What happened yesterday to the Packers???

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Let me start by saying I’m sad – just really sad that the Packers blew it. I really thought we were headed to the Super Bowl and I genuinely think the better team lost last night.

Due to wanting to be accountable, I need to just eat it for a season’s worth of ripping on Eli Manning. He made some very good throws yesterday and very effectively led his team to victory. He has played very solid (bordering on excellent) football in the last 4 games and is a major reason his team is going to the Super Bowl. And, while I refuse to retract my loser face comments (though the irony is not lost on me), I must admit, I don’t see him quite as the horrible, whiney, jerk he was when he came into the league. One thing he doesn’t do is talk trash to the other team or behave in a cocky way and while someone shouldn’t really be commended for that, in today’s sports world, I’ll go ahead and commend him for that. As for Eli’s counterpart last night, I’m sad for Favre because he didn’t play very well and threw a costly pick at the end – eerily similar to the Philly game a few years ago.

Now, why did we lose? As Steve already noted, the playcalling was odd. I don’t know why we stopped running Grant as he could have been a major force w/re to tiring out the defense and opening up the passing game. Our pass game was off all game and I hate to say it, but it may have been due to solid defensive scheming. I did like the attempted screens as a counter to the pass rush, but I didn’t like the horrendous execution of them. I thought McCarthy may try a trick play or two or something that could potentially have jump-started the offense. None of that – just stiff, uncharacteristicly poor playcalling.

I think a major factor was simply that McCarthy was outcoached. Coughlin and the Giants did a good job on offense and defense and mostly dominated the game. Over the last week or so, I do wonder if the enormity of this whole situation may have finally caught up with McCarthy. Last week, for the first time I know of, he finally admitted with 4 minutes left in the Seattle game and the snow falling, that he was a bit awed at how great it felt to the be the coach of such a good Packers team. While we all know he’s proud that he’s coach, he hadn’t been so effusive about it until this past week. Throw in discussion of a new $20 million contract and this would present a big step up for a no-name guy EVERYONE questioned upon his hire. It’s sort of like in golf, when you go out on the front nine and play really well only to crash on the final few holes of the back nine as you start to think about breaking your personal low round. Maybe all of the truly great accomplishments thus far, finally caught up with McCarthy and the Pack.

While I won’t dwell on the officiating because we had other chances to win, but I do think the second half officiating was terrible. In the game, I counted 8 MBCs (Major Blown Calls): 5 against the Packers and 3 against the Giants. I think their touchdown drive when they took the lead 13-10 was a gift because Harris was the one who was interfered with (not Burress) on the first 3rd down play and then Collins hit was just plain not late. That was a terrible call. However, one of the biggest crap calls in the game was Steve Smith’s “catch” toward the end of the game that got them a first down. He did not have control of the ball before he hit the ground and the replay to me was conclusive. I don’t think they even looked at that – they just reviewed for spot of the ball. The problem I have with these calls is that they affected the flow of the game and arguably the outcome. Again, there were some terrible calls against the Giants too. To me, that is inexcusable. Officiating in games like this needs to be highly competent so that the outcome can be pure – and I just don’t think the crew did a good job.

The only positive spin I can think of is this: the Packers played and coached a poor-mediocre game at best, and lost in overtime in crappy conditions. I’m comforted by the thought that had they played and coached even at a slightly above-average level, they would have won the game. But they didn’t and I have to hand it to the Giants.

One last thought: I’ll bet Giants fans at Lambeau were confused after the game when Packer fans respectfully congratulated them on their victory. They were likely anticipating the verbal assaults they may dish out to fans of the opposing team after a brutally depressing loss. While I hate losing more than anyone, at the very least, because we’re genuinely nice people, we lose with class.

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7 Responses to “What happened yesterday to the Packers???”

  1. RayMidge Says:

    No question, the better team won. still a genuinely great season. Perhaps youth just caught up with us. The only young teams I can think of that made the leap without earning it by redeatedly losing and learning were the ’81 49ers and ’92 Cowboys. Jints D was better than I thought. Eli does in fact have testicles. I totally agree wih your evaluation of the officiating, it was poor but nothing a good team shouldn’t be able to overcome, and NY got some bad ones too. I watched the game at home but went out to the local afterwards to congratulate all my gaint fan friends, who were mostly gracious and happliy surprised. Go Giants, beat the Pats!

  2. The Hub Says:

    I was rooting for the Packers, as I think most of America was. However, Eli pulled the game of his life out of his ass last night. I think the Packers offense was a little too conservative towards the end. I also think Ryan Grant could have performed a little bit better although that Giants defense is tough. Hopefully this loss won’t cause Favre to retire, the Packers will be back next year.

  3. RayMidge Says:

    By the way I would like to point out the ESPNews jinx. I flip over at 10-6 half time and they’re already matching the Pack against the Pats. Don’t start the bus, don’t put the bats away (*do* put up “Conratulations 1986 World Champion Red Sox!” on the CF scorebaord) . . . that’s bad beaver. To quote Joe Dirt, “I was like, dang.”

  4. sfhayes Says:

    Yeah, to say nothing of the SI Cover jinx. It’s alive and well. So long as they don’t put Ryan Grant on the cover of Madden next year.

  5. rudygamble Says:

    Nice post. I’m a Giants fan and have always had a lot of respect for Packers and Packer fans. The only extra satisfaction I get out of the Giants getting to the Super Bowl through the Packers is the aura of winning at Lambeau Field. (As a Yankee fan, I understand the aura of winning at certain stadiums – though I generally expect other fans to relish beating the Yanks b/c of their payroll)

    Agree with your sentiment on coaching. The Giants seemed to have a much better game plan. Offensively, the Giants mixed their plays up well, controlled the ball, and exploited Green Bay’s predictable man-to-man coverage. On defense, the Giants secondary schemes were impressive. You take out the fluke throw to Driver and Favre threw 34 passes for 146 yards while stuffing Grant. And that was with a banged-up secondary. No wonder the Falcons are adding the Giants defensive coordinator (Spagnulo) to their coaching search.

    Also agree with – and am shocked not to hear more from the press on – the officiating in the game. Awful. Maybe we’re both biased but it felt like Green Bay got the better of the bad calls. Green Bay’s 2nd TD was courtesy of a personal foul on Madison on a 3rd down play that seemed questionable. They never showed it but it looked like it was a case of two guys pushing each other after the running back held a block for way too long. Questionable holding calls on the Giants killed one 1st half drive and brought back the Bradshaw TD run with a minute left in regulation. The Packers’ FG in the 1st half was courtesy of a 3rd down Illegal Contact call on the Giants safety that I recall being bullshit. I didn’t like the call on Harris on 3rd down for GB but the Collins late hit – while a cheap way for the Giants to get a 3rd down – was the right call. Collins wasn’t looking at the ball and took 2-3 steps after Eli threw it. The Steve Smith catch looked ok to me – at best, that’s a play where the call is going to stand regardless b/c it’s tough to prove. It didn’t matter, though, b/c we missed the subsequent FG try.

    At the end of the day, Green Bay had the better season and the Giants had the better game. A 40 minute to 22 minute time advantage for the Giants. 380-264 on total yards (with 90 on a fluke play). Packers went 1-10 on 3rd down. Giants should’ve won by 10 points.

    Great blog and best of luck to the Packers in the draft and in 2008!

  6. awhayes Says:

    Rudy – nice comments, appreciate them and I congratulate your Giants for putting in a great effort. Good luck in the Super Bowl, I will be rooting for your team.

    While we may disagree on some of the particular calls (the Smith catch was a rare instance of the ground causing control!), I think we can agree that the refs just need to be sharper for such an important game. I think the Sam Madison call was hard to have an opinion on because Fox didn’t show the replay – inexcusable for such a big play. I also thought that on one of the first drives Tramon Williams had a textbook pass interference by the goal line that wasn’t called – would have been 7 points instead of 3 for you guys.

    Anyway, I too have been impressed by your D coordinator and the gritty effort of a undermanned Giant defense.

  7. rudygamble Says:

    Thanks awhayes. Definitely agreed on the quality of officiating. I’m just as upset that there’s no press coverage of it b/c it was a key topic at the place I was watching the game. Maybe the cold got to the refs…

    Here’s hoping the Giants make one of those en vogue agreements with Spagnulo to replace Coughlin when he retires and/or has an embolism…

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