Skip to main content

Packers' Approach Paying Big Dividends


It doesn't seem all that long ago that many considered the Packers' season all but over. With a 1-4 record after the first five games, it was only natural to feel that way.

Fortunately, the Packers never bought into that theory.

Sunday's 34-31 victory over the Vikings marked the fourth straight win for the Packers and although a 5-4 record may not seem like a great accomplishment, it does say a great deal about the changed state of the Green Bay Packers.

After all, it was only a month ago when the Packers were coming off an unfathomable start to the season. They lost three games at Lambeau Field and the preseason Super Bowl aspirations were beginning to look bleak at best.

To make matters worse, the Vikings were off to a fast start and the Super Bowl talk went out the window. After the losses, players commented that they just needed to play one game at a time and remain positive.

Slowly but surely the Packers followed that formula. They blew out the Lions and Cowboys and then hung on to beat the Redskins. Suddenly, the team was in the division hunt once again with only the Vikings standing in the way.

The Packers and Vikings added another chapter to their storied rivalry on Sunday, and for the Packers it was one that should give them at least a little satisfaction. Although it is just one win and the season is far from over, the outlook for the Green and Gold these days certainly is better than it was just a little over a month ago.

However, to the team's credit, their philosophy hasn't changed. You'd be hard-pressed to find a single player in the locker room who didn't stress the importance of keeping the one game at a time theory.

"Any given Sunday, everybody's got a chance," William Henderson said. "That's the reality of the game. We know that we have to continue fighting.

"We finally got ourselves over that .500 hump, but there's a lot of football left to play. We have to take one game at a time. Each Sunday we just have to play our best 60 minutes of football to win."

According to Brett Favre, the Packers key to playing their best football has been learning from the mistakes they made in the early stages of the season.

"What we did tonight is what we didn't do in the four game stretch that we lost," Favre said. "And that's mental mistakes, turnovers, costly penalties, lack of big plays, and not making plays when the opportunity presented itself.

"In these last four games, we've been able to do that. Washington may have been the exception because we turned the ball over, but we played well in that game as well."

Still, Favre insisted that this isn't a time for the Packers to feel too good about themselves.

"What we've done the last four weeks has been great, but if we play the way we did during the four game stretch we lost we'll be out of it that quickly," Favre explained. "We can't afford to give any games away now. 5-4 is great, considering we were 1-4 at one point, but I just don't want our guys to get too overconfident. There's no reason to be.

"We should feel great about where we are, but you can never be satisfied in this league and there's a lot left in front of us. We have to build upon what we've done."

What the Packers did Sunday was pull out a gut-wrenching victory over a division foe, but Favre even admitted that things were looking shaky after the Vikings battled back from a 14-point deficit and tied the game.

"When 'Ferg' (Robert Ferguson) broke it and was right in front of our bench, I just had a bad feeling," Favre said. "He kind of got open and his arms were kind of swaying. It seemed like the game was gradually slipping out of our hands and going into their grasp. When we broke it right there I said 'oh boy,' which you would think I'd say great, but until he got on the ground, I was not satisfied."

It turns out Favre and his teammates had nothing to worry about Sunday as they eventually pulled out the victory on a Ryan Longwell field goal. According to Javon Walker, the Packers' confidence remained strong not only Sunday, but also throughout the losing stretch.

"At the beginning of the season a lot of people we're counting us out, but we knew we could do it," Walker said. "We knew if we were where we wanted to be at the bye week taking one day at a time, we could do this and it was a great feeling today pulling it out.

Favre echoed the sentiments of his star wide receiver.

"Five weeks ago, we maybe would have gotten blown out, I don't know," Favre said. "If we play the remainder of the season that way we have a chance. I had confidence in my team way back then and I still have confidence. The way we battled back to this point has been good.

"It's nice to win a game and I was just overwhelmed with excitement and joy as I came off the field. Had you watched me walk off it may have looked like I was doing back flips because deep inside the rest of our guys feel the same way."

Where the Packers sit now is leaps and bounds from where they were after consecutive losses at home in weeks four and five.

"We've gotten to the point where I don't think many people thought we would be several weeks back," Favre said. "It's what we've had to do to at least get back to respectability.

"At 1-4 it's a much different feeling than what we have tonight. If you would have taken a poll on who would have thought after this game we would be tied for first place, not too many people would have voted in our favor. From that standpoint, it's nice to be here."

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman praised his players for keeping a positive outlook, even when it seemed many others outside of the organization weren't.

"We still have a lot of football left to play, but at this point, to be able to win four in a row after losing four, speaks volumes of the men in the locker room, the character they have and how they handled adversity," Sherman said. "It's all about guys staying in the boat and not jumping ship, not pointing fingers, being accountable and fixing things.

"Everybody - myself included - is accountable. We try to fix things when they are not working right and our players and coaches have done a tremendous job of pulling this thing together. We have a big game to get ready for next week so we still have a long way to go."

The Packers may have a long way to go, but it's hard to believe that road can be any more challenging than the one they have already traveled to the top of the division.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content