The Packers held off the Eagles in Philadelphia 27-20 for a very satisfying opening day victory, their first in the city of brotherly love in 48 years. Green Bay built a pair of 17 point leads in the second half as Aaron Rodgers threw touchdown passes to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, John Kuhn scored on a three yard run and Mason Crosby hit a pair of field goals including a franchise record breaking 56 yard boot to close the first half. But as it turned out, the worst thing the Packers could have done was to knock out the Eagles starting quarterback. When Kevin Kolb suffered a concussion on a Clay Matthews sack in the second quarter, Michael Vick, who ran a few wildcat snaps early, became the signal caller. Even though Vick was sacked three times, it should have been twice that many, as he continually escaped pressure and hurt the Packers with his legs. Vick carried the ball 11 times for a game high 103 yards and his passing wasn't bad either, completing 16 of 24 for 175 more including a 17 yard strike to Jeremy Maclin who turned rookie Sam Shields around in the 4th quarter, cutting the Packers lead to 27-17. After Rodgers threw his second interception of the night, a horribly overthrown ball picked off by Nate Allen, Vick lead the Eagles to the five, but on third and goal, with room to run to the end zone, Vick tried to thread a needle to DeSean Jackson and Nick Collins knocked the ball away. David Akers field goal cut the lead to a touchdown and the Packers couldn't run out the clock giving Vick one more shot. Facing 4th and 1 from Packers 42 at the two minute warning and without any timeouts, Matthews beat a block from the tight end to stuff Vick on a quarterback draw for no gain and the victory was preserved.
The offense sputtered early, gaining 14 yards on two series in the first quarter and only 12 yards on four posessions in the 4th, but in between, played better. Ryan Grant was just revving up with an 18 yard run when he twisted an ankle and was done for the game. Brandon Jackson finished up and gained 63 yards on 18 carries. Rodgers finished 19 of 31 for 188 yards with two scores and 2 picks, he had only 7 all last year, his passer rating a disappointing 73.1. The defense dressed only 4 linemen and were down to three in the first half when Justin Harrell suffered what appeared to be a serious, maybe season ending knee injury. The oft maligned special teams really came up big. Aside from Crosby's two field goals (49, 56), the cover units kept Jackson in check and Jordy Nelson delivered three huge kickoff returns, a long of 51 came right after the Eagles first touchdown cut the lead to 20-10 and helped set up Rodgers 32 yard TD to Jennings 4 plays later.
The last time Green Bay left Philly happy was a 49-0 spanking in 1962 and this one had to feel just as good, despite shaky play at times. The home opener is next Sunday against Buffalo at Lambeau.
Here's what the guys had to say in the locker room afterwards: