Holy shit! The Packers finally give me something to write about!
GREEN BAY PACKERS WEEKLY RECAP:
Well, I guess it's Run the Table 2.0 time. That was the last loss we had to give, and a fucking devastating one at that. Even 10-6 isn't postage-guaranteed for a return trip to the playoffs, we'll need a lot of help, which puts us in the unenviable position of rooting for the Vikings (I just got shivers...) the next couple weeks as they take on the Falcons and Panthers. Also, the Saints need start winning again, stat. Also (fuck, feel like I'm using the "also" quite a bit, not good...), we need either the Seahawks, who traditionally play their best football in December and January but this year are without Sherman and Chancellor (unfortunately, if you're rooting against them and are a terrible person who likes injuries, which I just might be, well, nope, never mind, that's just fucking mean, their best player on defense, Earl Thomas, and their best player overall, Russell Wilson, are still both OK, for now), or the Rams, who are flying a little too close to the sun perhaps, to start losing and start losing hard. I'm hoping the Rams might still have some latent Jeff Fisher stink on them, which I hear comes with side-effects warnings like:
- playoff football may cause severe allergic reactions, including death; avoid at all costs
- may cause QB's to play like they just chugged a cup of NyQuil instead of Gatorade (which in addition to sleepiness will bring on that queasy, I-just-drank-too-much-NyQuil stomach-ache which I've known well. I recall an experience of that happening during a show at Ash Street Saloon HERE IN AN INTERVIEW, a little over halfway down the page)
- inability to call vertical pass plays
- obsessively trying to get the ball to Percy Harvin 2.0 (this model without the locker room self-destruct mode) a.k.a. Tavon Austin who literally had this stat line for a game this season:
11/26 vs. Saints - 3 receptions on 4 targets, -1 yards for a -.3/yd average
To name a few. Anyways, go Vikes... Yuck. That felt dirty.
So to recap: Go Saint...nope and go Vik...nope, can't do it. Go division leaders and I curse all ye wild-card teams, this be you Seahawks, Falcons, Panthers, Lions...
But, all is not lost. All is not lost, yet...
"Why?" you may ask. Well, the Packers defense played it's third good game in a row and fifth good game of the season. Yes, Clay is out, again (AND JUST AS THEY START AIRING HIS AND AARON'S BEST COMMERCIAL THUS FAR), Kenny Clark is out too, but luckily avoided serious injury and will be back sooner than later, and Kevin King, who is playing far beyond what you could reasonably expect from a rookie corner not named Marshon Lattimore (who is also hurt), has a bum shoulder that will probably not heal til he stops hitting other absurdly large, fast and strong men with it. We did, however, get Morgan Burnett back whose impact cannot be overstated. I think we'll see a Ha Ha resurgence resurgence now that he's not calling plays and can focus on just being his Ha Ha self self. Damarious Randall is again playing like the ball-hawk he truly is when he's not hurt (cramping scare but came back to make what should've been a game-saving pass breakup). And Mike Daniels is looking like, well, Mike Daniels again. His hip injury seems to be long gone at this point. Defensively, our biggest issue is our lack of pass rush. Nick Perry had his fair share of 1 on 1's and wasn't winning them like we've seen him do in the past. Maybe the hand is bothering him or maybe something else is hurting/holding him back after slamming into 300 lb. behemoths for over two months. But Clay being gone certainly hurts. And with Kenny Clark not eating blocks like usual, it makes it more difficult for Daniels, Dial, Ahmad Brooks, Dean Lowry, Fackrell, etc. to get any steady rush. All of our sacks the past couple weeks have been the result of great coverage, which after all the flak our DB's took last year (due to a ridiculous rash of injuries) must be redemptive, to a degree. But in the 4th quarter when we really needed some pressure, Ben had all the time he needed to finish this fucker off...
My only complaint about the D is that on that final drive you know that Ben is looking towards Antonio Brown and that they need to get at least one, if not two, pass plays to the sideline to stop the clock and somehow we give up two consecutive sideline passes to AB. Yes, I realize one was an absurd catch but he never should've had the opportunity to make that catch. I read a comparison to the Rodgers to Cook play last year against Dallas in the playoffs and it was dismissed since that happened in a playoff game which carried more weight. This game was like a playoff game for us, as it might have just knocked us out.
But, all is not lost. All is not lost, yet...
This time you ask yourself "how?" I will tell you for how. Brett Hundley has the skills to win us a couple football games against Tampa Bay and Cleveland. We know he can MAKE THROWS LIKE THIS which looks like a video game glitch when the game forgets to make a catching motion and the ball just sticks into the receiver's hands. Seriously, not enough credit has been given to Davante Adams for that game-sealing catch. Fuller, the Bears best coverage guy in my opinion, was in position but interfered (not called) by essentially holding hands with Adams so he couldn't catch the ball. Only a perfect throw would suffice in this instance as Davante, watch it again, HAD TO CATCH IT WITH ONE HAND. It wasn't a stylistic choice. And that's the second part of this. Davante has turned into a poor man's DeAndre Hopkins and is still getting better. His footwork is absurd. He's probably a great basketball player and could've been a world-champion tennis player if he'd wanted to be. I love when they show replays of him coming off the line, it's like football poetry in motion. It might not be Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown-level, but it isn't far off and he's definitely not yet the player he ultimately will become. He's stolen the WR1 role, as evidenced by the way Minnesota defended him earlier this year, with Xavier Rhodes following him around much of the game.
The one quibble I have with the "Brett Hundley is now great" (after the week of everyone wanting Big Tom Callahan's son, aka Joe Callahan, to step in and play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers instead of taking up the family's brake pad business) crowd is that the enthusiasm needs to be tempered. Collinsworth said during the game that even if Rodgers was in the game, he couldn't play much better, which is borderline insane. Yes, Hundley's stats look great:
- 17 of 26, for 245 yards, a 9.4 yard average and 3 TD's, no picks or fumbles
But the reality is that over half of that came on the three long touchdown plays, one of which was a completely blown coverage (Cobb TD), one was a screen pass where the line and Williams did all the work and the third was a good read and throw after Davante made a pro look like college kid and was at least five yards past him and then proceeded to make two people miss on his jaunt to the endzone. That second to last drive was very impressive, no doubt. I'm not taking anything away from that. But going three and out after two of the three turnovers doesn't help capitalize on the momentum and, in fact, usually gives it back to the other team as they know they can turn it over and it doesn't hurt them at all. We saw that in the Saints game and it bit us in the ass in this game as well. Hundley definitely has the skills, and though OUR OLD FRIEND VIC would say: "there is no FULL CONSISTENCY," he still needs to get a little more out of the drives that don't end in long TD's. He's a little too boom or bust. TD toss or three and out is a tough way to close out games and win consistently. But, as the Baltimore game showed us, interception or three and out is goddamn unwatchable, so at least we're headed in the right direction.
And don't even get me started on the lack of flag for the helmet to helmet from JJ's little brother. It was so obvious when it happened. You could hear the sound, which is like the sound of the ball jumping off the bat for a home run, so unique, but terrible instead of beautiful (although it's becoming a little too obvious that they JUICED THE BASEBALLS which I ALREADY WROTE ABOUT HERE which I do not like in the least. Please, Baseball, don't make me stop watching you again like back in 2001), and by the fact that Hundley just fell down. He didn't fall like he got walloped normally. He fell like he was hit in the head and forgot what he was doing. Trust me, I've been there. I'm sure TJ will be fined, but that doesn't change the game like the penalty could have. I hope Hundley's OK. I know for at least one or two of my concussions I didn't have symptoms until much later, sometimes the next day. I hope he's not concussed. Shit, I hope I didn't just jinx him. Fuck, knocking on wood now. Sorry mate.
Thanks for not getting me started.
THIS WEEK IN MUSIC:
It is getting quite late and I wanted to dedicate more time to the Packers this week as the last couple weeks there was so little to write about. I'll be back tomorrow with my musical update.
Goodnight and we'll (OK, I'll) talk tomorrow.