I was going to release this edition of the Green Bay Packers Good, Bad and Ugly the day after Thanksgiving to stick with recent tradition – but, it took me a few days to actually process what it was I saw on Thursday afternoon.
Embarrassing would be an understatement. Disappointing would be an understatement. Heck, completely and utterly disgusting is an understatement.
I had a very, very, very, very difficult time coming up with reasons to call this week’s post GOOD, Bad and Ugly. It came very close to being BAD, WORSE and UGLIER. But, as I have previously stated: there is always a little of everything in a game; and the three days prior to this release have given me the insight to find those small silver linings.
GOOD (if you can call it that …)
Creating Turnovers –
For the entire season leading up to Thanksgiving, this defense has been criticized for not creating enough turnovers. It’s true, if you are comparing the stats to previous seasons, the drop-off is amazing. This “bend-but-don’t-break” defense has always given up the yards, but they force the ball out of opponents’ hands. They have been ball-hawks in seasons past. This is very much the same group of guys … so where is the difference?
Two forced fumbles and two interceptions started the day in Detroit on Thursday. I was feeling really good about the tenacity the defense was showing in the first half. Tramon Williams jumped a route for an interception. Nick Perry had a strip sack of Matthew Stafford that was picked up by Morgan Burnett and returned for a touchdown. Clay Matthews had a strip on the opening drive, Reggie Bush in the red zone. Of the four turnovers that we made on Thursday, only 10 points were scored. By the way, only 10 points were scored all day. Hard to argue which unit was worse, offense or defense.
He doesn’t always get recognized anymore; not with the emergence of Jarrett Boykin and Jordy Nelson as big-time threats. But on Thursday, he made two circus catches that showed why he is an elite receiver on this team. While he still battles a PCL sprain in his knee, he is making catches that seem to defy all the laws of physics. With all the talent at the wideout position, it is hard to know whether or not he will be back next year. But, I sure hope he is.
Giving up more than 500 yards of offense is completely unacceptable. We are getting healthier on defense and yet … it’s getting worse each week. What is the issue? Is it the defensive coordinator? Is it the players? Is it the scheme? What is it? Because Packers Nation is getting restless. I am growing tired of watching receivers catch the ball in open space without even so much as one defensive player around. I am growing tired of opposing QBs coming out looking like rockstars against this defense, especially backups. It’s just getting old and predictable and disheartening. There needs to be wholesale changes on defense and I am coming to terms with it.
Wow. How did we go from one of the best teams in the league at defensing the run, to giving up 200-plus yards rushing in back-to-back games? It’s ridiculous and it’s embarrassing. I used to be excited to face the likes of Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch; not anymore. I just can’t believe the drop-off that has occurred in a matter of a month.
I felt like he needed to be somewhere between Bad and Ugly; it was pretty sad to watch. There was so little offense, I was actually frustrated AND bored. Flynn looked like a lame duck in the pocket. He doesn’t see the entire field, left some receivers completely wide open while deciding to throw into traffic and held the ball way too long. He looked like he didn’t even know the offense and was on the run all day. Every time the offense had a shot, we blew it. He was predictable and I would have loved to have seen Scott Tolzien at some point during the game.
It was absolutely crazy; the Lions were favored by 6 points over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. I don’t think anyone saw a 30-point deficit coming. Thirty-seven of their 40 points were unanswered. Our offense didn’t score … like at all. Our only touchdown was defensive. Mason Crosby is starting to look like a league MVP. Things aren’t right in Green Bay. Things just aren’t right. It’s disheartening.
Playoff Contention Slips Out of Reach
Yes, the stars can align and all things can be made right again if the NFC North gets swallowed by an enormous fish and the Packers are the only ones that survive. That is literally the only way we can make the playoffs now. We aren’t mathematically out just yet, but it’s just a feeling amongst the fan base. Without Aaron, we aren’t the Packers. This week is a must-win – do or die – and if Rodgers can’t go, I’d expect to see as much BAD and UGLY as we have been seeing the past month.