Monday, November 24, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Game night
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
NEW ORLEANS -- Greetings from the Big Easy. Just watched a story on the local news about the importance of "Monday Night Football" to the New Orleans economy, and it's true: Everywhere you went Sunday night, most of the people were wearing Green Bay Packers jerseys.
Yes, it's a big one for both teams Monday night at the Superdome. The Packers, for one, need a victory just to keep up in the NFC North race after Chicago and Minnesota both won Sunday.
To do so, the Packers will need to make some adjustments in the noisy atmosphere of an indoor stadium, points out the Green Bay Press-Gazette. On the other hand, they want quarterback Aaron Rodgers to continue protecting the ball. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rodgers is on pace to have the lowest interception since Bart Starr in 1964.
Monday night games are big for building national reputations, and Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette wonders if Packers assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss will soon work his way on the hot list of head coaching candidates.
We'll bring you a steady stream of posts during the day and will invite the rest of the division into the discussion. We plan to be in place at the dome by late afternoon.
For now, let's take a spin around the division:
- Chicago's defensive line made a loud return to the headlines Sunday in St. Louis, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye and defensive tackle Tommie Harris each had two sacks, and Ogunleye had the hit that knocked Rams quarterback Marc Bulger out of the game.
- It didn't look like running back Matt Forte (132 yards) was hitting the rookie wall on Sunday, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
- The Bears showed a new energy on defense, according to Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune.
- Minnesota coach Brad Childress had a busy day in Jacksonville. He benched tailback Adrian Peterson for being late to a team meeting and also upbraided quarterback Gus Frerotte for too much out-of-pocket activity. Childress said he had a "one-sided conversation" with Frerotte during the game, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.
- Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune: "Childress' decision [to bench Peterson for the first two series] casts him as either despotic or brave. I favor the latter."
- Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell booted the longest field goal -- 54 yards -- in the history of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, according to the Star Tribune.
- Childress plans to use backup tailback Chester Taylor more down the stretch, writes Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Detroit quarterback Daunte Culpepper had only eight completions and was replaced by backup Drew Stanton late Sunday against Tampa Bay. "The game of football, you always have ups and downs," he said, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. "Everybody knows that."
- Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News on 0-16: "The impossible is now practically inevitable."
- Mitch Albom of the Free Press on the Lions: "It's not football. I don't know what you call it, but it's not football. It's an exhibition. It's a circus. It's a running joke. But it's not football."