Usually I wait a day to write my game thoughts, but they’re fresh and I feel like I need to get them out right now.
I’m profoundly sad. We played hard and the offense was phenomenal bringing the team back from the dead.
The defense was terrible. We got absolutely used by Kurt Warner and the AZ offense. Used. It was embarrassing. We didn’t adjust at all during the game and we just got used. I think this game exposed Capers and the fact that we may have been the #2 defense because we played against terrible opposing offenses this year.
Hate to be like this – but AZ was given at least 8 points by the officials (both of Fitzgerald’s TDs should have been negated by offensive pass interference calls – but they probably would have gotten at least FGs, so 8 points). This is no small thing. All year, I have been ticked at officials changing the course of games and they changed this game. Sure we should have adapted anyway, but if your job is to make calls, you CANNOT miss these incredibly blatant offensive interference. That’s their only responsibility – to make calls. I am aboslutely positive that if this same game had been played in GB, Fitzgerald would not have gotten away with throwing Woodson to the ground. (The second one was particularly egregious as Fitzgerald changed the path of his route to knock Woodson down – it was so obvious I feel like puking as I write about it.)
I love that Mike McCarthy made in-game adjustments offensively at least. I like that he decided on the onside kick and went for it on that critical 4th down in there. He showed guts today. If we hadn’t been playing from behind for so much of the time, I would fault McCarthy for not running more to keep AZ’s offense off the field (Grant averaged 6 yards a carry). But we were behind and the fact was simple: AZ couldn’t stop our passing game at all (ironically until the final play). Overall, I’d have to say I’m pleased with how McCarthy ran the offense that put up 45 points.
One thing I do wonder about though is at what point McCarthy should have shut Dom Capers down and simply taken over the defense. McCarthy is the head coach and it was clear to everyone watching that his D coordinator couldn’t handle his duties today. Whenever you give up 45 points to an opposing offense, your D coordinator might as well be crapping on the toilet the whole time – Capers was useless today. But again, at what point would it have been appropriate for McCarthy to just take over?
AJ Hawk, Barnett and even Chillar were exposed today. Our corners were too. But the middle of the field as reader Schaef (and Whisenhunt at halftime) pointed out, was wide open. Multiple WRs and TEs had some big catches over the middle for AZ today when they needed yards.
Bigby’s injury hurt us today. Yes, he was bad today and our D was bad with him in there. But he was out for the final critical part of the game. I still think acquiring the phenomenal Jim Leonhard in the 2009 offseason would have been smart. (Was Derrick Martin’s absence felt today – I believe Matt Giordano was the #3 safety option and he had to go in when Bigby went down.)
Kurt Warner played one of the greatest playoff games by a QB in NFL history. 29/33 for 379 yards and 5 TDs. Like him or now, his performance was absolutely unbelievable and after time to digest what’s happened – I think this game will be remembered by his undeniably good performance. As a spectator, I have to say, Kurt Warner can be, at times, the best QB ever when he wants to be. He had a pass tonight to Breaston over Tramon along the sidelines on that last drive that was an absolutely perfectly thrown ball. An inch in any direction and it’s a drop or a broken-up pass. But he put it just where he needed to. I hate praising the other team ever, but Kurt Warner was absolutely incredible today.
Jermichael Finley is the best TE in the NFL. I honestly think there is no question about this.
Rodgers was great today – that last play was unfortunate.
In the end, and I hate saying this, the Pack was particularly unlucky today.
I am NEVER happy with a loss. And I am seething right now that we lost to a team I am convinced we are superior to. However, I am proud of our guys for making it to the wildcard round and proud of our guys for coming back from a 14 point deficit early on.
The score of the AZ/NO game might be 64-58 (New Orleans).
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Both teams had key defensive injuries, but the Packers were so thin and mediocre at safety and cb for nickel and dime situations that I think you have to cut Capers some slack. Not a reason to leave the middle of the field open all night. Injured Giordano goes in because he is less injured than Bigby. Harris loss was magnified tonight and in Steeler game. True, our LBs are not good in coverage. Never heard Jones LB name once by the way. I don’t understand why, when Warner is unpressured picking apart your secondary you don’t alter your game to bring on some pressure. They did it a couple of times with Woodson coming once but not enough.
Credit Rodgers and offense with great comeback. I thought winning the coin toss meant winning the game. McCarthy would have been forced to play for a TD because he has so little confidence in Crosby. Still can’t believe reliable Rackers missed that kick. Start thinking about free agency signings from our team and draft needs. Much better season than I ever would have figured. Go Cowboys! didn’t think I would ever say that.
a) All the way down the ski hill from which we watched this debacle, my husband kept saying “if he’d just hit Jennings, if he’d just hit him”. b) Thank you for the whole Fitzgerald offensive pass interference comment, I was shrieking in my head while watching but was trying to not to be rude to the obvious Cards fan next to me, who was also being respectful.
It’s halftime and the Pack is -1 in the turnover battle. The sideline reporter asks McCarthy for his thoughts on the first half and he says (paraphrased as I best recall) “We practiced all week on protecting the football. You can’t win on the road, in the playoffs, unless you protect the football. We (meaning the players) didn’t execute to our plan in the first half”.
In essence, McCarthy was saying that the coaches did their job and focused the teams preparation on what the coaches thought needed to be done. The players didn’t do their job. And that is why they were getting beat up at half time. How would you like to play for a jackass like Mike McCarthy?
If in fact, if the players didn’t do their job despite the coaches efforts, then the coaches did a lousy job of coaching. That being the case, team apparently chose to tune out the coaching staff. That is a sure sign that it is time to dump the coaching staff. I am in management. If my staff doesn’t execute to my plan, the worst way that I can respond is to say something similar to McCarthy’s remarks on the first half. My boss would think me incompetent and my staff would think me an asshole for dumping on them.
You can blame the secondary and LBs all you want, but the real defensive culprit was the Dline. You could have pulled three drunks out of Mabel Murphy’s and they would have been no less effective than Pickett, Jenkins, Jolly and Raji. The D line simply did not show up at all today.
Offense came back from a 21 point deficit – not 14.
This is not on Capers, this is all on the players. Capers did not call in plays that left the middle of the field open or gave Warner 3-5 seconds to throw. The scheme was sound – the players did not perform, partly due to injuries. They couldnt tackle (poorest tackling performance of the season), they left too much cushion, and they didnt get to Warner. It didnt matter if they rushed 3, 4, 5, 6, or everyone… They didnt get pressure. The AZ receivers were running over the DBs, the safeties were out of position. There isnt a Defensive Coordinator in the world that could have changed that outcome.
I had written the game off at halftime and especially in the 3rd Quarter after AZ went up by 21 (31-10). That they were able to come back and tie it up and go into overtime was a minor miracle in itself! I have not felt that the team could pull it out and make it a game like that since 97. Gives me confidence for the future.
Capers needs to correct some big problems in the off-season. I have faith that he will. The depth at Corner and Safety causes him to back off on aggressive play in favor of coverage. The only problem – Rothlesberger and Warner had all the time in the world to pick and chose his targets. Slocums’ boys were back to their mid-season form – BAD. Don’t blame Crosby for missing a 54 yarder. MM should have gone for it. Even if they didn’t make it field position wouldn’t have been any worse than it was.
Rodgers was awesome and they should have run Grant more earlier. MM’s play calling after the first qtr. was pretty good until the OT. They should have been content with moving the ball as they had been instead he trys to get it all on one play. Add the hold on second down and it put Rodgers in a very difficult spot. Never mind the asshole refs.
A lot of work to do in the off-season. DB’s a must. A Guard and Tackle for the O line. Resign Tauscher, Wells and Clifton. Get another big guy for the D line. Resign Pickett and Jolly if he’s not in jail.
Almost a 1k yds. in passing against two teams is something that should not be ignored. This is a weakness Dom – fix it please.
Regarding OPI… the League likes scoring, so it just doesn’t get called much (a quick survey: in 2008, 124 OPI calls, 319 DPI calls)
Certainly guys like Fitzgerald know they can get away with a lot more than the defensive guys that cover him.
Also (I posted this in another article, but it bears repeating): this is the first year with a new defensive scheme, and a new defensive coaching staff. The defense has clearly improved (I mean, there’s no question, is there?), and Dom Capers deserves at least another season to finish the job.
Rodgers had a golden opportunity to win it in the OT, and he missed a wide-open receiver.
It was the usual Rodgers MO, spectacular stats, but a loss. Great QB’s take advantage of those “moments”, and despite his wonderful press clippings and totally meaningless record-breaking numbers, he is NOT a great QB.
And speaking of meaningless numbers, where was the ‘great” GB defense? They allowed Warner to literally waltz around them.
As a Packer fan, the ONLY stat I care about is a win, but hey, we have a ‘great” QB and a “great” defense.
Rodgers helped lead the team pack from a huge deficit and helped lead the team to 45 points – had the defense been even servicable never mind good we would never have been talking about OT, but instead we’d likely be talking about how wonderful he played to lead us to a victory.
No one has said Rodgers is currently a great QB, but he clearly has the ability to be a great QB. But even great QBs screw up, especially if their defense doesn’t help things. Tom Brady is frequently called ‘great’ and his team lost badly yesterday. Most people would call Favre ‘great’ but I can think of a lot of play off games where he also didn’t play well.
Yes, Rodgers should have made that throw. But in pretty much any other game scoring 45 points would have been an easy win rather than an OT game. That said there are things he needs to work on in the off-season most importantly trying to figure out why he starts slow. But I’ll take a guy who can put up great numbers, who has helped lead us to wins (the Dallas game for example) and who is still improving very happily.
As a Packer fan, I want wins. I want Super Bowls. But I also realize that isn’t going to happen every year. This team has a lot of flaws and this game exposed some of them. But we’re very close to be a great team and I’m happy with that. I could be a Detroit fan and have no hope of a winning season much less a play-off game. Instead I am a Packer fan and when I say “Wait ’til next year” I have hope that next year will be pretty amazing. This game was heartbreaking but given where they were this time last season, or even after 8 games I’m happy that the team was able to turn it around.
Just a great great game to watch. There were at least 3-4 amazing catches by both teams.
The biggest shock to me was that the run defense was atrocious. I expected Az. to have success throwing the ball, I did not expect them to be able to gash the run defense for 5-10 yard a pop.
The missed calls on Fitz were bad, but he’s a star and he’s going to get those calls. Didn’t have much problem with the no-call on the facemask- it didn’t affect the play it would have been a cheap call in my opinion.
I haven’t seen anyone mention the real culprit, the one that has been hanging out there all year- crucial holding penalty on Colledge. The missed pass to Jennings was a killer, but if Colledge doesn’t hold on 2nd down, the Pack is going to march down the field. the change in down and distance led to that sack and fumble . . . it was strangely appropriate.
All of that said, I think there is reason to be optimistic after that game. The D had some major problems, but they are young and improving. The offense looked unbelievable. I think, depending on how the rest of the playoffs unfold, given any kind of solid offseason the Pack will begin next season as the trendy Super Bowl pick from the NFC. They are only getting better.
‘the problem with capers is obvious, and unfortunate. while running a defense that succeeds most when it is unrelenting and aggressive, he backs it off to ‘compensate’ for a secondary that is depleted, or playing poorly. and he does it when he faces savvy, veteran quarterbacks who don’t like to get hit because they’re ancient, and who can pick apart a d if given the time.
the problem is, when your secondary is playing poorly or depleted, taking away the aggressive pursuit of the lb’s only makes their jobs more difficult.
a big play here or there because of an extra-eager pass rush is better than doing the same thing over and over when it obviously isn’t working. as many have said already, when you give warner, favre, manning, brady, et al 5 or 6 seconds to throw, they WILL find an open man, even if there are 143 men in coverage.
good quarterbacks don’t make mistakes when coverage is good but they have little pressure on them to act quickly. ALL quarterbacks make mistakes when they have constant pressure, even if they occasionally make big plays because of a good blitz pickup or man-to-man coverage gone wrong.
CAPERS REACTS WHEN HE SHOULD DICTATE. IMPRESSIVE STATS DON’T A DEFENSE MAKE – EXCELLENT DEFENSES ALWAYS SET THE TONE, AND DEAL WITH THE CONSEQUENCES.
it’s the same reason why prevent defenses fail so often. in normal circumstances, given one chance, i would bet well-run d’s give up 20 yard plays about 10 percent of the time. i’d be willing to bet that when a team shifts to a prevent, they give up a big play at least 30 or 40 percent of the time.
maybe my sample is tainted given the packers’ history with prevent.
i believe mediocre coaches change what they’re doing too often when they’re winning, and too seldom when they’re losing.
mccarthy doesn’t change his offensive strategy very well based on in-game circumstances, and capers doesn’t do it on the defensive side of the ball very well either.
it’s why i’m not much more happy with this team today than i was after tampa bay. i’m thrilled the team responded with their second half run — but why i expect them to fall short again if given the opportunity — coaching that doesn’t adjust well, or adjusts when it should stick with what’s working.
i love these players, for the most part. i love their heart. i love their humility.
i like the coaching staff. i think they’re almost wonderful. i just think the flaws they have tend to always hurt us hugely when it matters most. playoffs especially.
mccarthy passes non-stop when he should run, capers is tentative when he should be ruthless. both of those things hurt the most in december and january.’
and then i’ll add — injuries will happen somewhere. if capers had a healthy secondary but a depleted lb corp or d-line, would he do the same thing? back off because the backups needed to ‘settle in’ before going gangbusters? i’m not sure, and i hope not, because next year, we may have a healthy secondary. but someone will go down. someone important. if you’re still running a 3-4, you need to continue to focus on disrupting, dictating and making qb’s uncomfortable. period.
and guys, yes we had a slow start — it happens, and it needs to be corrected. but if anyone thinks any offensive player should even be mentioned — WE SCORED 45 POINTS. if we corrected the slow start problem, we could’ve very well scored 60. the offense is not the problem. sometimes the offensive coaching ignores the value of a steady run attack, but not last night.
capers should be furious with his line and with bush, and the rest of the d should be furious with him.
Definitely an interesting article. I think part of the reason the team doesn’t do as well when Rodgers has great stats is that it usually indicates that everything else has blown up. When the defense is letting the other team march down the field on a consistent basis and the running game isn’t working Rodgers usually has to do everything. So he ends up throwing a lot and getting good numbers but falling short partially because the team itself isn’t playing well.
Good comments by all, even the 4 year old asshat is entertaining– not much football intelligence, but entertaining.
If I recall the Pack was the trendy NFC Champ pick after the preseason. Then they went 4-4. But I totally agree with RayMidge’s comments about the holding problems and the offseason. TT & MM have to get this right be it thru draft and/or FA as well as retaining some players with contract issues. I don’t envy their position (well, actually I do but I’m sure they’re better at it than I would be).
Very good, young football team here. Tough decisions to be made re: Kampman, Hawk, Colledge, Babre, etc. I fully anticipate getting the NFC North back next year and another run at the playoffs.
Pack got the benefit of 2 horsecollar tackles – one clearly wasn’t, 2nd one probaly was but can be debated. The one call that I think was just absolutely missed and hurt really bad was the helmet to helmet on Rodgers a play or two before the fumble in overtime. But, our “number 2 defense” allowed 51 points. Not gonna complain about the refs too much.
I also agree with Campbell (what)? Rodgers missed an absolute chance to ice the OT on the first play by overthrowing a wide open receiver. He did that a couple times last night & several times during the season. That needs to be a focal point for him during the off-season.
I really like Ron;s comment the he has faith that Capers will fix some problems. As a fan who was yelling at the top of his lungs to “fire-em-all” after the Bucs game I’m going to choose to have faith in this off-season even though I still think TT is a “frat boy”. (Sorry Packerbelle, I just couldn;t resist). BTW, I really admire the way you stay classy.
Bottom line–I hate we went out in the first round. I really thought we’d take the Cards but kind of figured that would be the end of the road. I’ll be happy with the season & keep the faith that during this off-season some remaining issues will be addressed and improvement will follow next year.
All good comments, and I apologize to my fellow geeks for degenerating into arguing with a 4 year old asshat. And, this inbred, genetically challenged mutant happens to be female and knows what color yellow is vs. orange. Just sayin’.
Also, I agree that Aaron’s got to settle down, but damn, that boy has heart. I officially became an ARodg fan last night, 1000%.
“(Sorry Packerbelle, I just couldn;t resist). BTW, I really admire the way you stay classy.”
I live in the Twin Cities and being not only a Packer fan but a girl Packer fan in high school led to a lot of razzing from the Viking fans (especially their 15-1 season). I learned the best way to get them to shut up was to be polite, classy and basically just say ‘So?’ to their rather immature comments. It’s been useful in other situations too.
I can’t really know if TT is a ‘frat boy’ since my college didn’t have fraternities or sororities. TT has his faults, communication being one of them. But I do have to give him credit for finding some really amazing players – Rodgers, Woodson, Matthews, Jennings, etc and for having the guts to stick with Rodgers over Favre when it was in the long term interest of the team to do so. Doesn’t mean that I won’t be calling for his head if we don’t see a good season next year and a play-off win in the next year or two but I’m willing to give him some lee-way for now.
On that long missed pass to Jennings – it looked like a miscommunication not a misfire. If Jennings breaks that route more to the outside Rodgers drills him instride for the TD. Jennings keep it verticle; Rodgers through it to where he thought Jennings was headed – who is to blame: Both – its there job to be in synch.
Very good point Joe, it could very well have been a bad route. There was a similar play in the first quarter however & judging by Rodgers reactions it appeared he knew he had thrown that one a little too long or at least should have put a little more air under it. I’m sure he/they will get it worked out.
I’m just so impressed with how much heart this team showed yesterday. And while there is some obvious concerns (i.e. the Defense’s inability to stop a an elite passing attack….Big Ben, Kurt Warner and the favre guy threw for 1400 yards, 15 TDs and no picks in four games according to http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcnorth That’s just plain bad), I feel much better this time around than after the loss in the NFC championship game two years ago. The offense is pretty much set for next year. We need O-line help and maybe another RB, but the rest of the offense is already extraordinary (Finley….Wow, he is going to be so good).
That makes it possible to dedicate almost the entire draft to defensive needs. A couple of CBs, a safety, maybe another DE and probably LB.
Dream scenario: Any chance of getting Nnamdi? Least worth a shot….I mean it’s Oakland. Kampman and a 1st and 3rd round pick?
It might be a little bit early to talk draft, but hey the season is over, might as well look ahead to next year 🙂
No one is saying that the officials cost us the Super Bowl – you don’t give up over 50 points and then blame everything on the officials.
However, there were questionable calls that deserve discussion, as does the other obvious factors that led to the lose. We can’t know what might have happened if the face mask would have been called – but it could hve changed the outcome. Rather than being a fumble return for the winning TD, it could have been 1 and 10 for the Packers. Had they called offensive pass interference on Fitzgerald once and caused them to settle for a FG rather than a TD, all else equal the Packers win in regulation.
No one says the Packers played perfectly and were robbed by blatantly biased officials. Just that there were things that had they gone differently would have changed the outcome. Saying an official should have called something is IMO no different than saying Rodgers should have hit the pass to Jennings in OT.
Please stop the “Face Mask Follies”; or should we include this along side such endings as Don Majkowski’s pass after crossing the scrimmage by 12 yards to win against the Bears about 30 years ago?
And the defense, forget it , everyone likes a shootout ccompared to 6-3 defensive battle. Who wants a pitchers duel at the ballpark?
Draft more offense next year!