Twenty-two players

In yesterday's post, I gave Coach Mike McCarthy the credit he deserves as a play-caller and head coach. With his second trip to the NFC Championship this weekend, McCarthy has hit his stride, proving that his philosophy and system are a winner. It certainly helps when you are calling plays for a quarter-back like Ronnie Rodgers, as #12 is playing lights-out down the stretch. The two are sharing one brain that is seeing the defense a few seconds in the future, it seems, and how can you defend that chemistry? I re-watched the Divisional win last night, without the anticipation or mystery, and I was still getting the goosey-bumps watching Rodgers throw. That's some of the finest quarter-back play I've seen in my 180 years on this earth, dear readers, and that brings me to today's point:

McCarthy may have his team playing well, and his play-calling may have embarrassed the top-seeded Falcons last weekend, but when you play a familiar foe for the third time in a season, the out-come will be decided by the twenty-two players on the field.

As former Packers player Matt Bowen wrote this week about the high-stakes rivalry:
"It becomes less of a coaching battle. This game won't be Lovie Smith versus Mike McCarthy or Mike Martz versus Dom Capers. Instead, it comes down to the execution of the players. Jay Cutler, Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers and Lance Briggs versus the big names for the Packers: Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews, Tramon Williams, etc."
What's really true here is that every-one has waaay too much time on their hands, and that leads to over-thinking the situation. We want to talk about every moving part and possibility. In reality, Bowen is smart to think of this game in simple terms: Players making plays. Let's not get confused by formations and blitzing schemes, folks. The Packers and Bears know each other far better than any of us fanatics can ever imagine. There won't be many surprises on that field. And when Rodgers lines up and looks at Urlacher on first-and-ten, it will be the continuation of a long and storied rivalry, and they will battle their own shadows on a Sunday after-noon.

Take away all the distractions and ask your-self: Which player is seeing the field better? Which team is playing a few seconds in the future on the majority of snaps? Who will make the big mistake, who will make the big play?

Sure as the wind blows in Soldier Field, you know that answer, Packer fans. (And if any Bears fans are reading this, so do you, and I'm sure it makes you sick). So let's flip that coin and watch it unfold.

Until next time, then,