Rodgers is the best player in the NFL. He’s not just the best QB – he is the best football player in the NFL. Period.
Rodgers’ 21/26 passing day was stellar as were his 4 TDs. But many of his 52 yards rushing came at critical moments in the game. There is practically nothing more demoralizing for a defense than to cover the pass options super tight for a good 5-7 seconds only to have the QB squeeze out of the collapsing pocket and pick up a needed first down. Defenses are left asking “what more can we do?” The answer: nothing.
I really like how James Starks runs. He runs with a certain abandon that makes him a fairly scary guy to try to tackle. He will earn his yards and he will make defenders pay for tackling him.
Our WRs are very talented. All of them. Rodgers often puts it right on the money making their jobs relatively easy – but even Rodgers has some off throws that they often manage to pull down. Rodgers has some really top notch targets to throw to.
Finley was good today. He had some big catches – though in the end he was outplayed by his counterpart Gates.
Rodgers was under more pressure today than normal. He escaped a fair number of times, but he was sacked 4 times and under serious pressure a bunch of other times. As good as he was today, there were a few of those odd moments that he’d have his first year where he made odd choices in the pocket and essentially invited the sacks. Still, hard to blame the guy much for stuff today – he was very good.
If our defense didn’t cause turnovers, we would be absolutely awful. We allowed nearly 500 yards of offense to San Diego (actually 470). We will now be close to the bottom of the NFL in defensive yards allowed. I am the first to acknowledge that teams with super powerful, quick-scoring offenses have a more difficult task defensively. It’s just plain tougher often because they don’t have time to take a rest. But that’s no excuse here – our defense is weak. There were plays for San Diego when 2-3 guys were absolutely wide open – including 2 of the TD passes. Absolutely terrible coverage.
While we gave up 85 yards on the ground – which isn’t horrendous – we gave up 385 yards threw the air (to a QB whose right elbow appears to be attached to his pelvis). And again – many of those plays were super, super easy. Capers has some serious work to do.
The reason I keep saying “if we didn’t cause turnovers” the defense would be the worst in the NFL – is because I’m very concerned about playing a team with even a decent offense that doesn’t commit lots of turnovers. Teams that take care of the ball should have a decent shot at beating us – because one of the assumptions lots of us make is that Rodgers and co will just continue to play at the level they’re playing at. I sure hope so – but frankly, if Rodgers in particular keeps this up, we’re looking at the greatest season an NFL QB has ever had. I don’t want to have to bank on that – and unless defense can get its act together, we may have to.
Something is wrong with Tramon Williams. His pick 6 was absolutely fantastic – no doubt. But his coverage today was terrible. Just awful. Jackson ate him up. He was burned by Crayton and even Vincent Brown at different times today. He was really bad.
I’m really wondering if we’re missing Nick Collins back there. Peprah had a good game tonight with 2 picks for sure – but I just don’t think he and Burnett are doing it back there. It’s just way too easy for opposing offenses.
One odd thing about our defense is that it often has the look of a 4-2 front (instead of the 3-4 we’re apparently playing). So many times throughout a game Bishop and Hawk look like they’re left to cover the entire 2nd level. Woodson helps sometimes, but mostly it’s just those two. And neither of them are good in coverage and neither of them have great lateral movement to cover to the sidelines. Something needs to be tweaked by Capers if we’re going to take down some of the better teams out there.
Our special teams play has been really good. Crosby is very good this year – best in the NFL. But Masthay was also quite good at least tonight – his last punt there at the end of the game. was huge as it gave SD a huge field to cover to score a TD to tie. Nicely done (and good punt coverage too).
Peprah should have NEVER run that last interception back. He must have had the Packers’ D in fantasy football or something trying to get that TD like that. Just not smart.
No more “bend but don’t break” talk. this defense is horrible. 460 yards given up again can’t be discounted any more. If that trend doesn’t stop now bad thgings will de happening soon. Can’t anyone tackle on this team?
I agree with most of your analysis, though I don’t think Peprah was as good as his two picks might indicate. He seemed out of position a number of times and I suspect some of Tramon’s problems were actually due to lack of support from Peprah. I think the loss of Collins is turning out to be huge, right up there with the loss of Jenkins. That said, Caper’s needs to do a much better job of scheming. Offensive coordinators are out coaching him every week. As you noted, many of these completions are unbelievably easy — no one within 3-5 yards. Hard to believe at times. Not sure what the solution is but safeties and linebackers are woefully poor in coverage. Maybe time to play someone else to see if there are any players on the bench.
I have never seen a QB play better then Rodgers is right now. Rodgers and this offense are amazing and they are carrying this team.
Yep, this defense is awful and if it doesn’t get better then are not going to beat 3 or 4 good teams in the playoffs to get another championship. Rodgers and the offense is carrying this team but at some point in the playoffs the defense is going to have to carry their share.
The safety play today was terrible. They looked confused and out of position a lot of the game. I’m afraid the Chargers just put a bunch of tape together for Packer opponents to use.
The lack of a pass rush isn’t helping the secondary either. Matthews is just not the same beast as last year and the other side gets almost no pressure. This has to get better if they are going to play nickel coverage as much as they do. They are essentially playing a 4-2 front most of the time but the front four are not getting enough pressure and you are correct that Hawk/Bishop do not cover enough real-estate to be effective in pass protection. You’d think the extra CB would help in coverage with no pass rush and poor safety play it has been brutal to watch.
Capers did starting sending extra guys today but the timing seemed off on all their blitzes. I just don’t think this defense has done it enough this year to be good at it. They were easily picked up and guys were just not getting to Rivers in time. Capers needs to dial up pressure more in the rest of the season in order to prepare and practice it for the playoffs. Timing is everything on blitzes and it better get better then today.
I can’t defend Hawk anymore. He looked terrible out there. I couldn’t figure out what he adds to the defense today. He never seems to be involved in a play.
Caper’s Blitzs just aren’t being executed as effectively this year. The players might be playing poorly. Jenkins might have been more important than previously thought. Opponents might have scouted the majority of Caper’s playbook. Capers might be holding back…. or it could be some mix.
Big plays can be anomalies… but the Packers have given up to many of them. If they can fix this (easier said than done) they’re in good shape.
All that said, the defense really brought the pressure the Chargers last two possession. Looked like a different defense.
The onside kick was terrible. The Chargers never get close if the Packers recover.
MM seemed a little to cute with the 3rd and 2 draw play. Starks is going to pick up 2 yards more often than not in a three TE set.
Lots of complaints for 8-0… Rivers hasn’t been good, but he is still Phillip Rivers.
Jenkins loss is significant for Matthews. They can double him all the time. Blocking back backs up lineman who picks up Matthews. However, Matthews was in River’s face many times yesterday without a sack-causing him to hurry throws or throw it away. Some concern that he was favoring his hamstring in 4th qrtr when he leaped to defend another Gates sideline catch as SD moved for a first down. Walden is getting more opportunities because defenses are so focused on Matthews. He is coming on this year. Raji is going to be exhausted by most 4th qrtrs at this rate. Desperately need Neal back.
Everyone who is concerned about the pass defense makes legitimate points, but I can’t be anything but pleased with this team. SD was playing at home, desperate for a win and with pro-bowl caliber QB, TE and WR and they seem pretty pleased with having gotten within one score of the Pack. SD seems to have taken a moral victory of sorts from that game, and some Packers (and Packers fans, observors etc…) seem to have taken a sort of moral defeat for the Pack. Not me. I think the Pack gets everyone’s best game, they made a bunch of mental errors in coverage and they still won the game. I think the Pack forces teams into being aggressive, throwing the ball a lot and that this is going to lead to giving up some yardage but it also means that the other team is going to have to be near perfect while passing so much. The Capers D is designed to make big plays and they have so far.
The best part of all of it is how hungry the Packers still seem. They have no smugness, no complacency. Rodgers sets the tone with his quiet confidence and they still have a lot of fun.
I do think that they could use some help on the D-line, if Neal ever gets back and stays healthy that will go a long way.