What is the definition of insanity? According to Albert Einstein, it's "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." The Green Bay Packers are officially insane.
The Packers have allowed opposing teams to rush for over 200 rushing yards four times this season. No other team has given up 200 yards on the ground twice. Allowing 141.8 rushing yards per game, the Packers have the 31st-ranked rush defense in the league after Week 14.
Joe Barry's defense had one job against the New York Giants: Stop Saquon Barkley and force Tommy DeVito to beat you with his arm. The Packers failed.
The Packers could not stop the run, allowing 209 yards (6.1 yards per rush) and two touchdowns on 34 attempts. When you allow this many yards rushing, the opposing team can set up play-action passes to continue to wear the defense down and create long, sustaining drives.
Packers defense makes Tommy DeVito look like a star
DeVito was efficient all night versus a Packers defense that has the potential to be elite but continuously disappoints. He finished his night 17/21 for 158 yards, one touchdown pass, and zero sacks. The Giants had allowed a league-high 69 sacks entering Week 14.
Not being able to bring down DeVito was crucial because he was able to climb the pocket and escape pressure using his legs. On top of only throwing four incompletions, the Packers gave up 72 yards rushing to DeVito. Barry's defense made a third-string undrafted rookie quarterback look like prime Michael Vick on Monday Night. Embarrassing.
With a defense consisting of multiple first-round picks, veterans, and a ton of the team's cap space allocated to that side of the ball, it is inexcusable to consistently underperform like this. It is not a player personnel issue. It is a coaching issue, starting with head coach Matt LaFleur and defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
With 1:33 left in the fourth quarter, Jordan Love had just led the Packers 40 yards on a short field to go up 22-21 against the Giants. That was too much time for Tommy DeVito. He went 4/4 for 60 yards to set the Giants up for a game-winning field goal. The undrafted rookie marched down the field against a Packers defense playing soft coverage in a one-point game in the fourth quarter. Abysmal.
"We obviously gave up too many chunk plays, lost our leverage twice," said LaFleur. "You cannot do that in that critical situation. We were off -- way off -- on one of the throws where they get an easy hitch and gain like 10 yards. It was just bad ball."
Will this be the nail in the coffin for the Joe Barry era in Green Bay? Maybe. Something needs to change. Could Barry call the defense from the field? Have one of the defensive position coaches call plays? Regardless, something needs to change on the defensive side of the ball.
The Packers get to travel back home for a matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for what is now a very important game for both teams if they want to keep their postseason dreams alive.
Green Bay still controls their destiny, as they still sit as the NFC's seventh seed after the Monday Night Football loss, but now the margin for error is microscopic with a six-team tie at 6-7.
Barry's defense needs to bounce back from this embarrassing loss. Can they? We shall see.