Finally.

Finally, finally, finally.

After this.

And this.

And this.

Aaaaaaand this.

Now…finally, blessedly, deservedly, this:

Packers vs. Vikings Game Highlights

As one writer for FOX Sports put it, the Packers, “finally exorcised Favre’s ghost after parting ways with the quarterback two seasons ago.”

As great as that felt, there were some other notable differences between this game and recent Packers games. Along them:

1. Protection

It was so refreshing to see Aaron Rodgers standing upright more often than not. He had a four-quarter, face-down reservation on the grass last year in the games against Minnesota (and nearly all other games), so it was great to see him vertical. (By the way – Chad Clifton, you’re a beast. Unbelievable job shutting Jared Allen down.)

2. Penalties

Or lack thereof. For once, the yellow flag was not a permanent fixture on the field. I did not have to hold my breath after every positive play, waiting to see if it would be called back on a penalty. If I had a mind for stats I’d look this up, but this has to be the first time in a significant number of games when the other team was actually penalized more than we were – and three times more, at that!

3. A Running Game

It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t going to break any records or resurrect our beleaguered backfield. But it existed! It existed in fine form, making use of anyone and everyone we have left standing.

4. WINNING IN THE FINAL MINUTES OF THE GAME!

Having it come down to the wire was not new at all, which I didn’t appreciate in the least. For the 3rd week in a row my sanity was suspended for most of the 4th quarter. But thankfully for any shreds of sanity that remain, overtime was not a necessity this week. Dark chocolate was a necessity, which is why I stocked up for just an occasion such as this.

Honestly, it wasn’t just that we beat Brett. Because it was more like we beat his shell, a remnant of what he once was. I didn’t enjoy seeing him get pummeled and limp off the field in apparent emotional and physical distress. There’s no joy in doing that to a player who is such an integral part of our organization’s history and legacy. But it does feel like a weight has finally been lifted.

It was a great win because that monkey has finally jumped off Packer Backers. It was great because any hard-fought divisional battle against a rival that ends in a win is a great one. But mostly it was a great win because our ransacked, decimated, downtrodden, injury-laden team rose to the occasion and played an exemplary game.

(Insert sigh of relief mixed with shouts of exaltation here.)

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