Pack's Narrow Win Leaves Us Jonesin' For More

We should feel good after a Packer win. The Pack remained perfect at Lambeau this season and maintained their one game division lead and their #2 spot in the NFC.

But I can't shake the defensive debacle in the second half. A half where the Falcons scored a point a minute and were an onside kick away from springing a comeback for the ages. OK, you're ahead 31-7 at the half and there's bound to be a bit of a defensive letdown. It's got to be hard to maintain your intensity when you're rolling like the Pack was.

But how do you not take Julio Jones away and make a gimpy Roddy White try to beat you? Dom Capers refused to roll coverage Jones' way and thought Shields or House could cover him. This just in: they couldn't. If Jones doesn't exit with a hip injury, who knows how much quicker they might have scored?

It leaves a sour taste in your mouth, despite another dynamic offensive performance, equally successful on the ground and through the air. The Pack rushed for 179 yards at six yards a pop. And Rodgers threw for 327 with three TDs and a 123 passer rating. The bomb to Jordy should have been the dagger, but Ryan and his offense refused to lay down and it wasn't until James Starks broke loose for 42 yards late that the dagger could be uttered.

It was another clean game for the Pack: no turnovers, just five penalties for 40 yards and pretty good special teams play. The second blocked extra point in the last month is a concern. But Crosby nailed a key 53 harder and the Pack didn't let Devin Hester bust one.

The defense will have a chance to catch their breath the next two weeks against Kyle Orton and Josh McCown. They're not as bas as they looked in the second half and they obviously can't afford to repeat it. Three defensive timeouts called in the fourth quarter and Ryan and Jones playing catch. It turned a 31-7 laugher into a 43-37 nail biter. Super Bowl contenders can't allow that to happen.

Glass half full outlook: the second half defensive collapse removes a bit of the invincibility the team may have been feeling with their success of late. Maybe it brings them back to earth a bit and provides a chance to refocus as they hit the road.

Next Sunday's game may be the toughest one left on the schedule. They won't score 43 in Buffalo. The Bills have an elite defense and, unlike the Falcons, get after the quarterback. Fortunately for the Pack's sake, they also have nothing that resembles Ryan and Jones.

But on a short week against a team that will treat the game like a playoff contest, the Pack will need to be at their sharpest, to stay ahead of the Lions and Seahawks in the NFC pecking order.


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