Sunday, December 13, 2009

Final: Packers 21 - Da Bearz 14

Every Packer fan can exhale now. Packers win over Da Bearz 21 -14 to go 9-4 on the season.

The Packers took the lead early in the 4th quarter following an interception by Nick Collins at about the 13:30 mark. Collins returned the ball to Da Bearz' 10-yard line. Aaron Rodgers threw a short pass to TE Jermichael Finley at the 5-yard line. The next play was a pass to Donald Driver in the endzone. Courtesy of the accompanying pass interference penalty, the Pack got the ball at the 1. Ryan Grant then took it in for the TD to put the Packers up 19-14. They went for the 2-point conversion and converted on a pass to Greg Jennings to make the lead 7, at 21-14.

The Packers had a chance to go up by 10 later in the quarter on a 42-yard field goal attempt by K Mason Crosby. But for the eighth time this season, Crosby missed the kick, pushing it wide right as has been his tendency of late. Crosby's lack of consistency on anything over 40 yards in length has to be a real concern for the coaching staff the Packers continue their playoff run.

This kept Da Bearz hopes alive...temporarily. The Packers defense held and got the ball back with about 4 minutes remaining. With an 18-yard run by Grant -- who finished with 137 yards rushing for the day -- and a late hit penalty, the Pack was able to move the ball out to nearly mid-field. However, attempting to run the clock down, they were unable to convert on 3rd and 1 rushing the ball.

Following the punt and a holding penalty on the play, Da Bearz took over the ball at their own 14 with about 2 minutes remaining. And, courtesy of some very bad clock management on their prior possession -- calling a timeout and then challenging an incomplete pass call, which they lost costing them a second timeout -- Da Bearz only had 1 timeout remaining.

The Packers held, including a sack on Jay Cutler by CB Tramon Williams. On 4th and 11, Cutler's pass was broken up by -- who else? -- Charles Woodson. From there, it was the victory formation and kneel downs by Aaron Rodgers. Game. Set. Match.

The Packers were far from perfect in this game. They gave up a couple sacks on Aaron Rodgers, they had a couple turnovers. Two things they didn't do today was allow a big special teams play by their opponent or have many penalties...Da Bearz easily took the award in that latter category today.

So, there is still much to work on for the Packers. On a day when the offense wasn't sharp, the defense did what it needed to do to help win a game, especially against a mediocre offense like Da Bearz. It's a testament to how far the Packers have come that they can win a game on the road, against a rival such as Da Bearz, when they aren't firing on all cylinders.

Next up is the Steelers. The Steelers are off today after their Thursday night 13-6 loss to Cleveland. At 6-7, last season's Super Bowl champions are on the outside looking in on the wild card hunt in their conference. But more on the Steelers as the week goes along.

For now, let's just savor the Packers' season sweep of Da Bearz in game #179 between the two teams.

Say it with me now: It's great to be a Packers fan!