A Nashville Blowout: Why Green Bay Packers lost to Tennessee Titans
By Kenn Korb
The biggest thing which stuck with me after this game was all the miscues committed by the Packers.
Early on during Mike McCarthy’s tenure as coach, penalties used to be a huge problem for the team, but those have mostly been cleaned up since Rodgers has been the starting quarterback for Green Bay. Take a look at their yearly accepted penalties from 2009-2015 (ranking based on lowest # for that season): #31, #17, #3, #22, #8, #11, and #17, respectively. Those are mostly decent outcomes, especially following the Packers winning the Super Bowl following the 2010 season, and one of the two worst came during the fallout on offense in the second half of last season.
This year they are #7 in terms of lowest number of accepted penalties even after this game, but the penalties were huge in not only helping allow the huge deficit to be formed in the first place but keeping Green Bay from making a legitimate effort at a comeback.
There were double-digit accepted penalties on the Packers on the afternoon (as well as a few others which were not). Those accepted ones gave the Titans over a full football field’s worth of free yardage (107), and not only did they happen on basically every drive but there also were so many boneheaded plays that did not need to happen.
See for yourself:
- Encroachment (Mike Daniels) [TEN Drive 1]
- Holding (Lane Taylor) [GB Drive 2] *declined*
- Unnecessary Roughness (Letroy Guion) [TEN Drive 2]
- Holding (David Bakhtiari) [GB Drive 5]
- Holding (Taylor) [GB Drive 5]
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Kyler Fackrell) [TEN Drive 5]
- Defensive Delay of Game (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix) [TEN Drive 7]
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Davante Adams) [GB Drive 8]
- Kickoff Out of Bounds (Mason Crosby) [TEN Drive 9]
- Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Daniels) [TEN Drive 9]
- Delay of Game (Aaron Rodgers) [GB Drive 9]
- Unnecessary Roughness (Clinton-Dix) [TEN Drive 11]
- Holding (Jason Spriggs) [GB Drive 11] *declined*
- Roughing the Kicker (Joe Thomas) [TEN Drive 13] *offset*
Follow along with those penalties, and you get a very strong idea of how the game went.
Daniels’ early encroachment penalty happened right before Murray’s 75 yard TD to open the scoring onslaught. Guion’s roughness penalty ended up not making a difference due to Taylor Lewan getting ejected on the same play (giving yardage back in the process), but was emblematic of a defense which came unhinged as they were being dominated — including two other instances late by Daniels and Clinton-Dix. Holds by Bakhtiari and Taylor shut down one of Green Bay’s few early chances to cut into the quick deficit.
Fackrell compounded an awful muffed punt with another glob of free yardage. Clinton-Dix and Rodgers each cost their team by not being prepared for snaps. Even when they did score, emotions ran too high and cost the team vital yardage in a game where they needed every little advantage to have a chance.
The penalties were bad enough on their own to cost the team any opportunity to be competitive, but the errors did not end there somehow.
To go with those, we saw three different turnovers by a team which has routinely been among the best in the NFL at not giving away possessions. I mentioned the muffed punt by Davis before (which gave the ball right back to the Titans while the Packers were already down 28-10), but there were two INTs tossed by Rodgers as well; the first was on a Hail Mary before halftime (defendable, based on the situation), but the second was in the midst of the final ditch efforts of the Packers to mount some sort of comeback.
It will go on Rodgers’ record, but while he may have been able to do something different it probably shouldn’t; he ended up with two receivers who essentially ran the same route, each ending up at the same area of the field a full 10+ yards short of where Rodgers placed it.
Add in the five sacks which occurred — picked up through a combination of Rodgers holding the ball too long, his offensive line suffering injuries and overall not playing up to their standards, and the Titans’ pass rush and coverage being on point — and this was a monstrously unsightly performance from a team which is immeasurably removed from the Rodgers-McCarthy era dominance we used to take for granted.
Injuries do play some part in this equation, but that is no excuse for the abysmal outfit we saw out there on Sunday — and really, have seen all season.
With two more road games still coming (against Washington and Philadelphia) before the team even gets to return to Lambeau, it feels like a near certainty Green Bay has a 4-7 record entering their final stretch of the season.
If it weren’t for the putrid state of the NFC North and the relative malaise falling over the league in general, this team would be worth writing off completely for the playoffs; even with that taken into account, there isn’t (and really shouldn’t be) much hope for a turnaround based on what we’ve seen.
Next: Packers stock up, stock down after Week 10
Let’s face it though: a shot at the playoffs is the last thing this overrated mess of a team deserves.