12 key images of the Packers’ 24-22 win over the Browns
It doesn’t matter if Santa gave you the coolest toy on the shelves or some charcoal on Saturday morning, the Packers made sure everyone (except the Browns fans) had a Merry Christmas with a 24-22 victory over Cleveland, winning their fourth straight W. and getting closer and closer to locking the NFC seed.
Of course, in classic Green Bay fashion, they couldn’t make things warm and cozy for the fans. Instead, as has become tradition, the Packers made things even more tense than watching Grandpa climb a ladder and attempt to hang Christmas lights on the house, requiring a final interception (of who other than defensive MVP Rasul Douglas) to seal the victory. Again, it wasn’t exactly a confidence-building victory, but it was a victory. Best of all, in the process, the special teams department wasn’t horrible! A REAL CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
And you know what: maybe it was after all a confidence building! At this point, if the Packers find themselves in a tight playoff game, I know who was there before this season and who has pulled it off – over and over again.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, let’s pour ourselves a nightcap of holiday eggnog, snuggle up by the tree, and remember all the wonderful Packers moments and images this Christmas show had to offer – 12 of them. them, to be exact, in honor of Christmas days as well as a certain outstanding quarterback now atop the Green Bay record books.
They may have had to work over Christmas, but many Packers players came in with the festive spirit, decked out in their finery. You can call them ugly Christmas sweaters (I mean, is that … a dinosaur on the one in the upper right corner?) But as always, winning makes everything beautiful.
Marcedes Lewis sees your Grinch Christmas sweater and lifts you up …
Sadly, Lewis hasn’t been able to wear these amazing studs because no one is a bigger Grinch when it comes to having fun than the NFL. But maybe Lewis was happy with that because all Grinch shoes suitably come in two sizes too small.
– NFL (@NFL) December 25, 2021
Green Bay picked up another victory, with the defense certainly partly to thank – but that sure doesn’t mean they still don’t have work to do heading into the playoffs. In Saturday’s case, their running defense was embarrassingly exposed, leaving Nick Chubb to run wild for 126 yards and one touchdown plus 58 yards in the air. And when Chubb wasn’t plowing the defense like an open one-horse sled, D’Ernest Johnson was also successful with 58 yards on just four carries. They got through this game – but you probably won’t play awkward teams like the Browns in the playoffs.
It’s been a, uh, polarizing year for Aaron Rodgers, but on Saturday it was all smiles and good humor at Lambeau – and not just because it was Christmas. With that pass and Allen Lazard’s impressive run-after-the-catch, the reigning MVP (and current multiple contender) is now alone atop the Green Bay pass record book, edging out Brett. Favre with his 443rd score as a packer. Rodgers would then add two more, just to make his place at the top of official SUPER’s and bolster the argument that he’s Green Bay’s all-time best quarterback.
And to think he wanted to leave – and some Packers fans did. 2021: a bizarre, unpredictable year!
Never take it for granted that the Packers went from one Hall of Fame quarterback to another Hall of Fame quarterback with virtually no intermission in between. Not all teams are so lucky – take, for example, the Cleveland Browns.
While a quarterback had an unforgettable Christmas, his opponent on the other side certainly had one to forget. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had a blue Christmas on Saturday, being sacked five times while throwing almost as many interceptions (four). A tough day at the office indeed – but at least his progressive TV commercials are funny. He’s got that for him!
It’s pretty crazy that the Packers have an incredible quarterback MVP as well as one of the top five wide receivers in the game – and yet he’s a guy on the defensive practice squad who wasn’t even in the Green Bay system at the start of the season who could be the real most valuable player on the team. Taking over as things looked dire after Jaire Alexander’s injury, Rasul Douglas kept Green Bay’s defense together – and literally kept a few games in the win column for the Packers on his own, scoring key interceptions like both Saturdays. If Alexander can still come back this season and the Packers can cover him and Douglas AND Stokes, we could have the most powerful defense in the league just in time for the most important time of the year.
Aaron Rodgers rightly got all the attention on Saturday afternoon (and all this season, for that matter), but let’s not forget the man who has received so, so, so much of his passes and touchdowns: Davante Adams , who once again had an incredible game, collecting not one but two TDs with 114 yards. He’s been Rodgers’ star threat and emergency escape valve for years now, and the quarterback wouldn’t be far from his winning records – let alone Super Bowls – without him. Hopefully they know that too and stay together after this season – preferably in green and gold, of course.
One of these days, the Packers’ defense won’t be saved by a last-second defensive stance – but luckily, Christmas wasn’t that day. Things looked tense with just a two-point lead in the dying minutes and the Browns behind the wheel… but Mayfield then threw his fourth and most fatal interception of the day. Was there perhaps illegal contact on Rasul Douglas’ play? May be. Are the Packers going to get their butt bitten during one of those games where they do not keep the boot on the neck? Probably. I don’t care because we won and it was Christmas? ABSO-FA-LA-LA-LA-LUTÉLY!
Of course, Aaron Rodgers is the focal point of this post-game pic – but we have to talk about Santa: Freelance Sports Videographer. The guy delivered gifts all over the world the day before and always showed up for work on the sidelines on Saturday afternoon. It’s so admirable, I’m finally going to forgive him for never buying me an N64 all those years ago.
Enjoy this clip of Rashan Gary doing a little victory dance and let his joy fuel you throughout the final week of 2021. We’ll see you in 2022, Green Bay Packers – hopefully through February 13th.