The Green Bay Packers made interim head coach Joe Philbin’s debut a happy one with a convincing 34-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Players, coaches, front office personnel, and especially Packers fans, are wearing broad smiles. I have even heard a few "The Pack is Back!," chants.
After the Falcons jumped to a 7-0 lead, the Packers scored 34 unanswered points to raise their record to 5-7-1. While hapless Atlanta fell to 4-9, the victory was a definite shot in the arm for Packer fans and players alike.
While the Packers are still mathematically in the hunt for a playoff spot, the odds are way too steep. However, it's a week to look forward, not back, although their next opponent - 'Da Bears on the road - provide a stern test, especially after defeating NFL powerhouse LA Rams, 15-6, late Sunday night.
The Bears are atop the NFC North with a 9-4 record and are a completely different team since losing to Green Bay in the season opener. The Packers are different, too. Different head coach, several different players because of injuries, and a different record (5-7-1) from what players and fans usually see at this time of year.
However, on Sunday the Packers looked energized on both sides of the ball. Players, especially linebacker Clay Matthews, showed they still belong in the NFL.
Without question, the Packers played their most complete game of the season. However, can they carry it on for the last three games?
It will be interesting to see which Packers' team shows up on Sunday.