Sunday, September 18, 2011

Packers Give Cam the Shaft

(Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Carolina's rookie phenom quarterback lit up the sky in Charlotte Sunday, but guys like Charles Woodson and Aaron Rodgers gave Cam (Newton), in the end, the shaft.

Newton's early brilliance eventually met up with the cunning of Woodson as the legend snagged two of the quarterback's passes for interceptions. Later, Woodson would run down a loose Panther ball for another theft.

After the latter turnover, the television camera found Woodson sitting on the bench enjoying a cup of Gatorade...but it could just as easily have shown a shot of a cat sitting with bird feathers in it's mouth as people fretted about trying to find a missing canary. So often after the ball has been stolen from the opposing offense, there is a follow-up shot of Charles Woodson; the cat who ate the canary.

As regularly advocated on this blog, they should not wait until the future to put Charles Woodson the the Hall of Fame, they should do it immediately! Today. The guy can and does give any quarterback the shaft either from his interceptions, his forced fumbles, his fumble recoveries, his reckless tackling, or his lightening blitzes. Charles Woodson is a dangerous man.

But there were other Packers who helped put Cam and the Panthers into the shaft. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers found both Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson open behind enemy lines and each dashed into the end zone for big-yardage scores. So much rookie drama canceled out by two effortless Rodgers passes.

Running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks also had a big role in turning out the lights in Carolina. For a certain period of time, Packer coach Mike McArthy decided to advance the ball down the field via the ground game. Both running backs demonstrated toughness, speed, durability and dependability as Green Bay established a definitive running game. Of course, as the Panthers shored up their defense to answer the running game, Rodgers stabbed them in the heart with a touchdown pass.

The Packer defense allowed more points and yards than they should have, but the likes of Newton, a 6'5" slasher, is pretty rare in the league. Teams will have to begin to figure out how to stop him. For now, he remains an anomaly with a bright future. And Newton got to meet fellows like Clay Matthews and BJ Raji, usually followed by meeting the Carolina turf. Matthews was again a relentless wild man effecting all areas of the football field, and Raji the monster in the middle. Though Carolina is known to not have a running game, all the defensive men in green worked to confirm that suspicion.

Though the Packers win was not pretty, the team did not panic when it found itself down early 10-0 before the Packer offense had even stepped on the field. Indeed, they showed poise. A strong Panther rush took away Green Bay's signature wide-open passing game but the Packers found that the pressure could not stop screens and the rushing game; the Packers, thus proved themselves adaptable and versatile. Donald Driver caught one pass. Jordy Nelson caught one pass. James Jones caught one pass. Each were only thrown to once. So it was not a typical Green Bay game, but championship teams find a way to win. And the Packers did just that.

Sorry Cam. Welcome to the big league.

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