Initial Reactions: Packers vs. Jets 10.31.10
The Green Bay Packers defeated the New York Jets by the score of 9-0 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Special Teams. Specifically, punter Tim Masthay had a great game. He consistently boomed punts over 50 yards and landed 5 of them inside the 20. Other than one missed field goal (that could be blamed on the wind) and a slight lapse on a kickoff return, this was easily the best game the special teams have put together all season.
Newly Acquired and Backup Players. After merely one day of practice, defensive lineman Howard Green was the unsung hero of the day. The newest Packer was stout in run defense and wreaked havoc all day long against his former team. With all the injuries on this team, the backup players have to step up for the Packers this season. Today, a number of the second-stringers made their mark.
Battered Defense Showing Up Again. By drawing so much attention to himself, Clay Matthews makes his teammates better. Despite missing half of their regular starters, the linebacking corps was solid. Additionally, the secondary is coming together nicely. Safety Charlie Peprah looked good and Sam Shields is slowly becoming a cornerback in this league. He looks more comfortable with his assignments and is even starting to showcase some of that speed. Finally, Tramon Williams is playing at an extremely high-level this season. He’s looking for a new contract, and if he keeps playing as he has, the Packers will be forced to meet any demands he may bring to the table. All of this and I didn’t even mention the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Charles Woodson. Woodson and Williams both had interceptions and, along with the special teams, gave the offense a short-field to work with for most of the day.
Only Three Penalties and No Turnovers. Those statistics point to Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers executing their schemes and coaching a great game.
Andrew Quarless. This team sorely misses tight end Jermichael Finley. The offense looks out of sync without him and his backup is not able to step in and make the plays that were designed to showcase Finley’s talents.
Another game, another injury. After making some great special team plays, cornerback Pat Lee sprained his ankle. Wide receiver Donald Driver also left the game early after re-aggravating his quad injury. Most importantly, however, quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweaked his ankle while rolling out to his left on a pass play. The injury doesn’t appear serious enough to merit missing next week’s start, but he may miss some practice this week.
This was a great win for the Packers. In fact, it was eerily similar to last year’s victory over Dallas; that win set the tone for the rest of the season and put a struggling team back on the right track.
The Packers now sit alone atop the NFC North with a 5-3 record. And with all the adversity this team has gone through, that’s a pretty good place to be.