I’d like to think the players lined up in the south end zone at halftime of the Packer game yesterday had something to do with the momentum change that blew through the stadium and saved an 11-year home opener win streak.
And, maybe those retired athletes, representatives of six decades, did provide some inspiration for the struggling young current team on the Packers’ annual Alumni Day. As they exited the field from their half-time introductions, the old guard passed the current players in the tunnel and I have to believe they heard some encouraging words from the likes of Dave Robinson, Jerry Kramer and the rest.
But you also have to hand it to our consistently calm young quarterback, who shook off both his own and his teammates’ mistakes, injuries that depleted both sides of the roster, and way too many penalties, to engineer the kind of comeback that can define a season.
“I always want to be that guy that guys can look at and he never seems to get flustered, never see it on my face that things aren’t going well,” Jordan Love said at his post-game press conference. “I want to be the guy that people can look at and get confidence from because we’re going to keep going.”
Lambeau Field itself played a role in the win as well, as is always does. Rooted deep within that natural grass is a history replete with astonishing comebacks. So yesterday’s fourth-quarter rally may have been manifested from that old, reliable soil. And, the Lambeau fans — egged on by Coach LaFleur and his staff who jumped around and waved their towels with frantic enthusiasm — certainly helped.
Whatever the reason, I can’t think of a better way for a young team to find the kind of confidence it needs than to score 18 unanswered points, to complete a two-point conversion that plenty of people questioned when those players lined up, and to leave that stadium with their heads held high.
Packer linebacker Rashan Gary, who wracked up three sacks and led a defense that shut out the Saints for the whole second half, said the team was going to allow itself to celebrate for one hour and then turn its attention to Thursday’s game.
I’m looking forward to seeing our new quarterback and that old stadium work their magic on the Lions.
Go Pack Go!