Sunday, September 12, 2010
Wrap-up: Packers 27, Eagles 20
By Kevin Seifert
Let's hit some quick thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' Week 1 victory.
What it means: The Packers are tied with the Chicago Bears atop the NFC North. Just as important, they collected a key conference win. Those always come in handy when it comes time for tiebreakers and playoff seeding. Seriously, it's never too early to consider that.
Hero: Who said linebacker Clay Matthews needed training camp? After a hamstring injury cost him a month of practice, Matthews rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter Sunday. Appearing gassed as Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick ran all over the field, Matthews nevertheless made two huge plays on the Eagles' final drive. His sack on second down put the Eagles in a third-and-13 situation, and his plunge through the Eagles' offensive line stopped Vick on a quarterback draw on fourth down with 1:54 remaining. Inside linebacker Nick Barnett also got nice push on the play. Overall, Matthews was credited with seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Nice return.
Unsung hero: After much discussion last week, Jordy Nelson averaged 31 yards on five kickoff returns. His 51-yarder set up the Packers' final touchdown, a 32-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings.
Tomorrow's talker: Many of you will rightly be celebrating Matthews' return. But I think it's at least worth wondering if Vick's 103-yard rushing performance was a fluke based on a unique set of individual skills or if the Packers are going to be vulnerable to open-field running this season. I tend to side with the former, even though I'm sure the Packers prepared for how the Eagles' offense might change if Vick replaced starter Kevin Kolb. It was pretty clear the Packers' defense was tired at the end of the game, but ultimately they had enough energy to stop the Eagles' comeback. Just something to keep in your back pocket.
What's next: The Packers will host the Buffalo Bills in their home opener at Lambeau Field next Sunday.