I feel like putting as much effort into this blog as the Packers gave on Thanksgiving Day, but I think I’ve already got them beat.
I doubt many of us can remember watching a Packer game as one-sided, unless you recall the 70s. Where did this come from? Both teams came in desperate and hoping to begin a late season run to the division title. Granted, the Pack was still without Rodgers, but the return of Shields, Jolly, Perry and Barclay was supposed to infuse some energy into a team that had played a five quarter game just 3 1/2 days ago.
So much for that. The Packers were an embarrassment on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense. The three early takeaways were a breath of fresh air, but from that point on the air reeked like a football locker room. 561 yards. Are you kidding me? The Packers defense appears lost, unsure and a step slow. They need to address upgrades on all three levels, particularly at inside linebacker and safety.
Unlike Sunday, the offense was unprepared to bail out the defense on this day. The offensive line got beat up from the opening snap, helped in part by Josh Sitton’s inflammatory words that no doubt fired up the Lions’ imposing front four. They had Matt Flynn running for his life all day and Flynn couldn’t do anything. The line’s inability to provide any running lanes for Eddie Lacy didn’t help matters.
You often hear coaches, after a putrid performance, say ‘we’re going to burn the videotape and move on.’ Well, there’s no forgetting this one. There’s no moving on. The Lions put an exclamation point on a historically bad November that saw the Pack go 0-4-1 without their leader. If and when Aaron Rodgers comes back, he’ll need to do more than lead the offense. He’ll need to play tackle, D line, linebacker and safety. And if he could help out on special teams, that would be nice.
At 5-6-1, no one should be uttering the ‘p’ word. This team looks nothing like a playoff team right now. If they win their last four to finish at 9-6-1, they’ll still need the Lions to lose two of their last four (at Philly, home to the Ravens and Giants and at the Vikings). And if the stars align and the Packers somehow claim the division title, they’ll get to host a team like the 49ers, Saints or Panthers in the wildcard round. You like their chances against any of those teams, after watching the Packers play their last four or five games? Me either.
I don’t know about all of you, but my turkey still tasted good. I still had a wonderful day with my family, culminating with our traditional poker game. I have a lot to be thankful for and Thanksgiving Day provided an opportunity to reflect on that.
Putting the Packer game out of my head was easier than I thought. When you get thoroughly embarrassed it’s a little easier to do that. How the team responds over the final quarter of the season will provide a glimpse at the future. The future should be what we’re thinking about right now, because the 2013 season appears to be a lost one.