This 2022 Green Bay Packers team, like the ones from the last 10 years, is almost really good.
Sunday’s 27-24 overtime win over a 1-2 New England Patriots team proved that just when fans think they are definitely really good, the Packers assured us that no, they are just almost really good.
You see, a really good Packers team — a team that was a 9.5-point home favorite — would have had no trouble dispatching a Brian Hoyer-led Patriots team in raucous Lambeau Field. A really good Packers team most certainly would have dominated third-string rookie QB Bailey Zappe after he replaced an injured Hoyer in the first half. They would have sent the Patriots back to Boston embarrassed, bloodied, and bruised. But the Packers felt it was important to use every second of a 75-minute game to show the world again that they are almost a really good football team.
Despite everyone inside Lambeau, outside Lambeau, my grandma, and both my dogs knowing that the Patriots were going to run the ball relentlessly on Sunday, the Packers still got run upon and run upon and failed to adjust. They gave up 167 rushing yards and continually surrendered chunk gains that allowed the Patriots to extend drives, stick around, and start believing they could actually win with their third-string rookie QB on the road in a hostile environment. A really good team might have seen that coming — but again, the Packers wanted to assure fans that they are almost really good.
After tantalizing rookie wideout Romeo Doubs dropped a perfectly placed 40-yard rainbow from Aaron Rodgers with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter, head coach Matt LaFleur — despite everyone inside Lambeau, outside Lambeau, my grandma, and one of my dogs (my other dog was hiding under the bed because I screamed HE DROPPED IT so loudly) decided to inexcusably waste a valuable timeout by challenging the ruling on the field. Thus the Packers announced to the world that they were, once again, almost a really good football team.
After the Packers’ opening drive in overtime stalled, forcing a 43-yard punt from Pat O’Donnell, the coverage team allowed Patriots return man Marcus Jones to bob and weave his way to the 50-yard line – leaving New England with great field position, 13 yards away from field goal range to end the game. It was important for Green Bay’s ulcer-inducing special teams coverage unit to spell it out. The Packers are almost a really good team.
In the end, despite nearly making Bailey Zappe a New England folk hero, the Packers and their four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers engineered a classic game-winning drive with plenty of crushing A.J. Dillon power runs, some Doubs redemption catches, all topped off with a steady Mason Crosby walk-off field goal. It was 75 minutes of mostly agonizing yet somehow successful football, which included brief moments where it appeared the Packers might definitely be really good. But all too many moments that assured us that this team is just almost really good.