The Green Bay Packers have started to show the home field dominance that they have been known for over the years. They've grown accustomed to winning when the temperature is below freezing, and Monday night proved to be no exception.
Brett Favre improved his regular season record to a perfect 30-0 at Lambeau Field when the temperature is below 34°.
Going into this game, the Packers knew they had to keep pace with all the other teams in the NFC, which is pretty much wide open at this point.
Getting to the game action, I thought Najeh Davenport did a great job filling in for Ahman Green. He proved that he can carry the load and think about this - he wasn't really healthy himself since he was coming off of a couple of hamstring injuries himself.
If you think about trying to tackle about 240 pounds of steel in about 25° weather, that's something that no one wants to do and what the Rams didn't want to do Monday. Once Najeh got into the secondary, he showed a lot of power.
Looking back to last season's game against St. Louis, Najeh broke a long run in that game too, so there must be something about playing against the Rams that brings out the best in Najeh Davenport.
I understand that people like to say that the Denver Broncos have the best offensive line in the league because regardless of who the back is, they always produce rushing yards. I think that you now have to look at Larry Beightol's scheme and the guys that he has blocking on that line.
He has proven that regardless of who the back is that's in the game, his blockers are going to open up holes for the runner to run through. Obviously it works well when you have an All-Pro like Ahman Green, but Najeh Davenport showed that the line gets it done no matter who is running behind them.
Mike Wahle is big and very athletic and he does a lot of good pulling. Marco Rivera is the same and the tackles, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, are two of the best in the league. Grey Ruegamer has done a good job filling in for Mike Flanagan and I think this Green Bay Packers offensive line is the best in the NFL. They don't give up sacks, and like I said, they're giving the running backs holes to run through and make plays.
I know a lot of the hoopla going into this game was surrounding Brett Favre's 200th game. I think he was a little bit embarrassed by it since he's just doing something he loves to do, but at the same time, it was very impressive to watch his performance on such a large stage and have a good game, throwing three touchdown passes.
The Green Bay offense is showing now that they are going to be very aggressive. If they need to get into a shootout, they're going to do just that and come away with the win. If they want to establish the run and grind out a win on the ground, they can do that as well. I like the versatility that this offense is showing right now.
Donald Driver is starting to get back to his Pro Bowl form. This guy made a one-handed catch that's going to be on all of the season's highlight reels at the end of the year. He's running some very good routes and took advantage of all the double-coverage that Javon Walker was drawing.
Walker didn't have a huge game because of all the attention the Rams were giving him, but he still managed to get into the end zone for the ninth time this season. Robert Ferguson played a complete game to give the Packers three receivers with good nights. He blocked well on running plays and ran some good routes and showed good hands with his catches.
Defensively, I know you probably have concerns since the Rams were able to put up a lot of yards through the air, but the defense made plays when they needed to and even scored points of their own.
They started the game off with the two rookies making a great combination play. Joey Thomas causes a fumble and Ahmad Carroll picking it up and showing speed to outrun three guys who had angles on him and get into the end zone really set the tone for the night.
Carroll played one of his best games yet. Even though Isaac Bruce put up a lot of numbers, it was one of those bend but don't break nights for the Packers defense. Carroll's interception was one of the biggest plays of the night. If he didn't make that play and the Rams went in to score there, it would have been a four-point game, but the Packers made the plays they had to make.
I think you have to give the defense credit for not panicking when Marshall Faulk scored that fourth-quarter touchdown to get the Rams back in the game. They got together on the sidelines with the coaches, made their corrections, and played great the rest of the night.
Al Harris continues to line up on the opponent's best receiver and did a good job on Torry Holt this week. He pretty much took him out of the game by Holt's standards, and that's what it's going to take, especially this week going up against the Philadelphia Eagles and Terrell Owens.
I've been getting a lot of e-mails from concerned fans saying that the Packers have a lot of problems since they gave up over 400 yards, but I've told you this - don't worry about the stats. That's the way the Packers are going to win this year.
It may not look pretty on the stat sheet and it may not be textbook, but they're going to win a lot of games, which is the most important thing.
All in all, I have to give Coach Sherman a lot of credit for getting his guys ready for each week's game. You have to think about this - starting out 1-4 and going from worst to first in a span of six games.
To be where they are after where they started, that says a lot about the Green Bay coaching staff and a lot about Coach Sherman's coaching style.
*LeRoy Butler played 12 seasons for the Green Bay Packers, helping them to two Super Bowls and earning NFL All-Decade Honors for the 1990s, before retiring in July 2002. This season Butler is again providing exclusive analysis to Packers.com beginning with training camp and later with a breakdown of the upcoming game on Saturdays, followed by a column and Q&A session on Tuesdays during the preseason and regular season.
Butler's autobiography, 'The LeRoy Butler Story ... From Wheelchair to the Lambeau Leap,' is available on his website, leroybutler36.com.*
LeRoy serves as the host on the new DVD, 'Brett Favre - On and Off the Field'. Click here for more information on the DVD.