Yes, I do like that. I like that more than people are letting us have credit for. "Washington sucks, you know that, right?... Washington has no defense, so it wasn't that impressive... What team couldn't beat an NFC East team this year... Washington didn't beat any teams with winning records..." There are many more gems people have been polishing up for me about why that Packers win over the Redskins isn't a bid deal, but I'm not interested in fancy rocks and minerals. I'm only interested in the silver that makes up a certain trophy named after the greatest coach in NFL history. And no, it's not called the Parcells Trophy, Mike Zimmer.
Look, no, the Redskins aren't the best team out there, but they were the best in their division, so they made the playoffs. That's how it is. If you don't like it, go watch the Golden Globes. It's the awards show equivalent of the second-place NFC East team. The Redskins got in by going on a nice little four game win streak. Also, Washington surprisingly scored the 10th most points in the league this year and ranked 9th in points per game at home. That might sound like a weird stat to reference, but my point is Washington played well at home. Also, let's not forget, every team in the playoffs gets a little more credit and much more competitive. It is for them like us gaining an extra inch. It might not be much, but it's also a ton where it counts. If Olympic sprinters can make or break their whole careers with just one more inch, imagine what you could do with it.
So, the game started off looking like the last game of the Packers' 2015 season, and in a fashion that would epitomize the whole season: defense playing well, offense not getting crap going, down on the scoreboard early, horrible QB protection (the safety was demoralizing, I had to go outside and just look at the ground for a bit), lots of uncomfortably tangible QB frustration, slow WR routes often ending while the ball was still somewhere in the air, and the only thing Aaron seemed to be the best in the league at was seeing defensive errors, like his classic eagle eye for there being an extra defensive man on the field.
Then we did what sometimes this year seemed like a pipe dream. We scored a TD in the red zone. A TD pass to Cobb. Seems bizarre that this combination was rare this year, but it was.
The next TD came on a great drive featuring TWO CATCHES FROM DAVANTE ADAMS. Sorry to type that like one of those emails from your Dad about why climate change is a political hoax, but one of the biggest disappointments this year was Davante. The guy couldn't catch a cold if he was wearing wet socks while hanging out at a bus stop all day. Today, Davante looked like the old Davante, the Davante that was supposed to be our safety net when Lord Jordy would miss the whole 2015 season. The first big one was a 20 yard completion on a key 3rd and 2:
Davante then caught a wide open touchdown to put the Pack ahead 16-11. This was huge because 1, Davante was actually open in the endzone and 2, Davante caught a TD pass when wide open. Do you remember the two or four wide open TD drops Davante had this season? He does. Aaron does too. This one was good though:
Davante had 4 catches for 48 yards today. He hurt his knee in the second half, but it wasn't serious. Which means he'll be OK next week. Because this is the fricken playoffs, baby!
After one more score on a Kirk Cousins oh-yeah-I'm-still-a-young-guy-I-should-run-it-in-for-a-TD-through-this-fifty-foot-hole-in-the-middle-of-the-field-because-why-would-Kirk-Cousins-be-a-scramble-threat-so-that's-why-the-D-is-so-spread-right-now, Dom Capers' studs turned it on and put them down like veterinarians in a retirement community for dogs. Just great real deal postseason defensive play for the whole squad. Big stops by the secondary and total abuse on Kirky boy:
And King Clay having his way like only he does:
Finishing up with some great running by James Starks, who held on to the ball finally, hopefully burying the ghosts of Samkon Gado's past:
And big Eddie Lacy. That spin move, so much power, so much grace, so many broken tackles. He set up James' score after a big 4th down conversion run with a 30 yarder on the very next play. The following Packers' possession he put us up 30-18 on this beaut:
Followed by this Jared Abbrederis 2 point conversion. So sick seeing Jared, the guy who lived the full-cycle Wisconsin dream by walking on to the Badgers, becoming tied for the all-time receptions leader at Camp Randall, getting drafted by the Packers, then getting bumped up from the practice squad to the active roster. Great stuff for all of Wisconsin when he scored his first ever postseason points:
The Pack cruised from there to close out the game. There was one brief moment when Washington looked like it had a little life left against the prevent defense and I remembered "cruising to the end of the game" in the NFC Championship game last year, or what my gastrointestinal doctor refers to as "the beginning of the end for Luke's poop shoot," but they quickly snapped out of it.
All in all it was a great day for the Packers. Good to see the boys having fun on the sidelines. Aaron and Mike both smiling and smiling together, a sight strangely uncommon this year. People can talk trash about the quality of the Redskins team affecting the quality of the win, but a win is a win and confidence is HUGE for this team. When Aaron is doing these sorts of Aaron things, teams go down. It scares the living hell out of them. I live in Chicago, and just walking around the streets on any given day of the year you'll see people look up into the sky just to make sure a deep ball isn't coming from Wisconsin right into the endzone. Not even the Bears win in Lambeau this year has remedied it.
So, I'll finish by saying this: it was a great day, lots of fun, the team is playing hot on all fronts, and as much as I want to not bring it up like Troy Aikman did 1,000 times today, this team's road win as a wild card team was a little reminiscent of the first game of the 2010 postseason when Green Bay was supposed to be one and done. And instead they won. With a very balanced overall attack. And went into Atlanta to take on another team with a bird mascot that was great all year and coming off a bye to play a home playoff game for fans who were already looking ahead to the NFC championship.
Yes, this year the team we're headed to face embarrassed us a mere two weeks ago, but that same team also got embarrassed the following week at home against the Seahawks team that didn't annihilate the Vikings in their close and lucky win today. Imagine thinking about that during your first round bye in a state that largely is a retirement community, except not for dogs.
As for the Redskins, I'm sure they'll be thinking about this image for a few days. I know I will. I think it's a pretty good summary: