Nov 26, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts after throwing an interception during the fourth quarter of a NFL game against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field. Chicago won 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing Will Be Handed To You
Expectations are an area which tends to affect fans more than players. We build them up and believe so heavily in what we perceive to be the level where a team and its players should perform on that it can be highly unnerving when they fall short of those hopes.
Players and teams definitely do have some level of this type of thinking ingrained within them however; it is just part of human nature to underestimate others while overestimating ourselves. This is how we come across situations such as a team “playing down to its competition” or similar instances where things just don’t add up to the perceived potential of the team.
There are many other issues surrounding the play of this team lately, but on some level this does seem to be the case with the Packers recently.
Green Bay came out of their bye week at 6-0, but then got resoundly handled by a Denver team from both ends — including letting Peyton Manning have his best night of the season while allowing that offense to find a ground game. Then, they let Carolina get up huge on them before a valiant comeback attempt fell short; after the game, players were talking about not being afraid of a possible return to Carolina in the playoffs.
Those two can be written off moreso as just losing to better competition on the road. The losses since don’t bode as well.
Detroit and Chicago both came into Green Bay with recent long-term issues with beating the Packers, especially at home; Detroit hadn’t won there since 1991, while Jay Cutler had only one win against them despite being with Chicago for 7 seasons now. Each also is still sitting below .500 despite their wins over Green Bay.
It definitely seems as if the team — or at least certain players — could have been underestimating the opponents due to that recent history, taking for granted just how much effort it would take across a full game to come away with wins. Add in the “Favre Night” celebration and maybe they just thought it would be a piece of cake, that their opponent would just lay down because teams are “supposed” to win on the day/nights they hold these ceremonies.
We definitely saw a lack of urgency at times. We also saw way too much sloppy play, especially early with Eddie Lacy; his fumble turned the tides in the first half, and he put his TD catch in jeopardy by foolishly flipping the ball right around the goal-line as he crossed (a play we’ve seen happen numerous times that ended up being called a fumble).
Key mistakes kept being made, the weather didn’t help, and in the end the team took too long yet again to find any rhythm.
Maybe if they came out expecting a game instead of a win, they could have pushed themselves enough throughout the night to actually earn that expected victory.
Next: Turning It Over