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Relive the Packer pain: Defense

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Not an accurate title given that our defense was actually quite brilliant. One way of putting it was that Brett Favre had an "off day". Or else you could just own up and say we had an outstanding day, defensively.

By the numbers: Green Bay managed just 13 first downs and was 3/12 on 3rd for 23%. Only the San Fransisco 49ers approach that level of inept on 3rd down for the season. Green Bay was way below average against our defense, now at a 41% conversion rate for the season. When I said yesterday that we squandered some great defense, I wasn't kidding; we out played the Packers by nearly 80 yards. We won the time of possession and weren't decimated in turnovers, losing just 3-2. They gained less than 4 yards per offensive play, which is pathetic. Predictably they couldn't run the ball (56 net yards) but surprisingly they couldn't pass either (150 net yards).

Despite dropping more passes than he caught, I'd just as soon reward Sean Taylor for being in great position on the opposing end of a Brett Favre pass 5 different times. Punishing him for three drops seems especially unfair given that his 2 catches on 5 passes would have still made him a star on our offense, had he been catching balls from JC. Virtually everyone else decided to drop passes as well.

It took three players to accumulate two sacks on Brett Favre: Chris Wilson had one and Daniels and Montgomery shared another. For all the concern we had with this aging defensive line, and how much talking keyboards like myself insisted we burn our draft pick on a pass rushing defensive end, and for all the criticism this team has reaped for poor player evaluation in free agency, we sure are getting some great mileage out of otherwise unknown or uncared for young defensive linemen. Count Kedric Golston, Anthony Montgomery, and now Chris Wilson as infants who are playing beyond expectations. Wilson also had 3 tackles, 2nd only to Andre Carter on the line. And I would wager that he didn't play as many snaps.

There was one drive where I woudl've liked to see a stiffer spine out of the Redskins, though viewed holistically with the rest of their performance it was quite forgivable. On the Packers 2nd drive it took them just two plays and 56 seconds to march 63 yards down the field for seven points. Afterwards, however, they managed less than 10 yards on 8 different drives, not counting the end of the game kneeling. Despite sacrificing good field position to Green Bay a few times -- midfield on a Derrick Frost 34 yard punt returned to the GB 48 and our own 9 yard line thanks to a Portis fumble -- somehow we held them to just 10 points offensively.

That the defense played so well is why we were still in a game that was comically poorly handled on one side of the field. And don't let anyone tell you this game wasn't winnable; both teams fumbled the ball 4 times. We happened to lose two of ours, one for a touchdown. It could just as easily happened differently. Credit to Phillip Daniels, Sean Taylor, and Rocky McIntosh (who also led the team in tackles) for all forcing fumbles.

Later today or this week we'll touch briefly on the guilty party: the offense. Not that I haven't been pleased with his play this season, it should be noted that Derrick Frost was miserable on 8 punts, averaging just 34.9 yards with only one pinning them within the 20 yard line.