A win, the kind of win the Green Bay Packers had Sunday in the unfriendly confines of Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, is the kind of win that has eluded the team since the Aaron Rodgers-era began two years ago.
The Packers’ last road wins in an environment like Sunday were back-to-back wins in Denver and Kansas City in the middle of the 2007 season. Since then, Green Bay had only won nine road games, with five of those coming against Detroit and St. Louis.
Things looked really good mid-way through the 3rd quarter when John Kuhn’s score put the Packers up 20-3, but then it was Michael Vick time. The former pro bowl quarterback led three scoring drives in the second half and to many Green Bay fans it had to feel like déjà vu.
It was shades of 2002 when Vick and the Atlanta Falcons knocked the Packers out of the playoffs, becoming the first visiting team to win a playoff game at Lambeau Field. The left-handed flash of lightning had 103 yards rushing and another 175 yards passing.
However, Vick would not have that signature moment this season. The Green Bay defense stopped Vick’s final attempt, sealing a big road win for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
This is what had been missing the past two-plus seasons. Rodgers hasn’t had his signature game-winning drive yet, mainly because the defense let the other quarterback put his team in a position to score and get the victory in the fourth quarter.
This wasn’t going to happen on Sunday. Not when the Packers have Clay Matthews.
The long-haired linebacker snuffed out Vick’s inside run on 4th & 1, capping off a tremendous game for the up-and-coming defensive star.
Matthews had two sacks (one knocking Kevin Kolb out of the game); a team-high seven tackles and was all over the field chasing Vick in the second half.
It had been 48 years since the green and gold had been victorious in the city of brotherly love.
The 1997 Super Bowl team couldn’t win in Philadelphia. Former quarterback Brett Favre was 0-6 in Philly. A team-record rushing performance from Ahman Green wasn’t good enough to ensure a playoff win.
Maybe Rodgers was off on Sunday and Vick gave the defense a scare, but a win in Philly is a huge accomplishment for this young team. Big road wins early in the season usually lead to even bigger wins come January and February.
Sunday’s win should go a long way for this team.
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Written by Mitch McLaughlin