Packers XLV

Wake Up Call? Bah Humbug!

Posted December 19th, 2011 @ 02:12am

So this is what a loss feels like. I made the four hour drive to Madison right after the game ended, giving me a lot of time to consider what went wrong at Arrowhead and what it means. To put it simply, the Packers lost to a more motivated team on Sunday. Doesn't sound good, but from the opening kickoff the Chiefs played with more urgency, intensity and purpose and that is the reason the Packers lost for the first time in 364 days.

So no more talk of history. No more talk of perfection. A loss to a team like the Chiefs means that the aura of invincibility is gone and the Packers need to regroup quickly and re-establish things at Lambeau, where they hope to be playing their next four games. One more win or one more loss by San Francisco will wrap up the #1 seed in the NFC, the next goal--one that is ultimately more important than a perfect season.

We all wanted a chance at 19-0, a chance at the Packers being considered the greatest team of the Super Bowl era. The truth is, if they win their next five games they'll still be in the conversation. But a lot of things need to get fixed, beginning with the offensive line. We'll learn more about Bulaga's injury on Monday. If he's okay for the playoffs, the Pack will have a chance to suit up both opening say starting tackles, Bulaga and Chad Clifton, with Marshall Newhouse waiting in the wings. If Bulaga is out, along with rookie Derek Sherrod who broke his leg on Sunday, the line will get overhauled. You'd probably see TJ Lang move to right tackle and Newhouse move in at left guard. Shuffling the offensive line this late is not a recipe for Lombardi trophies.

The offense was out of sync from the start, with four drops by Finley in the first half and Nelson frustrated by two phantom offensive pass interference calls. Rodgers was not sharp either, serving up his first clunker since the middle of last season. Clearly the absence of both Greg Jennings and James Starks robbed the offense of two key playmakers who may have helped cover for Rodgers' off day.

Even McCarthy had a bad day. I couldn't believe he didn't throw the red flag on the Leonard Pope catch near the end zone where he clearly fumbled into the end zone. I was explaining the rule to my son Jackson and couldn't explain why they didn't let the officials take another look. It would have wiped three points off the board and who knows what might have happened.

Just as confounding was the play of the defense, without Ryan Pickett and Desmond Bishop and unable to stop the run or the screen game and unable to put much heat on Kyle Orton who clearly out-played Rodgers on this day. The unit once again stepped up in the red zone, forcing four field goals, but they couldn't stop the Chiefs in the fourth quarter when the Pack cut the lead to 19-14 and they couldn't stop the run on the final series. Mike McCarthy made it clear what he thought of the unit's chances when he tried an onside kick with just over two minutes to play and all three of his timeouts.

Every team is allowed one of these games. The Packers had been exempt until this day in Kansas City, where the Chiefs played hard for Romeo Crennel and drew up a game plan that other teams will try to emulate: ball control and ball security. This was the first time all season that the defense did not get a takeaway.

It's not time to panic. It was a great run, the second longest winning streak in NFL history. If the Packers with their two home playoff games to return to the Super Bowl and then win a second straight title, this loss won't mean much. But right now, it doesn't feel like the wake up call some teams need. It feels like a flat, uninspired effort that has raised a number of questions. They'll have a chance to put it in the rearview mirror on Christmas night against the Bears. I expect they'll respond like champions. They'd better.

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Comments (37):

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on August 4th, 2012 at 05:17am

The porous defense finally paid for giving up tons of yardage. You knew it had to happen sooner or later. This time Rodgers couldn't bail them out and they didn't get their usual turnovers. The offense looked pathetic without Greg Jennings. And after Bulaga and Sherrod both left the game, you just knew it was one of those days, where nothing was going to go right. Now, they just need to win one more game and focus on getting healthy. They've got too many starters banged up right now.

on December 18th, 2011 at 09:26pm

i was worried about this game as i said earlier in the week. but i saw that play too dave, where it went out thru the end zone, why not throw the flag? we were lucky to hold them to 3 again. but, this is the thing i told 4 of my buddies last friday. watch when hawk gets back how many more balls the te's get. francois does a so much better job then hawk. play hawk on 1st down and get him out of there if it's a passing down. francois is so much faster in coverage. the te's killed us again today. i know my football and even as bad as the d was, all we needed was 20 points guys. come on, u tell me we are going to give up 19 points. we should win 99% of the time with this offense. jennings takes up 2 defenders alot of times and now he is gone until playoffs. we will beat the bears and things will look better next week. let's hope buluga can come back soon or we are in some trouble. THE WIND WAS REALLY BLOWING, BUT IT SEEMED LIKE IT DIDN'T BOTHER ORTON AS MUCH AS AARON. can't figure that out. lastly, finley shut your trap, and just play and catch the ball. go world champs

on December 18th, 2011 at 10:58pm

Bloggers...let's be honest. Capers can not try and come up with some magical defense out of his helmet. He is a great coordinator but you win with talent who can implement your system. This is not last years pass pass coverage by the linebackers...Jenkins and Collins have not been adequately replaced. let's do what we excel at...scoring. Get the OL healthy and Jennings back and lets win shoot outs. As the teams get better in the playoffs we can not depend o our defense always being saved by big plays. Fine tune the defense next year with key new additions. Let's focus on offense for now and we can make a nice run...Go Pack Go!!

on December 19th, 2011 at 01:00pm

capablecarl, I have to disagree with your comment that "This team hasn't played a real good game since Thanksgiving." Did you NOT see the game against the Oakland Raiders last week? The Packers as a team: offense, defense & specials teams put up 46 points on the Raiders. I count that & the game at Lambeau versus the Vikings as "real good" games. Hopefully the Packers can put this apalling performance behind them & focus on beating the Bears & the Lions after that. Hope the O-Line can get healthy as well as the other injured players. Go Pack!

on December 19th, 2011 at 01:38pm

Coach Capers better find creative ways to put heat on opposing QB's - we cant get pressure with just a four man rush. I think #88 is a very good player and needs to show it over the final five games - NO easy drops and "stepping up" to help replace Jennings. AJ Hawk? Slow and I would predict he is not a Packer a year from now. I agree that it's not time to panic but it's time for everyone to step up, including MM and Capers.

on December 19th, 2011 at 07:28am

The "experts" are saying that the Chiefs invented the blueprint for beating the Packers. Well, the Chiefs didn't exactly invent the strategy of pressuring the QB and taking care of the ball. That is what happened and the entire Packers team through up a dud. This team hasn't played a real good game since Thanksgiving. I hope it is just either boredom from playing essentially meaningless games, or some mental exhaustion from being the hunted the entire season.

on December 19th, 2011 at 07:29am

Well, first I got this one wrong. I got cocky and thought they would build on last week. I forgot 2 truths. Playing away matters and playing AFC teams matter, its just harder to have the same focus. My only concern here is the O line. I don't care if we treat both of the next games like the 3rd preseason game, we need to get that unit functional or there will be no higher goals achieved.

on December 19th, 2011 at 08:36am

I hope it is a wakeup call and I am not panicking. The number one reason in my eyes that they continue to lead the league in not stopping the oppositions passing game is that the defensive line gets absolutely no pressure on the quarterback. The only way they get pressure on the quarterback is if they blitz. That is a dangerous proposition if you have to face the Saints in the playoffs, because Brees can get rid of the ball as fast as anyone and will screen you to death with Sproles. I'm not saying it has to be like the Reggie White days, but you need an occasional hurry, knockdown or sack by a defensive lineman.

on December 19th, 2011 at 08:37am

Ha, ha all this negativity on this web site sucks. Vikes will see you next year with our new QB ( Luck) No Superbowl for YOU!!

on December 19th, 2011 at 10:50pm

Webleppard, It's called constructive criticism something you wouldn't know about like the rest of your ilk who only praise (sarcasm) your team on KFAN fanline (whineline) after your games/losses. Real positive, but I shouldn't blame you since you guys are use to losing and can only imagine something besides dust in your trophy case. I had the chance to be in the front lobby of the Vikings and their trophy case (yes they do have one) are filled with wooden plaques and in the corner stands a hand-carved viking which looks like it was done by a 7th grade carving class. Stick to your whineline so I can listen to you whimper after the next loss, or I guess I could say each week.

on December 20th, 2011 at 02:36pm

I have to admit there isn't as much of the wailing and gnashing of teeth as I expected after two days, which is a good thing. The O line is banged up, which is something we should all care about. The D, well...for this year, it is what it is. But the 19-0 talk, I could care less about. And frankly, I'm glad that talk is out the window. Essentially, Sunday was the trifecta - the Packers lost, the Colts won, and Tebow was humbled. But the truth is, IT DOESN"T REALLY MATTER! It's all still good. We're still working toward #14 (think of it as in honor of Don Hutson), and an SB ring for the thumb. Now wouldn't that look good!

on December 20th, 2011 at 02:53pm

Surprise. Surprise. The Vikings fan mentions next year. Well, this year is as good as over for the Vikings and I'm sure you would be much happier to talk about the draft. We still have meaningful games to look forward to before we need look toward next spring. We have achieved something this year. We just aren't done. I'll turn my thoughts fully toward how low our draft pick is when it is determined. Got that!

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