Third and one: Packers

December, 28, 2009
12/28/09
11:15
AM ET
After Green Bay’s 48-10 victory over Seattle, here are three (mostly) indisputable facts I feel relatively sure about:

  1. When place-kicker Mason Crosby trotted out for a 52-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, my first reaction was incredulity. Why would coach Mike McCarthy put Crosby in position for a difficult field goal for any kicker, let alone one that’s slumping? Wouldn’t a miss only further disintegrate his confidence? But upon reflection, it’s the only thing McCarthy could do to remain on message. He said last week that he was fully confident in Crosby. Passing on a field goal in that situation would have suggested otherwise. That Crosby nailed the kick was an added bonus, and it was nice to see teammates and coaches offer genuine congratulations afterward.
  2. Tailback Ryan Grant had 1,203 yards last season and has 1,202 yards this year with one game left to play. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that this year’s production has been more valuable and more explosive. For the most part, Grant is giving the Packers everything they want from a tailback. His 56-yard touchdown run Sunday gave him eight runs of 20 or more yards this season. He’s nearly tripled his scoring output from last season, from four touchdowns to 10. He’s only had three 100-yard games, but there is obviously much more to a running back’s success than that milestone.
  3. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers tried to smooth over his public give-and-take with Seattle defensive end Darryl Tapp, who denied Rodgers’ claims last week that he bit him during the team’s 2008 meeting. Rodgers approached Tapp during a timeout, asking him why he reacted angrily to the accusation. “Didn’t get a lot of feedback,” Rodgers said. He added: “I think I kind of regret saying something for the most part I was saying in jest. I had no ulterior motive to try and make him look bad. I didn’t say he was a dirty player.” I agree. A year-old infraction, real or imagined, is best left unmentioned.

And here is one question I’m still asking:
Will cornerback Charles Woodson be the defensive player of the year? Fans were chanting “MVP” at the end of the game, but voters don’t typically stray from quarterbacks on that award. But Woodson and New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis appear to be the front-runners for DPOY. Woodson’s 2009 legend grew another level Sunday when he sniffed out a Seahawks play early enough to warn safety Atari Bigby about the likely direction of the pass. Woodson was right, and the jump he gave Bigby was enough to cause an interception.

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