Titans – Packers Thoughts

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*The no-call on Greg Jennings with four minutes left was outrageous. He was bumped twice before he was mugged. Cortland Finnegan (I believe) had Jennings’ right arm pinned to his body — making it virtually impossible for Jennings to catch the ball. It was a horrendous no-call. Two weeks after saying that I don’t like to waste time bitching about the officiating, it’s fair to say the referees helped cost the Packers another game.

The NFL put out something saying that the officials get 97 percent of calls correct. That’s complete bullshit. I get that that they’re not going to get everything right. But I do think that the Packers have been victimized by poor officiating — especially over the past month.

*I didn’t like the call on third down and four with just under three minutes left in the game – a short screen up the middle to Brandon Jackson. The Titans had been struggling against our receivers — Nelson, Jennings and especially Driver — and we would have been wise to have gone to a spread formation there. The dump-off to Jackson has worked, too, so it’s not a crazy call. I just would have looked to our receivers.

Other random observations:

*Ruvell Martin is a very effective downfield blocker.

*Several communications breakdowns today. Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings often seem like they’re not on the same page.

*The Rodgers throw to Donald Driver for the touchdown was in the perfect spot and it was gunned in with pretty serious velocity.

*Jordy Nelson’s move on Nick Harper was outstanding. I don’t think he’ll end up being as good as Greg Jennings, but like Jennings he plays with the poise of someone who is very confident in his abilities. He could be a good slot receiver for years to come.

*I like Mike McCarthy’s aggressiveness at the end of the first half, even though it didn’t work out.

*AJ Hawk had several solid hits and sure tackles today. He’s playing like a guy who knows that people are really questioning how early he went in the draft. Good for him.

*Donald Driver is still very good. He’s like a waterbug.

*Rodgers’ interception was a bad decision. He threw into what he must have thought was single coverage — missing the safety altogether. It came at a very bad time. Poor decision

*Justin Harrell looked very good. He collapsed the pocket on a number of plays and had one play in the second half in which he shed two blockers — the center and the guard — and reached out with one arm to bring down the runner. Very powerful. If this is what he’s like when he’s healthy, I like it a lot.

*Overall, Rodgers looked a little jumpy but was still pretty good. He was 22/41 for 314 with a touchdown and an interception. That’s not a great completion percentage, but he is almost unfailingly productive.

*Ryan Grant looked good. He ran 20 times for 86 yards. Those aren’t pro-bowl statistics, but against a top-five run defense, they’re pretty good. I didn’t think he had a lot of holes again today, but he seemed to get outside and hit the corner very quickly today.

*This was a tough loss. Both the defense and offense looked pretty good at times. The Titans are good, but a very beatable undefeated team. The blown call on Jennings was unfortunate, but you don’t walk away thinking that the Packers outplayed the Titans and that they really deserved the win. They played well and could have won if that call had been made. So in that sense it sucks. But I think you leave this game being as happy as you can be after a loss.

UPDATE: Let me just highlight these very smart comments from DaveK. He is absolutely right that the non-call on Brandon Chillar cost the Titans. I should have mentioned that. It came at an important time, though it wasn’t quite as significant, given the timing, as the non-call on Jennings.

Anyway, good thoughts from DaveK:

The non-call on Jennings was bad and it probably took three and maybe seven points off the board. The non-call on Chillar in the end zone also was missed and it took 4 points of the board for TN.

McCarthy going for it on 4th and 4 was an awful decision. Punt and pin them back. Make their offense go 80-90 yards to get points. Field position is important in a game like this and that is a tough down and distance against the Titans. PUNT! Did you not watch the Monday night game?

Brady Poppinga’s penalty was awful and really hurt the Packers. The Titan’s should have punting from their 45 with 3-0 lead. Instead they eat 5 more minutes off the clock and go up 6-0.

I can excuse the fumble but Rodger’s INT really hurt the Packers. The INT took three points off board. You just cannot do that when playing in a low scoring field position game like this one.

Besides those items I thought the Packers played extremely well on both sides of the ball. I thought the o-line was outstanding for most of the game and Grant ran really well. Besides the INT, Rodgers made good decisions and ran the offense well.

The defense played good enough to win this game and the way they played make me optimistic about our chances this year. The d-line played well until overtime and I thought Harrell showed some quickness and power. I think Cole/Picket/Jolly/Harrell combination will be a good rotation. The LB group is just better with Chillar on the field and the secondary is superb. I think the Packers definately have a defense, if they stay healthy, that can take us into the playoffs.

I look at the record and I don’t feel it reflects this team’s ability. I thought they played their best game of the year and unfortunately came up just a bit short. But, the way the offense moved the ball and ran the ball makes me optimistic. The way the defense played for four quarters makes me optimistic. I know the Packers are 4-4 but I don’t think it would be absurd to see both these teams in the Superbowl if they stay healthy.

UPDATE II: Just finished reading Greg Bedard’s postgame chat over at Packer Insider.  Not surprisingly I found his analysis brilliant when he agrees with me and lacking when he does not.  Most strikingly, Bedard disagrees with us on the Jennings no-call and says Jennings “wasn’t held.”  I watched it probably ten times and it was pretty clear that Jennings was hit and held just before the ball arrived (I’m discounting the contact that came as the two men ran down the field, which, if it had been Charles Woodson or, Lord knows, Ahmad Carroll, would have been flagged).  The d-back grabbed Jennings’ right arm, wrapping his right hand around Jennings bicep and pinning it against his body.  It was enough to keep Jennings from reaching out for the ball.  In my viewing of the play, it wasn’t close — clear interference.

The good news is that Bedard, too, was puzzled by the short screen Brandon Jackson on third down late in the game.

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11 Responses to “Titans – Packers Thoughts”

  1. DaveK Says:

    I’ll add a few comments:

    The non-call on Jennings was bad and it probably took three and maybe seven points off the board. The non-call on Chillar in the end zone also was missed and it took 4 points of the board for TN.

    McCarthy going for it on 4th and 4 was an awful decision. Punt and pin them back. Make their offense go 80-90 yards to get points. Field position is important in a game like this and that is a tough down and distance against the Titans. PUNT! Did you not watch the Monday night game?

    Brady Poppinga’s penalty was awful and really hurt the Packers. The Titan’s should have punting from their 45 with 3-0 lead. Instead they eat 5 more minutes off the clock and go up 6-0.

    I can excuse the fumble but Rodger’s INT really hurt the Packers. The INT took three points off board. You just cannot do that when playing in a low scoring field position game like this one.

    Besides those items I thought the Packers played extremely well on both sides of the ball. I thought the o-line was outstanding for most of the game and Grant ran really well. Besides the INT, Rodgers made good decisions and ran the offense well.

    The defense played good enough to win this game and the way they played make me optimistic about our chances this year. The d-line played well until overtime and I thought Harrell showed some quickness and power. I think Cole/Picket/Jolly/Harrell combination will be a good rotation. The LB group is just better with Chillar on the field and the secondary is superb. I think the Packers definately have a defense, if they stay healthy, that can take us into the playoffs.

    I look at the record and I don’t feel it reflects this team’s ability. I thought they played their best game of the year and unfortunately came up just a bit short. But, the way the offense moved the ball and ran the ball makes me optimistic. The way the defense played for four quarters makes me optimistic. I know the Packers are 4-4 but I don’t think it would be absurd to see both these teams in the Superbowl if they stay healthy.

  2. Ron La Canne Says:

    The only thing wrong with AJ is Sanders is playing him out of position. He is the one LB who is capable of tackling the way it is supposed to be done. I went back to DVR and counted 7 missed taclkes by Barnett. Harrell can’t move laterally at all. If they don’t run into him he will not be in on the play. Oh, and my favorite M Montgomery made a couple of splashy plays, but was trapped inside 3 times on crucial plays late in the second hald and OT.

    I want a smash-mouth MLB not a guy who piles on and tries to push the RB back after he’s on the ground. He’s starting to remind me of Ken Stills.

  3. e.p. Says:

    yeah, I was at the game … when they didnt call on Chillar in the end zone, they booed straight through the field goal, kickoff, and our entire posession. Tenessee fans were pissed, rightly so.

    Looked to me (without the benefit of instant replay, etc.) like Rogers initially was not on page. He had a lot of balls aimed at his receivers’ feet.

    The sad thing is, the game was so damn close, the call on Jennings or a few early easy completions could have made the game for the Packers. Or a defensive pick … which we didn’t get today for the first time in a long time.

    Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all. Just need to beat the Bears twice… Good game though, we got some great tickets from a season ticket holder from a pretty good price, on the 32 yard line 6 rows behind the bench, wife and I were in heaven even with the loss.

  4. Ron La Canne Says:

    This game is really bothering me. I keep going back to the 2007 Bear games, the 2007 & 2008 Dallas games, Giant game and Tampa. Aggressive defenses seem to totally confuse the Packers. Play calling goes from what starts out to be a well-balanced approach early and degrades to what appears to be desperation too early in the game. In the fourth quarter the play calling today went from balance to 13 passes and 6 runs. They should have been trying for first downs and run the clock. Instead they give the ball back to Tenn and almost lost in regulation.

    You have to blame MM for this loss. There were mistakes on the field, but play calling cost them the game. Same as the games mentioned above. We better get a new attitude over this week. They could blow the whole season in the next two games.

  5. Scott in Wisconsin Says:

    What’s bothering me is the O-Line coach. Whatshisname. I was watching the Jets and Packers (thanks, TiVo!) at the same time and noticed that BF has a nice straight line in front of him that neatly folds into a V (for the most part). Our When we have a passing play, we start with a nice straight line, and then it collapses into an S or a W or heck, a B. it seems like there’s always one guy who runs through unscathed to AR. Why is that? Our O line is our biggest weakness. We will not win any playoffs this year. Our QB protection is flimsy, especially as AR is still a bit hesitant in the pocket still. I know that will improve, but how many of you winced when AR took that shot to the right armpit on what, the second play of our game yesterday? Watch it again. The guy wasn’t even picked up.

    ON A WHOLLLLE different SIDE NOTE:
    I wonder how many years will pass before some press guy types up the “Is the Pack Cursed?” (ala Red Sox/Ruth) headline. I just hope everyone remembers the INT in overtime against the Giants. Hopefully 200 years.

  6. Aaron Rogders Says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned how the BearFan cursed Kyle Orton LOL. And no matter what the Bears do to try and upgrade their QB position, Grossman just comes right back :P.

  7. Aaron Says:

    AR – that is hilarious. Thanks for making my day. :)

  8. Ron La Canne Says:

    Jermichael Finnley criticizing Rodgers? Someone ought to tell that moron to SHUT UP. Anyone with a “Wonderlick” score of zero should not speak to the press. What a complete fool.

  9. Ron La Canne Says:

    Dear Bob Sanders,

    Hope you were watching the Steelers vs. Redskins. You saw two very good, if not great, defenses. One team gave up 24 points and the other 6. Do you think the team that lost is going to be happy with 14 out 16 plays for their top draft coice (comments on Harrels performance)? The team that played with more emotiuon won. It is time for you to put Barnett on the bench. The guy is not playing at all. Move AJ to the middle. Did you see how well the MLB’s last night filled the gaps last night?

    Oh and MM, you better have a better plan to finish off your drives. Both teams had virtually the same statistics. One team had 26 points and one 6. The Steelers scored because they were aggressive when they had an opportunity, yes. But, they stuck with their game plan and ran the ball and optimized the pass.

    You have eight games left and if you expect to win this division you have to go 6 and 2 the rest of the way. Might get away with 5 and 3 if you win all four remaining Division games. You no longer have time to review the films and fix it. It better be fixed by Sunday.

  10. Seamus Hughes Says:

    Hopefully Grossman stays at QB for the rest of the season…should help the Packers LOL!

  11. Ron La Canne Says:

    From the Chicago Trib: Oreton practiced on Wednesday and is expected to start on Sunday.

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