COACHING: I saw a coach put together an awesome game plan and his players trusted him enough to execute it to a tee. The way Mike McCarthy established the running game early which set up the play-action totally took the Colts out of sync. It was nice to see him stick to the running game just like he did last week.
McCarthy realized that the Colts were undersized so he did what a smart coach does and made them stop what they can't. While the Colts tried to stop the run he used the play-action pass very well, hitting backs out the backfield as well as spreading the ball around underneath to all the receivers. He seemed to really have the flow of the game and understood exactly the Colts couldn't or could do.
I also liked the way Mike McCarthy stayed aggressive going for it on fourth and 1. Normally before the half I want the quarterback to take a shot if there is enough time but I understand why he didn't and played for the field goal. Regardless of whether Mason Crosby missed it or not, it was a good strategy at the time.
McCarthy was so into the game that he even tried to challenge a call and throw the red flag inside two minutes. When he realized it he had to laugh at himself. But the greatest job he did as a coach was to get these guys to believe they could beat the Colts and, trust me, his message must have been load and clear because in every phase of the game they out-executed the Colts. Like I have always said, coaches coach and players play so let's examine how they played!!!!
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: Usually it always starts with the quarterback, but not this game. It belonged to the offensive line because it allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw the passes he needs to throw and allow for the incredible ball control offense that the Packers displayed. Then they opened up hole after hole, allowing Ryan Grant to have another good outing. The line did a great job accounting for Dwight Freeney as he never got near Aaron Rodgers. When they tried to blitz the offensive line, the backs picked up the blitzes without any problems. So my hats off to them because they showed a little of a killer instinct as they realized that they were going against perhaps the smallest defense in the league and flexed their muscles.
Then if anyone is wondering whether or not Aaron Rodgers can play or not, I think it's time to acknowledge that he might be playing at a level that might make him the best quarterback in the NFC as it relates to what is being asked of him by his teammates and coaches. All he does is take what the defense gives him and he has shown great patience. He is allowing the game to come to him.
I know there are still those out there that want to talk about Brett and want to compare and there is nothing to compare. Aaron is the now and Brett was the past, so let's MOVE ON!
I really believe Ryan Grant is really close to getting back to his form. He ran so much better this game verses last week at Seattle. He seemed more patient and confidant in his cuts but with all the good, he has to stop putting the ball on the ground because it might come back to haunt this team. The receivers played well also, but all they had to do was catch the ball and play smart and they did that. But like I said this game wasn't about the pretty boys it was about those guy's up front getting it done.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: The game was about the skilled players making plays against some of the best receivers in the game with a quarterback that was finding himself. I say the skills because Manning, like Rodgers, wasn't sacked all day which meant he had time to throw but couldn't get it done because his receivers were blanketed by the secondary and linebackers.
Let's start in the secondary. For Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne to only have four catches between them speaks volume for the job Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams did in the game. They shut them down, allowing for the safeties - Aaron Rouse and Nick Collins - to each pick off a pass and take them to the house, accounting for 14 points. Even Brandon Chillar showed why the Packers signed him in the offseason as he covered Dallas Clark and even a wide receiver as well. He did a great job!
I often talk about playmakers making plays and on this side of the ball the secondary seems to be filled with playmakers and depth. The luxury to have Al Harris and Atari Bigby out of the game and still have a performance like this in the secondary was more than a PLEASANT SURPRISE!!!! It was a thing of beauty!!!!!