There and Back Again

Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb of the Green Bay PackersYes that’s a Hobbit reference, but it’s relevant to the fact that the Green Bay Packers will head back to Seattle to face the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.

In case you forgot, the Packers faced the Seahawks in week one to open the 2014 season and lost 36-16. However, that was back in September, and it would be foolish to assume that either of these teams are the same as they were back then.

But first, I want to talk about how the Packers got this far by giving my thoughts on the game yesterday against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Packers won 26-21, but the one play that was on everyone’s mind after the game was over was the reversed call on Cowboys’ receiver Dez Bryant.

In my opinion, call me a homer if you want, it was the right call and a proper interpretation of the rule. Here’s why.

The first time I saw something like this was when Detroit Lions’ receiver Calvin Johnson made a potential game winning catch to beat the Chicago Bears a few years ago.

In the process of going to the ground, Johnson let the ball touch the ground while falling and ultimately, he lost control of the ball when the play was thought to be over. Under further review the referees in that game stated that Johnson did not complete the process of the catch after falling to the ground, and according to rule, the ball in incomplete.

Since the rule has been placed, the league has consistently looked for whether the ball moves with contact from the ground when a receiver catches the ball and proceeds to fall to the ground. This was the case for the Dez Bryant play.

I know people are saying that he took three steps and the extension was a football move, but here is the argument against those claims.

First, Packers defensive back Sam Shields did hit the ball on the play causing a delay in Bryant gaining possession on the ball. By the time Bryant secured the catch, he was already falling towards the ground. When he hit the ground, the ball moved, clearly indicating an incomplete ball.

Now about the extension. In order for it to classify as a football move, Bryant has to have full control of his body. Bryant’s momentum is taking him to the ground and he does not have control. Thus the extension is not classified as a football move.

I and everyone else knows that Bryant was trying to score on the play, but he should have secured the catch with two hands and should not have exposed the ball by trying to extend it toward the goal line. Doing so ended up hurting him.

I also don’t agree that this is some sort of egregious rule. It eliminates gray area and getting credit for a catch is simple. Get your hands under the ball and don’t let it move.

It’s funny. People complain every week about how all the rules favor the offense and that the game has become too easy for quarterbacks and receivers. Well what do we have here!? A rule that finally helps out the defense, and most of you are complaining. Hypocrisy at its best.

Also, Dallas fans shouldn’t be complaining because if my memory is correct, last week they were saying that one call doesn’t change the game.

Well, they were right. It doesn’t. The Cowboys had numerous opportunities that they botched in that game before and after the Dez Bryant play.

The Cowboys had a field goal blocked with under a minute left in the first half, and then the Packers went down the field and made a field goal. A six point swing in what turned out to be a five point game.

Julius Peppers of the Green Bay Packers and DeMarco Murry of the Dallas Cowboys Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray also fumbled away a potential touchdown when Packers linebacker Julius Peppers made a huge play (one that more people should be talking about) by coming from behind and stripping the ball.

The unfortunate part of it all, and what was lost in this controversy, is that it was a great game by hobbled Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers had a masterful second half after struggling in the first half, leading a 90 yard touchdown drive, an 80 yard touchdown drive, and a game ending four minute drive.

With about nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, Rodgers rolled out to his left and threw a laser to Packers tight end Richard Rodgers between two Cowboy defenders to take the lead. It was one of the greatest throws I’ve ever seen him make and Rodgers not winning the MVP this year would be the real injustice, not the reversed call.

Rookie wide receiver Davante Adams also came up big with 117 yards and a touchdown. After disappearing for the last couple of weeks, it was good to see Adams have an impact in one of the most important games of the season.

All of last week we had to hear numerous Ice Bowl references. Well this week all we’re going to hear about is the Fail Mary.

The Packers will have to prove that they can be just as if not more physical than Seattle. The defense is a lot better than it was in week one and are now playing their best football.

If Lacy can run the ball the way he has and if the O-Line can protect Rodgers the way they have, there is no doubt that the Packers will have a great chance to pull off the upset and earn a trip to the Super Bowl.