By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 26, 2013 at 5:09 AM

There were a lot of reactions after the Green Bay Packers rallied to tie the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The overwhelming reaction was kind of "blah."

We didn’t lose but we didn’t win, either. Players and fans and coaches took some solace in the fourth-quarter comeback but nobody went overboard about anything. That’s kind of what a tie does to you.

I, humbly, would suggest a slightly more concerned response might well have been appropriate.

Something along these lines:


There are probably no more optimistic fans anywhere in professional sports. The "We’ll be better next week/month/year/decade" is a disease that runs rampant through Packerdom.

The performance of this team without Aaron Rodgers points out a couple of things.

Number one is that the NFL has succeeded in making the game all about the quarterback. Between rules changes and practices it has now come down to you either have a great quarterback or you go home. I find that whole premise ridiculous.

But more than that is the point that this football team really doesn’t have a whole lot going for it now, with or without Rodgers.

The thing that has me scared almost beyond recovery is how lousy this defense is.

(Side note: As for B.J. Raji being in a contract year and thinking about paying him millions of dollars, take your wallet and go home. Two years ago he was in the Pro Bowl and his dog performance was almost solely responsible for talk about how to improve the Hawaiian junket, or whether to just dump it in the ocean. Raji had one tackle against the Vikings. One. Tackle.)

The defense was shredded. Everybody expects Adrian Peterson, who gained 146 yards, to get his due. He averaged 4.6 yards a carry. But his backup, Toby Gerhart, rushed for 91 yards and had an average gain of 11.4 yards a try.

Christian Ponder, a decidedly middle-of-the-road quarterback, shred them for 233 yards and a passer rating of 103.9 for one of the top five quarterback performances Sunday.

If you watched the game on television, as almost all of us do, we can’t help but notice those occasional shots of defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Maybe it’s the angle of the shot or something, but I swear he has a befuddled look on his face.

There is, as far as I can see, only one good thing that came out of the tie. If the Packers win their remaining five games they will win the NFC North, even if the Bears win all of their games: 10-5-1 beats 10-6.

But the idea of winning their remaining games seems, at best, a slightly forlorn hope.

They play Detroit on Thanksgiving in the Motor City. The Lions need the win at least as much as the Packers do, if not more.

Then the Packers play Atlanta at home, at Dallas, Pittsburgh at home and at Chicago. Only Atlanta seems like an odds-on win, but after last Sunday, who knows. Pittsburgh, Dallas and Chicago are all in the playoff hunt so nobody is going to lay down for Green Bay.

I know this is the season when we are supposed to be thankful for stuff. And I want to play, too.

I’m thankful this season is almost over and we can all get on with fixing things for next year.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.