Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Bucky Five: Slow Start, Dominating Finish

1. It's How You Finish - It's no secret that the Packers were very slow getting things started against the 49ers on Sunday, but even when things didn't look too good I can't say that I was ever worried. Even though the Niners were marching down the field at will to start the game, the Packers defense was solid enough to hold San Fran to just field goals instead of touchdowns. That proved to be enough of a stopgap for the Packers, as come the second quarter the offense started to explode. I don't think I've ever seen anyone make better use of the free play more than Aaron Rodgers (the play where the defense goes offside so no matter what happens on offense it will be beneficial), and he did it in the second quarter to connect on a 57-yard strike to Greg Jennings. Jennings added another touchdown later in the game, as did Donald Driver in the air and John Kuhn on the ground, and the Packers won a game they should have, 34-16.

2. The Best Touchdown of the Season -  "I don't know what happened," Driver said. "All I know is when I caught it, I just started making moves. Unfortunately, you don't know what kind of moves you make until you watch the film." This is what Donald Driver had to say about his 61-yard touchdown that he scored in the third quarter, and it was without question the defining play of this game. Driver caught the ball at about the 40 yard line, avoided a couple of tackles, froze for a second only to have Andrew Quarless fly over the top of him, broke free of the action, made one of his famous Driver juke moves and then scampered into the endzone for the score. Here's the video, which will be up on YouTube for as long as the NFL allows. It was one of the best after the catch plays that you'll see all season, and the play was credited with really cementing the fact that the Packers were going to win this game, as they were up just one point before the touchdown. Even Aaron Rodgers agrees. "That's one of the best plays I've ever been a part of."

3. A Stark Contrast - My brother and I are in the deepest of fantasy leagues (we start Jimmy Clausen and Jake Delhomme as our two quarterbacks; the injury bug bit us pretty hard), and we've had James Starks on our roster since week six. Even though we're on the cusp of a playoff birth, we were never willing to part with Starks, just in case he ever got his break with the Packers. We're glad we've waited. Starks impressed a lot of people, especially coach McCarthy, in his debut against the 49ers with 18 carries for 73 yards. Starks was targeted for eight, maybe nine carries but with how well he was running it was hard to take him out of the gameplan. The kid is just a smooth runner, he runs real tall and upright and he always seems to make the most out of each run, usually falling for an extra yard or two when he's tackled. I'm still a Brandon Jackson fan, but I think Starks has to get a shot as the main guy. Use Starks as your main back (just work on the blocking a bit), Jackson as a receiving back, and Kuhn for when you need that tough yard, and the Packers suddenly have a running game that is worth paying attention too.

4. Let's Talk Throwbacks - Dear parents, I want a Packers throwback jersey for Christmas. Clay Matthews would be ideal, just because it's time I replace Nick Barnett as my defensive jersey. I don't want to see the Packers in these every week, but I'm all on board with them wearing these jerseys one, two, three times a year. Give me the ACME Packers hat and the jacket too. I know the number design is a bit different, but I love the simplicity of the jerseys. I love how somehow these jerseys look nothing like the current model, but still seem like genuine Packers material. That's all I really have to say about that, I'm just a huge homer for these jerseys tonight. Can't wait to get one from Santa.

5. And Still, We're Not a Playoff Team - Let me rephrase that. There's no question to me that we are a playoff team. Killing the Niners comeback hopes with an eight minute drive in the fourth quarter to ice the game proves that you are a playoff team. But once again, if the season ended today, the Packers would be on the outside looking in, while a 6-6 NFC West team would be hosting a first-round matchup. I'm all for a division winner getting into the postseason no matter what their record, just as long as it doesn't screw over the Packers of course. Green Bay currently sits at 8-4, but they are out of the playoffs both behind in the Wild Card (currently Giants and Saints) and in the division (Bears). Thankfully even if the Packers and Bears both win out, and then the Packers win against Chicago in Week 17, we'd still get in as we control our own destiny. Still, I'd like to see the Bears start losing before then, and that's likely to happen with games against the Jets and Patriots on the schedule. Ultimately, I'd bet on us to get in, it's just frustrating to know that as of now we wouldn't. But I guess that's why the NFL season doesn't end at week thirteen.


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