OK, there is entirely too much to unpack from last night’s epic disaster. And yes, despite the crowd noise, despite going on the road, despite the fact that we’re the only team in the whole league that has to win games despite having injured players, and despite being up against the goat Russell Wilson, losing that game was an unmitigated disaster. Please do not look at the QB and RB statistics as a barometer for what happened. They tell nothing of this story.
But the numbers show we played a great game offensively you say? But according to the statistics this looks like last night was an epic battle of the titans you say? I don’t know what game you were watching, but I was going to write an entire column on the train wreck I witnessed last night. That would be simply overwhelming and too time consuming because so many individual performances that relate directly to statistical accomplishment(and do often lead to wins) were present while so many of our underlying problems undermined those efforts. Instead of breaking down those issues however, I want to focus on one single moment that is a microcosm, not of what is specifically wrong with this team, but that demonstrates the level of dysfunction we’re witnessing here.
Ask yourself for a moment, do you really think McCarthy is SO AMAZINGLY STUPID that he punted on 4th and 2 in the fourth quarter? When asked, his response to a question about his rationale on the punt was that he was ‘playing the numbers.’ Bull says I. The numbers all say, ALL SAY, 3rd and 4th down with 1-2 yards to gain is a highly successful situation where more often than not you will convert, no matter where on the field your are and no matter how much time is left or what circumstances you’re operating under. Statistically, the ‘numbers’ say if you go for it there, even under the worst circumstances, you’re more likely than not going to convert; and in this particular case, I’m about to show you why the circumstances SCREAMED that we should go for it even if the odds weren’t in our favor. Lets quickly peek at the specific circumstances as they were in the moment:
- Losing – down 4;
- 4 minutes left in the game;
- Seattle is a running team and might only need to successfully gain one first down(possibly two if the 1st one comes too quickly) to run out the clock;
- Half of our own defense is injured and has been beaten pretty soundly by Seattle’s running game all night long, even when our starters were all still on the field(and by now plenty were sitting on the training table);
- We have ONE time out remaining(a result of yet another game in which we do not treat 2nd half time outs as if they matter);
- Aaron Rodgers Aaron Jones and Devante Adams are available, uninjured, and on the field for our offense;
- 2 yards to gain for a first down;
- Finally and I’d argue least importantly, 4th and 2 is statistically a successful play, as if that really matters after you’ve read items 1-7.
And we punt. Yes, McCarthy has fouled up plenty this year. But, I do not believe he is just an outright idiot. I know, some of you disagree on that point, but the fact is, he’s not a moron. Punting in this circumstance isn’t proof he’s an idiot. It’s proof that there is MAJOR DYSFUNCTION on this team, and he preferred to go against the numbers and literally hope for a miracle from his defense, rather than trust the guys on the field to 1. run the play he calls in the fashion he calls it, and 2. successfully execute and convert the 4th down. I don’t know what he thought was going to go wrong, but I do know that when the circumstances 1,000% pointed in favor of going for it(and there was literally no valid point suggesting a punt would be a good idea), he didn’t trust Rodgers and his offense for some reason, and punted, opting to trust the defense that very predictably was unable to stop the run. Just imagine, at that moment. MVP Aaron Rodgers Aaron Jones, who has CRUSHED Seattle all night, were on the field. Something in McCarthy’s mind preferred to leave this in the hands of our incredibly porous run defense with one time out. Seriously, that’s how bad things are right now. I’m totally ok if you say, despite his lack of trust in his offense, this was a no brainer and he should have gone for it anyway. I’m with you there, but I’m not writing this to condemn just McCarthy. I’m writing this to make the point that he only makes this call of something is REALLY, REALLY wrong overall, because there are only 2 explanations for this call: 1. McCarthy is braindead; or 2. Things are THAT bad on this team. There are literally no other alternatives, and you must pick one. Plenty of evidence from the past that he isn’t an idiot, plenty of evidence past and present that this team is operating in total dysfunction.
Hey, I’m not in the lockerroom obviously, but for literally years there have been repeated signs of serious dysfunction on this team, some subtle and some not so subtle. This particular example is scary bad though. One of the worst things that show erosion of your team and chemistry is watching the stories that actually get reported. Unfortunately from a team chemistry standpoint, what happens in the lockerroom no longer stays in the lockerroom, and gossip that would have been absolutely unheard of in Green Bay but was commonplace at less professional franchises is starting to become more regular. And now even (literally) today, I’m hearing sportscasters telling stories that would NEVER have been disclosed before and are now being leaked from anonymous players. Usually that type of stuff doesn’t get out until players change teams, but guys are anonymously telling unflattering tales about their current teammates and the media is repeating them. Things are falling apart in this lockerroom folks, and these things do tend to get worse before they get better.
Leadership is in critical need at this point, and McCarthy getting canned will not alone solve this. We need Rodgers to step up, quit the norm-breaking comments to the media, get back to being the anti-Favre instead of Favre’s half brother, act off the field like the goat (wouldn’t hurt to get back to acting like the goat on the field but I digress) and whoever the next coach is, Rodgers and that coach will need to bring back some leadership and solidarity before this whole thing needs to be blown up and we end up wasting the career of the most talented arm possibly in the history of the league.
Think I’m exaggerating about how serious the situation is? Mike offensive guru McCarthy just punted on 4th and 2, and claimed he was ‘playing the numbers.’ THAT’S how bad things have eroded in Green Bay.