We all went gaga last night over the Green Bay Packers offense with the running of Eddie Lacy, the passing of Aaron Rodgers and the timely catches by the likes of Jermichael Finley and Jarrett Boykin – but all is not well in Titletown.
For to earn titles, at team has to score points. And while the lack of touchdowns last night provided us a better view of the place kicking competition, it shouldn’t sit well with Aaron Rodgers and the offense he leads.
The Packers first team moved the ball up and down the field in the first quarter and into the second while under the leadership of Rodgers, but the end result wasn’t enough to win games. The only help for the offense came in the form of a seemingly bad St. Louis Rams offense – though the Packers defense may have had a hand in that.
The Packers had the ball first, went eight plays for 64 yards – a promising drive that stalled when Jermichael Finley was called for holding on an Eddie Lacy run around left end in which he picked up a first down. Instead of a first and goal, the Packers stalled out on the 12 yard line and Mason Crosby connected on a field goal.
Their second drive was similar. Starting on their own 33, the Packers went 33 yards on five plays and again couldn’t convert on third and short. Instead, Giorgio Tavecchio came in and missed wide left from 49 yards out.
Into the second quarter, the Packers again mounted a long drive – this one starting at the 2 yard line. They drove 11 plays, 68 yards, holding the ball for 5:21 before being forced again into a field goal try … this one by Crosby again. He connected from 48 yards out.
Rodgers was finished after that drive … the result of his efforts being 10-12 passing for 134 yards, but only six points.
All of those interviewed said as much … they need to get the ball into the end zone. Judging from head coach Mike McCarthy’s comments, the team will focus on getting the ball into the end zone.
Ironically, it was backup quarterback B.J. Coleman who finally led the Packers offense into the end zone – the team’s only end zone appearance in the first two preseason games. He hit rookie tight end Jake Stoneburner in the front corner of the end zone for the score.
When the Seattle Seahawks march into Lambeau Field this coming weekend, the Packers will have to be prepared and focused to score points. Seattle dominated Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Saturday night, putting up 40 points.
Forget about the “Fail Mary.” And forget about putting too much stock into the final score of any of these games. The preseason is all about fine tuning the offense and defense and evaluating the players who will make up the final 54-man roster.
But it’s also important to put the ball into the end zone in these preseason games … We look for the Packers to convert third downs in the coming two weeks and score some points. Sept. 8 is coming up pretty quick.
In the meantime, here’s what McCarthy said to open his post-game press conference last night. He showed concern about the same issue:
“As far as an overview of the game, I thought that the football team took a step forward tonight. We obviously still have a lot to work on. I thought the offense moved the football. We need to focus on getting the ball in the end zone this week. We took care of the football, we had the one fumble on the ground during the fourth quarter but it was reversed. Defensively, I felt good about our defense, particularly on the third downs and their ability to keep them out of the end zone. On special teams we were able to get a number of kicks for both Mason (Crosby) and Giorgio (Tavecchio) so that we can continue that evaluation. I feel like the productivity and the opportunity on a number of different fronts gives us the chance to evaluate and move into preseason week number three. Overall, I think like I said to start off, we took a step forward but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Here’s Aaron Rodgers’ comments after the game:
“It was OK. It was frustrating not getting in the end zone. But, I’m going to highlight a couple of guys I thought that played really well. On our side of the ball, Jermichael (Finley) was awesome. He’s had a great spring, summer and camp and I’m excited about his progress moving forward and the role he’s going to play in our offense. We need to find more ways to get him the ball, Eddie Lacey as well. Eddie was in there working with the first group. He did a nice job being on the same page as a rookie and ran the ball really well.”