Packers: Is Dom Capers’ defense to blame for Steelers loss?

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Chris Boswell /

Another week and another loss for the Green Bay Packers. They’ve gone 1-5 since losing Aaron Rodgers to a collarbone injury.

However, Sunday night’s loss to the Steelers was far different from the 23-0 loss to the Ravens just over a week ago. Brett Hundley played what was probably his best game as an NFL quarterback. The Packers were good enough to keep it tight against one of the AFC’s best teams.

Once again, the loss caused many Packers fans to blame the Green Bay coaching staff.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers has been criticized for years in Green Bay. The voices calling for him to be fired have been louder than ever this year in particular.

Here’s the main question: Is Dom Capers’ defense the reason why the Packers lost on Sunday night against the Steelers?

Let’s recap some of the stats from the game.

The Packers defense came into the game with one clear objective. Don’t let Antonio Brown beat you. They had double-coverage on Brown for almost the entirety of the game. However, even with the constant double teams they were still unable to keep Brown from having another fantastic game.

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Pittsburgh’s star receiver had 169 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions. His most important catch came with the clock ticking down in the fourth quarter, and moved the Steelers near field goal range.

Brown has a big game almost every week. He’s arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, and was going up against a slightly banged-up Packers secondary.

On top of Brown’s production, Pittsburgh tailback Le’Veon Bell had a great game as well, with 88 yards receiving and 95 yards rushing.

Once again though, Bell is one of the league’s top running backs and is never completely held in check no matter what team he plays.

All in all, Pittsburgh was able to move the ball down the field pretty efficiently. They finished with 462 total yards of offense.

One of the facets of the game where Pittsburgh played best was on third down. The Steelers finished the game eight-for-13 on third down conversions. Even though the Packers gave up plenty of conversions on third down, they were still able to take the ball away from the Steelers three times. Damarious Randall and Blake Martinez each had an interception. Martinez also had a fumble recovery.

Following two of these turnovers, the Packers offense couldn’t put points on the board. After the interception by Martinez, Brett Hundley was sacked twice, and then Mason Crosby missed a 57 yard field goal. Following the fourth quarter fumble, the Packers took over on their own 34-yard line. But after three incomplete passes, they punted.

In short, the Packers offense was impressive for a good part of the game, but they couldn’t cash in on two of the three Steelers turnovers.

One of the most telling facts of the entire game was that the Steelers punted the ball away with just 1:21 of regulation left, but still ended up winning the game with a field goal as time expired.

If McCarthy and the offense were content with going to overtime, they could have run the ball three times in a row. If they were set on winning in regulation, they could have aired it out three straight plays. However, the Packers were in a tough spot after Hundley was sacked on first down, and Jamaal Williams was forced out of bounds after second down.

The offense can be blamed for poor clock management in the final minutes of the game.

Green Bay also played this game without Clay Matthews and Kenny Clark. Clark is in the midst of his best year of his career. His presence has been felt on the defensive line all season long. If Clark were in action, the Packers pass rush certainly would’ve been more effective.

Say what you want about Matthews, but he is still a solid outside linebacker. The argument that he is getting overpaid is valid, but Clay remains to be a big problem for an offensive tackle trying to pass-block him.

The Packers defense was without two of their impact players. If fully healthy, they could have gotten more pressure on Ben Roethlisberger.

To recap things, a lot of the blame that the Packers defense gets can also be put on the offense. On top of that, the maligned defense was able to turn over the Steelers three times, even without Matthews and Clark.

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As previous weeks have shown, maybe it is time for Capers to go. However, this game wasn’t an example of why that is the case.