Reenter McIntyre. Mean, nasty and fiercely determined, McIntyre has given the Pack's linemen a harder edge. "I take no prisoners," says the 33-year-old McIntyre, who played in three Super Bowls for the 49ers. "I get them before they get me." The results with McIntyre in the lineup have been startling:
?The running game. In McIntyre's first game back, a 33-6 victory over the Bears in the Monday Night Monsoon on Oct. 31, the Packers rushed for a season-high 223 yards and four touchdowns. Since his return the team is averaging 115.8 yards on the ground per game.
?The passing game. With McIntyre in the lineup, the front five is cohesive, giving quarterback Brett Favre more time to find his second and third receivers. "When Guy was out, Brett was scrambling," says Packer offensive coordinator Sherman Lewis. "He never could set up. Now he doesn't have nervous feet."
In McIntyre's four games back, Favre has thrown nine touchdown passes and just two interceptions, while Green Bay has averaged 27 points per game.
So where does the 6-5 Pack go from here? "We have to commit to the running game down the stretch," says McIntyre, noting that two of the Packers' last three games are at home, where bad weather is often a factor. "We've got to do that to get into the playoffs."
Pass the Novocaine
Where doesn't Bennie Blades hurt?
"Some mornings I wake up and cry, it hurts so bad," says the Lion strong safety, who's third on the team in tackles, with 72. "I scream out, 'Why are you subjecting yourself to all this pain and agony?' "
Since the beginning of training camp, the 28-year-old Blades has been in constant need of a MASH unit. Trying to come back from a broken right ankle suffered in the fourth game of the '93 season, Blades was slowly working his way into shape when he pulled his right hamstring in late July. He hobbled through the first nine weeks of the season with his right ankle still sore. On Nov. 6, playing against the Packers on a mushy field at Milwaukee County Stadium, he sprained both ankles. As if that weren't enough, just before halftime he injured his right shoulder while tackling Packer running back Reggie Cobb.
"Every time I'd hit somebody, my arm would go numb," says Blades. "My arm was totally useless. [Packer receiver] Sterling Sharpe finally said, 'Man, why are you still in there? You're playing with one arm.' And I told him, 'I'm trying to get to the Pro Bowl.' "