Postgame: Steelers Packers 2017 Week 12

What a game! So much to dive into, here were the biggest things that I saw.

Brett’s Journey
Brett Hundley continues to develop and it’s becoming even clearer how much more important live game play is than practice and film study in today’s NFL.

A few plays stick out from me where the growth process is evident.

Right before the 57 yard FG attempt, on 3rd and 15, there was a lot of green to run, maybe for a first, definitely enough to make it a far more manageable attempt. He hesitated, keeping his eyes downfield, and ended up taking a three yard sack. It’s like he was taking off too soon in his first few starts and now he’s staying in too long. It’s just a part of the back-and-forth evolution as he dials in his mental sack timer.

In his long touchdown passes, he underthrew both wide open targets by a step or two. This has been his biggest weakness. Then, right after the Bell fumble, he tried a quick out to a very wide open Adams and overthrew him. Again, it feels like the correction, over-correction of a young player trying to figure it out.

These are the growing pains of a new starter, even with all that time in the film room and on practice field.

The biggest highlight that stuck out to me was After they went down 7 in the 4th, he made a nice adjustment and nailed DickRodge for a big gain and that took him on a nice rhythm where he looked like a pretty good QB, the kind of QB that doesn’t need to hope the screen passes go for big gains and pray for busted coverage.

Time will tell. Next week, we’ll learn more.

Jamaal Williams
I think J-Will played over his head Sunday night. It was great. He showed a burst on the touchdown screen pass that he hadn’t displayed before. He had a career-long run and a career-long catch in this game. Man, after letting Lacy walk in the offseason, Ted certainly has built a stable of depth at the position.

Dom Capers
I am happy with the defensive effort, especially considering they were down Clark and CM3 with King in and out. However, I don’t give Capers credit for how the defense performed, there were still too many cases of invisible safeties where they were so far back I wonder if the All 22 film will even have them on screen.

Mike McCarthy
I give all the credit in the world to Mike McCarthy just for keeping this team together and playing with effort. I even give him all the credit for keeping his defensive players hustling (maybe it’s because I have a hard time giving Capers credit for anything).

In the last month, the Packers lost QB1, RB1, RB2, TE1, and RT1. McCarthy took that and devised a gameplan to drop 28 on the #2 scoring defense in the league. Green Bay is the only team to score 4 TDs on the Steelers this year. All three touchdown passes came on plays designed to attack a specific defensive formation in a specific manner and worked brilliantly. “Blown coverage” in this case was simply a matter of beautiful offensive play-calling that exposed a previously unexposed weakness in one of the best defenses in the league. That was simply a brilliant offensive game plan given how overmatched they were.

Loser Talk
I know that the Packers benefited from penalties, but they were actual infractions, not fail marys. I’m going to complain about a couple non-calls, because it seemed like the refs just got to a point where they didn’t want to call anymore penalties. The hold (by the helmet) of Ahmad Brooks was bad, but the clear and obvious helmet-to-helmet spearing on the QB by golden boy TJ Watt was an inexcusable no-call in the player safety era and it could have easily changed the outcome of the game. I’m not all p!ssy about it, and certainly don’t blame this loss on the refs, but it felt like they didn’t want to call penalties on plays and that inconsistency always bothers me. Oh well.

On Being A Fan
The Packers came in as huge underdogs, missing 4 first round draft picks (and a 5th for much of the game) which included their QB (best player in the league) in addition to their top 2 running backs. Their top players were sidelined in a primetime road game and they came out and battled them down to the literal last second. They lost on an indefensible pass from a hall of fame quarterback to the NFL’s leading receiver making an amazing catch. Appreciate this for a great game well played by both sides. If you are ticked off and want people fired after this game, I would encourage you to look for the positives and enjoy the game of football. If you can’t manage that, it’s not worth your time watching each week.

This was one of the most enjoyable losses I have ever saw. It felt so much like at New England in 2010 and that worked out ok. I’d rather hope for a great run than roll over for a better draft pick.

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