2020 Week 14

Packers 31 Lyins 24

That was fun!  Packer fans at Spare Time and around the world had a ton of things to cheer about during Sunday’s victory against the hapless Lions.  But then there were quite a few groans and curses as well. Too many for a team (and fan base) intent on winning a 14th NFL Championship and 5th Lombardi Trophy this year.  Let’s go through all the groaners before we get to the good stuff about the Packers’ win which conquered the NFC North.

First I want everyone to put on your Christmas gift lists a wish for a consistent Packers defense.  The Packers started the game with two stout defensive plays to pin the Lions back deep in Packer territory 3rd and 9.  But then they gave up a 21-yard pass, and essentially deflated while the Lions rattled off 8 straight positive plays to easily score first.  The Packers buckled down to force a 3 and out on the 2nd Lions possession, and ended the 3rd Lions’ possession with back-to-back sacks.  But on their 4th possession, the Lions marched 80 yards down the field to tie the game before half-time.  In the 2nd half, the Packer’s defense had too many penalties which extended the Lions’ offensive drives and thus kept the game too close.  Even the Lions’ backup quarterback took his team down to the 4-yard line before settling for a field goal.  We need more stops and less slops to achieve our ultimate goal on February 7, 2021. 

Our second Christmas gift wish is for more disciplined special teams’ play.  After giving up two punt-return touchdowns in recent weeks, the Packers were smoked this past Sunday on a 71-yard kickoff return which almost became a touchdown (fortune-ately Mason Crosby is a better tackler than JK Scott).  And then the Lions nearly recovered an onside kick which barely touched out of bounds before the Lions could handle it.  I do not really want to say it out loud, but I am afraid the Packers’ postseason could end prematurely on a game-changing special teams play. 

But fortunately the Packers’ outstanding offensive play on Sunday covered up all those other sins.  Aaron Rodgers was brilliant, and I do not have to waste valuable newsletter space listing all the great things he did in this game.  And what about Davante Adams?  He is not the only one saying he is the best receiver in the league.  He is gaining more votes every week.  We Packer fans have been watching him for 7 years, and he continues to amaze us.  Davante had his 6th game this year of 100+ yards receiving, and he has had at least 1 touchdown for each of the last 8 games.  He gets open even with extra defensive focus on him, he has got great hands to maintain control of the ball when cornerbacks are whacking at it, and his runs after the catch are sure fun to watch.  And the rest of Packer receivers did well, giving Rodgers plenty of options during the game.  In fact, our passing game was so efficient, we didn’t seem to try very hard to get the running game going (although we still ended up with 120 rushing yards). 

And now I need to dedicate a paragraph to Mason Crosby.  How clutch was that 57-yard field goal in the 4th quarter?  Especially after being pushed back 5-yards after a false start penalty.  And that was a big-time coaching decision by Matt LaFleur to leave him in there instead of switching to the punt team.  If Crosby missed it would have given the Lions great field position for a potential tying score.  I did not realize it until I read it the next day that Ford Field was the site of Crosby’s worst game ever (5 missed kicks (4 FG and 1 XP) back in 2018).  I had pushed that nightmare to the dark recesses of my mind, but I remember it vividly now.  The Hall of Fame Sports Grill was over full, so I was standing watching the Packers amongst some annoying Steeler fans who were loudly not paying attention to any of the games on the TVs.  I stormed out of the bar and went home after Crosby missed his 4th kick.  I think that is the only Packer game I quit watching mid-game on purpose since the 1980’s.  All is forgiven Mason!  I never lost faith in you! (yeah right).   

And besides the great Packer victory on Sunday, a Vikings’ loss handed the Division crown to the rightful owners!  Here were the TOP TEN reactions around the country to the Packers winning the NFC North:

10) Lions: “Whimper-whimper-whimper” as they crawl back to their mediocracy cave to lick their bruised ribs.
9) Bears: “Maybe we should get a NEW quarterback instead of recycling the junk we have.”
8) Vikings: “Skol!” (Don’t ask.  It is a dumbass chant for a dumbass team with dumbass fans who don’t know what the hell is going most of the time anyways).
7) Mike McCarthy: “Hmmm, maybe it WAS me …”
6) The guy guarding Davante Adams: “Wait!  Where did he go?  He was here a second ago …”
5) Electoral College: “And the next President of the United States is …. Matt LaFleur.”
4) Patrick Mahomes: “Awwww” with slumping shoulders as the NFL MVP Award advance team members abruptly stop measuring his tuxedo and trophy case sizes, pack up their gear, and head to Green Bay.
3) Lambeau Field Turf Chief: “Yikes!  We are going to host how many games in late January?!”
2) Aaron Rodgers: “I told you I should have gone higher in the draft.”

1) Packer fans everywhere:

(Bill Demuth)

 Just Sayin'

MVS for MVP . . . well, for the Detroit game he was definitely in the competition for that. 6 passes caught for 86 yards and 1 TD. And get this, I don’t know how many of us realized this during the game, but that was 6 passes caught on 6 targets. NO DROPS ! ! WOW ! ! And once again, we saw AR12 spreading the ball around to 8 different receivers. One thing I read about the game was that when the Packers got the ball back with about a minute and a half to go in the first half, was that Rodgers went off script when he tried a couple of long passes downfield that fell incomplete. Well, I don’t have a clue as to how a sportswriter knew that since I suppose he was not standing on the sideline next to LeFleur. But I actually have heard Rodgers say that the most important thing in that scenario was to get a play for positive yards on first down. And assuming (yeah, I know what ASSUME does) that he still believes that, one would think he would have run some play that had a better chance of success than a bomb downfield. Anyhoodles, it all worked out in the long run.

NFC North Champions!!! No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Although that last one could change if the Packers don’t take care of business. But wouldn’t it be great to be playing at Lambeau in the playoffs??? And the offensive line is again the unsung heroes of a game. No sacks were given up by those guys. As most of us realize, there have been many changes along the line throughout the season. Every position has had a different starter at one point or another during the season. So, a big kudos to all of the offensive linemen and the line coaches for an outstanding job as the 2020 season has progressed.

While the defense still is nowhere near the neighborhood of elite, they are managing to get the job done. While we have not been playing elite offenses this year, the defense, as a whole has improved. Maybe Anthony Rush will be getting some more snaps coming up and he can help out along the line. Preston Smith is starting to make his presence known a little more each week. Rashan Gary continues to make his presence known as well. Maybe some of this improvement comes down to the influence of Mike Pettine. Being the defensive coordinator, maybe he decided he better influence something, or his butt was going to be fired. Whatever it is, it is working, at least a little bit at a time. The defensive backfield is good. The linebackers are decent. The defensive line seems to be the weakest link, outside of Kenny Clark. The Packers have 2 DL on the Practice Squad. Perhaps it is time to see what they can do. Could they be any worse than who is starting now? Maybe. Could they be any better? Possibly.

Another player that is about as clutch as anyone in the league is Mason Crosby. Another story I read this week was the kicking unit was prepared to go out there for the FG attempt with a limit of 53 yards (or something like that). Then came the 5 yard penalty and the special teams coach was ready to sent out the punt team. LeFleur looks at Crosby and says can you make it at 58? Crosby says Yes! And he did. Aside from the one bad year, Crosby has been as clutch of a kicker that has played in the NFL in many years.

Sometimes, I think we as Packers fans get too caught up in the kind of players we don’t have and lose sight of what we do have in Rodgers and Crosby. Team after team go through kickers and QBs at an alarming rate. The Packers have not had to worry about the QB spot for almost 3 decades and the kicking situation has been stable for 15 years. Let us be thankful as fans for that. OK, Saturday night at Lambeau Field!! What could be better than that??? 
Just Sayin’   
(Jimmy Smith)


Fifty cheering and cheerful Packer Backers got together at Spare Time Sunday afternoon to watch and celebrate as the Green and Gold took home the conference title.  We also enjoyed a sweet treat (bourbon infused) brought to the club by 207 Christy Papala.  Thanks, Christy. 

Nine lucky members went home with some great door prizes.  With a nod to the winter season, 574 Jill Fant will wrap up in her scarf and matching gloves with a flag as a bonus.  506 Sebastian Sharp will warm his head with a stocking cap, and he chose wrapping paper as his bonus.  489 “The Rev” Kelly Wolff chose a stocking cap and an ornament as his bonus treat.  127 Kent Sargent passed his door prize to 207 Christy Papala who also chose a stocking cap and a bonus ornament.  Rounding out the clothing choices with tee shirts were 531 Sara Hansen and 589 Kathy McGrew.  For their Christmas bonus Sara chose wrapping paper and Kathy picked an ornament.  328 Marge Bramlett is going to rest comfortably with her neck pillow.  324 Larry Schilz is going to proudly fly his cheesehead flag outside while his ornament will grace his tree inside.  219 Dan Blechl is already making plans for his bottle can cooler during his next trip to the beach.  We filled two $1 boards for the pool.  Winners on the first board were 589 Kathy McGrew, 569 NanLee Weber, and 242 Christina Harrison. Second board winners were 117 Nick Papala, 542 Kathie Mervyn, and 328 Marge Bramlett (2).

569 NanLee Weber provided the correct answer to this week’s trivia question.  Our friends at Spare Time provided a $25 gift card as her prize.  We want to thank Spare Time for their gracious support of our club and Trivia contest.

Eight members took up Steve’s bowling offer and although none are ready to be a 2-time national champion like Steve, they still had a great time.  Thanks again to our friends at Spare-Time.

This Saturday night (that’s right, Saturday) the Pack will face the Carolina Kittys at 8:15 or so.  Saturday just feels wrong to me on so many levels, but I will be at Spare Time cheering on my team.  I hope to see you there whether it’s for the whole game, half the game, or any portion of the game; just make sure to wear your ugly Jammies or sweater for a chance at a special prize.  Remember, we’ve gotta back our guys through thick and thin, so let’s just do it! 
Marge 328

Packers vs Panthers

Coach Mike McCarthy had a simple idea, “We wait until we’re at ten wins, then we’ll see where we are.”  His thinking was once you get to ten wins, you’re pretty much in the playoffs, then you can see what the rest of the league is doing and see what your teams place in playoffs will be.  You look at your opponents’ schedules are, see if you can get some help, where you might get trapped, it’s a crap shoot, but you know you’re in the playoffs. 

So, what do we need to do?  Win out of course!  We’re tied with the ‘aints and hold the tie-breaker over them due to beating them head-to-head.  If we can somehow win out, we hold the bye, and we hold home field advantage all through the playoffs, the road to the Superbowl is called Oneida Street and Lombardi Ave! 

So who do we have to beat?  Well, this week, we have to beat our “hometown” team, the Carolina kitties!  Yes, I said, kitties, deaf, dumb and blind kitties.  Cam Newton? Gone.  Greg Olsen? Gone.  Luke Kuechly? Retired.  Steve Smith Sr.?  LONG GONE!  Who do they have? 

Teddy Bridgewater started for an injured Drew Brees last year and was 5-0 in relief.  It looked like the Saints had their new guy.  Hold the phone though, Brees wanted to continue to play, Teddy would have cost $7 million to keep on the bench.  Teddy got traded or released and took over for Cam Newton. 

There’s also no Riverboat Ron Rivera, Rivera got fired last season.  Matt Rhule instead is the Coach.  Rhule came over from Baylor, having cleaned up that program after a sexual assault scandal.  Rhule did have other highlights, he was Big 12 coach of the year.  He had also coached Temple to an AAC Championship and had previous NFL experience with the NY Small-ants. 

Now, with a rookie head coach, and a journeyman starting out in a brand new system, the Panthers are struggling.  Let’s face it, they’re bad!  4-9 having lost last week to the lackluster Denver Broncos.  You remember them, they couldn’t play the other week because all of their quarterbacks had Covid-19, so they had a player on the practice squad be their QB.  I heard the Jim McMahon wanted the job though!

The Panthers have beaten the AZ Cardinals, Lyins, Failcons, and the Chargers.  They’ve lost to Duh Bears and Duh Viqueens also for comparison.  The Panthers are also not expected to play Christian McCaffrey, their standout running back who generates a lot of their offense. 

So why should we pay attention?  This is a classic trap game.  The defense is lulled into a false sense of certitude that they will win the day.  I put nothing past this defense!  Our defense stinks!  We need to man up and pound those sleds!  We should have mauled and destroyed Detoit, not counted on Mason Crosby to have to nail a 57 yarder to ice the game.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he did it, but it would be nice if just once we didn’t play down to our opponent! I want a decisive total victory!  I want the Packers!  I want the King of the North!  I want everyone to yell with me: 
(Ken Hill)