Green Bay Packers: Defense Withstands 5-1 New York Jets in Victory
They say that persistence wins nine times out of ten in life. If that theory was ever doubted, the Green Bay Packers certainly brought out the truth on Sunday, with a gutsy 9-0 win over the New York Jets.
For the faithful cheeseheads who made the trip east to see their beloved team play, perhaps the sites and sounds of New Meadowlands Stadium were frightening enough to expect a big time loss.
Green Bay stepped into the game as heavy underdogs, and with a 4-3 record in hand, most experts had predicted an old fashioned slaughtering in The Big Apple, capped off with a Darrelle Revis interception, and a barrage of LaDainian Tomlinson highlights.
Boy were they wrong.
From personal experience, it has become a known fact throughout the sporting world, that big time games often don't live up to the hype. And if there were ever a more prime example of this very thought, Sunday's match up between Green Bay and New York proved case and point.
So how can we rate the Packers performance against the New York Jets?
With a dull smile and a rather boring attitude, it is my duty to inform anybody who wasn't (privileged?) to witness this affair, that you missed one of the most sloppy and drawn out games of the 2010 season.
From opening kick off, the game endured a rather fast pace. In the blink of an eye the Packers had recorded a three and out series, followed up by a couple of LaDainian Tomlinson short runs (a theme of the entire day) and a missed pass by Mark Sanchez.
Similar to a tennis match, this series of events continued to unfold.
But just when we all thought that this game was destined for overtime early in the first quarter, New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan pulled a fast one on us all, yet again in the blink of an eye.
To most fans, a forth down situation midway in the first term equals an automatic punting situation. However, Rex Ryan stuck to his typical unpredictable ways, and chose to run the fake punt option, to ill avail.
Several booth reviews later and an commercial break by Fox, we received the final verdict that punter Steve Weatherford had indeed stepped out of bounds prior to crossing the first down plain.
To any mediocre football fan, what went on to follow was even more uncanny. In past games that have involved the Packers and the red zone, Green Bay have managed to capitalize with it's bandwagon of talented receivers, and more often than not post six points on the board following a quick pass to the likes of Greg Jennings or Donald Driver.
This time around though, Aaron Rodgers struggled to finish the job. A well timed pass to Greg Jennings had Packer fans chewing their nails in anticipation, only to see the drive stall on the six yard line, and Mason Crosby make his first field goal of the day to boost the Packers ahead 3-0.
What went on to unfold later in the first half, involved a mix of potent Packer defense, and dismal Jets offense.
At the end of two, New York entered the lockeroom with 148 yards on total offense, much of which was accredited to very few completions to Santonio Holmes. Throughout the second quarter, the Jets offense completely collapsed underneath quarterback Mark Sanchez, who threw a vital interception to Packer defender Tramon Williams, and also saw his teammates make several crucial mistakes.
To add the icing on an already slow start, running back LaDainian Tomlinson was far from his best. Jets fans had taken on board the new look no. 21, only to see their starter post a low 54 yards on the day, much to the delight of Dom Capers' 3-4 defense.
On the very opposite side of the ball, the Packers finally kept themselves in tact. Green Bay's penalty numbers hit an all time low, and although Aaron Rodgers and the offense were far from pretty chemistry wise, Charles Woodson's second half interception made Darrelle Revis' return all that more bleak.
To compare passing statistics, both quarterbacks would choose this game as an event to forget. Aaron Rodgers remained mistake free following a rather rough Week 7 against Minnesota posting 170 yards, meanwhile Mark Sanchez did heat up in the second half, only to see his final figures stand at 256 yards and 2 interceptions.
But what cost the Jets an opportunity to take advantage of such a low scoring game?
To be frank, the Jets beat themselves.
Costly turnovers on offense weren't just enough, frequent false start penalties and holding calls also cost New York real estate, that means all the more difference in a 3 point affair.
Other than the mistakes that the Jets offense made, Nick Folk's missed field goal didn't help the situation. For most kickers a 37 yard field goal can be regarded as a makeable kick, but in a windy Meadowlands environment, Folk was left blue faced.
Finally for New York, Green Bay's defense was simply better. In the opening stages it appeared we were in for a "What you can do, I can do better" type of game, only to see the Jets take their foot off the gas a little, and allow sacks to quarterback Mark Sanchez.
When Clay Matthews rattled Sanchez in the 4th quarter, and capped the hit off with his usual celebration, Green Bay's 5-3 soon to be record was within reach. Throw in a defensive stand by Tramon Williams and a Jets turnover on downs, Mason Crosby's third field goal of the day was enough to hand Green Bay a well fought victory.
5-3 on the year, the Packers now take the top spot in the NFC North. As for the Jets, 5-2 is still a great record to have, and although the New England Patriots now takeover in the AFC East, the Jets may have needed this wake up call to realize where their season is heading.
Packer fans had marked this New York game down on the schedule months prior to today's date. Did they expect a win? Maybe. But it's fair to say that most are glad Aaron Rodgers and co. have finished the job, and are now on their way to still a very promising season.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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