A November to Un-RememberPosted:Nov 16th, 2015 2:18 am
Halloween wasn't that long ago. On that night we passed out treats and perhaps imbibed on treats and looked forward to the matchup of unbeatens in Denver between the Pack and the Broncos.
Nothing has been the same since--for either team (though Denver's collapse unfolded after easily dispatching with the Pack ). The place we find the Pack sitting is unfamiliar territory. They look like a shadow of their former electric selves: out of sync, off balance and about to fade out of sight.
I've been tough on the defense the past few weeks--surrendering 1,500 yards in three games was tough to watch. But this embarrassing loss is not on the defense. True, they couldn't get off the field when it mattered most, surrendering that late touchdown after whiffing on Matthew Stafford a couple of times and missing tackles on Golden Tate's big play. But for the most part, the defense held the Lions in check. As it should have; the Lions' offense has been putrid all season.
The Packers lost this game because for a third straight week, they couldn't move the ball. The running game was non-existent. And for a third straight week, Rodgers didn't look like Rodgers. He just doesn't look comfortable in any phase of the game right now and he's getting pounded.
You have to wonder if Mike McCarthy decides to do an about face and take back the play calling duties. It would look like a panic move, but when you lose to the Lions at Lambeau, and play the way they've played this month, it's not too soon to panic.
I think it's safe to say the wheels are off the bus right now. The defense might have been good enough to bail the team out on this day, but special teams did them no favors. From the play that flipped the game, the kickoff return that opened the second half, to Mason Crosby's shank at the end. Of course, if Matt Prater kicks a couple of extra points, Crosby never takes the field.
This was supposed to be an opponent and a game that got the Pack back on track, where the offense once again Lambeau Leaped to its heart content and the Lions were dealt with like a Bloomington dentist. Instead, this head-shaking performance raises more questions than we've needed to raise in years.
1. What's wrong with Rodgers?
2. Why can't the offensive line run block any more?
3. Should McCarthy take back play calling duties?
4. Why can't the defense record a sack?
5. How do they plan on slowing AP next week?
You can go ahead and look for silver linings in this one. Maybe you liked the 10 catches between the two tight ends, or the emergence of Jared Abbrederis. Maybe you liked the overall play of the defense, the last drive notwithstanding.
Bottom line: the Pack has lost its identity as well as its hold on the North. Next they travel to play the team they are suddenly looking up to. A team that's won five straight and will take the field oozing confidence. After what we've witnessed the past few weeks, it's hard to believe the Pack will be ready to compete for 60 minutes.
And to make matters worse, we'll still be in November.
Lucky me: I get to do some trash talking with KFAN Vox Paul Allen Tuesday night at Joe Senser's in Bloomington, from 5:30 to 7. We're raising money for Loaves & Fishes MN. There will be a silent auction, including a pair of tickets to next Sunday's game. Former Viking great Carl Eller will be on hand, not that P.A. needs a wing man right now. It's one of those rare times where I don't have much ammunition. Actually, I really have no ammunition. Come on out to say hey, if you can. Maybe we can convince ourselves we can win next Sunday.