John Madden
John Madden
Time did tell for GB
By John Madden
ALLMADDEN.com

Green Bay 45, St. Louis 17
The last time Monday Night Football had seen the Green Bay Packers before Monday night was Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans. They came out of that game 1-4 and didn't look anything like a playoff team. But that was the fifth week of the season and I always say the way football is today with free agency, you can't jump to conclusions too early in the season because it takes teams longer to develop. And as the season goes along those teams that have a pretty good base are going to develop.

The Packers to me are a prime example of that. As I said they come out of the game against the Titans 1-4 and they played like a 1-4 team and it took them a while to get things together . . . They did and have since won six games in row. A lot of things have happened in that six-game streak but the one thing that was always there was Brett Favre. You just knew as long as he was there they couldn't continue to play that poorly. When you give a Brett Favre weapons like Donald Driver, Javon Walker, Najeh Davenport, Bubba Franks and Ahman Green -- although he did not play on Monday night -- you just know eventually he is going to get that thing turned around.

This time of year there are two things you have to be able to do: Run the ball and stop the run. If you look at Monday night's game, Green Bay with Davenport was able to run the ball. Once you give Favre that, then he is going to make everything else come, and he is not going to take sacks. With that combination they were able to run play-action and move Favre around that makes this team dangerous.

Brett Favre started his 200th consecutive game on Monday night and through that you have to play with a lot of injuries. No one can play that many games and not play injured many times. But to not miss a game and play at a high enough level to win 132 of those games is an amazing thing! The key has always been to not only play hurt but also to play well when you're hurt and Brett Favre has been able to do that.

The other things for the Packers was they were able to stop the run. Having Grady Jackson in the lineup gives them that big body in the middle that is able to stuff the run. What that forces the offense to do is put two guys on him and as a result of that a linebacker comes free and is able to flow to the ball and make plays. With the speed of the linebackers for the Packers, Na'il Diggs and Nick Barnett, they were able to stop the run and that disrupted the flow for the St. Louis Rams. The Packers are also starting a rookie at the left cornerback spot, Ahmad Carroll, and at some point during the season that rookie is no longer a rookie. I think the first part of the season Carroll -- their first-round draft pick -- and Joey Thomas -- their third-round pick -- really looked like rookies but now that the season has gotten to the 12th week, you can really see them beginning to show improvement.

If you were to put an arrow beside each team at this point in the season you would have to put an arrow pointing up next to the Packers, although they do face a tough test next week against the Philadelphia Eagles. If they are able to get Ahman Green back that will be a big deal for them because you can run against the Eagles.

One word I would use to describe the St. Louis Rams is inconsistent. You could kind of see that in their record at 5-5. They haven't been able to get to a position where they can stay and play at a consistent level. If you ask why is that? Part of it is that they can't run the ball or they won't run the ball and the other part is they can't stop the run. Where the Packers were able to run the ball and stop the run and that opened up anything and everything, the Rams were just the opposite then it all falls on Marc Bulger's shoulders so he has to make plays, be perfect, hold the ball and wait for his receivers to get deep. Those things all depend on the offensive line giving good protection and that is something they are not very good at.

On the other side of the ball they weren't able to stop the run, if you can stop the run then that opens up other things like being able to play your nickle and dime packages that can stop the pass plays. When you can't stop the run then you have to play both the run and the pass and you can't play either very well. Along with that they just didn't do the little things to help themselves out, like special teams, or creating turnovers, they only had 10 turnovers coming into the game on Monday night compared to 31 after 10 games last season, and last Monday night they didn't tackle well either.

There are so many things there that get the Rams to a 5-6 record and they all fall under the heading, inconsistency! If they are going to be in the playoffs and in their division it looks like either the Rams or the Seattle Seahawks will be, the road they are going down, neither one of these teams will be able to make any noise when they get there.

You can hear me with Adam Schein on Sirius NFL Radio on Friday and Monday afternoons on "Afternoon Blitz" and Sunday mornings on the "Sirius NFL Tailgate Show."


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