Sunday, November 25, 2012

Repeat of the playoff loss last season leaves the Packers searching for answers.

The Green Bay Packers lost only two games last year. The first, against the clearly awful Chiefs where neither the offense or defense showed up to play, was seen by many (including myself) to be a fluke. The second, against the New York Giants in the playoffs, was a case where a clearly superior team had an exceptional game plan and executed it to perfection. The Packer coaching staff could not (or would not) adjust, the defense never showed up and the offense was out-of-synch and harassed all day long. It was an awful, awful game for Packer fans to watch. I think I speak for many of us when I say my reaction could best be described as “dumbfounded”. 

That was then, this is now. Then, the Giants were on a late-season roll that would carry a modestly successful team on to claim the Lombardi Trophy. Sound familiar? The Packers, at the time, were hugely successful team but had stumbled and looked like a team that had peaked too soon. So what would 2012 bring? The Packers, battling injuries but on a 5-0 run versus the Giants who shot out of the gate with a slew of early victories but had completely lost their offensive mojo. How did it go?

Different season, same result as the Packers were completely embarrassed on both sides of the ball.

The real key to the Packers ineffectiveness starts and ends with the men in the trenches. The Packer offensive line vs. the Giants defensive line was a complete joke. Exactly like last year, NY dropped seven into coverage and rushed four. They could do that because our five offensive linemen (and sometimes a back and sometimes one or two tight ends) are not capable of blocking their four guys. As an extra added bonus, they can tackle our running backs on the way to the quarterback. So Rodgers, if he isn’t being crushed and hit by the pass rush, is being chased all over the field. Add in a bunch of drops, several poor passes and the inevitable penalty whenever something actually did go right and you have the worst performance by a Packer offense since, well, since they last played the Giants.

On the other side of the ball, it was a 2011 flashback all over again. Remember that crazy Packer defense from last year? The one that couldn’t put pressure on opposing QB’s if they rushed 11? The one that gave up more passing yards than any team in NFL history? Yeah, you remember them, don’t you? Well, they came back with a vengeance. Watching the Giant offense, so ineffective over the last month, explode for 31 points in the first half, running the ball at will, completing pass after pass and walking all over our defense was horrifying. 

If Clay Matthews can’t get back on the football field next week, they might as well just put him on the IR and start thinking about next year. If Marshall Newhouse and TJ Lange are unable to block premier pass rushers, they’d better just put Harrell in right now or Rodgers is going to get killed. I know this is just one game and it was a really, really bad game but I think the injuries have finally caught up with the Packers: too many holes, not enough quality guys to fill them. The offensive line, barely able to give Rodgers time against the Lions last week, will be hard pressed the rest of the season. If Rodgers can’t throw the ball, the Packers will not be winning, pure and simple.

This game might have been different if the Packers were able to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them:  In the first half, there were three almost-interceptions. There were two punts muffed by the Giants the Packers couldn’t jump on. McCarthy put Crosby out there to attempt a 58-yard field goal with predictable results, then, down by 17 in the first half, he doesn’t go for it on fourth and short and settles for three. They were the last points the Packers would score. If any one of these goest the other way, it might have shifted momentum.

It’s unfathomable to me that our coaching staff has no plays to make an aggressive defensive front pay for it. It’s inconceivable to me that our coaching staff has no way to put pressure on an opposing quarterback without Clay Matthews. 

This game may or may not be a fluke. It may or may not be a harbinger of things to come. It may or may not mean the Packers have regressed to the worst performance of an otherwise outstanding season last year. It does mean that they Vikings and their pass rush and their running game are no doubt salivating at the prospect of facing the Packers next week and I sure can’t blame them.


Visit The Packers Sandlot ( for the new home of The MMQB. 

No comments:

Post a Comment