Debacle in Denver.

It's been a long day. It's late Sunday night; just got home from a fun, if disheartening night at the Park Tavern. There's not much to say after that one. Right now, it feels like the most flat, uninspiring, one-sided loss of the McCarthy era.

As you know, this regime has had great success coming out of bye week, having won eight of nine heading into the Bronco game. But the Packers were never in this one, beaten handily up front on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Pack couldn't cover Demaryius Thomas and even struggled against their average tight ends. As I suspected, they struggled to contain Ronnie Hillman. When Sam Shields went down with a shoulder injury, Casey Hayward got exposed (nearly halfway through the season I've seen enough to believe the Pack will let Hayward walk this offseason).

The most mystifying thing about this game to me was the Pack's inability to put heat on Peyton Manning. Their makeshift line kept the pass rush at bay--very disappointing, with the Packers coming in as healthy on that side of the ball as they've been since the opener.

More alarming was the offense--this has to rank as one of Rodgers' all time clunkers. Less than 80 yards passing? Not in a quarter but in the game. You've got to credit the three corners, who blanketed the Pack's receivers all night. McCarthy and Clement continually sent the WRs downfield on slow developing routes--meanwhile, Rodgers was running for his life.

Look, every now and then you put up a stinker. It's no fun, but let's look big picture. If the Packers are going to lose three or four games this year, losing to an AFC team is the least painful, with no tiebreaker repercussions. Flip side, they need to swallow their pride and get ready for next week because a visit to (likely) undefeated Carolina is a huge game, with all kinds of playoff tiebreaker repercussions, and their defense can be mentioned in the same breath as the Broncos.'

Between now and next Sunday, the offense needs to figure out a way to break out of its funk and the defense has to get back to what it looked like a few weeks back. A loss like this will have everybody looking in the mirror and will hopefully get their attention in a hurry. In the meantime, we'll have to put up with Vikings fans assuring us that the NFC North is up for grabs.

No it isn't. At least, I don't think it is. I'll get back to you next Sunday at around 3:15. How they bounce back from this debacle will give us a good idea of what this team is all about.


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