The Green Bay Packers are headed to the offseason thanks in large to their special teams and conservative play calling by head coach Mike McCarthy to start the game. The Packers pathetic special teams play is nothing new, we’ve seen it for eight years. Every time the Packers scored and seemed to gain momentum, the special teams gave the 49ers a short field. Can’t do that and beat a team like the 49ers.
What was baffling was McCarthy’s game plan of trying to force the run on the NFL’s 4th ranked run defense rather than use your MVP quarterback to take advantage of the 49ers banged up secondary. You just want to bang your head on the wall when supposedly smart people do such stupid things. McCarthy basically gave the game away in the first quarter when he didn’t come out passing. The Packers went three-and-out three times in a row and only a strong effort by the defense kept them down only 6-0.
When they finally did pass the offensive line had trouble protecting Aaron Rodgers, who was sacked four times and harassed on almost every throw. Rodgers was either rusty or rattled and he said he wasn’t rusty. He didn’t play bad but certainly we have seen him play much better. I just think they should have came out passing as it would have gotten Rodgers warmed up quicker and would open holes for Eddie Lacy later. Try and get a lead for a change. Instead Rodgers is out there in freezing cold handing off on the Packers’ first four plays. Makes no sense whatsoever.
I thought the banged up Packers defense played pretty good, holding the 49ers under 400 yards for the first time and to only 20 points, like Rodgers said, you have to win that game. Once again Colin Kaepernick was able to break some long runs but the Packers held Frank Gore to a pedestrian 66 yards. It was a winning performance by the defense and probably means Dom Capers is around for another year.
The Packers are going to have to shore up the defense though and I think they are going to have to bring in some veteran help like Tramon Williams said yesterday after the game. Too many young guys out there making too many mistakes.
Which brings me to special teams, the Packers weak link for the last eight years. Yesterday was just disgusting to watch. The Packers take a 17-13 lead in the fourth quarter and Mason Crosby hits a beautiful kick to the goal line just in bounds. Now, one would think the Packers could cover that one. Nope, all dude does is run straight up the field for 37 yards and four plays later the 49ers are back on top. If that single play wasn’t enough to get Shawn Slocum fired I don’t know what is. It was the same thing after every Packers’ score.
The Packers’ special teams never seem to get better and I don’t buy the excuse that they are playing young guys. If you are going to have a young team then the young players better be able to play, and this is special teams, it’s not rocket science. Run down and tackle the guy with the ball.
The Packers disadvantage in average starting position definitely cost them some games this year and made other ones much harder than they should be. That is too much unnecessary pressure to put on a defense when the opponent only has to go 60 yards after every kickoff that doesn’t go out of the endzone.
I don’t care so much if Capers stays but if Slocum is around next year then Mike McCarthy should be on a very short leash. In a perfect world both would be gone but I doubt that happens.
Because of all the injuries, I don’t feel bad about this year. And I have to thank Matt Flynn for the saving the season for the Packers. He was able to get two wins and a tie to set up Rodgers glorious return in Chicago. That game and yesterday, even in losing, has me feeling pretty good about the Packers’ chances next year. Can’t wait to see Eddie Lacy and Aaron Rodgers hopefully play 16 games together.
If the Packers can get some veteran help on defense, I think they can get back to that elite level they haven’t reached since winning the Super Bowl. The Pack will be back!