Credit to the Packers’ coaching staff. They came in with a nearly perfect game plan. I loved the onsides kick to open up the game. That set a tone that the Packers were throwing out all the stops to win this game. Defensively, they did an outstanding job keeping Brady in check – holding the likely league MVP to 163 yards passing. With Collins missing much of the game and Erik Walden getting the start at linebacker, it’s all the more impressive they held the #1 offense to so few yards. And the running game was finally effective tonight – racking up 143 yards and resulting in a dominant time-of-possession advantage.
The game was really decided on three plays that didn’t go the Packers’ way:
- Woodson’s missed interception. Charles has to be kicking himself to have the ball bounce off his hands on the Patriots’ opening drive. That would have been a key turn-over.
- Dan Connolly’s 71-yard kick-off return. Are you kidding me??? That looked like a walrus stealing a chicken. How a 300+-lb offensive lineman rumbles down the field to nearly score a touchdown is beyond me.
- Flynn’s pick six. I’m not sure you can pin that one on Flynn. It looked to me that Jones cut off the route early. And the fact that about three dozen Packers had opportunities to make the tackle but couldn’t was disappointing.
Any of those three plays could have changed the outcome of the game. It would have been a sweet victory. But we at least had some luck on Sunday – with the Lions’ victory over the Buccaneers, Green Bay moves into 7th place in the NFC playoff race. And with the Eagles’ dramatic come-from-behind victory over the demoralized Giants, the Packers still effectively control their own destiny. If they beat New York next Sunday at Lambeau, they will be tied with the Giants for the 6th and final wild card spot, which they would take by virtue of the head-to-head tie breaker.
So in spite of the heartbreaking loss, I got a shot of optimism tonight. The team played with heart and determination and nearly pulled out a long-shot victory. If they bring that kind of game the last two weeks, I’m hopeful we’ll make it to the post-season.