I almost drafted Randy McMichael in my fantasy football league, and thankfully for the guy who did, they don't count dropped passes against you. The Packers beat the Miami Manatees 34 to 24 today, and the points off of McMichael's dropped passes provided the difference in the score. Specifically, Nick Barnett's interception led to a field goal, and Charles Woodson (perhaps the most undeserving Heisman trophy winner ever) returned an interception for a touchdown in his best game as a Packer. Both picks came via an assist from McMichael. My point is, that despite the big plays we got on offense, it took these handouts to put us over the top.
What's odd about the Packers this season is that both sides of the ball are capable of playing decently. But they can't complement each other. Whenever one side plays well, the other stinks it up, and vice versa. The first half was indicative of this phenomenon. Our defense played very solidly, recording two turnovers, forcing several punts, and only allowing a touchdown when the offense gave them the ball right on our doorstep. But the offense was basically non-existent. Then in the second half, the offense produced two huge plays, and a nice long TD drive, but the defense kept letting Joey Predrag Harrington lead the Manatees back into the game. It seems like good teams have dominant stretches, where both sides of the ball are playing well-- the defense stopping the other team and getting turnovers, the offense moving the ball and scoring points. And usually, at least one side of the ball is playing decently all the time. For example, against Seattle, the Bears had great stretches on both sides of the ball, leading to an utterly dominant result. Then against the Cardinals, both their offense and defense were off, until the second half when the defense asserted itself, allowing them to eek out a victory. It seems like the Packers have not had both sides working at any point this season, and oftentimes have neither playing well.
To stop worryworting though, if you had told me that we would be starting Colledge at left tackle, against Jason Taylor, I would have told you we lose the game, and maybe Favre with a broken coccyx. Especially in a place where the franchise hadn't won since the Lombardi era. And after the first few offensive series (two blind-side sacks/forced fumbles by Taylor), I thought we were screwed. Somehow they adjusted though (I guess by giving Colledge help), and the offense performed decently overall. Well done, coaching staff.
Now the true imperative after that game--I must comment on the state of the announcing. As my brother (the elder fool) pointed out, this was a battle between two 1 win teams, so it probably drew Fox's D team. But these guys were just plain terrible. I started taking notes at one point because it got so awful, and here's a quick summary of what I jotted down:
1) Stating in the second quarter that Miami's two turnovers were "why they're losing the game." Miami was up 7-6 at the time.
2) Calling a play where McMichael went straight forward, then broke 90 degrees toward the nearest sideline, "a little slant."
3) Referring to Marquand Manuel (African-American and #22) as Brady Poppinga (Caucasian and #51).
4) Saying after Driver's catch was ruled a touchdown that Favre "hugs Mike McCarthy there" when he was hugging someone who was obviously not McCarthy. McCarthy was wearing a hat and no sunglasses. Whoever Favre was hugging was hatless and wearing sunglasses. I think it was Jagodzinski. (To be fair, they're both mildly obese, middle-aged white men.)
5) When they showed Favre pointing a tube at himself while sitting on the bench, commenting "Favre's vacuuming himself off." It's 90 degrees out morons. The thing blows cold air.
I couldn't fully document the parade of idiocy. I guess that's what you get when you employ a former child actor to do play-by-play. Congratulations J.C. Pearson and Matt Vasgersian (now known as Matt Vas Deferens), you're awful at your jobs.
Beside the atrocious commenting (commentating?), the worst part of the game may have been Jennings' injury. Hopefully it's just a sprained ankle, and he makes a speedy, full recovery. (I continue to love the fact that he hates Michigan). And how in the hell does Clifton get injured when we're coming off a bye week? The whole point of a bye week is to nurse injuries, not develop new ones or aggravate the pre-existing. If Clifton stays gimpy, we might have to start looking at Joe Thomas for next spring. I suppose that'd make drafting an offensive lineman more palatable. Or maybe Levi Brown, since we've probably already won ourselves out of the first two picks. I like biblical names.