Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Monday, October 10, 2011
Free Head Exam: Green Bay Packers

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

After the Green Bay Packers' 25-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, here are three issues that merit further examination:
    Head Exam
    Following their win against the Falcons, the Packers take a seat in the examination room.
  1. We more or less crowned quarterback Aaron Rodgers the league MVP in last week's edition of this post, so it would be hard to add any more hyperbole to his performance Sunday night. So let's move on to a whole new level of hype: Are the Packers going to go undefeated this season? No matter how well they've played to this point, I can't get remotely interested in that question until they are at least 10-0. And in Week 5, I don't know that we can even look ahead and place asterisks next to the teams who might pose the biggest challenge. It's all WAY, WAY too early.
  2. We touched on a variety of issues in Sunday night's extended wrap-up post, but here's one we did not. Watching Roddy White's 5-yard touchdown reception Sunday night, I made a note to question what Packers cornerback Charles Woodson was doing on the play. You see Woodson pick up White at the middle of his crossing route. But when White veered into the end zone, Woodson ran upfield. Did he think he needed to cover someone in the flat? Did he believe quarterback Matt Ryan was about to run? As expected when it comes to Woodson, he 'fessed up and told reporters: "My eyes were in the backfield. But once that receiver comes under, I have to take him. That’s on me not making a football play."
  3. The Packers have experience falling behind at the Georgia Dome, and in all seriousness, that was a big part of their ability to withstand a 14-point first-quarter onslaught Sunday night. If you remember, they trailed 10-3 in the second quarter during the 2010 regular season and 14-7 in the second quarter during their divisional playoff game. "There was no panic," Rodgers told reporters. "We just knew that games down here ... the last couple of games we've played down here have been similar. They've kind of started fast, got the momentum, got the crowd involved and we've had to kind of withstand that first wave of attack from them and, once we do, settle into the game, start making some plays and get back into the game."
And here is one issue I still don't get:
I haven't decided if I'm bothered by coach Mike McCarthy's decision to go for a 2-point conversion with a little less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Packers held a 15-14 lead at the time, and the conversion would have left the Falcons unable to take a lead with a field goal. As it turned out, the failure left the Falcons in position to tie the game with a touchdown and a 2-point conversion once the Packers extended their lead to 22-14. You always want your opponent to need more than one score. But I also think McCarthy was supremely confident that his team still had some scoring left to do. That's the way the game felt at the time, and it proved correct. Sometimes you manage by the book, and other times by feel.