Before moving ahead in 2009, I started by looking back at 2008. I covered weeks 1-4 here and weeks 5-8 here.
|at Tennessee||at Minnesota||vs. Chicago||at New Orleans|
|Rushing Yards Gained||102||74||83||109|
|Rushing Yards Allowed||178||220||200||98|
|Passing Yards Gained||288||110||227||234|
|Passing Yards Allowed||169||141||151||318|
|Turnovers by Opponent||0||3||1||1|
|Turnovers by Packers||2||0||1||3|
|Points by Packers||16||27||37||29|
|Points by Opponent||19||28||3||51|
Three tough road games against good teams resulted in three road losses. Two were not surprising; losing at unbeaten Tennessee and in the Metrodome. But the severity of the loss at New Orleans was stunning. It didn't end their post season chances, but that's when the hopes started to dim.
The game at Tennessee was well played. RB Ryan Grant ran well against a great run defense. Critics, unfairly, started pointing some blame at QB Aaron Rodgers because the offense was forced to settle for FGs instead of scoring a TD, but expecting perfection against a great Tennessee defense is asking too much. Again, the run defense failed when Tennessee got the ball at the start of OT, preceded to hand off several times, and easily moved into position for the game losing FG.
The game at Minnesota was a real shock. Although the Packers lost by a single point, and a failed 52 yard FG attempt by K Mason Crosby on the last play of the game almost won it for them, the Packers were blown out in this game. Minnesota's defense owned the Packers offense. And Minnesota's offense had a great game running the ball. But QB Gus Frerotte threw 3 INTs, KR Will Blackmon ran a punt back for a TD, and that kept the Packers in the game.
After two straight losses, some hope returned when they destroyed Chicago. This game really has to be ignored. All their wins were close in 2008, except this one. Chicago never had a chance. It was the only time it happened all season; everything went right for them in this game.
All the games in 2008, whether a win or a loss, were close, except for the week 11 crushing of Chicago and the week 12 crush by New Orleans. QB Drew Brees and his receivers destroyed the Packers secondary, which had been arguably the best in the NFL up until this game. The Saints really showed that S Atari Bigby (his last game of the season) and S Aaron Rouse did not have enough speed to keep up with NFL receivers. Still, Rodgers played well, although the 3rd quarter was a disaster, and he led the offense on four TD scoring drives.