Thursday, December 3, 2015

Time Running Out for the Packers

Image by NBC Sports
The historic game on Thanksgiving night was perfect in so many ways - Bart Starr was able to make the trip, so the three great Packers quarterbacks in modern history were in the stadium at the same time, undoubtedly for the last time, given Starr's health problems.  Brett Favre, greeted by his old teammates, some of whom I could not immediately place, had his name and number unveiled on the wall of Lambeau Field.  The nostalgia and warm feelings were palpable, right through the big screen TV.

There were only two slight problems.  One, the weather.  I have been to plenty of cold games at Lambeau Field, including, I believe, two of the three coldest games in the history of the stadium.  But I have always thought that the worst possible weather for a game is a steady rain, with temperatures in low to mid 30's.  Which is exactly what the weather was Thursday night.  Kudos to Sam Freeman, who attended the game instead of me.

The other problem was the game itself, replete with the same problems we have seen over the past few weeks: dropped passes, errant passes, and insufficient commitment to the running game.  I don't have a lot of issues with the defense - they played pretty well, giving up only 17 points, 7 of which were aided by a Packers turnover, Eddie Lacy's fumble.  So the Bears, on the Packers' big night, won the game, 17-13.

I just want to focus on the running game for a minute, and then move on to tonight's game.  Lacy was averaging over 6 yards per carry, while Starks was averaging just under 6 yards per carry.  Lacy's fumble was horrendous, but in that kind of weather, with the problems in the passing game, the running game was by far the best thing they had going for them on Thanksgiving night.  And yet, in the last 10.5 minutes of the game, at a time when the Packers trailed by 4 points, the Packers had the ball in three different possessions, and called exactly one running play, right before the 2 minute warning, while calling 21 passing plays.  Eight of those 21 plays resulted in completed passes, while the other 13 resulted in incompletions, a sack, an interception, and a couple of scrambles by Rodgers.  That just won't cut it.  It is bad game management and bad play calling.  Period.  Any hope that we had that in giving up the play-calling duties, McCarthy would have more time to pay attention to in-game management seems to have been dashed.

Now, for the second Thursday in a row, the Packers are on Thursday night football, at the Lions.  The way that the Packers are playing, having won only 1 of the last 5 games, and the way the Lions are playing, having won 3 in a row, there just isn't any good reason to assume that the Packers will win.  And yet, I am picking them.  It is probably just letting my fan interests show through, but I think that somehow, they will get it together and beat the Lions to stay a little closer to the top in the NFC North.

1 comment:

  1. Spot on article. I am getting so tired of McCarthy saying, "we need to run more", and then they never do it. The start of the second half was a perfect example. Ran 6 or 7 times and tore off enough yardage to put them close to red zone...then they stopped running. Then later Lacy fumbles and they give up on him AND the run. Lots of arguments about Packer's "scheme" and lots of those who say it is player execution. I see zero execution from the coaching staff. Without commitment to run, this team will not make the playoffs.