Archive for October, 2008

Oct. 31: On this date in…

by on Oct.30, 2008, under Commentary, On This Date...

…1994: The NFL’s oldest rivalry returned to its wet, muddy roots.

In a Soldier Field downpour accompanied by gusting 53 mph winds, the Packers manhandled the Bears 33-6 in the 149th meeting between the two teams, and moved into a second-place tie in the NFC Central.

The kickoff temperature was 43 degrees, but the wind chill was only 10 above. The only reasonable offensive strategy was to run the ball, and the Packers — ranked 26th in the NFL in rushing prior to the game — did so beautifully. They rolled up a 223-94 advantage in rushing yards, and RB Edgar Bennett ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns.

Much of their success running came on the left side of the line, where T Ken Ruettgers, G Guy McIntyre, and C Frank Winters had little trouble with Bears DE Alonzo Spellman and DT Chris Zorich.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Packers scored two touchdowns in the second, and the rout was on. They built a 27-0 lead before the Bears got on the board thanks to backup QB Steve Walsh, who connected with Jeff Graham late in the game. By then, the Packers had taken what little crowd there was out of the game — there were almost 20,000 no-shows at kickoff, and fewer than 25,000 soaked diehards were left in the stands by the end.

Brett Favre completed only six passes for 82 yards (and was 0 for 7 until late in the third quarter), but he contributed to the running parade with a 36-yard scamper down the near sideline, diving into the end zone for the Packers’ second score.

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The Slant (9) Weak 8 NFL Picks

by on Oct.24, 2008, under Game Previews, Opinion

Sorry I’m a little late with this weeks picks…stupid job and family got in the way. I’m pretty sure I can cut back on one of the two….just not sure which.

In a bold move, the NFL will now list the Detroit Lions weekly opponents among the Bye teams on their official schedule

Other Byes: Chicago, Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
Raiders 23 Ravens 21: Raider win the game on Sebastian Janikowski’s 58 yard field goal as time expires. Janikowski admits after the game that being Polish he has a huge advantage in kicking since that kick was only about 53 meters.

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Panthers 23 Cardinals 19: Cardinal QB Matt Leinhart steals starting

Week (Weak?) 8 in the NFL

Week (Weak?) 8 in the NFL

QB Kurt Warner’s uniform and plays the entire game as Warner. He would have gotten away with it too, but he panicked and admitted his ruse when he realized he would have to go home to Warner’s wife.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
Buccaneers 24 Cowboys 21: After another loss distraught Cowboy owner Jerry Jones signs Michael Irvin, Moose Johnson and Troy Aikman to contracts. The Cowboys don’t get any better but many unemployed football analysts rejoice.

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Oct. 22: On this date in…

by on Oct.22, 2008, under Commentary, On This Date...

….1967: Reports of the Packers’ demise were greatly exaggerated.

With a record of 3-1-1, and coming off a wrenching 10-7 loss to 20-point underdog Minnesota, some pundits figured the aging Packers were ripe for the picking as they invaded New York’s Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, the Giants and their new quarterback, Fran Tarkenton, were gunning for a share of first place in the NFL’s Century Division.

For the first half, it appeared that’s what the New Yorkers would get. Tarkenton went 10-for-15 and confounded the Packer defense with his scrambling while building a 14-10 halftime lead.

But after the Packers seemed to stall following the second-half kickoff, the tide turned when the Giants were penalized for pass interference on a third-and-long play, and the comeback (and rout) was on. The Packers went on to score six out of the seven times they had the ball in the final two quarters, outscoring New York 38-7.

Bart Starr, playing for the first time in three weeks after battling a series of injuries, found his bearings in the second half. Although he completed only nine passes, three of them were clutch completions of 28, 23 and 33 yards that led directly to Green Bay rushing touchdowns, and another was a 38-yard scoring toss to RB Jim Grabowski.

Elijah Pitts (22) during the 1966 NFL Championship game in Dallas

Elijah Pitts (22) during the 1966 NFL Championship game in Dallas

While Grabowski and Elijah Pitts helped roll up 249 rushing yards on the day, the Packers corralled Tarkenton and the Giants, allowing on 79 yards of total offense in the second half.

The game marked the 12th straight time (counting pre-season) that the Packers beat the Giants in the 1960s. Starting with this game, the Packers won six of their next seven on their way to a second straight Super Bowl championship. The Giants, meanwhile, slumped to a 7-7 finish and wouldn’t again make the playoffs for 14 more years.

October 22, 1967
Yankee Stadium, New York
Attendance: 62,585

		1	2	3	4	Final
Packers		7	3	10	28	48
Giants 		0	14	0	7	21

GB: Elijah Pitts 3 run (Don Chandler kick)
NY: Homer Jones 22 pass from Fran Tarkenton (Pete Gogolak)
NY: Joe Morrison 18 pass from Tarkenton (Gogolak)
GB: Chandler 21 field goal
GB: Pitts 6 run (Chandler)
GB: Chandler 36 field goal
GB: Pitts 1 rush (Chandler)
GB: Jim Grabowski 2 run (Chandler)
NY: Jones 30 yard pass from Tarkenton (Gogolak)
GB: Grabowski 38 pass from Bart Starr (Chandler)
GB: Donny Anderson 7 run (Chandler)

Trivia: How many former Packers also had sons who played for Green Bay? The answer will appear in the Comments section tomorrow.

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The Slant (8) Week 7 NFL (now fewer laughs) Picks

by on Oct.18, 2008, under Commentary, Game Previews, Opinion

Here are my week 7 picks. It is getting harder to come up with enough different story lines each week. I’m just going to need to watch the NFL network a lot more than I currently am. I really shouldn’t have wasted all that time watching the presidential debate this week. Did anyone else notice Jeff Triplett calling McCain for a false start?

Last Week: 43.65 – 1
Season Total: My debt – My IQ

Byes: Arizona, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Philadelphia: The NFL is currently trying to use themes for its bye weeks this season. This week is Bye Bye Birdies week. Which reminds me, I need to put some more corn into my Jaguar feeders.

San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills
Chargers 24 Bills 21: In a throwback Sunday

NFL Week #7

NFL Week #7

both teams wear their old uniforms. The Bills go back to their 2006 uniforms and the Chargers dig into their bag of old uniforms and wear their uniforms from week 1 of 2008.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers
Saints 30 Panthers 21: Drew Brees continues to put up good numbers throwing to 27 different receivers.

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October 15: On this date in…

by on Oct.15, 2008, under Commentary, On This Date...

…1984: The Packers got snowed under by their own mistakes, as well as by a Rocky Mountain blizzard.

In a raging snowstorm that dumped 10 inches of snow on Denver over the course of the afternoon and evening, Green Bay’s Monday night tilt with the Broncos boasted one of the most bizarre beginnings to a game in Packer history.

Denver won the opening coin toss but, given the conditions, elected to kick. On the Packers’ first play from scrimmage, Gerry Ellis fumbled on a run off right tackle, and safety Steve Foley ran it in for a quick score. Following the ensuing kickoff, the Packers ran the same play, this time with Jessie Clark carrying the ball, if only temporarily. Same play, same result: Fumble, Packers; touchdown, Broncos.

After 37 seconds of game time, Green Bay found itself behind 14-0. They dominated play the rest of the night, rolling up 423 yards of offense to Denver’s 193 and 25 first downs to the Broncos’ 10. Lynn Dickey overcame the Broncos, the snow, and wind gusts that reached 55 mph by throwing for 371 yards (206 of them to James Lofton), but the team couldn’t overcome blunders at crucial times.

After Denver’s second TD, Del Rodgers returned the ensuing kickoff 55 yards, and the Packers eventually moved to the Denver 11. But a sack by Karl Mecklenburg, followed by a missed 29-yard field goal attempt by Eddie Garcia, left the score the same.

(Garcia also missed from 37 yards late in the second quarter, putting him at 3 for 9 in field goal tries for the season, and prompting coach Forrest Gregg to cut him later in the week in favor of street free agent Al Del Greco.)

A pair of second-half touchdowns pulled the Packers to within striking distance, but with just over three minutes left to play, Rulon Jones sacked Dickey at the Denver 28, forcing the fumble that settled the outcome for good.

The loss was the sixth of seven in a row for the snakebitten Packers after an opening-day win. The team committed five turnovers, but looked like the model of efficiency next to the Broncos’ opponent from the previous week. In that game, Detroit turned the ball over to Denver 10 times in a 28-7 loss.

As for the snowstorm that helped make the game legendary, it was dramatic enough to warrant a brief write-up in the following week’s Time magazine, which reported that with many of the Denver’s snowplows still in storage, nearby Interstate 70 was the scene of a spectacular (but not fatal) 56-car accident during the game.

October 15, 1984
Mile High Stadium, Denver
Attendance: 62,546

		1	2	3	4	Final
Packers		0	0	7	7	14
Broncos		14	3	0	0	17

DN: Steve Foley 22 fumble return (Rich Karlis kick)
DN: Louis Wright 27 fumble return (Karlis)
DN: Karlis 30 FG
GB: Gerry Ellis 5 run (Eddie Garcia)
GB: James Lofton 54 pass from Lynn Dickey (Garcia)

Trivia: Between 1984 and 1990, the Packers faced AFC teams 26 times. How many of those games did Green Bay win? The answer will appear in the Comments section tomorrow.

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Brewers Playoffs Trip Report From Miller Park

by on Oct.14, 2008, under Commentary, Fluff report

Perhaps the biggest shock of all for the Brewers getting into the playoffs after a 26 year drought were the Brewers bumping the Green Bay Packers in the media. The Milwaukee Journal became a daily game program for the Brewers and the Packers were shoved to a side station on the radio while the Brewers were broadcast on the main network.

Needless to say, Milwaukee was gripped with Brewers fever

Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers

as they fought through a slumping September, the loss of a manager, and giving up the lead for the wildcard slot. Half the city couldn’t even relate because you had to be about 35 years old and older just to REMEMBER the last time the Brewers made the playoffs.

Prices for tickets borerlined on the impossible, at least for the first home game in Milwaukee. Even as the Brewers were falling behind by two games in the series with Philadelphia, Brewer fans were doing whatever they could to find a ticket. They just had to be there at Miller Park for the experience.

This was something you could not take for granted.

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