Brett Favre had another chance to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback, and again he failed. The critics were quick to jump all over the 37-year-old quarterback after the game, and a lot of that criticism was undeserved. Still, while Favre has more than enough skill to be a quality NFL quarterback, he's no longer Captain Clutch.
On Sunday at Buffalo, his first-and-goal interception was one part bad luck — most deflections wind up merely incomplete passes — and one part bad accuracy. If Favre had delivered the pass low and away from cornerback Nate Clements, either Donald Driver catches it or nobody catches it. By throwing it high, well, I don't need to explain the consequences.
Favre has directed just one game-winning, fourth-quarter comeback in the last season-and-a-half. He's 0-for-3 this season, with the Packers turning it over on downs against the Saints and Favre's last-second fumble against the Rams.
Favre gives the Packers the best chance to win, but if he's no longer able to make the key plays with the game on the line, you start to wonder why he's on the field.
It's not so bad
Good teams find a way to win games while bad teams find a way to lose games. Still, there were plenty of encouraging signs in Sunday's loss.
This might sound wishy-washy in light of my comments from a moment ago, but for Favre to be that effective despite playing half a game with a receiving corps consisting of Driver, Ruvell Martin and Shaun Bodiford as his top three receivers is amazing.
The Packers' running game struggled to find traction in the first half but was unstoppable in the second half. That shouldn't be surprising, because coach Mike McCarthy promised his zone scheme would be stronger as games progress.
The Packers' defense exploited Buffalo's weakness. Green Bay tore apart the Bills' offensive line to the tune of five sacks. Four of those sacks were by their young defensive tackles, who are getting better and better every week.
For all of their huge mistakes — almost giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff, allowing a long TD pass to an inept offense and losing the turnover battle 4-0 — the Packers almost won. Sure, the Bills aren't any good, but it's a sign of character to be able to withstand all of that — on the road, no less — and still have a chance to win.
It's not so bad, Part 2
One of two unforgettable moments from the game will be watching Lee Evans get 10 yards beyond every Packers defender en route to an easy 43-yard, go-ahead touchdown. Still, the Packers' pass defense is greatly improved, and cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson are starting to live up to their hype. Clearly, the communication breakdowns are inexcusable, but at least there's reason for hope entering the second half of the season.
There should be no more questions about kicker Dave Rayner and his ability to make a big field goal. He nailed a 49-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 10.
There should be no more questions about Ahman Green, either. While he'll never be as good as he was a few years ago, he's definitely got the power and explosiveness to be an above-average running back. And the scheme only helps. He's topped 100 yards rushing three weeks in a row. He hadn't done that since 2003.
Bodiford has a nice story — he grew up homeless in suburban Seattle — but there has to be a better option as a kick returner (perhaps practice-squad player Carlton Brewster, who impressed during a short stint in training camp). Watching Bodiford run this way and that way — any way but forward — made me recall Walter "Wrong Way" Stanley. It makes me appreciate the straight-forward approach of Charles Woodson or, perish the thought, Antonio Chatman.
Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.