No matter if you celebrate it or not, if you’re a Cheesehead, Christmas Day was fantastic. The Green Bay Packers walked into Miami on Christmas Day and pulled off a win over the Miami Dolphins. I don’t know whether it was magic borrowed from Santa Clause or perhaps Frosty the Snowman, but the Packers Week 16 victory is keeping playoff hopes alive.
The game didn’t exactly start out the prettiest. It was big play after big play for Miami’s high-flying offensive attack. In my own fantasy football league, I’m the lucky holder of both Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa and was facing a tough decision of which to start this weekend in the Conference Championship. Let’s be honest, this Packers Defense didn’t give me all that much confidence at first to shut down Tua. But I decided that I just couldn’t start a QB facing my Packers. At first, I began to cringe wondering if I chose wrong. But choosing to trust my Packers paid off in the long run as Tua only scored 12 fantasy points to Joe Burrow’s 29, and I’m well on my way to the Fantasy Football Super Bowl.
Fantasy Football victories aside, this game was an example of the team coming together when it needed to and showing what they truly are capable of.
It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve done this column with the Bye week and the Monday night game. I’m glad to bring back to you, the Packers Week 16 edition of Toasts and Roasts.
In a big game, who better to come in clutch and lead the way, but the Big Dawg himself. Normally used as a blocking Tight End, the veteran Lewis showed up on the Receiving stat sheet this week with 2 catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. While that might not seem that flashy to you, Lewis’ two catches were huge moments in the game. The first 1-yard TD catch was on fourth and goal where the defense seemed to just let him walk past them. The second was a big 31-yard contested catch in the third quarter. This squad loves their Big Dawg, so when he’s making those types of catches, you know the rest of the team’s energy level jumps.
This week I’m choosing some Holiday beers for this column and I’m toasting Marcedes Lewis with Shiner Holiday Cheer from Spoetzl Brewery. This beer is a holiday staple for me. An ale brewed with peaches and pecans, with a bit of a caramel finish, Shiner Cheer just tastes like Christmas to me. It might not be the best or most talked about Holiday beer, but it’s that one reliable Christmas tradition that always brings a smile to my face.
Marcedes Lewis and Shiner Holiday Cheer just makes sense. Lewis is that reliable favorite that everyone likes to see have success. Hopefully the Big Dawg can take advantage of being an after-thought to defenses and help fuel our way to the playoffs.
I’m sure you tilted your head a little bit at this toast but wait till you hear this story about the Packers Defensive Backs Coach. I scrolled across a tweet from Kassidy Hill (@KassidyGHill) where she commented that Jerry Gray cursed out the Packers secondary at Halftime, and that really woke them up. What upset Gray the most, was how avoidable the big plays from Miami’s offense were. Rasul Douglas stated that Gray cursed them out bad. This brought a wake-up call to the Packers defense as they began doing their job as designed and shut down the Miami offense in the second half. As well as intercepted Tua Tagovailoa three times.
Jerry Gray, thanks for cussing out the secondary, I’m toasting you with a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel-Aged Peppermint Porter from Lexington Brewery. This beer is a delicious concoction of the famous Bourbon Barrel beers with Chocolate and Peppermint. The taste is obviously a holiday favorite, and then it smacks you in the face with the bourbon finish to insure you’re paying attention.
Jerry Gray gets this beer because he definitely gave the Packers secondary the smack in the face they needed. In a way, you could say Jerry Gray cussing out the Packers secondary saved Christmas.
The Fake Punt
The only roast I have this week is the fake punt called late in the first half. The direct snap to Dallin Leavitt saw him basically run straight into the pile in the middle of the field for no gain. Now I’m not calling the call of the fake punt bad, because if they convert, suddenly it’s genius. I’m calling the execution bad. Sure, this might have been as designed to go straight up the middle, but it seemed to be stuffed right from the start. Poor blocking obviously killed it, but I also can’t help but think, if you’re Dallin Leavitt and you see no space, why not try to bounce it outside? It was just a poorly executed fake punt. Luckily, it didn’t cost us the game.
This fake punt is receiving the roast of Jubelale by Deschutes Brewery. Now this beer isn’t necessarily bad. But it’s labeled as a Festive Winter Ale full of spice notes and a malt character of toffee and dusted cocoa. But where is all of that? The beer actually just can of tastes like a dark ale, and that’s it. The festive winter spice seems to be MIA in this beer. It’s just poorly executed.
You guessed it, Jubelale and the fake punt are matched up for their poor execution. If a little more effort was put into this beer, it could be a great winter ale. Just like with a little more effort, that fake punt may have been successful, and we’d maybe have it listed in the Toasts category, instead of the Roasts.
In the End
After all is said and done, the Packers playoff hopes are still alive. We now set our sights on what we hope to be a cold New Year’s Day game vs the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings may have the Division wrapped up this season, but it would be great to start 2023 getting a measure of revenge for the Season Opener to keep our playoff push going. Go Pack Go.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.