Peyton Manning had a lot of answers for the referees who were messing up his mojo on Friday, but he had no answers for the Green Bay Packers. Neither did the Indianapolis Colts' defense.
In most every aspect of the game at Green Bay, the dominant Packers made Lambeau Field a No-Grazing Zone for Manning's powerhouse Colts.
Though each team had early mistakes which gave up easy points, the Packer defense flexed for the first time this year, and in a solid performance, kicked the Colts right in the teeth. Perhaps Packer defensive coordinator Dom Capers decided it was time to reach into his bag of tricks, finally, because this defensive performance bore no resemblance to the previous two anemic Packer pre-season outings.
Not only did the Packers stop Manning, the Colts running game, and might have even stoled the Colts Gatorade, but they physically beat them up in the process.
So shaken was Manning that he even showed up in the third quarter when all the Packers starters were on the sidelines to try to get something right. But the officials awarded Manning with yet another illegal snap penalty and an aggressive second-string Packers' linebacker Zombo obliged Manning by forcing him to fumble, sending him out to pasture in disgrace. Big kudos to the Green Bay Packers defense, who made skeptics into believers on Friday.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Air Rodgers and his Wonderboys got more air time than Obama excuse-makers, putting on a performance that has to be making defensive coaches around the league begin to lose sleep. Driver, Finley, Jones, and a whole host of no-name stud Packer receivers, too many to remember, were getting more passes than Pam Anderson on the beach.
Rodgers' precision passes, courage in the pocket and ability to make plays with his legs make it hard to not compare him to Steve Young and that entire situation from the 49ers a decade ago. He is looking like a great young quarterback and might have the best receiver corp in the NFL. At the very least, they represent a formidable and dangerous Air Attack.
But another extremely pleasing aspect of the 2010-2011 Packers is their use and depth of the fullback. With almost as many fullbacks on the roster as Communists in the White House, Coach McCarthy is bringing the old smash-mouth position back into vogue in beautiful fashion. AND he is doing the same thing with his cadre of tight ends. And the fullback-tight end configuration brings immeasurable power potential that adds a unique and additional weapon in the Packers toolbox. For what defense can stop a Smash-Mouth attack AND Rodgers Air Force? This author is beginning to believe.
And that was all just in the first half.
The second half watched all kinds of Packers, on offense, defense and special teams look like world-beaters, even though many of them will be roster casualties in a few short weeks.
Matt Flynn looked like a veteran quarterback. Even the Packers third string quarterback, who doesn't even have a name, looked like a seasoned pro.
And it goes on and on. Players with no names and perhaps no future with the Packers were flying all over the field making more plays than Woody Allen.
This was one exciting game for the Green Bay Packers. It was a break-out game in an important test against the storied Colts. And the Green Bay Packers finally demonstrated what some believed, but many were waiting to see: they are one heck of a team this year and will be a team to beat in the NFC.
As for the Colts, they were rode hard, put up wet and left cold and hungry, for they didn't get even a nibble of Lambeau's greenest grass, except for the myriad of face-plants, compliments of a hard-hitting Green Bay defense.
Player of the game: Every Packer in Uniform. Special recognition to Donald Driver for that Million-Dollar Smile!