Well, that’s more like it. With Matt Flynn at the helm, a scrappy Green Bay Packers team outlasted the Atlanta Falcons 22-21 on Sunday, and the Packers’ playoff possibilities retain a glimmer of hope.
Interestingly, Packers fans booed their team off the field at halftime on Sunday, as it trailed 21-10 and had just given up a seemingly impossible touchdown on an interception that ricocheted off Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow’s foot and caromed into the waiting hands of fellow linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.
As Packers offensive players gaped in disbelief, Weatherspoon rumbled 71 yards to paydirt, culminating a gut-wrenching turn of events that was punctuated by an embarrassing missed tackle by Packers guard T.J. Lang.
I texted my girlfriend, “This team is cursed. Season over.”
And then the Packers’ defense rose from the beyond and shut out Atlanta in the second half, getting not one, but two drive-ending defensive plays by the most unlikely of heroes, Jarrett Bush. I literally was near tears at the end of that game, I was so moved by the sheer never-say-die will I witnessed on that field, however sloppy it may have looked at times.
And yet after the game, a lot of Packers fans – in spite of this being the first win in six weeks – continued to point to the negative, insisting quarterback Aaron Rodgers be shut down with his broken collarbone and pointing to things like the handoff play to end the disastrous first half which resulted in a sprained ankle for bruising running back Eddie Lacy.
Well, that’s what I’m here for. The Lions lost in a blizzard to the Eagles, the Packers finally gave a game effort and gutted out a win, and we all just need to take a deep breath.
Cause for concern: Even on Flynn’s one big play down the field, he nearly under-threw Jordy Nelson – to the point that it was nearly batted away. Flynn doesn’t look like a legitimate NFL quarterback to me.
Reason to take a deep breath: That’s because, by almost all accounts, he’s not one. He’s a fourth-string quarterback who is desperately trying to keep the Packers in games, and to find a way to win when it counts. After what I saw Sunday, I agree that Flynn may not have a lot of NFL-caliber talent, but he’s got NFL-caliber guts, and that led him to a 24-of-32 passing day with 258 yards and a touchdown – and, most importantly, a win.
The one interception was a fluke, leaving only a missed receiver or two and a blind-side sack fumble as true black marks on his performance, at least to my eyes. No, he’s not Rodgers, but my hat is off to him after that game on Sunday.
Cause for concern: We barely beat an Atlanta Falcons team that is spiraling down the toilet. It was an anomaly. The Packers are cooked.
Reason to take a deep breath: The Packers are a team that was spiraling down the toilet itself until about 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Watch that second half again – that was a team that came back onto the field with some fight in it. Was it the booing? Was the fact it moved the ball and kept Atlanta relatively in check in the first half a motivator, despite the lopsided score? Or were they just pissed off about the buffet spread? I don’t know, but I want to see that team take the field against Dallas this coming Sunday. I think it will.
Cause for concern: What if Eddie Lacy can’t play? He didn’t practice on Tuesday.
Reason to take a deep breath: It’s a sprained ankle. Have you seen this guy? Eddie Lacy is going to eat the Cowboys’ front seven like they’re seven big fat cheese curds.