Some may consider the 2009 Packers season a disappointment. They lost both matches against Brett Favre and the Vikings, they gave the Buccaneers their first win of the season, and had a disappointing exit from the playoffs. However, I submit to you that this season was not a disappointment. After falling to a 4-4 record after a surprising loss Tampa Bay, many gave up on the Pack, but they responded and went on a tear winning the next seven of eight games and finished 11-5; 6-2 at home. After week 9 many said the Pack would finish 6-10 just like the prior season, but they didn’t. This amazing run the Packers made to reach the playoffs is unfortunately somewhat forgotten by losing in the wild card round, but that is not a reason to consider the 2009 campaign a failure, instead let us consider it a great success.
Week 1: Packers vs. Bears; W 21-15; 1-0
The Packer offense struggled to get going most of the game due in part to poor offensive line play (which was a continuous theme all the way into the playoffs). The Pack only gained 76 yards on the ground led by Ryan Grant with 61 of those yards and a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers finished 17 for 28 with only 184 yards and one touchdown which was the game winner with a little over a minute left. He was sacked four times. Greg Jennings led the team in receptions and yards with 6 for 106 and a touchdown. The defense allowed a couple of big plays, but ultimately kept the Pack in the game picking off Jay Cutler four times and had two sacks. Brandon Chillar led in tackles with seven. An exciting win for the Pack, but it showed signs of a long season ahead.
Week 2: Packers vs. Bengals; L 24-31; 1-1
A pumped up and confident Packer team welcomed the Bengals who seemed to be down and out after losing on a miracle play against the Broncos the week before. However, this was a back-and-forth contest that found the Pack on the losing end as they ran out of time in the red zone. The offensive line played even worse than they did the first week allowing 6 sacks. Grant ran for only 46 yards and Rodgers added 43 of his own, but only because he was running for his life. He also went 21 for 39 in the air for 261 yards and one touchdown. Donald Driver led the team in receptions and yards with 6 for 99 and a touchdown. The defense played decent forcing Carson Palmer to throw 2 picks and sacked him twice, but allowed Cedric Benson to run all over them for 141 yards. Charles Woodson led the team with 9 tackles and two picks returning one for a touchdown. A tough loss for the Pack considering they were in range to score, but simply ran out of time.
Week 3: Packers at Rams; W 36-17; 2-1
Against the Rams here in week 3 the Pack were looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Bengals and build momentum and confidence for the big matchup coming in week 4 against the Vikes. Fortunately the Pack focused in on the Rams and took care of business. The offensive line looked a lot better allowing only two sacks, but then again the Rams didn’t pose much of threat. Grant ran for 99 yards and the Pack overall ran the ball for 152 yards. Rodgers went 13 for 23 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Driver led the team with 4 receptions and Jennings in yards with 103. The defense played well forcing 3 turnovers, but only sacked the quarterback one time. A.J. Hawk led in tackles with eight. Perhaps the Pack allowed more points than they should have, but overall a dominating win which was just what was expected.
Week 4: Packers at Vikings; L 23-30; 2-2
The much anticipated matchup against Brett Favre and the Vikings didn’t turn out at all like Packer fans hoped. Instead all critics broke loose with negative statements as Brett carved up the Packer secondary, the defense failed to put pressure on the aging quarterback, and the offensive line once again played disgustingly horrible allowing an astounding 8 sacks. Grant actually seemed to run the ball his best so far going for 51 yards with a 4.6 yard average, but the Pack were simply playing catch-up all game. Rodgers went 26 for 37 for 384 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. In short, Rodgers played well for the most part, but could take the blame for the pick and a sack or two. Jermichael Finley led the team in receptions and yards with 6 for 128 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Clay Matthews personally kept the Pack in the game when in the second quarter he stripped the ball right out of Adrian Peterson’s hands and took 42 yards for a touchdown tying the game at 14. Nick Barnett led the team with 7 tackles. This loss gave way to all Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson haters and already some fans were giving up on the Pack. Now the Packers had three weeks to get their act together for the rematch at Lambeau Field.
Getting Back to The Basics "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." ―Vince Lombardi