Yesterday was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The Bears lost against the Redskins and the Packers won against the Browns. The Packers have established a fairly balanced offense with 253 passing yards and 104 rushing yards. Top performers included rookie Running back Eddie Lacy (22 carries, 82 yards, 1 TD) and Wide Receiver Jarrett Boykin (8 receptions, 103 yards, 1 TD). The defense also did their part with multiple players making key stops. Linebacker AJ Hawk has definitely stepped up during the absence of Clay Matthews and racked up 12 tackles yesterday. Also, Linebacker Jamari Lattimore achieved a career high with 12 tackles, 9 solos and 1 sack against the Browns.
Even with such great performances, this game left me with a very heavy heart.
Sometimes, we can get so wrapped up in the game…wins, losses, stats, etc… that we forget the physical nature of the sport. The hard-hitting intensity that draws me to football can also leave me saddened by it. While Sunday’s victory gave the Packers the number one spot in the NFC North, the win was very bittersweet. With a little under 10 ½ minutes remaining in the game, Tight End Jermichael Finley took a devastating hit by Browns Safety Tashaun Gipson. While not intentionally dirty, the hit left Finley motionless on the field. As he was rolled off Lambeau Field on a stretcher, the harsh reality sets in. This is not Madden or Fantasy football. These are real men- husbands, fathers and sons…putting it all on the line for the love of the game. While very little is known about Finley’s condition, various sources have confirmed that he is currently hospitalized with a neck injury. Now what does that mean for the Packers squad already plagued with injuries? Nothing nice, I can tell you that. However, injuries can toughen the team and build depth. Simply placing the responsibility to produce on some of the younger players can prove to be extremely beneficial.
Hopefully we get some of our injured players back in time for Sunday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings… But if we don’t, the key component for success in Week 8 is for Aaron Rodgers to trust the men that he has on the field. He clearly has faith in his older players (Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones)…but with Cobb and Jones currently on the inactive list, Rodgers must have faith in his younger players too. That’s the only way that this is going to work. The Vikings are 1-4, but don’t sleep. While Adrian Peterson hasn’t had record-breaking games thus far, he is still far from a scrub. Our defense has to stay on the lookout for him. Also, their second leading receiver and former Packer Greg Jennings might feel as if he has a point to prove as well…all things to remain aware of.
I can’t wait to see it all unfold…until then, Go Pack Go!!!