Where Does the Pack Go From Here?Posted:Oct 17th, 2016 12:59 pm
I'm going to make it brief. After a performance like we saw on Sunday, the Pack's season can go in one of two directions. It can be a wake-up call or it can be a knockout punch. With four road games coming up in the next six games against pretty good teams (none have a losing record), we'll find out pretty quickly which direction it will go.
You all watched the game. It looked the same from my vantage point, up high in the south end zone. The Packers were dominated in all phases, including coaching. Scott Linehan knows how to dial up plays to confuse Dom Capers' defense. Mike McCarthy seems unable to tweak his predictable offense.
The best quarterback on the field was not the preseason MVP, it was the fourth round rookie who will cause Tony Romo to get very accustomed to wearing a headset for the rest of the season. The Cowboys also have the better running back and offensive line. The Pack did an okay job bottling up Ezekiel Elliott early, but once the league's rushing leader warmed up, the defense had no answers.
Obviously, the game turned at the end of the first half, first when the Pack couldn't move the ball after a nice Trevor Davis punt return and had to punt, trailing 10-6. With the 'Boys backed up to the three McCarthy did what he always does. He took defensive timeouts, believing he'd get a three and out and get the ball back. Two problems with that strategy: the Pack's offense had shown no reason to believe they would strike quickly and the defense wasn't prepared for Linehan's creativity. Five plays and 97 yards later, the Cowboys had silenced Lambeau Field and taken a 17-6 lead. The Pack never recovered.
As impressive as Prescott and Elliott were, and they deserve to be the major talkers coming out of this game, for Packer nation topic number one is the offense: the sudden penchant for turnovers and the mediocre play of Rodgers. It's hard to believe our eyes when we see him throw a ball right into the willing arms of a defender or put the ball on the ground when the team is about to score to get within shouting distance.
The truth is, Rodgers has looked like Rodgers for exactly one half of one game this season. He missed about a half dozen throws on Sunday and I had a good view to see for myself that the receivers, for the most part, were not getting open. It's up to McCarthy to find ways to jump start this offense. So far, he's been too hard headed or just unable to make the changes needed.
After Sunday's performance, there's plenty of soul searching needed and not a lot of time to do it. They'll take the field again on Thursday night with a chance to wipe the taste of this one off their lips. A chance to get a little revenge for last year's loss to the Bears--the low point of the season. After that, it's four out of five on the road and if they don't figure out a way to protect the football and make some plays on offense, they'll be in danger of becoming a blip in the Vikings' rear view mirror.