Even a Green Bay Packers Loss In Pittsburgh Can Feel Like a Win
So the winning streak is over: three seconds from Heaven. But think of what's happened during the second half of the season that led Packers' fans (and many others) to think that this was a game they should have won. Super Bowl champions, December, in Pittsburgh? Are you kidding? When I saw the schedule in August I had this one down as a firm "L."
Ironically, the loss should act as a spur, even as a confidence builder, for what remains of the regular season and the great unknown which lies beyond...and, I am confident that there will be a second season.
What remains to be done: Seattle down and out (useful dome practice) and Arizona (already division champs and likely to be both uninterested and resting some key players). Is it unreasonable to hope for two wins?
What happened in Pennsylvania, though, reminds me of why we love sports: it's the unpredictability.
Was there anything in the previous four or five games to suggest the pass defence would be so porous? That Big Ben would be sacked more times than Aaron? That the Pack could run up 30-plus points on one of the best defences in football? I don't think so.
Of course, there were the usual suspects. There were too many penalties and a lack of a credible running game (actually, McCarthy relegated the run to the role of a bit-player, as he has done before).
And, finally, as I've feared all season, a game was actually lost as opposed to imperilled, by the abject performance of special teams. Another missed field goal from inside the 40: this time it mattered. This time it cost us.
Best thing? Final proof, if anyone needed it, that Aaron Rodgers has developed into one of the best half-dozen quarterbacks in the league. Boy, am I glad we've got him. Compare his performance with that of his predecessor (in England we were treated, if that's the right word, to Minnesota's game on Sunday night and they were uniformly awful, on both sides of the ball. However did the Pack manage to lose twice to them?).
Of course, the Vikings will limp into the playoffs as divisional champions, but everyone knows who's playing the best football at this stage in the season.
So we don't get to play at Lambeau again, but with our fleet-footed 3-4 defence, lack of a consistent running game and a productive set of receivers, I'm not sure that's the disadvantage it might once have seemed, given the likely weather in the frozen north.
I bet there are fews teams relishing the prospect of hosting Rodgers and Co. in January and Packers' fans can scan prospective NFC opponents with little to perturb them.
All I want for Christmas is...
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