Packers XLV

Don't Flip Out: Pack Stood Tall in Defeat

Posted January 17th, 2016 @ 02:01pm

 I’m beginning to wonder what would happen if Aaron Rodgers ever gets the chance to touch the ball in overtime.

As far as punches to the gut go, this one doesn’t hurt as much as last year, but it still leaves you feeling empty when the Pack engineer a game-tying drive for the ages, but a coin flip and one blown coverage by the defense combine to end the season.

The game unfolded as we hoped, with the defense playing with a vengeance, bent on containing running back David Johnson and the Cardinals’ big play passing attack. The pass rush was on fire early, forcing Carson Palmer into quick decisions and mistakes. Johnson was never able to get untracked—they held the high powered offense to ten points over the game’s first 56 minutes.

Arians and the Cards made adjustments in the second half that allowed them to engineer two long scoring drives, but it was two flukey plays late that we’ll be thinking about during the long offseason. First, the dropped interception by Sam Shields and then the touchdown that bounced off Damarius Randall’s arms, bounced in the air and landed in the hands of Michael Floyd.

I find it hard to rip Shields, who had two possible picks fall through his hands in the game. His return to the field changed everything for the defense, giving Dom Capers the confidence to blitz freely and harass Palmer from all angles.

As strong a game as it was for the defense, it was that bad for special teams. Nothing alarmingly bad, but too many penalties on returns that set the offense back and forced longer fields. Tim Masthay had a bad night—he may have sealed his fate as he becomes a free agent.

As for the offense, they struggled all night on first down, unable to get in favorable down and distance and forced Rodgers to deal with second and third and long all night. Outside of Eddie Lacy’s 61 yard “burst,” the running game was pretty much stuck in neutral.

You can’t overstate what the loss of Randall Cobb meant in this game. After an early drop, he made one of the catches of the season on a play that was called back—little did we know that would be his last play of the season. We saw  him spitting up blood and then we saw him carted off. Next thing we know: he’s out for the game with a chest injury.

For a passing attack that was already without Davante Adams, they were forced to play the final three quarters with just three healthy receivers. With Patrick Peterson shadowing James Jones all night, it was up to Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis. If everyone returns from injury next year, these two will start out fifth and sixth on the depth chart. Yet they combined for 11 catches for 200 yards.

Which brings us to the Pack’s final drive. I can’t ever remember a more unlikely scoring drive in all my years of watching Packer football. Fourth and 20 from the four, 55 seconds left and no timeouts. But Rodgers found Janis for 61 yards and the Pack still had a faint pulse. Some strange clock management and a penalty game the Pack two chances to score. Once again, a Hail Mary on the final play found pay dirt as Janis demonstrated that he is up to the challenge. We’re left to wonder what goes on behind closed doors. Why was he not given more opportunities this season for an offense that was desperate for speedy downfield threats.

A caller on my show bemoaned the fact that the Pack didn’t try a two point conversion to win the game at that point. Gotta be honest: I didn’t give it a second thought. You execute a drive for the ages to tie the game and take your chances in overtime. If the Pack had Nelson, Cobb and Adams, maybe you take a shot. But with a bunch of backups who likely haven’t practiced two pointers much, I would’ve hated to put the pressure on them to make that play. Same goes for the previous TD, when the Pack took a 12-7 lead and kicked, rather than go for two to go up by seven. Too much time left in the game to give up a point, in my opinion, even though it might have made the difference, as things worked out.

The Packers have now lost five playoff games in overtime, most in league history, including the last two seasons. Rodgers is now 0-7 in overtime games—of course he hasn’t touched the ball in the last two. He wasn’t happy that he didn’t get a chance to change his call when the ref decided to re-flip the coin. When the ref showed him the coin the second time, it was tails side up, so Rodgers wanted to change his call to heads. Sorry, Aaron, we were fortunate up the official decided to re-flip. You don’t get a do over on the call. I know he was frustrated, but that’s the way the coin flips.

It was a season marred by big injuries and unspeakable home losses, but on the biggest stage the Pack showed they were up to the challenge against the Super Bowl favorites. If not for a couple of crazy bounces, dropped interceptions and one big blown coverage, we might be preparing for another title game.

This roster will turn over quite a bit, but the main pieces remain in place. The offense should be considerably more potent next season, and the defense is young, more athletic than it’s been in years and will be led by Matthews, Daniels, Shields, Randall, Burnett and Clinton-Dix. It will remain a strength of this team as Ted Thompson fills in the blanks to replace a number of free agents who will move on.

The Packers won’t be Super Bowl favorites when next season kicks off, but they will be contenders. And they will be on a mission to get back to the Big Game for the first time in six seasons. Let’s just hope we can avoid overtime games along the way.

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Comments (31):

Just saw that the Pack signed Guion for 3 years, who was that man that said he would be back when others like cane said he would be gone? who was that guy?

on February 12th, 2016 at 12:03pm

Dave, until the Packers fire DOM Capers and find a defensive coordinator that can build a real defense then the Packers are going no where. look at Denver's , Seattle, and Carolina's defense. That is what a real defense looks like

on February 9th, 2016 at 05:34pm

I think three of these four defensive players are back: Neal, Perry, Raji, Guion. The corners are set for the next three years. Just need an ILB and depth to DL. Need another O lineman at tackle, a TE, and WR depth. Truth be told these aren't glaring holes and we have the luxury to pick best available. I would have kicked the extra point.

on January 17th, 2016 at 05:08pm

*LOL* I kept you in the game. I ignored your constant holding, especially on the pick 6. I tried to get you a first down, but Ariens caught me, damn him. I allowed you to hold and cheat all day long with hardly a flag. The game would've been long gone with the pick 6 but for my bogus call. BTW, nice clutch tackle by Clay Matthews on the long OT play by a real star--Fitz.

on January 17th, 2016 at 05:43pm

I may have my.purple colored glasses on but I think we're seeing the power shift in the North to Vikings. Yes GB has Rodgers but he's no spring chicken anymore and looked like his play is not where he was in his prime. GB has some young players but so does the Vikings. The Vikings are built for a long dominating run on defense with a ton of young talent and one of the best defensive minds in the NFL in Zimmer. The Vikings oline will be better next year which should help Teddy's development. Next year Vikes are the team to best in the North and should be one of the top 3 favorites in the NFC.

on January 17th, 2016 at 08:17pm

I completely agree with the caller who wanted to go for two. "You execute a drive for the ages to tie the game..." That's exactly why you go for two. You have Aaron Rodgers, a stunned defense, and 2 yards to pick up to go to the NFC Championship. Give me that option over hoping to get the ball in OT.

on January 17th, 2016 at 09:08am

I , also, find it hard to rip anybody after that game. Rip the coach, I could have lived with a two point play, but totally get not doing it too. It's a real heart breaker if you don't extend the game. Nah, I won't rip the coach. I could rip Lacy for being out of shape an unable to finish his 61 yard run, but we did get a TD on the drive and he did have a nice run before he ran out of gas. I can't rip Shields, sure possible two dropped interceptions, but he played too well coming back off injury. Nope, my our team played well. We just came up a little short. Very happy Seattle lost. Wish the Pats would have lost too. We'll talk about the post season another time. Thanks Cheating Ref Guy, we'll give it another go next year.

on January 17th, 2016 at 09:09pm

The Pack played well and I agree that although it was a gut punch...last year was much worse. Thanks for the site and the show! Looking forward to next year!

on January 17th, 2016 at 10:22am

real teams go for two to win the game!

on January 17th, 2016 at 11:10am

What a Bipolar season! I had a bad sense if deja vu when the Pack settled for 2 FG's inside the 10. Agree the 2pt was "out-there", but given the injury situation, I did think about it & would have backed-it success-or-not. Without: Nelson-Adams-Montgomery-Cobb, GB did an amazing job against a team that crushed them only 3 weeks prior. Also wondering if getting the short-rest Saturday game hurt. Oline did a good job protecting, but was on-off for run blocking. Another season of amazing plays, and on to next season! Go Pack!!!

on January 17th, 2016 at 11:48am

Well, you made me proud to be a packer fan boys. I said if you give up 17 or less you win, Looks like that would have worked. Shields miss on int by goal line may have been enough. Lucky damn bounce for there td made me sick. BUT, all considered, all the injuries on OL and WR we were 1 play from championship game. But I am getting sick of losing on last play of game. 5 out of 7 games MM has lost were last play. hard to believe. Is there anyone out there going to believe me now that Janis should have been playing 2 months ago. Now MM says he just needs to play. YOUR the damn coach, put him in there, sure he will make mistakes, they all do, look at the last play. I hate those zone defenses. A lot of teams wish they had what we have (Vikings) lions, bears, browns , dolphins, rams and a lot more. I have said it all year, were spoiled but try and to enjoy it and have fun with it. Leave raji, go and keep 98, younger and better. get Barrington back in the middle, Jordy back, Jones will be gone, Let 83,84, 18 and 88 make some plays next year and we will be fine. Go Packers

on January 17th, 2016 at 12:09pm

Another long off season. Running back situation a mess. Not sure if Jordy comes back completely healthy. What if Aaron is on the down side of his career? Hard to be optimistic as a Packer fan.

on January 18th, 2016 at 02:33pm

Cane - while we're on the topic of high percentage plays, how about that FG attempt last week?

on January 18th, 2016 at 04:37pm

Cane, go to your ViQueens team page and leave us alone. You are just our typical jealous Vike fan.....a Packers loss is a Viking Super Bowl win. What ever it takes to make you feel good....hatred, sore loser, wishful thinking for the future....whatever. You are part of Loserville, MN...stuck there. You just hate the Packers because of their success. Let me know when you have some.

on January 18th, 2016 at 05:08pm

Other than the Hail Mary and ridiculously lucky Lacy run, the rest of the offense generated a whopping 6 points--aside from the those two plays. LOL at people talking about bringing Nick Perry back. You already declined his 5th year option. Rodgers has now been a starter for 8 seasons and only made the SB one time---he's half way to Dan Marino now (1 SB appearance in 16 seasons). Peppers, Raji, Guion, Neal, Hayward, Starks, Perry, will all be gone in 2016. 8-8.

on January 18th, 2016 at 09:41am

Cane, I didn't say I wanted to keep Peppers. I just said he was pro bowler and I didn't mean this year. Dude showed up most games this year though. It's up to him and the team to figure out if he's got one more left or not. I'll agree that the Vikes will compete for the division title next year and for years to come, but they haven't earned anything yet. I like Zimmer, but just because you won one doesn't mean your going to win 4 in row. I mean who wins four in a row? Oh, yeah, right. Don't count your chickens before they hatch. We know, we've been doing this for a long time.

on January 18th, 2016 at 10:04pm

Cane, I agree that most of those guys are gone. I do think they'll try to keep either Raji or Guion, but won't over pay. Actually, both should be willing to take reasonable deals, if you ask me. Otherwise, the arguments for letting the rest of those guys go are pretty easy to understand. Others than Peppers, we are not talking about a lot of Pro bowlers are we? About 30% of roster turns over every year, we just so happen to know these guys' names. Let see what happens in the draft , and dare I say, free agency before we declare a Rodger's lead team mediocre. With your former team you may have had a lot of experience with that, the Packers are a different club.

on January 18th, 2016 at 10:07am

Typical cane and viking fan, worried about how many super bowls our hall of fame qb's have won. HAVE you looked how many your qb's have won in 55 years.?? Take along count cane and get back to us with your envy and jealousy. I still think I come with 000000. Packers will offer Perry a contract, may not be what he wants. but will offer him one, like I said Raji, Neal, Quarless and Hayward are gone , Guion, Crosby, will be back, We need a TE that can run down the seam. hopefully inn free agency Voice, just 1 pick up, the rest can come from the draft like TT always does. He will draft a tackle in late 1st rd, or outside linebacker that can run. get another wr in 3rd rd. Maybe somebody like Lockett, like someone said we should draft last year. Who was that guy? Now enjoy the super bowl. I hope Carolina wins it all. Nice year Packers.

on January 18th, 2016 at 10:16am

I'm completely on board with the decision to go for 1 instead of 2. Think about this for a moment - if they miss, it's over. It's not a high percentage play. There was already no time left on the clock. If there was 2 minutes or more left, sure, go for two. But that was sound football strategy. It was unfortunate Rodgers never got a chance to touch the ball in OT. But they played a hell of a game.

on January 18th, 2016 at 10:35am

Wow, what a game, very proud of how the guys stepped up to the challenge on Saturday night, and almost pulled it off, Shields was SO close to daggering that game (similar to Hyde's near pick vs. San Fran a couple tears back). As frustrating as the last 10 regular season games were, the two playoff games were great to see. The pieces are in place, just need to keep everybody healthy. Next years receiving core looks even more promising to me now. 1. Nelson 2. Cobb 3. Adams 4. Abbredaris 5. Montgomery 6. Janis And how bought this idea for a receiving TE, James Jones? Thanks for the blog Dave, go Pack go. BTW, I pondered two points, but one pont is the right call. It's easy to say two-points AFTER that outcome.

on January 18th, 2016 at 11:06am

Voice--a 2 point conversion is a high percentage play if you actually have a shred of a running game. What a horrific 2nd round bust Lacy was for Thompson! LynnDickey--if you are willing to play a 36 year old part-time player what Peppers is due next year--God help you. Larry---how many divisions north titles did your team win this year? Stop living in the past. The Vikings own the North going forward. Just accept that now.

on January 18th, 2016 at 12:13pm

Cane. Your a waste of time. You can hate on Rodgers, say he is past his prime...whatever! I will take 25 years of top notch quarterback play over what, 250 different starting QBs in that same period ????..... Every time the question arises. So what Rodgers only made (and won, I remind you....HE WON!) that one SUPER BOWL....It seems to me the vikings have not even been in the same conversation for the better majority of their existence...you must still be riding the high that was the 70s era Vikings, known as much for choking in the big one as many times as the Jim Kelly Buffalo Bills as they were for a vaunted defense! Sadly, Vikings fans dont have much else going on so not surprising. Ive reached the point where I think going for two would have made sense...though during the game I said to my wife...no way! The reason I think it would have been the right call is exactly why Sinykin said dont do it - that is, You made the hail mary play with backup recievers, its borderline paternalistic to think you couldnt also complete the 2 point icing on the cake. After all, Janis was good enough to connect on 2 unlikely bombs on the preceding plays....why couldnt he catch a 2 yard slant from A-Rod...thats a pretty high percentage connection. So I am now in the camp that says that was a missed opportunity. But its 20.20 hindsight. The Pack lost games they should have won and should not have been in this position. Be that as it may, great end to what was a good, if not dissappointing season. We dont simply participate. In Packer Country, anything less than a world championship is an effort that fell short of the goal. Go Pack Go!

on January 19th, 2016 at 04:45pm

Dave is such a pompous azz on KFAN. It's obvious why viking fans are gloating here. I think of Dave every single time the packers choke another one away.

on January 19th, 2016 at 05:22pm

Wow....I thought we would have cleaned out the scum bloggers....but I guess not yet. Anyway on to Packer talk...Interesting stat in that MM is 0-5 in overtime games in the playoffs in his career. That stat impacts Arod in that in some of those games he did not even have a chance for a single drive. On to next year...I agree there will be turnover in the roster...long time followers of this site know I am a draft nerd so I look forward to our selections. As I have said many times we need to dip into free agency more along with draft. I think we need to concentrate more on offense build up in the roster. We also need to realize we need to surround Rodgers with more help as he should still be in his prime next season. That having been said here is my order of importance for next years roster either by draft or free agency. 1- A pass catching tight end who can get down the field....face it RRodgers is a backup. 2- An athletic linebacker who can cover the middle pass and support the run. 3- An offensive preferably tackle who can challenge for a starting spot or be a reliable backup. 4- A speed outside deep receiver with size. I know Jordy and Cobb and Montgomery, and Abba will be back but JJones will not. 5- Another D lineman to provide potential or depth in the line. 6- A speed running back who can catch.as I believe Sparks may be gone. 7- A reliable punter who can give you field position as Mastay must have led the league in Shanks. There you go ....The Wish LIST !! GO PACK GO !!

on January 19th, 2016 at 05:32pm

Who's crying more? Rodgers over the coin flip nonsense, Clay over how much that swiss cheese D choked again, Lacy every time he has to skip his breakfast of 12 donuts this summer, or every Packer fan in Wisconsin who now lack any "cultural events" in the state to attend until training camp

on January 19th, 2016 at 10:51am

Screech, take a hike. You and your ViQueens fans complain about everything even more so. Let go of your jealousy and frustration of Packer success through the years since your team can win a big game and earn it themselves. Go whine on some of those Loserville pages in MN....or does it just feel better to try and disrupt success instead of building it yourself??!!! Viking fans are a disgrace by letting hatred get in the way. Very sporting. :)

on January 19th, 2016 at 11:37am

[Note to THC] Would it be possible to change the comments section of this website to facilitate a more conversational give-and-take for posters? Packers.com uses Disqus; while it may have it's pros and cons, it does allow for a more even flow of ongoing discussions, plus it gives the option of giving a comment an up vote if you wish to. It may require closer moderation to keep things in check, but it would also make things more lively and in the moment. I've never looked into it - for all I know it could be cost prohibitive. It's just a suggestion. Thanks for the work you do, Dave.

on January 19th, 2016 at 12:09pm

Cane=Idiot

on January 20th, 2016 at 02:10pm

If you don't like the trash talk on this site. then Start by staying off other teams stuff yourselves. You guys are as Pathetic as any other teams fans! and maybe better behavior when attending away stadiums would help.

on January 22nd, 2016 at 03:41pm

All the Whining on this Page makes it unreadable. I was told once this blog was not a place to trash other teams and fans. Packer fans have reduced themselves to exactly that. t was a great game that the Packers fell short. the NFC NORTH sill goes trough green Bay. Enjoy the res of the playoffs!

on January 22nd, 2016 at 12:00pm

come on dave, nothing on free agency? we need a new post. thanks

on March 14th, 2016 at 11:19am

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