The NFL season is a story. There’s a beginning, middle, and ending. At this time of the year, every team’s ideal ending is to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. For 31 teams, unfortunately, their ending will fail to live up to expectations.
It’s these expectations (legit or not) that often lead to one over-analyzing a specific game. In other words, it’s easy to lose perspective in the now. Only one team can hoist the Lombardi Trophy, making the odds of achieving a so-called satisfying ending slim.
Your perspective will change as time passes, though. Only then will you realize the real thrill of an NFL season is the journey, not the ending.
I suspect that Green Bay’s victory over the N.Y. Jets wasn’t enough to satisfy many fans. The Jets are a team with low expectations, while Green Bay expects to contend for the NFC championship. The Packers’ woeful start, no doubt, leaves fans wanting something more. This perception is fine, given that we’re in the early stage of the ‘14 season.
However, a few years from now, I have a keen suspicion that Packers fans, players, and coaches, will grow to appreciate their first victory of the 2014 season as one of the best during an era.
Regardless of whether this team is the one to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Here’s my week 2 breakdown:
With the score tied at 24, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers connected with receiver Jordy Nelson on an 80-yard touchdown. The score put Green Bay up 31-24, a lead the Packers never relinquished.
While Green Bay's defense played poorly in the beginning of the game, they did progress as the game moved forward. One player who deserves immense credit for that is defensive lineman Mike Daniels. The fourth-year player might as well of made a nest in the Jets’ backfield, registering several key stops, including a sack of Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith. However, perhaps Daniels’ biggest play won’t register in the stat column. On a first down play, with the Jets driving to extend their 21-9 lead, Daniels planted Smith in the turf as he threw the ball. The disrupted throw landed in cornerback Tramon Williams hands at the three yard line, giving the Packers the ball back. Green Bay’s offense orchestrated a 97-yard touchdown drive before half, cutting the Jets’ lead to 21-16. This major momentum shift wouldn’t have happened without Daniels’ pressure.
Stud of the Game
After signing a big-money deal in the off-season, Nelson entered the year with perhaps his highest expectations. He delivered on them Sunday afternoon. Nelson notched nine receptions for a career-high 209 yards. He also scored the deciding touchdown. This was the first time since 1996 that a Green Bay receiver went over 200 yards receiving. Then it was Don Beebe, who notched 220 receiving yards in a Monday Night classic against the San Francisco 49ers.
In the next three weeks, the Packers face perhaps their most pivotal stretch on the schedule. They play each of their divisional foes (two away, one home) starting with at Detroit next week.
The Lions are coming off a 24-7 loss, but they matchup well with the Pack. At times in week two, Green Bay made Smith look like a seasoned veteran, so you can only imagine how well Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford may play. Additionally, Green Bay’s offensive line continues to disappoint. This season, they’ve done a poor job of opening up running lanes for running back Eddie Lacy and protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Detroit’s front four is among the best in football, so getting right tackle Bryan Bulaga back would be a major boon to the Packers.
Look for the winning team to assert itself early.
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