Sunday, February 03, 2008


Packers 20 - Giants 23 (OT)

That post title has a dual meaning tonight. It's Super Sunday -- not nearly as super as we'd hoped, unfortunately. That's meaning #1: Over the past two weeks, my disposition has been pretty much summed up with that five-letter word. I've been all over the lower end of the emotional map, actually. Hasn't been too fun. For me or anyone around me.

That all changed just a few minutes ago -- only slightly, mind you, but there has definitely been a palpable change. That's meaning #2: The Giants definitely upset us, but they did something much more important tonight. They just upset the until-now-undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. I kept saying that, if they are going to beat us, they'd damn well better beat New England. I also kept saying that the chances of that happening were absolutely naught. My prediction for the final score of this game was like 56-10 Pats. The Giants just won 17-14. And there were three lead changes in the 4th quarter, so it seemed even way lower-scoring than that. But the point is that the fact that it wasn't Brett and the boys there with a shot at knocking the Pats off their high, conceited horse now hurts just a little bit less.

Our game against the Giants was also a low-scoring affair. It was cold. I think the third-coldest championship game ever played. All signs pointed to Eli Manning not being able to brave the cold, and -- come on -- we're the Packers. The team that plays at a place they call the Frozen Tundra all the time.

But then again, the last time Brett played in cold like this was in the loss to the Bears at Soldier Field. And the Giants had won 9 road games in a row coming into Lambeau. Hm. Yeah, all of the damn stats were conflicting, confusing, and distracting. Perhaps that's what went wrong. Actually, several things went wrong on both sides of the ball, and for both teams. It's just that more went wrong for us than for them. And, actually, in a couple of cases, the shit that went wrong for us was thanks to horrible calls from an officiating crew that had no place working a Playoff game! If the Playoffs' crews are supposed to be the best in the league just like the teams playing in those games... then the only explanation for the presence of Terry McAulay and his boys is that they had something juicy on Roger Goodell. Inexcusable.

The most exhilarating play was a 90-yard TD pass to Double D, who got jammed at the line by Corey Webster but then caught the pass in stride and beat him big time (and high-stepped past the safety) early in the 2nd quarter. One would have hoped it would spark the offense into finally relaxing into some semblance of consistency, but, alas, it didn't work out that way. That play was the longest offensive play in Packers postseason history... but it was also 34% of their offensive output in the entire game. A week after Ryan Grant ran for 201, we only earned 63 more yards than that as a team. Grant ran only 13 times, and ten of those were for two yards or less. Sigh. We couldn't convert 3rd downs -- we were 1-for-10. It led to a choppy-feeling game with no chance to set the tempo.

A roller coaster moment came early in the 4th quarter, when Favre escaped the pass rush but then had his pass intercepted. "Dorsey" had a heads-up defensive play, though, when he knocked the ball out and it squirted right into Tausch's arms. Instead of getting the ball into the end zone for the lead, though, we ended up having to settle for the tying field goal. The defense was just okay. (The Giants' D was impressive.) This was unfortunately one of those games in which Al Harris just didn't play shut-down corner. It was reminiscent of his play in Dallas. Plaxico Burress had a monster game, which meant Eli Manning's numbers looked pretty great.

Even when a couple of things went right -- specifically, Lawrence Tynes missing not one but two field goals, our winning the toss for possession in overtime -- we weren't able to get it together and take over. Another big shoulda'-coulda'-woulda' play came in a 4th quarter punt return, when we knocked the ball out of McQuarters' grasp, but then neither Bush nor Poppinga, both of whom got their mitts on the ball, was able to hang onto it for us. The absolutely most excruciating moment was Brett Favre's last pass in the game -- and, ultimately, the season -- which was supposedly going to Driver but was picked off by Webster. It was only the second play of the extra quarter. Devastating.

But after a couple of weeks, it's a little more tolerable. And after watching the team that beat us go all the way to win the Super Bowl over a team that hadn't lost a game all season, it was even a little more therapeutic. Don't get me wrong, though. It should have been us.

Looking back over this past season, and especially comparing it with the record we managed just two seasons earlier, only two words come to me as a Packers fan: Thank you!

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