Game Thought Pack/Eagles

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  • Wow – close one. I was seriously worried we’d lose and be haunted by the lack of aggressiveness on that last offensive drive (or, for that matter, by the mysterious decision to not try to get a FG at the end of the first half with a timeout left and being in reasonably good position for it).
  • James Starks deserves the game ball. He was absolutely huge. He breaks tackles, he’s decisive and he gets yards on plays where most RBs probably would be stopped for a loss. He ran hard, held onto the ball and even had some nice catches. James Starks MVP.
  • Rodgers was decent but he wasn’t lights out. He was hurt once again by a few key dropped passes. How James Jones dropped that sure TD in the first half I just don’t know. Unreal.
  • The O-Line did have some nice holes for Starks, though Rodgers didn’t have too much time it seemed back there.
  • Driver, despite his drop, came through as Rodgers’ trusted target today. It almost seemed that Rodgers was looking for Driver today more than anyone else. He is the most experienced.
  • I loved the play calling for most of the game, except in the final quarter I suppose. McCarthy had a very good offensive strategy going into this game. It was one that made sense and frankly, one that I also thought we might go to – getting the ball to TEs, RBs, and FBs in the passing game. 7 of our 18 passes were completed to our WRs – the other 11 to RBs, FBs, TEs. But by coaching up James Starks and preparing him to absolutely dominate – McCarthy and staff deserve huge credit for this win. Huge.
  • Capers drew up a great game plan as well. Vick spent much of the game not sure what was coming. We didn’t blitz like crazy like recent teams have done to Vick (with success) and instead we put some decent pressure on him while plugging up his passing lanes. We also held LeSean McCoy in check throughout – only 46 yards rushing and 36 yards receiving. He’s a darn good player who didn’t have much of a role in this one.
  • Erik Walden may be one of the top mid-season free agent pick-ups ever. Honestly. Unreal pick-up by TT.
  • Interesting that Akers was a big reason Philly lost. I know kicking into winds like that is really tough, but he has been one of the best kickers in the NFL in recent years – just odd that he would be the goat today.
  • Why in the world did we get the ball at the 3 yard line after Tramon Williams’ interception? He caught it clearly in the end zone and didn’t try to run out. Made no sense – also didn’t matter at that point, but why did that happen?
  • Philly just looked off tonight and when a team looks like that it’s often because they are confused – Dom Capers gets the credit for setting that up and the players get the credit for executing it.
  • Defensively, we did look like we were wearing down on that last drive there – if Vick hadn’t thrown it deep on that one, I would have been really concerned.
  • I still do have a problem with just cashing out at the end of the first half. We had plenty of time with a timeout to try to make something happen. Even a terrible mistake like a pick six would have left us with the lead. It just don’t like that kind of attitude. Sean Payton would NEVER have done that.
  • I also have a problem with the decision on 2nd and 10, on our final drive, to not try a play action play. Philly was stuffing the box to stop Starks – and while I’ll admit, they had been having trouble stopping him today – 7 guys against 10 guys isn’t going to win most of the time. Meanwhile, there was a favorable match-up on the outside and even with Quarless. Play action could have been money there. I realize that the clock was another factor and we wanted it to keep running but a play action play would have been a very high percentage pass at that point. Just something to keep in mind as we go forward – we need to stay aggressive and go for the kill – not come up short and hope.
  • We seemed vulnerable over the middle tonight. I wonder a bit if Woodson’s roaming, and he was roaming all over the place, may have been a bit of a challenge for his fellow teammates. But for some reason, Vick to Avant was pretty much automatic over the middle tonight.
  • We appeared to win the battle at the line of scrimmage for much of the night. The O-Line’s run blocking was actually a bit better than the pass blocking it seemed.
  • Hawk was noticeably absent tonight. He may have been staying with assignments tonight – like Jenkins…something that does happen when opposing Michael Vick – but he really was quiet tonight and didn’t seem to contribute much.
  • One thing I noticed was lots of shuffling by Matthews, Bishop, Hawk and Walden – lining up on different sides – essentially giving Vick lots of different looks.
  • Overall, solid effort. Again I wish we could close out games better and we’ll have to going forward – but solid effort and quality coaching overall. I’m pleased and looking forward to this next game, a game I think we can win.
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27 Responses to “Game Thought Pack/Eagles”

  1. Ted Says:

    Was that Bishop that tripped on D Jackson on that last drive when it looked like he was a threat to go the distance? Whoever it was…huge.

    • awhayes Says:

      Yes Ted – that was Bishop. It was a great ranging tackle. He wasn’t as awesome as he’s been in other games but he was good tonight. That tackle was spectacular and possibly game-saving.

  2. DaveK Says:

    I feel 10 years older after that game. I’m not sure though I would have been able to take another close playoff lose. I just wasn’t ready for this season to be over.

    See my Jones rant from the last four games. The guy just isn’t clutch. He fumbles or drops sure TD’s way too often.

    Hawk had a bad game in coverage tonight. I counted 3 or 4 plays where he was responsible for an open receiver in the middle of the field. If the blitz doesn’t get home this is the weak spot for the Packers.

    Everyone else I thought had a solid game. We found a legit RB that can get some tough yards when the blocking isn’t perfect. Woodson just amazes me week in and week out. Masthay and coverage units were very good. Bulaga rebounded nicely had a great game along with Clifton on the other side.

    A truly huge win for this organization in so many ways. It’s also nice that Capers won’t be interviewing for the Denver job this week!

    I’m guessing Atlanta isn’t too thrilled with drawing the Packers. And, the Bears lucky season keeps on going drawing the Seahawks at home after a bye week.

  3. buckyor Says:

    I’m not to sure Chicago got an easy draw. They’ve already lost at home to the Seahawks.

  4. Rusty Says:

    Packers did a favor for the Bears tonight. Seattle should fall easily to CHI. Once again they sure seems lucky.

    I think the Packers were giving PHI the middle of the field. They didn’t want to give up the big play to Jackson or Maclin. This is just a guess though. I’m guessing it was a product of the Eagles speed.

  5. Tom Freeman Says:

    The Williams interception, as great as it was, was terrifying to me – he was not touched as he hit the ground, and then he bounced up and ran the ball out of the end zone, not realizing the ball was live. The other guys, fortunately, were smart enough to get him on the ground. I was terrified that he would spike the ball, or flip it in the direction of the official. That is the reason we got the ball at the 3.

    • awhayes Says:

      Tom – is that what happened? I wondered why we ended up at the 3. Ugh. Tramon. Uncharacteristically foolish. Still – great play.

      • Tom Freeman Says:

        Take a look at the replay. I am pretty certain that is what happened. Note how Peprah apparently gets him to go to the ground and then Peprah and Collins jump on him – not in a celebratory way, but in a protective way to prevent anyone coming in and grabbing the ball.

  6. Doug In Sandpoint Says:

    So happy to play another week, but still mystified why we can’t go for the kill. I think the decisions at the end of the 1st half carried over to the 2nd. As if the team said, “Wow, if we weren’t putting the boot to their necks there, we must be in control and can cruise.” The failure to play with more urgency with a timeout, great field position and 30+ seconds on the clock, caried over.

    Love the inspired play, love the game plan, love the execution, but still think McCarthy has his foot on the breaks, holding back this formula one and turning it into a meatwagon. I’m not sure I can take another game like this.

    • awhayes Says:

      With you Doug. I find it somewhat tough to criticize McCarthy for a game generally well-coached, but I would love for him to show some extra confidence in our offense especially by being extra aggressive.

      • mark Says:

        thats pretty much what Doug is saying and we’re all thinking- we have the ability to blow teams out if the chains are off- how great did it feel to blow out the VIKQUEENS and NY- as a football fan i like close games as a Packer fan i like BLOW OUTS!

  7. Kenny Says:

    I read a comment elsewhere that McCarthy doesn’t play to win, he plays not to lose. He needs to change that approach if he hopes to get to the Super Bowl.

  8. RayMidge Says:

    I was surprisingly calm this whole game. Its like I’ve come to accept that the Pack is always going to keep the other team in the game but I felt like, today at least, they would find a way. After rodgers’ fumble I expected a big play but a long TD drive was even better. On the last philly possession I expected an INT or a sack/fumble. I really feel like its this team’s turn, its their time. Couldn’t be happier for rodgers, woodson and the entire organization.

  9. footballrulz Says:

    Jennings & Jones need to be put through a “hands” class. Way too much praise for Jennings for as many drops as he has. Good win & I’ll take ‘em any way they come but the receivers should be going through extra pass catching drills. I realize it’s the NFL & I have no right to be telling these guys how to earn their money but I’m a fan. That’s what we do..

    Would love to see GB get by Atlanta & Chicago beat the Hawks & then see the Pack go to Chicago & dash their dreams. Oh how sweet that would be.

  10. PackerBelle Says:

    The Eagles are a tough team and I’m glad we came away with a win. I definitely was nervous at the end though.

    There were things I wish had been done differently, most of which have already been mentioned here. But there were good things in this game. Starks is the big one. But also the fact that no one seemed to panic when the Eagles started coming back. Rodgers and the offense did enough to give them a cushion and the defense came up with the plays when they had to.

    And think how far we have come this season in terms of special teams and penalties.

    But James Jones is on my shit list for the foreseeable future. And would have been there permanently if the Pack had lost.

  11. Ron LC Says:

    Great Win. Some good things today. They still have to address that 3 or 4 rush and Deep Zone Coverage. Large chunks of yardage given up with the middle underneath pass. Fix it before Altanta. The offense still needs to paly a full game. 2nd half performance fell off too much.

  12. DaveK Says:

    Just watched the 2nd half again on DVR. I think the key to the game was the Packer’s 80 yard TD drive after Rodgers fumbled and the Eagles scored a TD to make it a four point game. It was an amazing response to complete shift in momentum in the game. Rodgers and Driver had two huge 3rd down conversions to start the drive. On the first conversion, Rodgers stood in the pocket and took a huge hit but converted a 3rd and 5 to Driver. That little five yard pass might have been the best play of the night for Rodgers. Huge play to prevent a three and out at that point in the game. Starks then ran for a 20 yard scamper. The drive ended with a perfectly executed screen pass for a touchdown. It was a great play call and Jackson and the line sold the play perfectly before turning up field and rolling into the end zone. Six minute 80 yard drive to put the Pack up 21-10.

  13. Kenny Says:

    McCarty played not to lose (hence, running out the clock in the first half, and the ultraconservative playcalling in the 4th quarter). He needs to play to win, and he has to trust his key players to do what he needs. Peyton Manning is famous for scoring quickly right before the half. The Jets stopped him there — that was a big momentum shift. McCarty should learn to go for the kill. Going into to the half up 21-3 or at least 17-3 would’ve been big.

  14. Green Bay Packers News and Daily Links for 1.10.11 | Cheesehead TV Says:

    […] Driver gets credit from packergeeks. "Driver, despite his drop, came through as Rodgers’ trusted target today," writes Andy Hayes. "It almost seemed that Rodgers was looking for Driver today more than […]

  15. Katie Says:

    I was at the game, and lived to tell about it. Those Philly fans are no joke, but it was pretty satisfying to see them so dejected after the Vick INT.

    – I completely agree with DaveK. The 80-yd TD drive after the Rodgers fumble was a huge turning point in the game. It completely deflated the Philly fans and halted the Eagles momentum. Our offense didn’t play as well in the 2nd half, but that drive was so beautifully executed. Jackson’s patience on his TD run to wait for his blockers was shocking. He hasn’t done that all season.

    – I really think our final drive would have gone differently had Driver still been in the game. I have no doubt he would have been the target on 2nd or 3rd down – he was huge today and would have made a play to get us a 1st down and seal up the game. Luckily, it’s just a bruised knee and he should be back next week.

    – That play call on the TD to Crabtree was awesome.

    – I wasn’t nervous. We controlled the entire game, and I didn’t think Philly would get through the entire game without a turnover.

    – Overall, we played an excellent game. It wasn’t perfect, but offense, defense, and special teams all showed up today and contributed to the win. Great team effort.

    – Listening to the post-game Philly radio show on the way home was pretty interesting. Their fans are very negative about Vick despite everything he has done for them this season. I thought the most interesting comment was that “the packers out-coached us today”. I rarely think that is true in our case, but I have to agree. Reid is a great coach, but I’m proud of our coaching staff for coming in with a great game plan that was well executed. We didn’t commit any major penalties, and we bounced back from our 2 turnovers really well. I credit the coaching staff for that.

    – Starks. Wow. I heard several fans around me complain about how horrible their defense was against our run game that hasn’t been there all season. Very satisfying.

    – I think we are almost there. Hopefully we will be the whole way there next week.

    • Kozak Says:

      The knock on the Pack the last couple of years was ” they can’t win the close ones”. Well the last 2 weeks they won close won or done games. So lets enjoy and get ready to get some revenge on the Dirty Birds …

  16. Dave in Tucson Says:

    –Wow, Driver was huge in this game. It was great to see him being the difference maker.

    –The defense, once again. Only allowed two long drives, kept Vick in check, and limited DJax to just two catches. And opening up the game with that sack on Vick was a real nice way to set the tone of the game right from the start.

    –Is the Packers’ running game secretly not that bad? They rushed for at least 100 yards six times in the regular season http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/uXRNU

    –Where was the play action, especially in the second half? Hopefully we see more of that at Atlanta…

    D∈T

  17. Scott W Says:

    I love the fact that the Pack has developed a “psychology of winning” these past three must win weeks. I like that they come out to fight when their back is against the wall.

    Jones complaining earlier in the year he wasn’t getting enough opportunities….make the most of the ones you get dude and you’ll see the ball more. If I’m Rodgers, I don’t trust Jones.

    The Pack has a running game now, something missing in the first Atlanta game. If we can control Atlanta’s running game, I really like our chances. Go Pack!!

  18. 56coop Says:

    Totally agree with Tom on the final INT. I was screaming for him to either run or get down. I’m pretty sure Peprah was telling him to get down.

    One thing about being a Pack fan–you better have a strong heart because it’s always gonna be beating fast during the game.

    I’m just continuously impressed with the football knowledge on this site. You guys always point out some little something I had missed. The way I watch a game has changed in the last 2 years & it’s because of being here.

    Thanks and also agree that the Pack can beat Atlanta as long as they play like they have the last few weeks.

  19. Ace Says:

    Andy. Good column in Daily Caller this week. 3-1 with warnings about Seattle possibly winning. No one could have done better than you did.
    Game
    1-excellent game plan offensively and defensively and great player effort.
    2-TT has performed absolute miracles this year. Let’s start giving him the credit he deserves. McCarthy too.
    3-James Jones-does often have bad hands and blew a td at the end of the half, BUT very good td catch on low throw earlier. He is very often open, probably because he runs decent routes and does not have top DBs on him. I would not give up on him. He is going to be Donald’s replacement within a year or two. One of the top non starters in the league.
    GB will beat Atlanta! May be worn out for the Bears.

  20. Aaron Rogders Says:

    Check this out about Starks

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFL-playoffs-rookie-report-card.html

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