You know things are bad when I’m the one telling Packer Nation to CALM DOWN! I also must clear up a common misconception. The Super Bowl was not played yesterday, in fact I don’t think it has ever been played in September. The Packers lost to the Bears on the last play of the game while playing one of their poorest games of the Mike McCarthy era.
The game-winning field goal was set up by one the worst interference calls I’ve ever seen, but the Packers have only themselves to blame for that. When you have 16 penalties accepted against you already, if you even blow on a receiver you are getting called. In this case it was clearly offensive pass interference as Morgan Burnett actually broke on the ball first. If that was the first drive of the game it is a no-call for sure. But late in the game after 16 penalties the refs are thinking just kick the field goal and let’s get the hell out of here.
It is also time to squelch the talk about the Packers letting the Bears score. Last I checked the Bears have coaches too and they were well aware of the clock situation. If you think they were trying to score a TD when they got that penalty you need to go back to tape. They could have scored easily on the first play but the running back basically took a knee after going through a huge hole. Another pseudo running play followed and then they kicked the game winner. Under no circumstances were they going to give Rodgers another crack at it.
The Packers are 2-1, they have the Lions next week and I expect a thoroughly pissed off team to take the field. Lambeau will be rocking! Like a golfer who always assumes his opponent will make his putt, I assume the Bears will be beat the Giants, but it is in New York and the Giants are coming off a performance just as hideous as the Packers’ was. We could be back in first as soon as next week.
The Bears and their fans can celebrate but they know in the back of their minds that all things equal, the Packers have the better team, so the odds of them winning in Lambeau in December if the Packers have anything to play for are remote. I think the Packers will everything locked up by then, so it will be interesting to see if the Bears are playing for the playoffs and need a win, do the Packers still rest their starters?
The thing that worries me most is the return of the evil special teams unit. A punt return for a TD, a blocked field goal, penalties galore, it was a comedy of errors all over again. I know McCarthy won’t fire Shawn Slocum during the season, trying to install a new scheme would probably make it even worse than it is, but hiring his replacement better be first and foremost the day the season ends. All I ask is that I be the one to tell him he’s fired.
The fact is the Packers won’t be going to any Super Bowls playing special teams like that. McCarthy’s career is on the line now, Ted Thompson has given him a team with the talent to win it all, if he can’t do it somebody else will get a crack at it. If the Packers tank this season that could happen in January, but unless it really gets bad it is more than likely McCarthy will have one more year.
McCarthy was as pissed as I have ever seen on the sideline. I thought he was more hard-nosed in training camp than previously and more impatient with mistakes, so he must be boiling after watching the film of his team play like a bunch of pee-wees grabbing face-masks, false starting and committing personal fouls on back-to-back plays. I believe the message will be sent loud and clear. A loss next week and, well, I can’t even go there.