Packers XLV

When Is A Loss Not Really A Loss?

Posted December 23rd, 2013 @ 04:12am

As it turns out, week 16 had virtually zero impact on crowning an NFC North champ. The Pack's penalty-prone final moments could have cost them their season, but the Eagles' demolition of the Bears on Sunday night sets up the showdown at Soldier Field next Sunday for the division title.

It was a wacky game from the start. The Pack's coverage units cost them early, giving Big Ben short fields to get in scoring position. The 14-10 halftime lead felt precarious, with the knowledge that Clay Matthews has re-injured his thumb and was likely done for the day.

The strangest play of the day, and the season was the blocked field goal which saw the ball awarded to the Pack because the Steelers were flagged for batting the ball forward. I have to believe the league will say the officials blew this one. Pittsburgh clearly had possession--there's no way they should turn it back over to the Pack on that penalty. But the Pack were given the early Christmas present and Eddie Lacy punched it in for a 21-17 lead.

But Roethlisberger marched right down the field to retake the lead and then Flynn's pick six upped their lead to 10. The Pack rallied for the next 10 but the Steelers got the last laugh, scoring the go ahead touchdown with a minute and change left. Why Mike Tomlin didn't instruct his guys to take a knee and run the clock down to a few seconds--and prevent the Pack from getting ball back--I have no idea. Of course if Nick Perry hadn't inexplicably jumped offsides on the field goal try everything would have been different. An absolutely inexcusable gaffe.

Micah Hyde has his best day as a returner (and played terrific at corner as well) and saved his best for lest, busting a 70 yard return that should have put the Pack in position to force overtime. But penalties once again reared their ugly head and the Pack ran out of time and it looked like the season was lost.

But a funny thing happened on Sunday night. The Eagles had nothing to play for, while the Bears could wrap of the North with a win. But credit Philly with looking to erase their memories of their Mall of America Field massacre and they jumped on the Bears early and lever let up.

It sets up a playoff game at Soldier field at 3:25 next Sunday. We'll see how the injured Packers respond this week, but it appears likely the team will be without Matthews, Lacy and Neal, all of whom aggravated injuries in this game.

And then there's Rodgers. Right now my gut tells me he doesn't play, that the "organization" has decided to shut him down for the season. I hope I'm wrong. What a storyline: Rodgers returns against the team that knocked him out two months ago. I don't see Green Bay winning this one without him, unless the Bears stick with Cutler. If that happens, anything is possible.

Week 17. Packers vs. Bears for the NFC North title. What more could we ask for?

Besides Rodgers, Matthews, Lacy and Cobb in uniform, that is.

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Comments (10):

I agree with a mixed bag of opinions from previous commenters. The Pack have been frustrating to watch, due to the breakdown of units that need to step up to offset key injuries, this being Defense and Special Teams. One major beef, has been the play of Outside Linebackers. An injured Clay Matthews, plays like an undersized outside linebacker, getting blown out of plays, and unable to contain the outside on runs. Nick Perry continues to disappoint, and not live up to his 1st round stature, his devistating penalty solitified this. And cudos to A.J Hawk for elevating his play this year and playing like a leader. I heard he has partner at inside linebacker, this Brad Jones guy? just never seen him. I think Rogers needs to play if he can, franchise players show up for big moments, and this is one of them. I tend to be a pessimist, but if the Pack can get in the playoffs, get a few guys back, they can be competetive. I do have a question for fellow readers and commentators on this site. My wife and I are pretty high up on the season ticket waiting list. It frustrates me when season ticket holders sell all their tickets online, make a profit, and don't attend a game teh whole season. Also frustrating is seeing visiting teams fans, sitting front row in the end zone, recieving game balls from the visiting team. Does this anger other people? or am I just being a whiner?

on December 23rd, 2013 at 03:20pm

OSSG, it's safe to say you're my favorite guy on this site, with Larry a close second. If any of you were to watch a game with me, you would notice how calm and reserved I am for a given game - I don't yell at the refs, I don't yell at bonehead mistakes, I don't spew profanities at the TV (and especially when I'm at Lambeau, since there's always a chance of little kids being nearby), but by the same token, I'm not all duckies and bunnies either. I will always hold out hope for the best outcome, I never call for a coach's head on a platter, but I will consider all the merits before calling for his dismissal (there IS a difference, of course). Since so many players went down this year, I would have a hard time holding ANY coach on this staff completely accountable for this season, and yes, that includes Capers. And as far as winning in Chicago next week, based on what went down yesterday and if Rodgers doesn't play, I believe they DO have a chance to win it with Flynn - not a great chance, but they do. Like the rest of you, I'd prefer it be Rodgers be in there, but it wouldn't surprise me if he's held out again because of the possibility of the Bears wanting to put him out again (dare I use the "B" word in this context), and even with all of yesterday's mistakes, Flynn & Co. almost pulled it off. If the stars are in alignment and they make it past the Bears, Rodgers should go for sure. CK, I've often wondered the same thing about visiting fans getting front row seats - who would sell those seats anyway? Mine are in the north end zone, not prime territory by any means, but I'd never put them on the open market. So who's to say that if they end up getting in that they couldn't make a little noise? We'll just have to wait and see. And to THC, all the regulars, semi-regulars, one-timers, and even Cane and his buddies who visit here, I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas.

on December 23rd, 2013 at 03:50pm

The NFC North race this year is like the movie "Sharknado." It's so bad and stupid that you can't take your eyes off it because you're wondering what could possibly come next. The Packers should have won this game and would have if they had put their heads inside their helmets. Mental errors and breakdowns were the killer in this one. They were as dumb as the Detroit Lions. I'm frankly disinterested at this point in whether the Pack makes it to the playoffs this season. Whoever comes out of the NFC North will be just a token in the league's playoff format and a sacrificial lamb to much stronger and better NFC teams. Witness Chicago's destruction at Philly as exhibit A of what awaits the dubious "NFC North Champion." I'm not looking forward to playoffs. I'm eager to start the offseason of healing for all our injured guys, the implementation of a rigorous conditioning program to stop this annual plague of injuries on this team, intense drilling by the coaches on the fundamentals of football, and an influx of fresh, new talent to give us a defense and better kick return and coverage teams. This time next year we can be excited about the Pack going back to the playoffs.

on December 23rd, 2013 at 05:31am

Voice....Thank You for your comment. Nice to know our generation can take some good natured sometimes "smack talk" without getting all touchy feely like some. Again....Happy Holidays to All !! Go Pack Go !!

on December 23rd, 2013 at 05:48pm

I am growing weary of the National Referee League. Sitton got flagged for facemasking by accidentally putting his hand on a mask (but I dind't notice any head movement or grabbing) but the next defensive series, on the play Clay gets hurt on, he gets face masked AND blocked in the back. I don't claim to know the rules but I am sick of seeing Mathews get mauled and no flags when other calls are BS. Also, was Flynn not made aware the clock was running at the end? How did 6 seconds run off before the snap?

on December 23rd, 2013 at 09:18am

Here it is...the scenario we all wanted. Packers and Bears to decide the division on the final game of the season. Granted the path to get here wasn't anything we wanted or expected, but here we are. IMHO, Flynn did enough to win this one, sans the fumble and pick 6, but there was enough blame to go around nonetheless. Sure, the penalties in the last 1:30 didn't help, but earlier, there were enough instances of some flag happy refs that had to make you wonder. It's not likely Matthews will be back at all, but it sure would be great if #12, 27 and 18 are back for next week. We'll have to wait and see. But as far as getting into the playoffs, I'm not as pessimistic as some are here. My feeling is to just get there, and let the chips fall. You need to make the most of your opportunities, and if they are one-and-done, fine. But you'll never find out if you don't get there.

on December 23rd, 2013 at 11:25am

hey Guys, Ist of Pitmonkey, Flynn said after the game he knew the clock would start. not sure why he didn't hike it one 1. also, did any of you notice, Jordy was wide open over the middle. but this was not on Flynn, his INT. was because Quarles, was blocking for the run, it was a pass run option, not his fault either, just bad luck. I just get so sick of a team that plays so damn hard compared to other teams I watch, and be so unlucky with INJURIES. it's hard to get excited like u Voice, but, even you, must wonder sometimes, what the hell would this team be like with, 12,52, 27, 18, 29,23,75, and even 88. it makes me sick. plus all the time others have missed during the year, it's part of the game, but this is way overboard. I said last week 12 would not play against the bears and still think that. if they did somehow win that game would they play him Voice, in the playoffs against S.F. or N.O. that is why it's hard for me, OSSG and packerlifer to get exited, but as always I will be watching and hope they win. You guys all have a MERRY CHRITMAS

on December 23rd, 2013 at 11:49am

After the Packer- Steeler game 525 loyal Packer fans were given the following survey to answer. Their answers follow each of the five multiple choice questions: 1- If Aaron Rodgers does not play in the Chicago Bear game what chance do you give the Packers on winning. (a) Zero (b) None (c) A chance if Seneca Wallace plays QB (d) Pack wins Result: 302 chose a and 178 chose b ..19 chose c and 1 chose d. Upon further review it was determined that the one vote for Pack wins was Bill...the Voice of Reason so the vote was imediately discarded. 2- Which Packer position do you determine to be our weakest. a- safety b- linebacker c- defensive line d- anyplace Marshall Newhouse plays. Result: There was a unamous right in vote for all of the above 3- You are now asked to think like TT: Who will be your backup QB next season? a- Flynn b- Tolzien c- Wallace d- John Kuhn When told they have to think like TT 406 people responded Kuhn ...afterall after Wallace was injured and Tolzien came in Kuhn was our backup. TT would rather have that 4th string tackle or LB and not lose that roster spot on a backup QB. One person split his vote between Tolzien and Wallace because they know the system...it was again determined to be The Voice. 4- Who commited the worst penalty for the Packers in the game? a- Neal b- Ragi c- Barclay d- Perry Result: This question was thrown out as all the above were stupid. 5- Who gets your vote as Packer man of the year ? a- TT b- MM c- Dom Capers d- The Conditioning Staff e- Dr. McKenzie Result: An overwhelming vote for Dr. Mckenzie as he was deemed the only one sane enough in this crazy goofy season to make the rational choice of keeping Rodgers out. Happy Holidays to All !! As always....GO PACK GO !!

on December 23rd, 2013 at 11:55am

Very frustrated watching the last 2 plays of the game, looked lost. Also, Flynn had a terrible 2nd half, although played well in the first half. Very odd season.

on December 23rd, 2013 at 12:27pm

Just announced...starting QB for the Packers on Sunday is Rodgers.

on December 26th, 2013 at 02:27pm

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