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2009 Turning Point

2009 Turning Point




It was Monday, November 9th at 2:25PM. The " Tragedy in Tampa" had occurred less than 24 hours ago. The Packers offense had just finished watching the film of that very ugly game.





More sacks. More penalties.  More of the poor and inconsistent play that had plagued them all season. Everyone was disgusted. Veteran players stood up individually and spoke to the entire team, including coaches.


Donald Driver, Aaron Rodgers, Mark Tauscher and others had their say. Donald Driver had some of the more powerful words; "If we don't win - and I mean now - they are going to fire all of our (butts) at the end of the season," Driver said. "I'm serious."


Daryn Colledge called it a "Come to Jesus" meeting. Whatever it was called at the time, you can now call it the "Turning Point".


As Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal wrote at the time, "If the foundering Green Bay Packers go on a long-shot run to the playoffs in the second half of the season, the record will show the resurrection started at approximately 2:25 p.m. Monday."  How prescient those words were.


The Green Bay Packers have spoken to us through their play in the last few games. Against Pittsburgh, they showed us that they have enough talent to play with any team. Going into Pittsburgh in December to play a wounded and desperate Steelers team surely would not end well.


And while in one way it didn't, I think the fact that Pittsburgh needed every last second and a moment of pass-completion perfection to pull out a win, actually empowered the Packers and improved their confidence as a team. Sure it was heart-breaking to lose like that, but knowing how hard the Super Bowl Champions had to fight to beat them, the Packers could only be impressed with their progress as a team. If I were a Packers player, that's how I would have felt.


The Steelers loss also put the onus on the Packers to win the next game. If they were really serious about making the playoffs (I know that sounds silly, but look at the Giants yesterday), they would need to come out and beat an inferior opponent. The Packers spoke to us in this game with their relentlessness, avoiding the poor third quarter play they have exhibited in recent games.


More specifically, in their last seven games (starting with the Tampa debacle), the Packers had been shut out in six of those third quarters. Allowing teams to stay close is never a good idea, even though they prevailed in five of those games.


But against Seattle, the Packers did what they could have been expected to do. They dominated an inferior opponent from start to finish. The Packer offense scored at least 10 points in every quarter, quickly fixed a few rough spots at the beginning of the game, protected Rodgers and only committed 3 penalties.


The Packers defense did yield almost 300 yards to the Seahawks, but as I wrote in the pre-season, this is a defense that will live and die by the big play/turnover. Zero turnovers and a ton of yardage relinquished to the Steelers equated to a heart-breaking loss. Four turnovers and and inferior opponent like the Seahawks equated to a blowout, despite giving up almost 300 net yards.


From the rubble of that horrible loss in Tampa, the Packers rose up, dusted themselves off and found a new focus and new reason for being - a desperation drive to make the playoffs. I have talked with many people who feel that football players don't need any external motivation, that because they are pros, they should be able to motivate themselves. I've never subscribed to that theory, especially in football.


Seems to me that a little "Come to Jesus" kick in the ass was just what the Packers needed.


You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and Bleacher Report.

Jersey Al is the Green Bay Packers Draft Correspondent for

You can also follow Jersey Al on facebook and twitter.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (7) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Mr. Bacon's picture

I said in one my articles that teams should never go undefeated before the playoffs, as you develop a mindset of invicibility. This kind of a shit kicking to the face was the perfect spark to start the 2nd half in style. As for the Vikings, they were riding so high coming in to the last quarter of the season, and now they are hitting a bad time to find their flaws.

The Saints and Vikings are no longer elite this season, and Green Bay has a perfect shot to get to Miami.

Also the Packers are a cold weather team, so even if we go on the road, the weather will be perfect for the passing game.

Jersey Al's picture

In hindsight, it came at a good time, also, with still half the season to go.

Only a game at Philly would be an outdoor, cold-weather game. The rest are domes or warm weather.

PackersRS's picture

Very well put, Al. That "come-to-Jesus" meeting is on my brain every time we make a nice play, but specially every time I see our line looking like an elite OL.

By the way, what do the Packers do now? By midseason, it was clear: Maybe re-sign Sitton, MAYBE, and let the others walk. But now the entire OL is in contract year, and they've been playing well together. What to do?

I'm on vacation and away from the internet, so it'll be a rare event for me to post any comment till the january 6th...

Jersey Al's picture

elite OL? Let’s not get carried away. They have stabilized, and are playing better. Wells has played well once he got his chance. We still need two tackles for next year. Lang could be the RT, but something must be done about LT.

PackersRS's picture

Well, in my defense, I did say "looking like". And it's undeniable that they have looked like one, when you take in consideration how they performed against Woodley and Harrison, for instance.

As far as pass protection, and even in run block, the last few games, the OL hasn't been a down point, to say the least.

And when you compare them to the Vikings, Giants and Titans, lines that have been considered elite, I think in the last few games they've played to the level of those...

Greg C.'s picture

Motivation is so huge in football, especially pro football because there is less difference in talent between teams.

Thanks for giving the Packers credit for their performance against the Steelers. Frustrating as it was, I thought they played a heck of a game. Sometimes you prove more in a close loss than you do in a win, and I thought this was one of those cases. By the way, the game that convinced me that the Vikings were for real this year was their close loss to the Steelers at Pittsburgh early in the season.

IronMan's picture

Nice picture.

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