Sunday, December 31, 2006

The End?

Packers 26 - Bears 7

For the last several minutes of the game, Brett was shaking a lot of hands and hugging a lot of people on the field and on the sideline. As he came off the field after the last first down inside two minutes (handing things over to Ingle Martin for the last three plays deep in Bears territory), Donald Driver picked him up for a fireman's carry.

When NBC came back from commercial after the final gun, Favre was taking a picture with his offensive line.

When they came back from the second commercial, Andrea Kremer had him for an interview and asked him if all of that stuff was any indication of his plans for the future. Brett said, "If it is my last game, I want to remember it." Then he broke down. "It's tough. It's tough," he said, repeating the feelings of this fan, among others. He promised to let the world know yea or nay on whether he'll be back within a couple of weeks. Honestly, at this point, I am willing to wait until April again. So many things in my mind were pointing to reasons for him to come back. Seeing and hearing that interview, for the first time -- honestly -- I had doubts about it.

I'm going to go back and forth on this tons of times in the days leading up to Favre's official press conference... just like he will. I'm thrilled with the way this game turned out and kind of exhausted, so I'll save going over all the ifs, ands, and buts here for now. Stay tuned, as I may need the therapy later.

So, whether or not it was Favre's last game ever, it was at least his last game of the season. As expected, not all eight games we needed to go our way went our way. In fact, only three of the eight did; the Buccaneers cooperated by losing to the Seahawks, the 49ers somehow beat the Broncos, and -- in one of the most shockingly exciting games of the day -- the Lions bested the Cowboys.

But the Packers came to play. We had something to prove after getting shut out at home by the Bears in the season opener. The first half certainly helped to exorcise those demons. We shut them out, and it wasn't because they rested their first-stringers. They brought their playmakers, and we outplayed them. Even when they did stop us, we didn't fall down. Favre got picked off by Nate Vasher (when Ruvell Martin failed to execute the correct pattern on an audible), but five plays later, defensive player-of-the-game Nick Collins picked Grossman off and ran it back 55 yards for a TD. That was the second of the game. The first came at the end of the opening drive, a 75-yard march featuring a couple of nice third down plays and a couple of nice completions to Carlyle Holiday. Best of all, the TD was a nine-yard Favre-to-Driver completion. (A year ago, the last TD pass of the season was to Antonio Chatman.)

The other two Packers TDs were defensive in nature. My only complaint, with Brett needing seven more TD passes to pass Marino for most ever, was that Rex Grossman had more passes for Packers touchdowns than Brett did. And when Brian Griese came in in the second half, it seemed like we would be able to shut the Bears out and pay them back the favor they did us. Unfortunately, he threw a 75-yard TD pass in the 3rd quarter, so we couldn't quite deliver... but we did make Grossman leave with a QB rating of (wait for it...) 0.0. That'll do. A month ago, Bears fans were pissed even though their team had just clinched the NFC North title with a win against the Viqueens because Grossman posted a QB rating of 1.3. By my math, his rating tonight was roughly 1.3 lower than that. If you're wondering how one could reach that magic non-number, it apparently takes a combination of stats like "2 for 12," "three interceptions," and "lost fumble."

The worst I can come up with from our end is that David Rayner remained un-count-onable. He missed the PAT after the Collins run-back (doinked off of the left upright) and, later, a 32-yard
gimme went wide left, too.

Otherwise, I was only a teensy bit disappointed by the absence of 'The Jennerator.' I had predicted a big game for him tonight -- he needed one, as he had become stagnant in the latter half of the season. I can't fault him for not being there tonight, though. His wife gave birth today.

So, is it the end? Yes. Yes, it is. It is the end of 2006. Welcome 2007, and let's hope for Brett to return for another great season, surrounded by talented players. In the short term, Packers fans can always hop on another bandwagon for a month or so. The NFL website has made it easy for those of us supporting one of the twenty teams sitting on the sidelines for the playoffs: Go to http://playoffs.nfl.com/bandwagon/ for a tongue-in-cheek five-question quiz to help you pick a winner to support. I'm completely screwed; I ran through it twice last week and was told first to support the Broncos and then the Bengals. Now what?

Go Bolts!

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey blogger (blog her? I don't even know her!) check this out: http://www.jsonline.com/blog/?id=165.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Off-topic, but this has been discussed on this blogger's other blog. See http://www.vh1.com/news/articles/1551090/20070130/police.jhtml for the latest. I'm depressed to admit that I heard about this latest Grammy wrinkle on Entertainment Tonight. I'm still holding out for the sold-out summer tour.

12:19 AM  

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