“The only order in the universe is just a cycle of calm and chaos.”
Toba Beta-Master of Stupidity
An element of calm has finally settled over Packer Nation after several weeks of tumultuous times. A 42-24 drubbing over the previously unbeaten Texans has quieted doubts about whether this team was still a force to be reckoned with after a slow start out of the gate. Aaron Rodgers played like Aaron Rodgers-MVP. The defense completely shut down arguably the best running back in the NFL, limiting Arian Foster to 29 yards on 17 carries. It was like 2011 all over again-with a much better defensive performance.
And with that win, the cycle from calm to chaos continued for the Packer faithful. In 60 minutes, we went from one foot dangling off the ledge to both feet planted firmly on the ground, back on track to a successful season, and another Super Bowl victory within sight.
I hate to be the one to do this, but let's pump the brakes a little bit, and look at a few takeaways from the Texans game before crowning the Packers champions again.
Mike McCarthy and his staff did a masterful job game planning for the Texans. A near perfect game plan. They knew exactly where and how to hit the Texans, both offensively and defensively. No Cedric Benson? No problem, we'll just run Alex Green right at you. No Greg Jennings? No problem. James Jones is more than proving his worth this season. A very limited Jermichael Finely? That's OK, we've got Tom Crabtree. BJ Raji out? Jerel Worthy showed why he was a second round choice this past April. And lets not forget Aaron Rodgers, who was ridiculous in passing for 6 touchdowns in what was easily his best performance since last year. Like I said, it was a near perfect game plan executed at the highest level.
But this is also the same coaching staff who has come out with some real head scratchers to start the season. Examples are the Seahawks game, where it looked like the Packers forgot how to play on offense. Or the Colts game, where McCarthy and his staff blew an 18 point lead and lost to one of the worst teams in football. The game against the Texans has not erased the sting of these loses. At least, not yet.
During the Texans game, the Packers sustained several injuries, the effects of which have yet to be felt. Linebacker DJ Smith was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Aaron Rodgers was listed on the injury report Wednesday with a calf injury, and while expected to play, one has to wonder how much this will affect his mobility. Lingering injuries to other key players such as Jennings, Raji, and Finley have to cause one to stop and ask just how many more players can get hurt before the roster starts to bend just a little too much.
injuries are part of the NFL. They happen to every team every year. How the Packers can respond to them is going to say a lot about how this season will go.
Perhaps lost in the glory of a dominating victory was the blocked punt the Texans had in the fourth quarter. This was the first glaring Special Teams snafu for the Packers in some time. Shawn Slocum has gone from goat to hero in the eyes of Packer fans. Having Tim Masthay and Randall Cobb at your disposal hasn't hurt either. But it was kind of odd to see this type of play occur in such a runaway victory for the Packers.
So far this season, the Packers have alternated loss-win, now sitting at 3-3. The win against the Texans was exactly the type of victory Packer fans needed to calm everyone's nerves. What I would like to see is another strong performance against the Rams this Sunday. Doing this would help remove some of the doubts I still have, and others may have as well. A less than stellar performance, and the vicious cycle of calm to chaos would continue yet again.
John Rehor is a writer at Cheesehead TV’s Eat More Cheese and co-host of Cheesehead Radio (blogtalkradio.com/cheeseeheadradio). He can be contacted on Twitter at twitter.com/jrehor or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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