The officials and the NFL are lucky Hartley missed that FG and the Pack didn’t score after that. If the Pack would have lost for the second week in a row due mostly to horrendous officiating (that no-call fumble was horrible…just inexcusable), there would have been an outcry far louder than the one that had a direct impact on the return of the regular officials last week.
Jeff Triplett is not a good ref. Usually he’s in the business of totally rewarding home teams so he can feel popular and well-liked regardless of what’s really happening on the field – but tonight it was quite the opposite. Generally, I find his crew to be weak.
Enough now about the officials.
There were some very curious coaching calls in this game. The worst one I can think of was by Capers, on that 3rd and 17 when Brees got the first, I was stunned that we only came with 3 rushers, especially after Matthews had a sack on the previous play. Not smart – giving a guy like Brees that much time will ALWAYS backfire.
I like that McCarthy takes chances on plays like those fake punts etc. It just shows that he is confident his team can execute when they need to – and then the team in turn rewards their coach by executing. I just love that – Belichick has done this from the outset in NE and I honestly believe that’s a good part of the reason why players play for the guy. He’s willing to trust them in tough situations.
Speaking of Brees, he was unreal today. Their offense was clicking and while our D was certainly suspect I am not sure any D could have handled the Saints offense today. Brees was quite rusty in the first few games this year. I saw 2 of them – he was forcing passes and generally just not himself out there – missing even wide open guys. He was on tonight and even though our D was the victim, I genuinely enjoy watching someone execute at such a high level – especially someone I seriously respect.
Rodgers was pretty darn good tonight too. He missed a few passes here and there but for the most part, he was really on. He had a couple passes, like Brees, that thread the needle and that were made in critical situations. I also had serious confidence that if Hartley made that FG, Rodgers would have marched us down the field to victory.
Cedric Benson continues to be a great acquisition. While I was pushing super hard a couple years ago for Marshawn Lynch and still think we should have picked him up, I think Benson fills the RB role pretty much just like Lynch would have. They are both tough runners and they turn an incredible number of zero yard gainers into 3-4-5 yard gainers. I just love watching Benson work. He finished with 84 yards on 18 carries – and he didn’t always have holes.
Speaking of Benson, it really seemed like for the first time tonight on offense, McCarthy managed to work Benson into our offensive scheme. The first 3 games, our scheme just seemed off and I do think part of that was figuring out when Benson should be involved. The playcalling was hot and cold in the previous games and generally troubling. But tonight. there was better flow and McCarthy was able to work Benson in while still allowing Rodgers to do his thing. Probably had something to do with facing a shoddy defense – compared to the defenses of the first few weeks – but still, nice to see.
Nice to see Jordy back. He looked like himself out there tonight.
James Jones came up huge. He had two nice TDs, some important other catches and that fantastic first down catch when he was being mauled by the DB.
Cobb was good. We need to keep getting him involved. He is dangerous and shifty – like the kind of RB I’ve been wanting us to have for years. It’s nice to see him operate out of the backfield like that.
Our defense made some big plays at some big moments – despite really being bad for most of the game.
I don’t feel great about the win tonight – mostly because I think the officials kept it a bit closer than it should have been. But we are in a much better spot now at 2-2 and we did beat one of the highest octane offenses in the NFL.
I am in such enthusiastic, almost violent 😉, agreement with you regarding the foolishness of rushing three. As you say, giving a good QB that much time is never a good idea. Instead, rush four or five and force him to make a quicker decision. Even if he completes, its likely a shorter completion than if he has all day.
No, I am pretty sure there were some defenses that could have handled the Saint’s offense. This Packer defense has some play-makers and talent but they are just not anywhere near as complete a unit as the top defenses in this league. They need another play-maker to help Clay get to the QB. (Perry…where are you?!) They need Smith to improve at ILB especially when dropping in zone coverage. The secondary has some talent but they clearly are not playing well as a unit. They have no ability to play zone coverage without letting WR runs wide open in the seams and I’m not sure why Capers is calling it so much. Maybe Capers is just taking his medicine now trying to get these young players enough experience to get better for late in the season.
I do like how MM is running this offense the last two games. It seems he gets that he needs this offense to churn out long time consuming drives to keep his defense off the field. Bensen is simply a better RB then we have had in a long time. It’s so nice not to have so many negative runs. He’s not a dynamic back but getting 3-4 yards on first down is huge in this league and he seems to get that regardless of the shoddy run blocking at times. I also like that he stays on the field.
Bottom line – this offense and ST’s are good enough to win a championship. (unless of course Graeme Harrell lines up under C at any point in this season again!!!) This defense is not good enough at this point. I hope Capers and staff have it in them to help this defense improve enough to make a legit run in the playoffs.
that play(Harrell) wasnt all his fault-if you remember Rodgers got tripped by his line in an earlier game the same way-this o-line is not that good nor is our d-i still have no idea what is gonna happen this year- i guess you have to keep in mind that when we won the SB we were 8-8 so who knows-i do have my doubts still