I don’t know about anyone else out there, but I witnessed one great game on Sunday afternoon between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers. Am I bummed that the Packers lost? Absolutely. They were a fourth-down stop away from winning.
(Okay, okay… plus an additional scoring drive…)
It was an exciting match from beginning to end, and although the Packers only took the lead for a brief moment, they never let the 49ers get more than a touchdown’s score out of reach. We got to see Aaron Rodgers at some of his best, not to mention the fantastically tough trio of receivers in Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley.
Did you SEE that sideline catch by Nelson? That highlight will be played all season.
Now, some might call me an overly optimistic person. I tend to see the best in everyone, even though I get burned by it sometimes. Nevertheless, I don’t mind the burns, because they heal, and it’s much more enjoyable living in a world of positivity than wallowing in a world of despair.
Perhaps that’s why I was confident the Packers could pull off the upset this past weekend. So confident, in fact, that I predicted it would be on the leg of Mason Crosby. (Okay, that was just trying to be bold for its own sake, but you get the idea.)
What I don’t understand are the herds of fans who are acting like Chicken Little after the disheartening loss. I mean, really, how many of you are actually surprised that the 49ers won that game? If you are, then you are either (a) living in an ice fishing shed somewhere in northern Canada, or (b) lying to yourself. Not only did Vegas have the 49ers as a 4.5-point favorite, but our own team of writers here at AllGreenBayPackers.com were also evenly split in their predictions.
For some strange reason, this fan base lacks some perspective. Is it because we’ve seen so much success over the decades? Or is it because we’ve also seen so many postseason blunders? (And I’m not just talking about the years with McCarthy and Rodgers.)
Whatever the case might be, I submit that it’s high time we start seeing things from a different perspective. Perhaps even a more positive one.
While I wasn’t able to watch the game due to chores, graduate work, and lesson planning, the Pittsburgh Steelers learned a thing or two about adversity during their match-up against the Tennessee Titans. In addition to losing their home opener in miserable fashion, they lost five players in the process. Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey tore both his MCL and ACL, veteran linebacker Larry Foote suffered a ruptured biceps, and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling has a torn ACL. All three players are most likely gone for the season.
Meanwhile, in Green Bay Packer land, we lost a close game that we were expected to lose, and we did it without two of our top defensive backs–safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Casey Hayward. No one got seriously injured, and Aaron Rodgers actual received some good pass protection from the offensive line.
Could they have performed better? Of course they could have. It wasn’t their best shot, and the two turnovers were the difference-makers. Not only did the 49ers score a touchdown off of Eddie Lacy’s fumble, but both turnovers helped contribute to the overall field position problem.
And while it’s fair to criticize their performance, it’s downright silly to give up the season.
The Packers are going to light it up this year. They played one of the best teams in the league right now on their home turf and lost by less than a touchdown. They’ll go through many changes this season as players get healthy and others get injured. Just like every other team, including the 49ers, the Packers will look significantly different in Week 17. And if there’s anything I’ve learned as a football fan, it’s that the journey is as important as the end result.
Green Bay’s 2013 season is far from over. In fact, it’s just begun. It was a rocky start, yet it gave me some hope for a stout run defense and a passing attack that hasn’t missed a beat. This team is tough, and they proved it on the field this Sunday. (Oh, and Clay Matthews is a beast.)
So if you want to throw your hands in the air and shield yourself from the falling sky, be my guest. But I’m not going to. I’m going to remember the growth I saw in this team and look forward to more of it as the season progresses. I’m going to remember that it could be a lot–and I mean A LOT–worse.
And I will never forget that the Super Bowl XLV champions were all but forgotten as they backed themselves into the playoffs. It’s a long road, and I’m going to enjoy the trip. Of course, that could just be the eternal optimist in me.——————Follow @ChadToporski