They started off so well. And I was impressed by how well the Packers managed the momentum on the road, in the most hostile environments in the league, on a short week, with injuries piling up.
Then… they just got cold. They had some guys get hurt. Some calls went the wrong way. The missed field goal early just felt like it was going to matter… and it did.
Really, this is the third game that was ruined by missed field goals. It could mean the season.
On the positive side, Aaron Rodgers looked the most like himself as he has all year. He came up with some big throws and, even though he spun Aaron Jones around on his touchdown pass, and his big plays to Adams and Tonyan, were maybe a quarter-step off (yes I’m being picky, because this is the greatest passer in the histoy of the game and I’m used to seeing him nail every one of those throws), he looked better than he had since week 1.
However, he can’t run like he used to. Whether it’s age or injuries or a combination of the two, he needs to realize that, own it, and adapt his game.
So far he hasn’t and it’s hurt the team, particularly on third downs when he wants to dance around until someone sacks him rather than getting the ball out for a quick first down. In the past, he knew he could always either eventually find someone or just run for the first if his dancing didn’t buy him an open receiver.
They were 3 for 11 on first downs, which is pathetic, but it seems like it was even worse you condsider how many of them ended in sacks.
Now Father Time – and opposing rushers – have caught up to him.
His worst play of the night, though, was one-hopping a short pass on 3rd and 2 – a play that would prove to be the Packers final offense play of the night. It served as a reminder that age is catching up to him. It was ugly. I mean, even Tom Brady can make that pass.
This is the game that should serve as a wake up call that, as good as Aaron Jones is, football just isn’t the kind of game where you can depend on one guy. Believing that giving Aaron Jones more carries is the simple solution to winning every game is folly.
The Seahawks knew Jones was the man and the schemed to stop him. They held the league’s leading rushing in yards per carry below 4 yards per carry last night.
On the positive side, Jones really broke out in the passing game (coming in second on the team in receptions and yards), which was a welcome wrinkle in the offense.
As Kevin Greene once said: “It is time.”
Ok, so it’s not as inspiring and uplifting as it once was, but the message is clear. McCarthy is finished in Green Bay.
I give Mike a lot of credit for some of the additions he threw into the mix in this week’s offensive gmae plan. Aaron Jones on inside runs wasn’t working, Seattle focused on taking that away, but Big Mike found ways to mix in some flip pitches and outside runs to generate some hard-earned ground yards. He even found ways to get Jones involved in the passing game, but it clearly wasn’t enough variety to confound a still-tough Seahawks defense.
Of the big passing plays they came up with (Tonyan, Adams, and Jones plays come to mind), they were all one-on-one concepts. There’s still no crossing routes, quick slants, or any of the other basic staples of the West Coast offense that Aaron Rodgers has proven so proficient at.
Now I’m not a big an of criticizing play-calling on individual plays becase the outcome is either it works or it doesn’t and it’s easy (and lazy and misguided) to just criticize the call when it doesn’t work. However, there are exceptions: one of them being to punt on 4th and 2 with 4:20 left, with only 1 timeout, to give the ball to the best running team in the league to run out the clock against a tired and battered defense.
You’ll never guess what happened.
Well, you probably did. That’s not like settling for a field goal instead of going for a touchdown. It’s a question of you want to win or do you want to lose. Usually McCarthy is defendable when he conservaatively plays the odds and loses, but this time he went against the odds, did something even I would call stupid, and it ended the game.
This is the third game of the year that may have been a win if the team had made their manageable field goals. Is it time to wonder if the 34 year-old should be traded in for a newer model? Given the way Gute has run his show, and the seemingly inevitable purge coming in the offseason, I wouldn’t bet against it.
Let’s talk about something positive. I love the things Pettine threw in there. His coverages schemes were solid, the big plays by the Seahawks were contested (and their biggest pass plays were actually incompletions), and I loved his misdirection on the line. The presnap shifts confused Seattle’s blocking schemes and even led to some false starts.
Pettine also seems to know how to use Kyler Fackrell. The Packers DC came in with a reputation for schemeing to get the most out of the players he had – something Dom Capers seemed utterly incapable of. I wonder if Fackrell is another one of those guys (like Mich Hyde, Casey Heyward, Damarious Randall, et al.) that Capers just didn’t now how to use properly.
Whatever the explanation, I love Mike Pettine and really hope we retain him next year when the head coach gets fired.
- It’s hard to win when you come into a game missing starters on both sides of the ball and keep losing them during the game while you’re playing on a four day turnaround, on the road in Seattle.
- Thursday games really aren’t fair to the players – I wish they had the sense and discipline to fix this in the CBA
- I thought Blake Martinez really gutted it out for the team
- EQ might have the best hands on the team, but seems like he still hasn’t quite absorbed the subtleties of the route adjustments required by the offensive scheme
- Someone on the radio questioned how much Rodgers does during the week in helping young receivers absorb the offense – whatever it is, I say it’s not enough, 12 needs to work with those guys when Adams is the only guy he’s played with before – the chemistry won’t develop just on game days
- Let this game serve as a reminder that there was a reason Josh Jackson fell to the 2nd round. He looked slow and lost for a lot of this game. He’ll improve, but we can tap the brakes on our expectations.
- When Aaron Jones got shaken up, it was everything I feared with the number of touches he was getting.
- I was shocked (pleasantly) when Clay Matthews didn’t get flagged for a solid hit on Russell Wilson.
- Antonio Morrison reminds me of Desmond Bishop, I love how he lights guys up with clean, physical hits.
- What can you say about Lord Sackrell? I guess he’s just one of those guys that doesn’t figure it out until he turns 27…
Question of the Week
In this week’s Twitter post, we asked:
The Seahawks have rushed for at least 150 yards in their last 6 games. How many yards will the Packers defense let them run for?
The Seahawks rushed for an embarassing 173 yards on 35 carries, which means that @JRH_97309 was, by far, the closest. Very small margin of error.
A look at how we fared with our predictions in the preview:
Aaron Rodgers finally throws his second interception of the season For his flaws this game, he again had no turnovers… unless you count all the third down failures
Aaron Jones gets a season high 16 carries, maybe more He had 17 touches, but only 11 were carries
David Bakhtiari rebounds to have a solid game, allowing little pressure I think solid was a good descriptor
The Packers D snaps the Seahawks’s impressive running streak, failing to meet 150 yards rushing (maybe not by much) Uuuum, no
The Packers D wont be able to stop Russell Wilson from having a couple of those crazy improvisational plays that get the crowd in a frenzy I think they actually did a pretty good job of this considering their two biggest pass plays were incompletions
Jaire Alexander makes his case for DROY in prime time Not the signature game I was hoping for
I had a Mason Crosby miss as my special teamspediciton, but removed it before posting becuase I didn’t want to jinx him… gues I should have left it in to ironically anti-jinx him.
Packers 20, Seahawks 23 Yeah, I had a feeling it would be this kind of game
That’ll about do it for this week, this year, and this coach. They’re not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but it’s hard to see much hope given how they manage to do just enough to lose each week. At least after next week we won’t have to stay up so late to be disgusted.