The Dream Season: Reflecting the 2007 Green Bay Packers

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The Dream Season: Reflecting the 2007 Green Bay Packers

It was the winter of 2007 and Brett Favre had just announced he was returning to the Packers for his 16th season with the club. Feelings among the cheese heads was pretty mixed.

While everyone was excited that No. 4 was coming back for another season, the Packers were coming off a mediocre 8-8 season and had not made the playoffs in two years.

Predictions were pretty optimistic, but rather unrealistic.

We were young, talented, but inexperienced. We had no reliable running game, an aging legend at quarterback and a batch of largely unproven wide receivers.

We had no real chance at winning anything.

That was until the entire team rallied behind the future Hall of Fame quarterback and tore through the NFL regular season to a 13-3 season.

This is their story.

 

Preseason

The Packers went 2-2 in the preseason and turned in some rather uninspirational performances in three of the four preseason matches. The highlight of the preseason was the 48-13 trouncing of the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field.

 

Week One: Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Ahh, the Eagles. Over the past few seasons they have become a sort of rival of the Packers. It was certainly a one-sided rivalry as the Eagles got the best of the Packers every time they played.

This time, however, the Packers defense stepped up and held the Ealges to only one touchdown.

On the flip side, the Packers offense did not score a touchdown.

With time winding down the score was tied 13-13 when rookie kicker Mason Crosby hit the game winning field goal in the dying seconds.

The Packers won 16-13.

Crosby became the first player in NFL history to kick a 50-yard field goal and a game-winning field goal in their first career NFL game.

 

Week Two: Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants

With a win over the Eagles last week, Packers quarterback Brett Favre tied John Elway's record for most wins as a starting quarterback in a career (149). A win at the meadowlands would give Favre the record.

The game started fast as the Giants defense surrendered points to Favre's offense early.

The game was never really close as Favre closed it out with a laser touchdown pass to put the game out of reach.

The Packers won 35-13 and Brett Favre became the winning-est quarterback in NFL history.

 

Week Three: Green Bay Packers vs. San Diego Chargers

There was a lot of excitement in Green Bay coming into week three. The Packers were undefeated and coming off a trouncing of the Giants. The Chargers were 1-1 and were coming off a disappointing loss to the Patriots (38-14).

The game inexplicably close as the Packers defense surrendered lots of third down conversions to the Chargers. But, the Packers offense kept moving the ball into scoring position.

Following a stunning goal line stand by the Chargers, the Packers were down 21-17 late in the fourth, Favre was driving the Packer offense into Chargers territory.Then, on a stunning second down play, Brett Favre threw the game winning touchdown to Greg Jennings.

Not just any touchdown pass, Favre's 420th which tied Dan Marino's record for touchdown passes in a career.

The Packers won 31-24 following a Nick Barnett interception.

This is the game that really got fans believing in their team, and this was the game where the Packers recognized that they can compete even with the youngest team in the NFL.

 

Week Four: Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings

Going into this game, there was only one topic to talk about. Brett Favre being tied with Dan Marino for the most touchdown passes in NFL history, 420.

Everyone, except Favre, of course. As usual he stayed true to the media and didn't want to talk about the record saying "it won't mean a thing if we lose."


Well, he didn't have to worry about that. Favre threw two touchdowns as the Packers beat the Vikings 23-16 and improved to 4-0.

Brett Favre became the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes.

 

Week Five: Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears

Going into their first nationally televised game, the Packers were eager to show off their perfect record.

Something the Bears were eager to stain. It was the 174th meeting between the two teams.

First half fumbles by James Jones left points off the board for the Packers, these lost points would come back to haunt the Packers late in the game.

Despite a rally by Favre's offense, the Bears handed the Packers their first loss of the season 27-20.

 

Week Six: Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins

In Week Six the explosive Packers offense (then second in the NFL) met their match in the Redskins defense.

Favre was held to zero touchdowns and it took a defensive touchdown by Charles Woodson to win the game.

Brett Favre also claimed another NFL record in this game, though a not so prestigious one. His two interceptions gave Favre the record for most interceptions thrown in a career.

The Packers won 17-14.

 

Week Seve: Bye.

 

Week Eight: Green Bay Packers vs. Denver Broncos

On Monday Night Football, the Packers and Broncos would give one of the most memorable performances of the season.

The game started out with a long touchdown pass from Favre to James Jones early in the first quarter.

The Packers built a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter. But, Jay Cutler and the Broncos were driving. Inside the red zone, the Packers defense made an admirable stop to keep the Broncos from tying the game, rather than winning it.

The game went into overtime, and the rest is Packers legend.

On the first play of overtime, Brett Favre launched an 85-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings to win the game 19-13.

 

Week Nine: Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Packers offense broke their slump of two straight games scoring under 20 points. They picked a good game to do it as the lowly Chiefs came out firing.

Going into the fourth quarter the Chiefs were up 13-7. What followed would be one of the most explosive comebacks in Brett Favre's career. Through great play by his receivers, Favre helped the Packers to score 20 fourth quarter points as he notched his 40th career fourth quarter comeback.

The Packers improved to 7-1 and turned their attention to a bye in the playoffs.

 

Week 10: Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

It was all Packers in the second meeting of the season between the two bitter rivals. Both the Packers offense and defense dominated all game shutting out the Vikings 34-0 at Lambeau Field.

The Packers improved to 8-1.

 

Week 11: Green Bay Packers vs. Carolina Panthers

Another week, another blow out victory for the Packers. Favre turned in another flawless performance as he continued to assault the record books.

The Packers defense picked off Vinny Testaverde twice en route to a 31-17 victory for the Packers.

The Packers improved to 9-1 and were tied with the Dallas Cowboys atop the NFC.

 

Week 12: Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions

On Thanksgiving day the Packers turned in another dominant performance over division rival Detroit.

The Packers built an early 24-9 lead that they sat on for much of the game. Behind three Favre touchdown passes, three Mason Crosby field goals and 100 rushing yards from the now surging Ryan Grant, the Packers coasted to a 37-26 victory.

 

Week 13: Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys

For the first time in NFL history, two NFC teams with a record of 10-1 were set to do battle.

In the lights of Texas Stadium, the Packers and Cowboys dueled for what would determine home field advantage for the NFC playoffs.

Brett Favre had a dismal day as he tossed two interceptions before exiting the game with a nerve injury in his throwing elbow.

Enter Aaron Rodgers. The Packers back up and the eventual successor to Favre's throne. Rodgers rallied the Packers and played to near perfection against one of the NFL's best teams.

However, the Packers defense were unable to stop the Cowboys offense all night as Tony Romo threw four touchdown passes.

The Cowboys won 37-27 and effectively clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Packers dropped to 10-2.

 

Week 14: Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders

In Week 14 the Packers returned to Lambeau Field, which was celebrating it's 50th anniversary housing the Packers.

Again, the Packers dominated their weaker opponent. Ryan Grant earned 156 yards rushing as he took the weight off his defense by keeping them on the sideline.

When the Packer defense was on the field, they showed utter dominance. They forced three turnovers in the Packers' 38-7 victory.

 

Week 15: Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams

For the second straight week the Packers faced a team with a losing record. The pressure to keep up with the Cowboys was on and they did not freeze.

The Packers were dominated by the Rams in terms of time of possession, with the Rams owning that department with nearly 13 more minutes than the Packers.

In the fourth quarter Brett Favre claimed the last of Dan Marino's NFL career passing records.

Favre passed Dan Marino for most career passing yards in a single career. The one record that was proclaimed "unbreakable."

 

Week 16: Green Bay Packers vs.  Detroit Lions

With the lowly Lions in town, the Packers rested the majority of their starters for the playoffs.

The backups were able to crush the Lions 34-13. Brett Favre left the game in the 2nd quarter, but was 9-11 with two touchdown passes.

Backup running back Brandon Jackson rushed for 113 yards as the cheese heads geared up for the playoffs.

 

NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks

The story was rich: Mike Holmgren returning to Lambeau Field to face his former team and quarterback.

The future of both Favre and Holmgren was in the air and this was considered by many to be the final meeting between the two.

Despite the early pregame hype, both teams started the game in entirely different fashions.

Ryan Grant fumbled twice in the first quarter and the Seahawks scored two touchdowns to build an early 14-0 lead.

Lambeau Field was silenced, as it appeared their amazing 13-3 season was going down the drain.

That was until Head Coach Mike McCarthy let the veteran quarterback put the team on his back on the very next drive. Favre flawlessly led the Packers to a touchdown and the stadium went from shock to pandemonium.

The snow began falling and so did the Seahawks. In their element, the Packers ripped off 28 first half points against the suspect defense of Seattle.

Behind three Brett Favre touchdown passes and a record setting performance by Ryan Grant, who ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns atoning for his early mistakes, the Packers cruised to the NFC Championship game with a 42-20 win over the Seahawks.

 

NFL Playoffs: NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants

Nobody wanted to say it, but everybody wanted to say it. When the Giants defeated the Cowboys in the other NFC Division playoff game, all Packer fans jumped for joy as it meant the Packers would host the Giants in the NFC Championship game. What people were avoiding were saying "They don't stand a chance."

But, that is exactly what the media was saying. The Packers were heavily favored in the subzero temperatures of Lambeau Field.

From the first snap of the ball, everyone knew this game would be one for the ages.

The Giants built an early 6-0 lead on the home side. But, like he has done his entire career, Brett Favre lit the spark that started the Packers.

A 90-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver put the Packers up 7-6.

Lambeau Field erupted and would not silence.

The Packers were up 10-6 at halftime and were 30 minutes of game time from the Super Bowl. The dream season was almost complete.

As the fourth quarter loomed the stories of the game were evident. The complete and utter domination by Plaxico Burress over the Packers secondary and the Giants nearly doubling the Packers time of possession.

Still, the Packers were only down 20-17. In a late fourth-quarter drive, the Packers tied the game at 20 with a Mason Crosby field goal.

Lawrence Tynes would get two chances to win the game before regulation but failed.

The game went into overtime, and like in Denver, the Packers won the toss.

In sports, you rarely find a moment when the hopes and dreams of millions are all in the most supreme confidence and certainty of them becoming a reality.

It is even more rare to find a moment in which all of that certainty is wiped away in a single second. But, that is what happened at Lambeau Field on Jan. 20, 2008.

It was a simple second down play in their own territory. The Packers came out in a basic single-back set. Donald Driver ran a quick out route and was open.

Brett Favre under threw him and was intercepted.

Lawrence Tynes made no mistakes this time, and won the game for the Giants.

But, despite this loss, nothing could take away the excitement and joy of the fourteen wins, and even the four losses.

Watching the young team evolve into a championship caliber team was unreal, and watching Brett Favre go out with a boom was equally as rewarding.

I'll never forget the 2007 Green Bay Packers. My favorite Green Bay Packers.

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