Monday, October 7, 2013

The 53 - Packers beat Lions for 23rd connsecutive time in Wisconsin

As I mentioned leading up to my fabulous trip to South America with Cheesehead Chick, posting is going to be spotty while I am out of the country but I still want to give quick recaps of games despite being out of the country.

I am not sure whether this is a badge of honor or a sad commentary on my devotion to the Green Bay Packers but their 22-9 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in Week 6 of the 2013 NFL season on Sunday, October 6th is the first Packers games that I've missed watching on television (live or tape delay) or in-person since the Packers hosted the New Orleans Saints on October 9, 2005.

I know the exact date because I missed the game to travel all over Chicago to root on my girlfriend at the time and the future Cheesehead Chick as she ran the 2005 Chicago Marathon.  For those that don't remember, the Packers had a rough start to their 2005 season.  Heading into that game the Packers were 0-4 (en route to going 4-12 and head coach Mike Sherman getting fired) while the Saints were 2-2.

I walked into the now defunct Solstice on Halsted, don't be fooled by the new dessert bar with the same name, for a post-marathon celebration with future Cheesehead Chick, future In-Law-Cheese, and Company just as Packers middle linebacker Nick Barnett was returning an interception 95 yards for a touchdown to seal a 52-3 victory for the Packers over the New Orleans Saints.  The week before the Packers lost starting running back Ahman Green to a season ending injury so Najeh Davenport started in place of Green.  Davenport had a memorable game in what turned out to be his only start and last game for the Packers amassing two touchdowns on the ground before breaking his ankle to guarantee that his most memorable contribution as a Packer was saying "Where's the evidence? Where's the manure?" in a press conference when asked about the allegations that he defecated in a women's laundry hamper.

I missed the Packers/Saints game because I wanted to support Cheesehead Chick given how much time and effort she put into training for the marathon.  If we are being completely honest, the other reason I went is that I didn't want future In-Law-Cheese to know the depth of my passion for the Packers before they got to know me better.  I would have never known then but a little less than seven years later Cheesehead Chick, In-Law-Cheese, Mama Cheese, Papa Cheese, and I went to a Packers/Saints game in Lambeau Field.

Fast forward to 2013, the Packers beat the Lions to notch their 23rd consecutive victory in Wisconsin over the Lions.  As it turns out I missed a game with a fairly forgettable score line, 6-3 at halftime and finished 22-9, but nevertheless a game that will go a long way towards shaping the season.  The Packers caught a huge break when the Lions decided to sit wide receiver Calvin Johnson due to a lingering knee issue because Johnson is always good for at least 100-yards receiving and a touchdown when he faces the Packers.

The inactives for the Packers were: Brandon Bostick (TE, healthy scratch), Josh Boyd (DE, healthy scratch), Casey Hayward (CB, hamstring), Nate Palmer (LB, healthy scratch), James Starks (RB, knee), Greg Van Roten (C/G, foot), and C.J. Wilson (DE, healthy scratch).  The Packers are going to be adding some names to that inactive list next week because they suffered a number of serious injuries at linebacker: lost backup middle linebacker Robert Francois for the season, starting outside linebacker Clay Matthews for at least a month with a broken thumb, and starting middle linebacker Brad Jones for at least a week with a hamstring injury.  The injuries and settling for field goals instead of touchdowns were the only real negatives for the Packers.

One the positive side of the equation safety Morgan Burnett played his first snaps of 2013 after playing every defensive snap in 2012.  Much maligned placekicker Mason Cosby went 5 for 5 on field goal attempts with three coming from over 40 yards with a long of 52 to not only tie a franchise record but stay a perfect 9 for 9 in 2013.  Rookie running back Eddie Lacy looked like a very rich man's Najeh Davenport rushing for 99 yards (3rd game in a row where the team ran for at least 135 yards, which is the first time that has happened in a decade)  Wide receiver Randall Cobb had over 100 yards from scrimmage and wide receiver James Jones had over 100 yards receiving thanks in large part to a career long 83-yard touchdown catch.  Finally outside linebackers not named Clay Matthews registered three sack (two for Nick Perry and one for Mike Neal).

With Johnson out, the Packers defense focused on containing running back Reggie Bush, which they accomplished since Bush only had 69 yards from scrimmage on 13 carries for 44 yards and four catches for 25 yards.

Even more embarrassing than losing 23 straight times to the Packers in Wisconsin was starting Lions center Dominic Raiola verbally abusing the University of Wisconsin band.  The details of Raiola's disgusting outburst were posted on Facebook and Twitter so look for a fine from the NFL and a hallow apology from Raiola.

Make sure to check back next week for a quick recap of the Packers/Ravens game.  The following week I am going to the Packers/Browns game at Lambeau Field so these posts will return to their usual format with updated player rankings in two weeks.

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