What Does The Packers-Colts Game Tell Us About Green Bay?
Well, the answer is pretty simple: the Packers are a very real threat to make the Super Bowl. They've pretty much dominated a very solid Colts team (even more so when Aaron Rodgers was in the game).
By position, here's an evaluation of the Pack's performance in their 59-24 thrashing of the Colts:
QBs: Aaron Rodgers put together a brilliant first half, going 21 for 29 with 195 yards and 3 touchdowns. Overall, this game was every bit as flawless as his first two this preseason (in which he put up a 154.0 passer rating). He really could contend for the MVP award this season. Matt Flynn put in a very solid performance as well, tossing two TDs as well. He definitely looks like he's improved since the beginning of his career in Green Bay. Third-stringer Graham Harrell looked very accurate in his field time, just as he did in his career at Texas Tech. I really feel he deserves a roster spot with the Pack.
Backfield: Ryan Grant put in a nice bunch of 5-to-7 yard carries, finishing with 36 yards on 8 carries for a 4.5 per carry average. Brandon Jackson wasn't great, getting just 14 yards on 7 carries, and it seemed like he was getting hit at the line every single time. Kregg Lumpkin looked better than Jackson while playing with the 3rd team, picking up a nice 6 yard touchdown.
Receivers/Tight Ends: Jennings didn't play, but number 3 wideout James Jones had a nice performance in his place, getting 4 grabs and a touchdown. Donald Driver got a touchdown as well, and Jermichael Finley got 6 catches and another touchdown. Finley's had a nice preseason, and as many people have mentioned, he looks ready for a huge breakout this year. 14 different receivers, running backs, and tight ends caught passes in this game, showing the crazy depth of the Packers' receiving corps.
Offensive Line: The pressure was getting close to Rodgers at a few points, but Rodgers was pretty much untouched and he was getting rid of the ball faster. Very nice job by the O-line, a credit to those guys (even without Bulaga in the lineup).
Defensive Line: The starting line looked pretty good, flushing Manning out of the pocket on a few occasions and forcing some bad throws. Better yet, the second/third teams looked even better, getting to Curtis Painter on a few separate occasions. The line didn't pick up any sacks, but the linebackers did. In run defense, it was a mixed bag for the line, as they stuffed Addai and the other backs at the line a few times, but Addai did break off a huge 49 yard rush on his first carry.
Linebackers: Well, the linebackers forced a nice turnover (with Frank Zombo forcing a sack-fumble and Robert Francois returning it for 35 yards), and got two sacks (with Cyril Obiozor getting the other sack). The Packers didn't run a ton of blitzes in the game, and star Clay Matthews didn't play, but the guys who did play put in a nice game. Another note is that Robert Francois absolutely leveled Joseph Addai on Francois' fumble return, forcing Addai out of the game with a concussion.
Secondary: Two picks, from Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields, were nice, but the Packers actually blew a bunch of coverages, most notably on the first touchdown pass by Manning. Burnett has looked superb, almost getting a second interception as well, and drawing Darren Sharper comparisons from the ESPN commentary crew. Bigby and Harris weren't in the lineup, but Manning racked up 214 yards in just the first half.
Special Teams: Crosby drilled his only field goal and all the extra points, Masthay and Bryan both had some nice punts, and Jason Chery busted off a huge punt return touchdown... What more can you ask for? Well, a fumble recovery for a touchdown after a muffed punt by Brandon James. Very solid special teams performance overall.
Overall, a thrilling 59 point performance by the Pack, as they already look in midseason form. If the pass defense can improve a bit, this team will truly be scary (well, ESPN DID refer to Rodgers as "the Boogeyman"...). I can't wait to see these guys start the season.
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