OK, let’s start with the good news. It was a beautiful day. The punter played pretty well; so did Jake Ryan with a team high 12 tackles. The Packers are still just a game out of first place. Gee, wasn’t that squirrel cute? Well that about wraps it up.
Wow, what a stinker. If you listened to my show, you know I was supremely confident leading into this one. After all, the Packers had showed a lot of heart in Atlanta and were returning home for the only time this month to play a lost 3-5 team that has just been embarrassed 30-14 on their home field the previous week.
We heard about how determined the Colts were to turn it around–that they viewed the game as if their season was on the line. And the played that way from the very first play, when they set the tone with a 99 yard kick return to take an instant 7-0 lead. After the game, Rodgers bemoaned the team’s lack of energy, its lack of toughness. I’ll never understand how a team can lack energy when they play once a week. That’s on the players and the coaches. This is one of the youngest teams in the league, brimming with players in their first few years in the league. How do they come out on their home field with no energy? Unacceptable.
We know Andrew Luck is a top five quarterback talent, but we also know he’s working behind a makeshift offensive line. Yet with the game on the line and the Packers desperately trying to claw back from an 18 point fourth quarter deficit (think about that for a second, down by 18 at home to the Colts), Luck’s line did enough to allow him to convert two crucial third downs that extinguished the Pack’s hopes.
For me, the lack of offensive execution all afternoon was just as troubling. Facing the NFL’s 30th ranked defense, the Packers couldn’t get anything going. The running game continues to be just a rumor and the passing game remains out of sync, with Rodgers desperately seeking open receivers, but coming up empty. I’m still baffled why they continue to look downfield for big plays, eschewing screens, slants and other quick hitting plays that take advantage of YAC guys like Cobb and Montgomery.
Speaking of Randall Cobb, Rodgers said after the game he wasn’t really sure what Cobb’s status was during the game. How does that happen? Cobb was questionable with the hamstring and was a surprise active player. Yet we didn’t even notice him out there until the late touchdown when the Pack was in desperation mode.
I’m getting lots of comments on my Twitter feed calling for the Packers to make wholesale changes from the top down. We can revisit where this organization stands after the season. It’s true that not a lot of coaches last more than ten years with one team and McCarthy has passed that mark.
For now, the seven year playoff streak is in jeopardy. At 4-4 and looking nothing like legit Super Bowl contender, the Packers hit the road for three straight games that will define what kind of team they are. They head to Tennessee first to face a team that plays hard-nosed, tough football and runs it down your throat. Then two prime time games against playoff hopefuls Washington and Philadelphia. If the Packers can’t turn things around and win at least two of those games, it could be curtains on the 2016 season.
Green Bay took the field knowing a win would give them a share of first place in the North. They exited the field knowing their season was spinning off the rails. The crowd was more excited about a squirrel on the field than anything the Packers accomplished.
Right now, I have Jim Mora’s voice rattling around in my head. Playoffs? Playoffs? Only the putrid state of the NFC North gives the Pack hopes of reaching the playoffs. After Sunday’s embarrassing effort, the playoffs is the last thing anyone should be thinking about right now.