More startling than their winning streak is the manner in which the Packers have accumulated their 12 consecutive wins. Tense, late-game moments have been few and far between.
Yeah, other than the untimed-down drama against the Saints in the season opener, the 2011 Packers have yet to face a true down-to-the-wire moment, and even in that goal-line stand against the Saints, the Saints would’ve had to score and convert a two-point try just to send the game into overtime.
All right, when was the last time the Packers had to rally late in the game to win? When was the last time they weren’t protecting a lead with time winding down?
Give up? The answer is last year in New England with Matt Flynn at quarterback.
The Packers are this year’s juggernaut. They are the toast of the league and each win is followed by another rush of plaudits from the pundits. The Packers have now outscored their opponents 197-114, a year after bullying their way through the postseason.
Aaron Rodgers leads the league in passer rating and also led the league in touchdown passes as he left the field on Sunday. He’s having one of those unconscious kind of years. He makes moving the ball look so easy, but we know it’s not.
What’s the next level when your current level is so high it’s difficult to imagine that a quarterback and an offense could actually play better than this?
“7-0,” Rodgers said. “Didn’t Mike (McCarthy) say seven days to 7-0? That’s his theme this week.”
It is, to say the least, a very bold and aggressive theme, but that’s this team’s personality. It comes out swinging. It never backs down. It challenges itself daily, weekly, to be better. It talks a good game and it plays an even better game.
“It’s a feeling of minor disappointment in that locker room,” Rodgers said of the Packers’ inability to score a point of any kind in the second half. Of course, they had scored 24 points in the first half, so there was little need to score any more. Anything more, frankly, would’ve been piling on.
Rodgers made sure to show proper respect.
“It’s tough to win in this league. We’re still 6-0,” he said.
Yes, it’s very difficult to win in this league, against any team, and that’s why it is so very impressive that the Packers have won with an element of ease against all teams. Come on, you know the opener shouldn’t have come down to that one play, right?
So, really, what is the next level, because the last team to have played to that level might’ve been the 2007 Patriots, and they might be the only team to ever play to that level? Can the Packers play to that level?
“We have long-term goals. We need to play better,” Rodgers said.
Play better? Well, the defense is certainly playing better. Forget all that underneath-the-coverage garbage yardage the Rams gained. The Packers defense dominated on Sunday. They’re back, baby.
The next level? It’s a legitimate question. It might even be the definitive question about this team, but to entertain it is to acknowledge greatness, and McCarthy isn’t gonna do that just six games into the season.
“We’re 6-0,” he calmly explained. “We’ve put good numbers up, but we have to get better. You have to be running on all cylinders and we’re not there, yet. Yes, we put up big numbers, but we’re not at the level we feel we can be at.”
The Packers, it would seem, are being challenged, maybe even critiqued, by their own success. They have created a very demanding standard of performance. Additional coverage - Packers vs. Rams