1.17.2011

Monday Morning Reverie: The Total Domination Edition

70 Yards to Paydirt
1. There really is no better word than Domination for what the Packers did to Atlanta on Saturday night.  Everything went the way of the green and gold as the pack rolled to a 48-21 victory.  In nearly every facet of the game the Packers were better than their opponent.  By far this was the best game that the team has played this season and all indications are they are peaking at the right time.

Isn't that what's most important?  It's not about who the best team is at the beginning of the year or even the end of the season (didn't go so well for New England), it's about being the best team in the playoffs.  Right now the Packers look like they might be the best team in the playoffs.

2. Kudos to Aaron Rodgers for Saturday's perfect performance.  His stat line against Atlanta was flawless, 31 of 36 for 366 yards passing, three touchdowns through the air and for good measure he ran one in.  Rodgers has had no problem elevating his game in the post-season and put on the kind of performance that stories are told about.  When his opposite number Matt Ryan was folding and failing, Rodgers led the Packers to a second straight road playoff win.

Kudos need to go out to Tramon Williams as well.  He now has three interceptions in these playoffs and his pick six before half was a game breaker.  Williams making that read and jumping Ryan's pass opened up a two score lead when the game was very much in doubt.  Teams have gone after him in the last two weeks and he has made them pay.  The Williams and Charles Woodson combination is not too bad is it.

3. How happy must the league be to have two long time rivals like the Packers and Bears playing in the NFC title game.  This has none of the manufactured rivalry that Rex Ryan creates for the Jets but a genuine dislike and history that no other pro football rivalry can boast.  No offense Jets-Steelers, but only one of you have the same type of legitimacy.

While the AFC championship will be led up to with odd statements from Ryan about how this game is personal and perhaps profanity the Packers and Bears will just be about the football game.  As a football purist, you can't ask for much more.  Even for a casual fan this game will hold more appeal than anything the Seahawks and Falcons could have brought to the table.

4. It's time to remove "Matty Ice" from the pantheon of sports nicknames.  Matt Ryan earned that nickname in college for his cool manner and his strong play when the game mattered most.  That was college, this is now.  Ryan was not good for the Falcons, his decision making was incredibly poor.  First hanging the pass into the endzone that was picked off by Tramon Williams and again when he forced the out route that ended in the Williams' pick six.

You can't be a clutch player and bomb the way Ryan did on Saturday. Period.  When the pressure was on he was cooked.  If the Falcons make a return trip to the playoffs next season (if there is a next season) the pressure to win will squarely on the shoulders of Matt Ryan.

5. Bo's bunch is back at it, knocking off the then ranked No. 16 Fighting Illini on Saturday.  The Badgers, 13-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten, are doing what Bo Ryan teams do - Winning.  The Big Ten is deeper this year then it has been in recent memory but Wisconsin has proven they play with good teams.  They've been neck and neck in games with Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan State.

Jordan Taylor and John Leuer have been outstanding so far this year, which is necessary because the scoring depth is not there.  The Badgers will continue to win games and will make the tournament, but how far they go this year will depend on the consistency they get out of Taylor and Leuer.  Those two players have the talent to take this team a long ways.

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