Packers XLV

Post Season? Feels More Like "Toast" Season

Posted November 25th, 2013 @ 03:11am

Not sure where to begin with this one. This was a day where the Packers, a team desperate for a win, needed to stand tall and make a statement. They needed to dispose of the 2-8 mess that is the Vikings and begin a late season push toward the playoffs. Instead we got a wildly uneven effort, punctuated by atrocious run defense and an inability by the secondary to turn over Christian Ponder.

Now, f the Packers want to get to the magical ten win mark, they have to win out. It's that simple. With a golden chance to move into a tie for the division lead as they Lions and Bears imploded, the Packers were in position to do just that. When Matt Flynn entered the game midway through the third quarter it was as if he never left. He immediately found a rhythm with the offense and got the Packers back into the game.

I was shocked by Scott Tolzien's ineffectiveness. I thought he was ready to break through and put together a solid performance. But after a nice first quarter drive, punctuated by his touchdown gallop, he was completely lost. Inaccurate passes, some bad decisions and a couple of drops by his receivers thrown in for good measure. Barring injury, we won't see him again this season.

The QBs got plenty of assistance from the running game. Once again, Eddie Lacy was a bright spot on a frustrating day, finishing with 110 on the ground and 158 overall. The Pack rushed for 196 for the day, at an average of 5.8 per carry. Pretty good numbers. But the Vikings were even better, with 232 on the ground. The absence of Johnny Jolly was felt. AP's brilliance I can understand. He's the MVP. But when you let Toby Gerhart gash you for 11 yards per carry, yes, 11 yards per carry, you have no reason to hang your heads and wonder why you didn't win. Eight carries for 91 yards. They couldn't tackle him. At Lambeau, in a game they had to have. Inexcusable.

You look back and think about a couple of McCarthy decisions. Down 23-7, the Packers score early in the fourth quarter. Do you kick or go for two? I wasn't second guessing the decision at the time, but that extra point would've looked awfully good at the end of regulation. More and more I'm starting to think you don't chase the two points until the final six or seven minutes of the game.

Then there's the third down call near the goal line in overtime. Yes, Lacy was stopped on second down, but I was calling for another try for the hard running rookie, who gave everything he had on this day and proved very difficult to bring down all day long. Instead, McCarthy called the fade, a touch pass thrown by a guy who hasn't practiced much and certainly hasn't worked much on that play with these receivers. If you want to throw it, why not try play action and roll Flynn to his right where he could have a few options at his disposal. It forced a field goal, giving the Vikings life. You knew the Packers weren't going to stop them. And they didn't.

At 5-5-1, the playoffs still feel like a long shot, despite being just 1/2 game out of the North lead. Does this feel like a team ready to win its last five? I don't think so either. The playoffs don't begin in Detroit on Thursday. But for all intents and purposes the Pack can't afford another loss. If they're without Shields and Jolly again on Thursday the defense will be stressed to keep up with the Lions. And if Rodgers is still in street clothes, the Pack will be major underdogs.

My hunch is Rodgers doesn't play on Thursday. With or without him, they need to look like an entirely different team on Thanksgiving Day if they have any hopes of qualifying for the post season. Right now it's feeling more and more like a 'toast' season.

 

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Comments (7):

Pack still controls their own destiny. Win out and the are NFC North Champs. Given everything that has happened, that is not a bad place to be.

on November 24th, 2013 at 10:37pm

Before I get to my two main points I have a question for all of you? The question is: Who leads the NFL in dropped passes ?? Hint: It is not Finley!! Answer: The Packer defenders....Thru Sunday they have at least 28 drops that could have resulted in InT. Devon House's drop which I could have caught with a New Glarus Holy Cow in one hand and Claymaker's club on my other hand was crucial. Pack was ahead 7-3 and House had a clear field to the end zone which would have made it 14-3 and Ponder would have folded. But....this was a perfect sample of the season....which brings me to my point One...Pack is last in the league in takeaways ...not having an INT by a safety is behond ludicrous. Back in our last Super Bowl season we had four playmakers on defense: Ragi, Claymaker, Woodson, and Collins and we were number one in takeaways. We have one playmaker on defense now...Claymaker and he has only played about half a season. TT needs to adress this in the draft. Playing Richardson who was just activated for this game and who has not played 15 snaps in his career shows how much Jennings and Mcmillan have failed. With no takeaways the defense is exposed. Second point: We are also last in the league in return yardage on kick returns...both kickoff and punts even with Mikah Hydes 93 yard return in the first Pack game. If you consider you get about 10 chances a game to return a kick....I know a lot of kickoffs go out....but these are impact plays that determine field position. I think TT needs to use a draft pick on a return specialist next season rather than using a 3rd string DB. And no...not Cobb he is too valuable to risk injury. Get a decent specialist here.....look at how many NFL games are determined by nice returns for field position. Finally....to my friend "The Voice "In your Nov 6th comments you did not want Matt Flynn while many of us did. You were a Seneca Wallace next man up guy. I know losing Rodgers and going to whoever is like choosing between NEW Glarus Holy Cow ( Rodgers ) and "Old Milwaukee ( whoever else from the bottom shelf ) but at least Flynn....sore arm and all....understands this offense. So maybe he's more of a chice....like a Miller Lite" that at least is not bottom shelf. GO PACK GO !!

on November 25th, 2013 at 01:54pm

I think it's time we acknowledge that the Packers are in their post Super Bowl win slump. It hasn't been noticed as much as with most others because it's taken almost 3 years to materialize. In a way that's to their credit. If the team still makes the playoffs this year it will be purely gratuitous but to no real point since they're going to get kicked out early; likely a "one and done." It may be better to fall short and start the overhaul that's needed to rise again. Except for Clay Matthews they can jettison the entire back 8 on their defensive unit. Replacements next year couldn't be any less ineffectual than who they have there now. And that includes the injured. How many times during the current winless streak have the Packers gotten inside the opponent's 5 yd. line and failed to score? They could have put this one away in the OT if they'd made just 2 more yards on that first possession. There's no Super Bowl caliber o-line in Green Bay as of now. This team didn't fall apart because of Aaron Rodgers' injury. We saw its true face in the games against San Francisco and Cincinnati when ARod was there. The Packers likely won't make the playoffs and the way the defense is playing now may even end up with a losing record even if Rodgers does play the final month. But that could be to their long term benefit. This off season instead of signing their own free agents the Packers should save their money and go out and find new, better players.

on November 25th, 2013 at 06:33am

Too negative, head cheese. A Detroit loss was an unexpected gift that is basically the same as a packer win. Bears loss another gift. And our tie? The gravy. We were all hoping for pack win and expected Detroit win so we would stay only one game behind. It turned out even better with us only 1/2 game back now! And holy cow does Eddy Lacy run like a man out there. I can't wait to get Rodgers back to see if teams play us with 1 safety back or 2. Lets go beat Detroit with Flynn and give rodgers 10 more days of rest.

on November 25th, 2013 at 07:45am

Face it, this team is just not very good right now. The D cannot stop anyone. Since Rodgers has been out they are winless, with 3 of those games at home. Games against teams that are really not very good, if fact yesterday the opponent would have been better off losing. Remember after the SB win and during the 13 game win streak the next year how much dynasty talk there was? Some dynasty.

on November 25th, 2013 at 11:56am

OK guys, don't worry - I have officially torn up my membership in the "Don't sign Matt Flynn" club. What...we can't make a mistake now and then? Be that as it may, he was basically playing sandlot ball because of the lack of preperation he had (notice the absense of the no-huddle?). Up to this point, Tolzien had been doing a good job for the most part, but you have to admit that when McCarthy benched Tolzien in favor of Flynn, that really took some serious guts. For those who don't think MM can't make the tough decisions, that should erase all doubt. Speaking of tough decisions, I was in favor of the two-point try, and I still am. It's easy with hindsight now to say they should have gone for one, but what if it had worked? MAKE THE PLAY!!!! As we've all observed thus far, 2013 is not a typical season - it might very well go down as the most atypical season in franchise history. So am I glad Flynn is back? After the miracle he pulled off on Sunday, of course I am - who wouldn't be? And out of all of this, it turns out the Raiders are paying him a significant chunk of his original salary while the Packers are paying him a minimal salary, so financially it's pure genius. Even with that arrangement, it in all liklihood wouldn't have done any good to bring him in earlier than they did because of the investments the Packers made in Harrell, Coleman and Wallace (I'm not including Young, just because he wasn't around long enough). Who knew that after 2+ seasons Harrell and Coleman wouldn't have worked out? And don't say they should have resigned Flynn after 2011 because in the salary cap era, nobody pays $6M or more to have a backup sitting on the bench. Believe it or not, how it actually played out was the best option concerning Flynn. Now...on to the game. Dave, THC, this season is far from being "toast". Yes, it hasn't gone the way any of us would have wanted, but it seldom does. Sunday's tie isn't necessarily a bad thing - they're only a 1/2 game out, and after the Thanksgiving game the Lions still have to play the likes of the Eagles and Ravens. 2 possible losses, considering how inconsistent the Lions have been? And the Bears have been just as inconsistent as the Lions, if not more, so anything can happen here. Speaking of inconsistency, that's a good description of the Packers' defense. One series they look great, the next they can't stop a Pop Warner team. Either way, now is not the time to try to figure out why the defense is so inconsistent; that's off-season talk. Unfortunately for now, they are what they are, and hopefully the on-the-fly improvement we're looking for will be in the form of injured guys getting back for the stretch run. What's our other option?

on November 26th, 2013 at 04:21pm

Packerlifer, I feel I need to disagree on the point that the Packers are in their post Super Bowl win slump. Basically it comes down to all the injuries, and not just Rodgers. What team could possibly survive having the following go down for them: besides their franchise QB, a playmaking WR, their LT before preseason even started, their primary TE, their RT, their run stuffing DT, their pass rushing LB (he may be back, but he's not 100% yet), the other side LB, and 3 DB's (did I miss anyone?). And only a handful of them may make it back before the end of the season. What team could survive that kind of hit? On this Thanksgiving, we should all give thanks that the Packers are only 1/2 game out with all these injuries (OK, that's a little syrupy, but you get my point). Go ahead - call me an optimist. I've been called a lot worse. A lot can happen over the next 5 weeks, so hang around for some high drama. This is why we watch, isn't it?

on November 26th, 2013 at 07:41pm

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