Packers vs Bears: Yay, We WON!

Packers (0-1) vs Bears (1-0)
Date: September 13th, 2012
At: Green Bay
Outcome: 23-10 Packers

Prior to this game, I was very confused as to why everyone was so worried about the Bears. For once, I had no doubts that the Packers would win. And I was right.

Btw, thanks to the awesome greed of the NFL network, we had to stream the game from an .eu site (sadly, the site we used last year–streamhunter.tv or whatever–is no longer available). I am not going to reveal the name of the site for fear that it will suffer a similar fate, but seeing that it was low quality and buggy anyway, you’re really not missing out.

THE OPPONENT
I can sum up the Bears performance in one word, and amazingly enough, it was a word that was repeated (at last count) four times by the commentators:

Implosion.

THE DEFENSE
Much, much, much, much, much better. Specifically, I have to give serious credit to A.J. Hawk. Even last year when the defense was falling apart near the end, Hawk was still a solid, reliable wall of a man, and he looks to be continuing that streak into this season.

Of course, I can’t not mention the fact that Clay Matthews is looking more and more like the monster we loved back in the 2009-2010. In two games, he’s already tied his number of sacks for the entire last season. Keep it up, Matthews–give the fans what they love.

How to become an awesome defenseman in three simple moves.

THE OFFENSE
They are much, much better, but not, in my opinion, as improved as the defense. Although maybe that’s because they were rougher to begin with. Finley is still dropping a lot of passes, though it seems like they are catching on to the fact that he’s maybe not the most reliable receiver on the team. Other than that, their running game is getting stronger, and a lot of the old standbys like Nelson, Driver, and Jones are starting to get back into the swing of things.

In closing, I pretty much have to draw about the most unlikely, ridiculous and unbelievable play I’ve ever seen pulled off successfully on an actual, non-Hollywood football field. If you’re paying attention at all, you all know what I’m talking about: the fake field goal turned into a touchdown. That play never should have worked, and yet it did. And that’s what I love about Packer football: whether they are surprisingly awful or amazingly awesome, you really never know what they’re gonna do next.

Coming this Fall.

INJURIES
Though we didn’t see any injuries on the field, there are several players who are questionable for the next game, including our hero Tom Crabtree (though what a way to go, am I right?). Others questionables-of-note include Randall Cobb, Josh Sitton, Greg Jennings (who was out against the Bears already), and Jamari Lattimore, who is out with an ankle injury.

View the Packers full injury report here.

UP NEXT: Our first away game at the Seattle Seahawks (1-1), where the Packers do battle with team that wooed away second string giant Matt Flynn. Will we have a Rodgers-Flynn face-off that everyone’s been waiting for? And by everyone I mean me and maybe a few other people?

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

And, on an unrelated note: the Vikings beat the 49ers?! In what world does that happen? Come on!

Packers vs 49ers: Yay, We Lost!

Packers vs 49ers
Date: September 9th, 2012
At: Green Bay
Outcome: 30-22 49ers

This year, I’ve decided to try and do less typing and a lot more drawing. So without further delay, on with the show!

THE OPPONENT
What can I say? They played a great game. One of the best teams from last year + Randy Moss, they made it further in the playoffs than we did and I’m not surprised we lost, regardless of what the oddsmakers told us before the game.

Also–a record-tying field goal? Really? You can’t compete with that.

Akers’s reaction to his 63-yard field goal. As anyone who watched the game will tell you, I’m not exaggerating on this one.

However, while their footballin’ abilities are beyond reproach, I can absolutely mock the hell out of their coach. I mean Christ, I’m shocked he wasn’t wheeled out off the field in a straight jacket by the end of the first quarter. That guy needs to calm the F down before one of his neck muscles snaps.

Harbaugh after the first penalty. As with the previous drawing, you might think I’m exaggerating for comedic effect. Trust me…I’m not.

THE DEFENSE
Better than last year, but still not good enough. Their red zone coverage is still strong, but until you break up your opponents’ passing games, you’ll keep giving up field goals, or worse. And when you can’t count on the offense to make the big plays, even field goals will be enough to kill you.

That being said, I was happy to see Matthews back in fighting form, with 2 sacks and one assist. However, I did notice that he seemed to be going for Smith’s feet more than anything else…

New Strategy, Capers?

THE OFFENSE
Ugh….where to begin?!

No, no, I promised to keep it brief and I will. Here’s what I see: when they are under pressure, they click. They move the ball down the field and they put themselves in a position to score. When they’re not under pressure, Rodgers hesitates, second guesses, waits for God-knows-what, and gives the defense a chance to either cover all his receivers or drag him down kicking and screaming. Why do you think he ran so much? Because he didn’t leave himself any other choice.

What they need to do is play every down like it might be their last. It’s the only way they will ever move forward. Otherwise every drive will either take a hundred years or it will be shut down before it starts.

The Packers first scoring drive. Time of possession: 800 hours.

Of course, their insane amount of penalties and backwards motion didn’t help their progress either, nor did their complete lack of a running game. Where the hell is Starks? That’s what I kept asking.

Still, there were some good things about this game despite the loss. Nelson is still the best man to have around in a pinch, it’s nice to see Cobb getting some more offensive field time, and even Finley seems to have mostly removed whatever demons were in possession of his hands at the end of last season. I wholeheartedly believe that, now that they’ve ruined their chances of a “perfect season” before they even had the chance to begin with, things are going to get better. The dream is over, guys, so all you have to worry about is the game at hand. Maybe now we’ll actually start winning again.

INJURIES
None during the game, though I do see that Desmond Bishop is on injured/reserve list (according to this roster). Anyone know what’s up with that?

UP NEXT: Cutler and the Bears (1-0) on that glorious nightmare that is Thursday night football, available exclusively on the NFL Network. Tune in next time to hear about how I manage to watch THAT game without selling out to the man or punching a rabid drunken fan at the local bar. It ought to be fun.

Film Annex #14: Eva Hoffman

Yes, okay…the Packers lost. I will be the first to admit this is a very, very, very, VERY sad way to begin the season. BUT…maybe, just MAYBE…it’s not the worst thing in the world for us at this stage?

More on that later in the week. But now, first things first. My latest article is up on Film Annex, covering an interview with Eva Hoffman, an employee of the Center f International and Intercultural Communication at the Technical University of Berlin. Watch her share her experience teaching in an Afghan school, hear her thoughts on the differences between German and Afghanistan students, and learn her perspective on Film Annex’s initiatives in Afghanistan. It’s worth a look.

See the full article here.

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!

It’s finally here. After months of waiting, it’s back. Football. Real, awesome, non-preseason football.

And of course you know what comes with football…

That’s right, it’s Stickmen Football. And this year, I’d like to open it up to contributors. If you like football and/or drawing things based on football, then I want to see it!

There are only a couple rules:

1) It has to be hand drawn, at least to start. Color is preferred, but black and white is acceptable.

2) It has to be based on something that happened in a recent football game. In the past I’ve only covered the week’s Packer game, but that doesn’t mean other games won’t be considered.

3) It has to be submitted the day after the game so I can get it on the site ASAP.

And…that’s it! So if you’ve got sweet stickmen skills, send your drawings to lifeoffthewire@gmail.com, along with the game you are covering and a description of the moment you are illustrating. You will be credited and you will retain all rights to your drawings.

Let the games begin!

We’re coming for you, San Francisco.

The Sure Sign of Fall

After a boring day at the office, I come home to find a much less boring day in someone else’s office.

No, I’m not talking about The Office. It’s way better than that. I’m talking about Parks and Recreation: Season 4, now available on Netflix. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try this show on for size, might I suggest…now? The first three seasons are solid mockumentary-style comedy, and I am willing bet that Season 4 is probably just as good. Maybe a little weaker, since that’s just how shows go as time passes, but I’m still looking forward to watching it.

Now just waiting for the newest season of 30 Rock to pop up and I will have the makings of a perfect Labor Day hangover salve.

Ron Swanson: Enough said.