23-20. Season Over.

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What to say? It’s tempting to talk about what a wonderful year the Packers had, how they achieved so much more than anyone expected, how they played their hearts out, etcetera.

There’s an entire off-season for that. So we’ll focus on this game.

The Packers got beat. It would have been extraordinary had they won despite the performance by the Giants. The Packers were outplayed and, much as I like Mike McCarthy, thoroughly outcoached. The Giants ended up with nearly at 2-to-1 time-of-posession advantage, 40 minutes to 22 and change. The Packer defense could barely stand up at the end of the game — a fact evidenced by the numerous missed tackles at the end of regulation, some of which (the ones on the Ahmed Bradshaw screen) contributed to the final outcome.

The playcalling down the stretch was simply awful. The coach who has said that the perfect game would be 50 rushes just refused to run the ball. It is certainly true that the Packers had limited success on the ground tonight. But Ryan Grant finally broke a couple of runs and then we stopped running altogether. Even if we had to settle for 2-yard gains, at the end of the game that would have been worth it. We just needed to keep our defense off the field.

I think we saw some old Brett Favre tonight, too. Not only on the interception that would determine the outcome of the game, but also on the throw to James Jones, when Favre threw into triple coverage in order to move the ball down the field. On the interceptions in overtime, Favre had Ryan Grant, his checkdown, wide open with nobody in front of him. This has been Favre’s best season, in my view, but he pressed tonight and it cost us.

Two closing ironies: The Packers, who not only found a running game during the second half of the season but found a dominant running game, failed to run the ball. And on September 15, I made a $25 future bet that the Packers would win the NFC Championship. I didn’t mention it because I didn’t want to jinx myself. Oh well.

We’ll have lots more in the coming days about the game, the playcalling, the future and the draft.  Stay tuned.

And one more irony: I will be in Arizona for four days to cover the Super Bowl. Nice.

UPDATE: Let me add that I think the Giants played very well, other than the two missed field goals. As poor as the Packer playcalling was, the Giants playcalling was excellent. Kevin Gilbride kept the Packer defense guessing all day and when the Packers failed to make adjustments to the Giants’ first-half gameplan, the Giants pressed on with great success. Congratulations to the Giants.

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8 Responses to “23-20. Season Over.”

  1. Ace Says:

    Outcoached-neg. yardage on flat passes all night-give it up, try a run, bad games for Harris and Favre-not a cold weather QB; strong games for Manning, Giant RBs, Burress, Giant LBs. Minor contributors to the loss-Ryan, J. Bush, defensive line (looked exhausted-DBs-Bigby admitted in postgame interview he was wiped in the 4th qrtr.

  2. Theophilos in Florida Says:

    Packers were dominated by the Giants in time of possession, Burress dominated the over-matched and over-cooked Al “Toast” Harris, and the Packers embarrassed themselves in their tackling, play-calling, and various and sundry other incidences of bone-headedness, i.e., Jarrett Bush’s failure to fall on a fumble, opting instead for the possible Sports Center highlight reel by attempting to scoop it up. Given all that, amazingly and inexplicably, the Packers were still in position to win the game in overtime when Brett Favre decided to once again close his eyes (brain) and heave one up for grabs that was intercepted by the very pedestrian Corey Webster, effectively placing the final dagger into the Pack’s Super Bowl hopes. Favre’s idiotic throw would be sad if it weren’t so maddeningly typical for Favre in big games over the last half of his career.

  3. ff Says:

    Very disappointing. To be beaten at home by a team that I don’t see as a dynasty (or even one in the making).

    Blame to McCarthy, Sanders, the interior o-line, and Favre, who once again showed that he is not a big time performer (3-6 in last 9 playoff games). He will never overcome his tendencies to make bad decisions in these games (see 4-26 Phil game, 2004 game vs Minn).

    Its time for a changing of the guard at QB. They have a good young team with a 38 yr old QB. Time to give the 24-year old Rodgers a shot….Favre will not get you where you need to go at this point.

  4. rich Says:

    I’m a Giants fan, living here in WI since 99, so I’ve seen way more of the Packers ups-and-downs for the past several years than that of the Giants. I looked at the Packers yesterday from two different aspects – they lost because they did not play the type of game that got them here in the first place, and they lost because they were too busy trying to be the tough guys with short sleeves. The day was cold for everyone. And I did not have a good feeling about the game. But before the game, they interviewed Harris on the field, in his short-sleeves, and he was SHIVERING. And I turned to my wife and the other 11 Packer fans I had to deal with yesterday and said… “these guys are toast.”

  5. awhayes Says:

    Great point Rich. I thought that was kind of a funny thing with Harris too. On the one hand, it seemed verbally, he was trying to communicate that he was pumped and ready for the challenge but non-verbally, it looked like he would much rather have been at home in his living room watching the game.

    Let me offer congrats to you though – Giants played well.

  6. Tim NYG Fan Says:

    I think the Packers lost for a few reasons-

    A) Not respecting their opponent

    B) Not taking anything from the previous Giants PO victories.

    Earlier in the week when I heard McCarthy say “We’re going to make Eli beat us”, and heard numerous references to the Giants weak secondary, I knew the Giants had a very good shot. This was the same gameplan that both TB and Dallas used and lost with. Both Dallas and GB thought that the Giants victories were a fluke and didn’t prepare correctly as a result.

    Belichick is a massive step-up from either Wade Phillips or Mike McCarthy in terms of knowledge and ability so unfortunately I doubt that our next opponent will make this error.

  7. Jimmy A Says:

    The Packers lost because The Green Bay Coaching staff did not make the proper adjustments after the game had started. 1) they didnt bring help to Al Harris. I’m sorry if Al’s ego may have gotten in the way, but he couldnt stop Burress. 2) They did not make the correct adjustments when the Packers could not run the ball. You just dont stop running and put Brett in a shotgun. You dont go away from your 5 and 7 yr routes or your crossing routes( I dont think I saw one all game). Short passing game can take the place of running. Look at what the Giants did. 5-10 yrd passes, which keeps drives moving and the defense off the field. 30 Special team coverage was horrible and got worse as the game went on. And one final note: The cold affects a 38 yr quarterback alot more than a 24 yr quarterback. The older you get, the more the cold bothers you. That’s just the way it is. Brett may not be a sub zero quarterback anymore, but thats’s OK! The Pack could have still won the game if the coaching staff would have put Brett in a position to succeed, instead of lose.

  8. awhayes Says:

    Nicely put Jimmy. I agree – I just didn’t like the way the plays were setting up when Favre dropped back. While the Giants D was very good last night, I strongly doubt they were so good that they just took away all of the offensive tools we’ve used so effectively all season long. For someone I think is a very creative and talented offensive playcaller, McCarthy just didn’t deliver.

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