Few things sting more than losing the opening game of the season to a heated rival such as the 49ers. Confident that the Packers would not allow themselves to be embarrassed by the hated 49ers for a third time in less then a year, I listened in disbelief as the last few seconds of the game ticked away and the Packers lost the game. I don’t know what stings more, the fact that the Packers lost the first game of the season or that they lost to the hated 49ers. The fact that Packers need to rebound is obvious, but they need to do it such a way that proves that they are a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl this year.
I mentioned in my last article that Packers needed to limit Kaepernick on the ground as well as in the air. They obviously did not do that. Instead they allowed 404 yards in the air. This is not the trait of a championship team. Packers are facing another potentially mobile quarterback in the game against the Redskins and must limit the damage RG III attempts to inflict. RG III is rusty and looks uncomfortable in the pocket. Packers need to rush him, collapse the pocket and force him to run on his bad knee. Such a strategy will cause mistakes and interceptions from RG III.
The all to familiar scenario played out again during the game last week. The Packers fell behind and abandoned the running game to catch up and surpass the 49ers. It does not help that Eddie Lacy fumbled the football either. But Packers need to keep pounding away at the running game and handing the ball off to Eddie Lacy. I like him and he seems to have a powerful, grinding running style. If Packers are patient and stick with it, I think Lacy will pay off big for them in the end. Stick with the run Packers!
Thirdly, the defense needs to force turnovers. The Packers defense thrives on getting interceptions. They caused none last week, practically sealing their defeat against the 49ers. RG III is not usually prone to throwing interceptions but he threw two of them last week. Packers defense must put pressure on him and force him to throw into tight coverage.
Last week was a painful loss and I am just as anxious as every Packer player to erase the embarrassment and win. If the Packers limit RG III’s abilities on the field, stick with the running and force turnovers, they will win the game and put this long, brutal week behind them. The hype leading up to last week’s game was tremendous, but I am almost looking forward to this game more then last because the Packers have an opportunity to redeem the themselves now.
By Catherine Solin