I think Mike McCarthy sent a message to his team and the Raiders when he went for it on fourth-and-4 early in the game when the Packers were in field goal range. When a coach goes for it, he is telling his team what he expects and he also is letting the opponent know it as well. To me he knew that the Raiders couldn't keep up with them offensively, so his mindset appeared to be scoring as much as possible and take their only weapon out the game, which was Justin Vargas.
Except for a lucky catch by Jerry Porter before halftime everything was working. Also, one of the best decisions Mike McCarthy made was putting Will Blackmon in as the punt returner, accounting for one of the special teams touchdowns.
Mike Stock, the special teams coach, has to feel like everything he endured last year was worth it because this year the special teams has been a valuable asset and a vital part to this team's success, instead of an accident waiting to happen.
Now to the defensive side of the ball. Finally the Packers really got aggressive and blitzed Josh McCown. Even though they didn't sack him they got after him and didn't let him get into any rhythm whatsoever most of the game.
Mike McCarthy showed again he has the pulse of the team and understands what his players can and can't do. The only problem I had with any decision he had was the fact that he kept Brett in the game too long, especially since he was coming off an injury. I know Craig Nall just joined the team, but he could have been in the game late to hand the ball off, but then again, like I said he knows this team. I thought it was risky.
We all know how great Brett has been most of the season, but against the Raiders this wasn't about him, it was about Ryan Grant and the offensive line as he ran for his career best. This makeshift offensive line blocked their butts off and Grant ran like a man possessed.
I am so impressed with how he attacks defenders trying to tackle him. He is making people miss him because they don't want to take the punishment he deals out when he runs the ball. He runs with a viciousness that seems to get more intense the more he runs, which is exactly what the Packers need at this time in the year. This is no longer a one dimensional offense and because of that it has become a serious contender, not just in the NFC.
I know the Raiders' run defense coming into the game was ranked 30th but that didn't matter because good teams attack their opponents' weakness and that's exactly what happened. It did on the ground as well as in the air like on Brett's 80-yard pass play to Greg Jennings for his 11th touchdown of the year.
What we witnessed Sunday was why this team's receivers lead the league in yards after the catch or "YAC." We saw Koren Robinson show his running ability as well as Donald Driver make people miss in the middle of the field as he found holes in the zone defense the Raiders tried to play. And if that wasn't enough with 4 minutes left in the game Donald Lee took it to the house as well, dragging defenders across the goal line and showing his desire to make a play as well. This offense has the possibility to be unstoppable and when they are the other side of the ball seems to get it done.
The only thing missing against the Raiders was that nobody got a sack. Don't get me wrong because it wasn't because of a lack of effort, it just didn't happen and that might cost them down the road. It didn't and that was a good thing.
For nine days before the game everyone was wondering about the safety position. I believe some questions got answered because all three contributed to the victory. Let's start with the big play Nick Collins made when on fourth-and-1 as he showed his speed, stopping Vargas from getting the first down. Then you had Atari Bigby making an incredible interception and returning it for a touchdown until Cullen Jenkins finally hit someone as he made a bee-line to hit the quarterback. Unfortunately, he drew a flag. He forgot how this league protects the quarterback and you can't do what he did. Right or wrong, it is what it is. Also, Aaron Rouse had a kill shot on Al Harris's interception I thought they all played well.
I believe that Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk have steadily improved their game and both are playing at an outstanding level as they are taking turns making plays. Earlier this year I thought this team could finish as one of the best in the league and if they could get a pass rush my prediction would come true.
The coverage units did a very good job, especially Korey Hall. I believe he had three or four tackles on the kickoff team and the play by Jason Hunter causing a fumble, allowing Will Blackmon to recover it for a touchdown are the things that happen when teams are busting their butts.
Good teams beat teams they are supposed to just like the Packers beat the Raiders. It wasn't anything really special, it was just players making plays as it was ALL IN A DAYS WORK.
Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.