I'm one of those guys that everything has to make sense. I believe in defense, offense and special teams, and when you play at high levels in these phases you are supposed to win. Even though the Packers haven't played as good as they can they are still 7-1, and they don't have to apologize to anyone. As I watched what happened at Kansas City this is what I saw:
I saw Mike McCarthy call a very good game, making adjustments play after play. He stuck with the run game, which set up the play-action pass, which set up the big play from Favre to Jennings to put one of the nails into the coffin of the Chiefs. People question how Jennings got matched on the linebacker for the big play, and it's very simple: Mike McCarthy set it up because of how he used his personnel. He called just enough mis-direction plays to start the game to keep the Chiefs defenses off-balance.
McCarthy knew that the Chiefs defensive line, once it settled down, would get after Brett and it did. To me that's good coaching, and Mike has shown that even as a young head coach he seems to have the ability to understand the flow of the game.
Even defensively, Bob Sanders tried his best to change up the looks to at least slow down Tony Gonzalez. He had, I believe, everyone in the defensive secondary cover him at one time or another. But what I didn't understand is why they didn't have someone lining up over him, stopping him from having easy access off the line of scrimmage.
Tony Gonzales was the Chiefs' only weapon, especially when Dwayne Bowe, their receiver, got hurt. I don't think they made a good enough adjustment. The adjustment might be good enough facing the Chiefs, but they can't wait when they face the Cowboys, can they?
As usual, I wish they would have blitzed Damon Huard more because he was looking for a place to fall. Beside these issues, they coached good enough to win!!!!!! But probably the best coaching move was made by the assistant, or whomever it was, that got Mike McCarthy's attention and got him to throw the challenge flag because he looked like he was in a fog!!!!!
Brett Favre had another big play game. Who said he can't throw the long ball? But as I have said earlier THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON. As we look at the numbers everyone wants to talk about the big plays, but what about all those little mistakes that are being made time and time again. Two interceptions and two recovered fumbles and there were way too many penalties. The offensive line was getting knocked around, especially Daryn Colledge, who got manhandled way too many times.
This team can afford to lose a running back but they can't afford to lose No. 4, and on Sunday he took way too many shots. The commentators are always talking about Brett throwing off his back foot and just maybe he's doing it this year because he wants to finish the season. The good thing is that at different times different people are raising their level of play such as Donald Lee. Brett seems to be looking for him more, especially when teams are playing a zone giving the Packers the middle of the field to work with as the Chiefs did.
The guy that I really am impressed with and shouldn't be is Donald Driver. He is one tough son-of-a-gun and is still Brett's go-to guy when he needs a play in traffic. The thing that I'm starting to realize about this offense is that every game someone else will make a play when needed, and I believe that's why I really can't figure this team out, because it seems to be someone different all the time.
This side of the ball is filled with nothing but playmakers. I know everyone is questioning Atari Bigby, but he is a player and a good player. He will only get better. He might have made the biggest play in the game and it wasn't on the pass interference. It was when he hit the Chiefs go-to receiver Dwayne Bowe and took him out the game. That hit changed the course of the game and sent a message to the rest of the Packers' opponents. That message is don't come across the middle, and that message hasn't been sent in a long time.
As usual Aaron Kampman brought his lunch box and ate it on the field. I'm not getting all excited about what they did to Damon Huard because he was looking for a place to fall. As a matter of fact, they left him standing way more than he should have been. Now that A.J. Hawk made a couple of big plays - one on the interception and another on excellent coverage down the middle on Gonzalez, will the questions stop about where is A.J. Hawk?
As I said, this was about playmakers and Charles Woodson is exactly that - a playmaker. Does he make stupid penalties? Yes, because he knows he can't hold 10 yards downfield, but with the bad comes the good, like the game-clinching interception return for a touchdown. Woodson and Harris are excellent cover corners, so it's about time for Al Harris to hold up his end.
With all of that said, this team is tied with the Dallas Cowboys as the best team in the NFC, which is pretty awesome, especially if you look at the fact that they can play so much better. The players, coaches and the smart fan knows it, and I believe they also know just how lucky they are because while they are 7-1 and figuring it out, something is going on and the only thing I can think of is DIVINE INTERVENTION!!!!!!
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.