*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.