Are you kidding me?
The NFL is ridiculous.
I love football.
This is fun, I absolutely enjoyed it, but my review of the team isn’t glowing.
I’ll give them huge credit for staying in the game, pushing in crunch time, and coming through in all three phases when it mattered most.
But really, I wasn’t impressed with the whole effort.
For the first three quarters, all I could think was: Dom Capers is back.
The whole time it just felt like the defense couldn’t contend with this mediocre 49ers offense. Sure Jaire Alexander was out, but really, this defense should be able to handle a lot more than that.
Kevin King, from the first drive, looked like he wasn’t equipped to handle the game until their last play on defense. Size and speed to spare, it’s starting to look like he might not have what he needs above the shoulders to be the CB1 I thought he could be. I don’t know if he’s not picking up the scheme, if the game is too fast for him, or if he’s just lacking the field vision to recognize double moves and route combinations, but he’s not doing the things he needs to be doing.
That pick at the end: huge – a thing of beauty. However, that was an athletic play on a quick pass in straight up man coverage of a seam route that was underthrown. He’s shown he can do that. But there’s more to the game than that and I think some of the more subtle nuances are holding him back from realizing the potential of his freakish physical gifts. He wasn’t terrible, but he hasn’t become the force I hoped he would in the offseason.
He had plenty of company, though, in looking sub-par on defense. Clay Matthews looks like his best days are far behind him. That missed tackle when he blew up the screen pass: ugly. Some of his power moves: futile. He came up with a big sack late for sure, but that’s my theme for this review: a great finish doesn’t mean everything is great.
On the other side of the ball, there’s another guy not doing what he needs to be doing.
Aaron Charles Rodgers.
That’s right, I said it.
He’s the GOAT, for sure, and is still the top QB in this league, but right now, through 6 games, he doesn’t look like he used to.
He made MVS wait on the first drive when he was wide open. His first TD to Adams was not crisp and required a spinning adjustment by the receiver. He missed Adams early on the final drive after scrambling and finding him for what would have been a 20 yard pickup. He just isn’t the guy we saw last September.
I don’t know if it’s the knee injury messing with his base. I don’t know if the injury to his throwing collarbone has altered his motion. I don’t know if it’s lack of practice leading to low chemistry. I don’t know if it’s unfamiliar receivers. I don’t know if its lack of blocking. It could be any of those and I’d still love him.
I just hope we’re not witnessing that sludgy purgatory where a quarterback’s body can’t do what it used to and the QB hasn’t realized or admitted it yet (although, even if that’s the case, I’d still love him). There’s a really rough patch in a quarterback’s career before he admits his body has changed and alters his game… or he doesn’t alter his game and just fades out of the league.
However, Rodgers moved the ball in crunch time. There was a lot of quick passes there. If you read the preview column you saw what I said: “Really, the offense needs to just get back to the basics. Quick passes and a lot of running.”
Oh yeah: me.
He’s still the best QB in the game, but he’s not looking as good as he used to. Maybe I’m spoiled – in fact, I know I am – but I also think I’m being reasonable.
As we’ve seen in the past, the Packers offense doesn’t run when the offense line can’t block. Tonight, when Bulaga went out, things didn’t go well. I don’t think it was a coincidence that the whole squad looked much better when he manned the edge. Backup o-line is not a strength of this team.
But Jimmy Graham stepped up and had a nice game. This was the week I started to doubt him and he was at his best. Like his QB, he’s not what he used to be, but tonight he showed he can still get it done. It wasn’t just the stats, it was the impact in key places.
I picked MVS to have a big game and the rookie came through. His 60-yard catch and run on the first drive really set the tone they would need early on. He’s got all the size and speed he could want, much like Kevin King, but, unlike King, he seems to be coming around faster on the mental side of the game. He’s not a finished product by any means (as evidenced by the incorrect route adjustment that earned him a tongue-lashing from his quarterback), but he is definitely developing nicely in his rookie year.
The refs continue their bizarre interpretation of the rules. In the middle of the 4th quarter, on 4th down, MVS was hugged and held and couldn’t get back to the ball when the cornerback was leaning into him without looking back. Certainly not Matthews-vs-Minnesota bad, but it looked more egregious than the Sherman penalty on the last drive. I think the worst was the “hold” on TyMo’s big kick return. A guy plowed into someone and fell over: penalty. It goes both ways, but it’s just bad in general. I don’t know why, but these things are sticking out more lately.
Last thought: I liked some things McCarthy did this week. There were some new concepts in the offense. They didn’t all pan out (like the attempted reverse), but some did (like the Montgomery touchdown), and the important thing is that he’s trying new things. The other thing that I loved was that they snapped the ball with 12 seconds left on the play clock on the winning field goal. No time to ice Crosby.
Question of the Week
This week our Twitter question (feel free to click “follow” while you’re there) was: Who will get sacks for the Packers this week?
The Packers ended up with sacks from Kenny Clark and Clay Matthews (and almost got another from Kyler Fackrell). @TessaChristoph4 had Clark, Matthews, and Martinez getting sacks, making her the closest of all entries.
A look at how we fared with our predictions in this week’s preview:
Jamaal Williams gets a score Almost
Davante Adams gets a score I should have said two!
Aaron Rodgers runs for 30 yards I f#cking knew this sh!t was coming – 3 carries for 34 yards!
Mike Daniels gets a sack He let his buddy Kenny have it
The defense comes up with multiple takeaways I called that, though!
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix takes a bad angle on a tackle attempt Well, this was too easy
Mason Crosby bounces back and doesn’t miss I knew, Mace, I knew it
I don’t think everything comes together and clicks, but I think they will do more than enough to win at home against an inferior opponent. It’s like I was psychic on these things!
Packers 27, 49ers 13 This was almost the score at the end of the first quarter – all that really matters here is that I got the winner right!
On to the bye week. Get healed and rest up, boys – you’ll need it.