Thursday, September 13, 2007


Packers 16 - Eagles 13
I'm hopeful that this victory will be a sign that this will be a year in which any last-second field goals will fall in our favor. Mason Crosby quickly became famous this week, thanks to literally kicking off his career as a Packer by booting a 53-yarder through the uprights to put the team up ten to zip in the first quarter... and then, oh, by the way, kicking a 42-yarder through with two seconds left to win the game. The last rookie kicker to win a game like that for the Pack? Same as the last Packer to boot a 53-yarder on opening day: A guy named Chris Jacke. In the end, yes, Crosby's just a kicker, and I'm sure I'll have a vitriolic rant about him on this blog eventually, but for now it's nice that he was able to lead us off with a victory the way he did.
The offense struggled in this game. The defense played solidly, although there's still room for them to improve -- the Philly offense should not have been allowed to catch back up to us by the end of the first half. The play by special teams was inspired. Over the past couple of seasons, I've lamented that we had no "x-factor" like we had in the late '90s. Our defense was amazing then -- and defense really does win championships -- but we also had Desmond Howard running kicks back into the end zone every once in a while. Last year, the Bears got to the Super Bowl, thanks in no small part to Devon Hester. Meanwhile, our average starting field position was probably at, like, the 15. We didn't run anything back on Sunday, but we did apparently scare the bejeezus out of their returners enough to make a difference. The first score of the season was a muff recovery in the end zone (thanks, Atari!). If that's an sign of things to come, I'm reading.
To make up for lost time, I expect Brett to throw at least four TD passes (and run one in -- why not?) this weekend at the Giants' place. In the meantime, Brett did reach his first milestone of the season in Game #1, tying John Elway with his 148th career win. Donald Driver also tied an important record on Sunday. He and Antonio Freeman both have 213 catches at Lambeau.
Beating the Eagles was huge. We haven't done that in a long time. Winning our home opener was equally as huge. It's been too long on that, too. Our contain was good on Brian Westbrook, and our pressure on McNabb was appropriately persistent. The only really weird trend I noticed in this game, which I hope was just an opening day fluke, was that it seemed to take us far too long to get the ball snapped and start the play. We had, I think, one delay-of-game penalty, but there was also one no-call I noticed, and otherwise it seemed we were snapping the ball with :01 on the clock with alarming frequency. We'll see if New York time is any different. Hope so.
Short version: I wish Rayner all the best (I guess), but we chose wisely with Crosby.

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