles Woodson and Nick Collins shut down T.O. It was more Woodson than Nick the Kid, but Collins did more than the casual fan may think. For one of the best WR's in the game to end up with 2 catches for 17 yards is a valiant effort and deserves credit.
- Ryan Grant looks healthy. Yes, he fumbled on his first run, which started toppling the dominos. But when he did get touches, he showed great burst and strength, evidence of a healed hamstring. Which is a nice thing to have.
- Aaron Rodgers didn't kill the team. An odd compliment, but a valid one considering the history of Packers' quarterbacks in losing efforts. This was the first time we saw him in a losing situation, and he was subpar and unspectacular, but not terrible. His completion percentage was far too low and he under/overthrew too many recievers, but he didn't lose the game for the Pack. Plus he added a rushing TD, which helps my fantasy team this week, so I can't be too mad at him.
The majority of the problems with the offense started with the offensive line. They did not open up enough running lanes against a vulnerable 3-4 set, which forced the Packers to pass more, which exposed him to Dallas' potent pass rush and caused him to take too many sacks (despite some good efforts to avoid pressure). All these things combined to short-circuit the offense.
But the defense. Oh, the defense. Marion Barber III looked like he had Marion Barbers I and II powering his legs. It didn't help that Packer defenders neglected to use proper technique, which involves wrapping up the runners legs above the knee instead of smashing into his upper body with a shoulder (an offense that Nick Barnett is often guilty of). It also didn't help that the defense allowed Felix Jones to break outside containment on his 60-yard TD run, or that Jason Witten put on a "How To Be an NFL Tight End" clinic, or that Miles Austin (who?!) got wide open on two crucial plays, or that Tony Romo had more time in the pocket than a condom in your high school geometry teacher's pants (which might explain why he was so uptight all the time).
All in all, Dallas came out and showed that they were the better team. Packers 1 through 53 needed to step up for this game, and nobody 1 through 53 took that step. Green Bay has a lot of work to do between now and the playoffs (still an expected outcome for the 2008-09 season), and I hope the guys realize that when they come into practice on Tuesday.