My apologies I haven’t written for a couple of weeks, I was crazy sick and really couldn’t write a complete sentence to save my life. I would get to “I think…”, and then my brain would cramp and stop working. Now I know how Jessica Simpson feels like when she tries to speak in logical, complete sentences.
(Quick tangent. Has anybody seen Jessica Simpson’s new Weight Watchers commercial? She talks about losing a large amount of weight, but they only show her from the neck up. If you talk about losing a ton of weight, shouldn’t your whole body be shown to show the results? My guess is when the producers went to her house for the shoot, they walked in unannounced and she was hands deep in fried chicken. The producers then said “Um…Jessica…are you ready for the photo shoot?” She says “That’s today?” The producers then wiped her face and shot the commercial. I needed to get that off my chest. Back to the matter at hand.)
I know I didn’t write a preview for the Packers/Colts game because I spent more time in the bathroom than I did in my living room (we get it, you were sick), but anybody I emailed with or talked to about this game said the same thing to me “You have nothing to worry about, you’re playing the Colts, they suck.” My answer would be “Yes, the Colts suck. But the Packers aren’t playing the Colts this week.” Everybody I said this to was very confused and thought that the medication I was taking was effing with me. But my point was that the Packers were going to be playing a Supercharged Colts team on Sunday. Earlier in the week it was publicized that Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano had been diagnosed with leukemia and was going through chemotherapy to battle it. The first thought I had when that news broke was “I hope that he gets better”, the second thought was “Sunday’s game just changed”. Sunday’s game just changed from a big game that the Colts had at home, to, a big game at home for the Colts where they were going to honor their coach by hopefully playing their best game of the season. So not only where the Packers facing a super energized Colts team, the previous week the Packers D couldn’t stop the passing attack of Drew Brees and the Saints, and the Packers haven’t been able to definitively close out a game the whole season. But hey, they’re still playing the Colts. What could go wrong? Well, in the second half, everything went wrong.
In the first half, the Packers looked like they were going to run away with the game. Aaron Rodgers and the offense were moving the ball up and down the field; Rodgers passed for 133 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The offense looked good, they were playing with a good fluidity and only had two three and outs in the first half. In the beginning of the second quarter , Cedric Benson got hurt, it didn’t look serious at the time (but proved to be otherwise later) and it didn’t seem as though that the Benson injury was going to slow the Packers offense down. The Packers defense allowed 199 yards in the first half, but didn’t let up any big plays and only allowed 3 points, taking a 21-3 lead into halftime. With the Packers starting slow in most games this season and picking up their play in the second half, Packer Backers were exciting going into the second half on Sunday that the Packers were going to cruise to a W seeing how they played well in the first half. However, that wasn’t the case and the Packers were punched in the mouth during the third quarter. During the third quarter of play the Packers offense mustered a missed field goal and two three and outs, and the defense let up big gain after big gain, and before you know it the Colts made a game of it, only being down 21-19 heading into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter was looking a lot like the third quarter, with the Packers offense punting on their first three possessions, and the Colts kicking a field goal, taking the lead at 22-21. On the fourth possession of the quarter, the Packers offense got a huge shot in the arm from running back Alex Green, breaking a 41 yard run to the Indy 8 yard line. On the next play, Aaron Rodgers hooked up with James Jones for an 8 yard touchdown pass. The Packers went for two, the conversion failed, but they were still up 27-22 with 4:30 left to go in the game. All the Colts did from there was march the ball down the field, eat up most of the clock, and score the game winning touchdown with 0:35 seconds to go in the game. The Packers had a chance to win the game, but Mason Crosby missed a 51 yard field goal, giving the Colts the 30-27 comeback victory, honoring coach Pagano with a gutsy, come from behind win against the Packers.
Dropping a 21-3 halftime lead is the number 1 concerning thing coming from this game, but that’s obvious and I would be John Madden if I talked about such an obvious thing. I’m going to go with two other concerning things from the game on Sunday; the fact that the Packers have struggled when trying to close a game out and the fact that the passing defense hasn’t improved from last year. To the first point, it’s very concerning that the Packers have not decisively closed out a game so far this year. Sunday’s game was a perfect example of this very point. The Packers were up 21-3 at halftime, +18 going into the second half, and still couldn’t get a W. Taking the opening game against the 49ers out of the equation, the Packers struggled to close out games in which they won, and loss games that they already had in hand. The Packers still have 5 division games left on the schedule, plus games with the Giants and Texans, playing talented teams like that, the games are more than likely going to be close. The Packers need to focus more down the stretch of games, or this year could get real ugly, real quick. To the second point, after playing talented quarterbacks in back to back weeks, and giving up 350+ yards in each of those games, I think it’s safe to say the Packers passing defense hasn’t gotten better since last year. As I mentioned in a previous post, before the Saints game, the Packers hadn’t played a top tier quarterback and hadn’t been tested yet. The Packers let up 400 yards against Drew Brees, and gave up 360 yards against Andrew Luck. I don’t know what happened to Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, but they are just not getting it done at the corner positions. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers needs to change the game plan. He likes to blitz out of the 3-4, leaving a lot of man to man coverage on the outside. With giving up so many yards, that plan needs to change. With games against Matthew Stafford, Christian Ponder (is playing really well so far), Matt Schaub (next week), and Eli Manning coming up, something has to change with the defensive scheme.
I’ve had some comments that I’m being too negative with the Packers play so far. This team has the talent to win another Super Bowl and they are severely under-performing so far this year. With Cedric Benson being out for a long time, things have to change quick, or this season could get bad very quickly.