The Green Bay Packers should know … prepare for the worst.
Eddie Lacy –
Even with a fully stacked box, Lacy still garnished over 3-yards per carry. He broke out for an 11-yard gain. The odds were stacked against him all game long. The Packers continued to pound the ball up the middle, which puzzled me. Lacy runs well to the edge and off of the shotgun handoff. I thought his talents were wasted in a game like this. I was glad to see his snap count limited in the second half. The last thing we need is to run the steam out of our workhorse and put his health at risk against a 9-man defensive front.
Still, he was consistent. He gained 76 yards on 24 carries and picked up some crucial 3rd downs.
Tramon Williams –
I don’t care what anyone has to say about Williams being a rollercoaster DB this year — and quite frankly, since his shoulder in 2011 – he came up with a pretty solid game this week. I don’t know what else you want a cover corner to do on the score by DeSean Jackson in the first quarter. He defensed the pass, it took a bad bounce off a helmet and Jackson had the ball awareness to make a second play. Burnett and Williams were with Jackson step-for-step. It was coincidental and it was another instance of bad luck for the Packers. Other than that play, Tramon had six tackles, was credited with half a sack and a strip of Nick Foles that should have been returned for a touchdown (see, UGLY, for gross mismanagement from the officiating crew).
Let’s hand it to the receivers because they are incredibly resilient. James Jones is still battling an injury to his PCL, Cobb is out, Finley is out. Our offensive attack has been slowed by many injuries. Last week, that got exponentially worse. The loss of Aaron Rodgers is almost unbearable. How would the receivers respond to backup QB Seneca Wallace? After a full week of first team reps, we were going to find out. Wallace went 5-for-5 on the opening drive … before going down with an injury. You’re got to be kidding me, right?
Even Nelson’s demeanor changed. You could see the frustration on the players faces. Recently activated practice squad QB Scott Tolzien has done very little work with this offense. It seemed like a repeat of last Monday night’s debacle. But, Tolzien did what needed to be done. He unleashed the deep ball, finding Jarrett Boykin. He unleashed the play action pass, finding James Jones and Jordy Nelson. He unleashed the screen pass finding … everyone. He got green TE Brandon Bostick involved in the game, connecting on a 22-yard touchdown pass. Jordy Nelson made an incredible catch in the end zone that was called incomplete (again, see UGLY for bad officiating). James Jones was two inches away from an incredible toe-tapping touchdown.
There is no disputing that this receiving corp is the deepest talent on our roster.
Special Teams –
Micah Hyde continues to show me that he is the return man of the future. He made a few rookie mistakes; should have taken a knee in the end zone once or twice. But he didn’t give away the big play. He has been the anti-Jeremy Ross and he continues to be. Packers Nation collectively holds its breath with each punt, as a string of bad return men have plagued us in the playoffs and the regular season. Maybe he didn’t do anything spectacular today … but he is impressively consistent and he is gaining the Packers’ trust.
CM3’s Clubbed Hand –
I get it; Clay Matthews is leadership embodied for this defensive unit. We needed him back on the field. He did get some pressure from the outside, but was unable to wrap up because of the club on his injured hand. I loved having Clay back, but we need him with two hands.
We got Nick Perry and Clay Matthews back this game. But don’t celebrate just yet. The Packers have hit some serious speed bumps in the injury department this season. Week 10 was no exception. Nick Perry was reinjured. Casey Hayward was reinjured. Johnny Jolly was shaken up. Seneca Wallace left in the first series (which was reminiscent of Rodgers’ first series in Chicago). Evan Dietrich-Smith was lost for the game, reshuffling an already shuffled offensive line. To make matters worse, starting RT Don Barclay left and did not return. There are no offensive linemen on the tree out back, waiting to be plucked down and plugged in. We are in dire need of a healthy stretch.
Run Defense –
This once staunch run defense could not defend LeSean McCoy. He rushed for 155-yards on 25 carries. He ran to daylight more than once; it wasn’t pretty. Aaron Rodgers’ injury was devastating to this entire team, but … he doesn’t play defense. This unit needs to get it together.
Mason Crosby –
We saw another glimpse of Crosby 2012. I was prepared to give him the 53-yarder. It is nearing the edge of his range and it was windy at Lambeau today. But … he gets inside his own head and forces missed opportunities. We should have generated at least 6 more points off of the kicking game. It’s disheartening to drive the ball down the field with your third string QB and a host of other backup players on offense … and have points left on the field like that.
Pass Defense –
Couldn’t be worse. The Packers secondary, again, made another team’s backup QB look like a rock star. Foles was pressured up front, but he made plays happen in the passing game by chucking it up and hoping for a miracle. The miracle was — our secondary was on the opposite side of the field. Jennings and Burnett dropped the ball on the long ball to Cooper. Williams had two-would-be interceptions that ended as passes defensed instead. Shields and Hayward fell down on the job, literally.
We needed a couple of games to stay afloat until Rodgers returns. Even if Scott Tolzien plays lights out for 4-6 weeks, it won’t mean anything if the defense doesn’t start waking up. This is just getting embarrassing.
I don’t think I have to go further than to say this:
1. Special Teams should have had a touchdown that became a touchback
2. Jordy Nelson had a SCORE
Can’t catch a break.