It Could Be Worse, Packers Fans
I'm not sure if I would have been able to find the words or emotions to accurately describe the feelings that would go with handing the Lions their only win in a 1-15 season.
I don't even want to think about it.
Thankfully, although it was scary at times, the Packers were able to come out on top with a 31-21 victory, and finish off a 6-10 season with a surprising amount of optimism. After snapping a five-game losing streak, I have no problem sticking to the positives.
While it was against the worst team in NFL history (except for maybe the expansion Bucs), this was the kind of game the Packers should have been playing all year. Sure, this game featured a lot of similarities to other games this season, but in this one the Packers were able to actually close out the game. And in doing so, they also did this:
* Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdowns and passed for 308 yards, giving him a total of 4,038 in his first season as a starter.
* They had two receivers end the game with more than 100 yards: Driver 111, Jennings 101.
* Ryan Grant and DeShawn Wynn each finished the game with 106 yards rushing. Depending on how he progresses, it's not unreasonable to think Wynn could get a strong look at the starting job next season.
* This was the first time a team had two rushers and receivers eclipse the 100 yard mark in their respective categories.
* Had interceptions by their Pro Bowl starters, Nick Collins and Charles Woodson, who somehow only get interceptions in games in which they both get interceptions.
* Mason Crosby barely missed what would have been the longest field goal in NFL history.
* And oh yeah, helped the Lions become the first 0-16 team in league history. Shirts are now available.
So the Packers season concludes with a game that was only interesting because of the futility of their opponent.
It was a disappointing season, but one that I've been surprisingly okay with. You're not going to the playoffs every year, and this just wasn't the Packers time.
The reason I've been able to deal with the losses is that I see a pretty good team out there, in the hands of a pretty good quarterback. Offseason holes need to be addressed (offensive line, defensive line, Tony Gonzalez?), and I'm hopeful Thompson will actually use some of his salary cap surplus.
I would comfortably bet a large sum of money and human life on the Packers returning to the playoffs next season, and that relieves some of the disappointment.
Speaking of 2009, the Packers 6-10 record gives them the 9th pick in the draft, so Packers fans will have something to be excited about come April. The opponents for next season have been set, and the Packers will host Dallas and fly out to Tampa in games determined by the final 2008 standings. And the Brett Favre trade will finally be completed, as the Packers will be receiving a 3rd-rounder from the Jets (but giving back a 7th-rounder if he "re-retires".)
The season, which will forever go down as "The Season After Brett Favre," really wasn't that much of a success for either the Packers or the Jets. But the year-long drama is officially behind us, and it's now time to look to the future.
It's time for the fan-base to come back together and get behind a promising young Packers squad.
Whether you're a Packers fan, a Favre fan, or both, it's time to remember that sometimes things just don't end up the way you'd like.
Just ask the Lions.
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