Monday, December 30, 2013

Power Football, Zeplens Magic Outfit & How the Packers Snuck into the Playoffs

Well, that was an interesting game. Like last week, Me and Heather had to venture out of the house to watch the Packers play (the local FOX affiliate was showing the 49ers-Cardinals game). After dropping Zeplen off at my parent's place (dressed in his lucky Packers outfit), we ventured over to Rooster Creek.

After some initial issues of waiting for seating, Heather's favorite chicken sandwich not being on the menu and being switched to a seat where we could safely watch the game without risking some neck injuries (which coincided with Rodgers interception in the end zone) it was time to take in some football.

At times when i've watched a Packers game in public, i'm aware that not everyone is from Wisconsin and not everyone is going to be rooting for the Packers. Usually the tension of this is at a minimum. For example, during last year's playoff drubbing to the 49ers I was wearing a cheesehead in a sea of 49ers fans at SLO Brew but things were pretty mellow and less tense there.

On this day, there happened to be way too many Bears fans in there at the same time that were cheering fairly loudly whenever the Bears scored and occasionally sending a few glances our direction. For the first three quarters the momentum was swinging wildly in both directions.

For most of the game, the seat I was sitting in had direct view of a couple tables full of Bears fans. After they went up 28-20, things didn't look good and to reduce my frustration of having direct eye view of happy Bears fans, I switched to the other side of the table we were sitting on (based on the rest of the game, I should have done this earlier).

Shortly after this happened, the Packers moved their way down the field, eventually scoring on an Eddie Lacy touchdown to bring the score to 28-27. For a few seconds, I forgot that I was in public and blurted out the words POWER FOOTBALL loud enough for everyone to hear.

At the time, it was uncertain whether the 805 I was drinking was drinking to celebrate or drinking to drown the sorrows. Earlier in the game, I thought that if the game was decided by a touchdown or less that the game would be dubbed the Touchdown Double Check game due to the Rodgers fumble that led to a Packers touchdown in the second quarter for Boykin on a play that everyone else thought seemed to be an incomplete pass (even I thought this, I saw the play go down continued eating my pulled pork sandwich took a sip out of my beer turned around and a touchdown popped up from seemingly nowhere.

Then the final drive of the game began. The Packers started out deep in their own territory and flirted with the start of a dark, cold winter on several occasions. They got off to a nice 2 for 2 start on forth down conversions (one on a power football run by John Kuhn the other on a nice catch by Jordy Nelson) but there was still work to be done to avoid a dark & cold winter.

On 4th and 8 Aaron Rodgers narrowly avoided a season ending sack by Julius Peppers and maneuvered himself enough to find a very wide open Randall Cobb to give the Packers the lead with 38 seconds left. At this point, my hearts racing, the adrenaline is pumping but also aware that Dom Capers is still the Packers defensive coordinator and that while things looked better, there was work still to be done.

After the Bears completed a pass and narrowly dropped a second one, it was desperation time for the Bears. Jay Cutler threw up a hail mary, underthrowing his receivers by about 5 yards and leading to an interception which directly ending up leading up to me high-fiving a random stanger at Rooster Creek.

Now, the playoff seedings are hung with care. So far, the Packers have survived starting Seneca Wallace & Scott Tolzein at quarterback in the same season and got enough out of Matt Flynn to make the above moments possible.

As the Packers prepare to face the 49ers in the playoffs this weekend, it will likely sting a bit if they lose to them again but considering where the Packers have been this year, this season has been a success in its own way (despite an 8-7-1 record) and most importantly they prevented the Bears from any playoff glory of their own which in itself is a victory.