Remember a year ago, when the Packers could not win close games with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Exactly one year ago, they stood at 8-4, but only 3-4 in games decided by one score. They had lost twice in overtime. They had just lost a game they dominated at Atlanta, but faltered in key situations and allowed a late field goal after a big kickoff return.
Then, the next two weeks involved that costly loss at Detroit when Aaron Rodgers had a concussion, and the game at New England that they had a chance to win late with Matt Flynn at quarterback. Two more close losses.
What a difference a year makes. The difference between last year’s team and this one is close game performance through this point in the season. They were 5-0 in games with a margin bigger than 8, and 3-6 in close games. Since then, it’s 9-0 in larger spreads and 9-0 in those same close games, for 18 straight victories. I think I might have written something about how close game performance was volatile and we didn’t have enough to indict Rodgers as a choker.
Well, today, he again showed why the Packers are such a dangerous team. You have to knock them out, maybe get some defensive touchdowns or create a turnover late. In what was one of the games of the year so far in the NFL, the Giants traded blows with the Packers, and scored on a key drive in the final minute of the game, and converted a two point conversion to tie it. Rodgers, though, needed only two plays with 0:58 seconds remaining to immediately move the Packers down, on passes to Finley and Nelson.
Green Bay 38, New York 35. Now we can talk about an undefeated season, as the Packers have four left. The Chiefs and Bears have quarterback issues, Oakland is wildly inconsistent and coming to cold Lambeau, and the Lions are a dome team having to play in Lambeau in early January.
[photo via Getty]