Maybe after Green Bay's convincing 30-19 win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, those critics will let up a little. Maybe they'll have second thoughts about the Packers and the direction they are headed in upcoming seasons. They should because McCarthy's team, which has been assembled by Thompson, showed that it is not about to give up. By beating the 49ers and playing relatively well on offense and defense (special teams is still struggling), the Packers played like a team that is focused and prepared to finish the season strong - not go through the motions, collect paychecks and play for themselves.
The Packers played as a team and won. They made few mistakes and penalties against the 49ers that have haunted them throughout the season and won on the road for the fourth time this season.
More importantly, the Packers showed some life. They showed a no-quit attitide that surfaced to little too late in the final two quarters of that miserable 38-10 loss to the Jets. The Packers showed that they are not going to give up on McCarthy, which is a vote of confidence for the young coach.
The Packers suddenly have a good chance of reaching the .500 mark for this season. With home games in front of them against Detroit and Minnesota, and the regular season finale in Chicago against the Bears, who likely will be resting their starters for the playoffs, Green Bay showed today that it is ready to win out for McCarthy and use that momentum for the 2007 season.
First, they had to beat the 49ers, who entered the game in great position to stay in the race for a NFC wild card playoff spot, though, ended the day with the same 5-8 record as the Packers and only a mathematical chance of making the post-season. The Packers jumped to a 17-6 lead, then fended off the 49ers at Monster Park behind their veterans of Brett Favre and Donald Driver, and rookie sensation A.J. Hawk. Favre's 68-yard completion to Driver in the third quarter put the Packers up by 11 points, and Hawk's first interception of his pro career midway through the fourth quarter put a dagger through the heart of the 49ers.
The Packers have a long way to go before they reach the elite level of teams in the NFL. However, they took a big step forward today under McCarthy by not only surpassing their victory total from last year, but showing that they will play hard for their coach. Credit McCarthy as well for keeping his team motivated, focused on the overall picture, and making the necessary adjustments to win a game.
The win is a welcomed sight for die-hard Packers fans, and a confidence booster for all involved. Kudos to McCarthy and the team for coming through when many didn't give them a chance.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.