There's Plenty of Blame to Go Around.Posted:Nov 23rd, 2020 2:45 pm
It's so easy to blame MVS for the Pack's overtime loss in Indy. In fact, a few sorry excuses for human beings went so far as to issue death threats to the Pack's wide receiver on social media following the game.
We love this game and we love our team, but those despicable people should be rooted out and publicly shamed for their act of cowardice and social terrorizing. Besides, there were so many other reasons the Packers turned a 28-14 halftime lead into an overtime loss.
We should start with the coaching, on all three levels. Matt LaFleur failed to counter the second half adjustments made by the Colts. His play call on the late fourth and one play was a complete head scratcher, as was time management at the end of regulation. Mike Pettine's stubborn refusal to get out of his dime package in the third quarter allowed the Colts to run the ball down his unit's throats and caused the defense to be on the field for basically the entire third quarter. Shawn Menninga's special team's units were a disaster for a second straight week. Turns out Tyler Ervin appears to be one of the most valuable players on the team and JK Scott may as well start perusing the classified ads (Darrius Shepherd may want to join him).
MVS's fumble was simply the final big mistake made by the Packers on day they went toe to toe with a playoff contender and its big boy defense. By halftime, the Pack had put up 28 points and 200 yards and its two turnovers had resulted in zero points by the Colts. Then came the painful third quarter, where the defense softened and the offense curled into a fetal position.
Despite how the game script got flipped in the second half, the game was there for the taking, as the Pack was moving downfield late with a chance to tie or take the lead. It's gotten to the point that when the Packers face short yardage situations, like third or fourth and one, we hold our breaths and wait for disaster to happen. For as sharp a play caller as MLF is, he is awful on short yardage calls, and his decision on fourth and one was just the latest example.
Then came the weirdest series I've seen in a long time, after the Pack turned the ball over on downs. Penalty after penalty on the Colts. With an eye on preserving time, the Pack declined a penalty that would have put Indy a first and 30 situation, instead deciding that the defense would hold and not allow a first down conversion. Whoops. Philip Rivers and his offense did convert the first down, but thanks to an endless stream of holding penalties, they were forced to punt and give Rodgers one last chance.
Third and ten from the six yard line and it looked like the Pack was cooked, but there was MVS flying down the middle of the field and hauling in a 47 yard reception that breathed life into the offense. The following sequence was not what we're accustomed to seeing in the final minute of a game. Rodgers spiked the ball twice and the Pack seemed to be content to settle for a field goal and go to overtime, rather than go for the kill and end the game. The had the Colts on their heels and their own defense was gassed, yet they never took a shot in the end zone.
It was a maddening second half and a quick, deflating overtime, eliminating the chance to basically wrap up the NFC North before Thanksgiving and stay positioned atop the NFC. All is not lost: over the last six games, the Pack will face just one team with a winning record (the Titans) and they can get the bad taste out of their mouths by kicking around the Bears next Sunday night at Lambeau.
But this game showed us once again, that the Pack is missing that little something that championship teams have: the ability to put mistakes behind them and make the big plays against good teams when it's needed most. Yes, their QB is great and will always give his team a chance. It's time for his coaches to rise to his level, or we'll be in for another big disappointment come January.