Packers Hang On, Advance To Atlanta In Nail-Biter

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Aaron Rodgers

Count this guy among the NFL elite

It came down to the wire again, but Tramon Williams came up big and the Packers held on to beat Philadelphia 21-16 in a game highlighted by missed field goals and the sudden appearance of a Green Bay running game.

Michael Vick nearly led the Eagles back, marching his team down the field in less than two minutes, but Williams made arguably the play of his career with a pick in the end zone with 33 seconds remaining to seal the NFC Wild Card victory.

The Packers now head to Atlanta for a divisional playoff game next Saturday night.

The win is Aaron Rodgers’ first postseason victory and one of his better performances despite a costly fumble early in the second half that resulted in a Philly score. He threw for a respectable 180 yards, three touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions.

James Starks, meanwhile, came out of nowhere and gave the Packers a running game, setting a postseason rookie record with 23 rushes for 123 yards in what can only be described as a “What the EFF??” performance. Where has this been all season? Who cares if it comes at the right time, I say.

The defense played great most of the game, too, but let’s be honest. Pro Bowl kicker David Akers cost Philadelphia this game with his two missed field goals, and the Packers SHOULD have won by 12 points had perennial goat James Jones held onto yet another sure touchdown catch late in the first half.

Mike McCarthy’s inexplicable decision not to go for more points just before halftime also looms large. It’s hard to berate the man too much after a big playoff win, but (as several analysts pointed out) why let the clock run out when you have a red-hot quarterback, the ball at midfield and one timeout remaining? The guy’s thinking patterns are beyond me and will cost us the season at some point, I’m afraid.

But HEY! We won dammit! And right now, that’s all that matters. Overall this was a great team effort against a tough opponent.

About The Author

Sarah is a writer and editor living in the Twin Cities, a lifelong Packers fan and an ardent supporter of all things anti-Vikings.

47 Comments on "Packers Hang On, Advance To Atlanta In Nail-Biter"

  1. VersusTheMoose

    Great game, another tough game next week though. Glad to see Rodgers finally get a playoff win too.

  2. Sacrament

    Nah. McCarthy correctly saw his offense was dazed after Jones’ stunning drop, and pulled them in to regroup.
    Perfectly handled, in my mind.
    I didn’t love (Read: I hated) the playcalls in the 4-minute offense at the end, but I gotta back the coach on getting everybody the heck off the field to end the half.

  3. Ryan

    Why so negative?

    We just beat the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFC’s #3 seed on the road in the playoffs! We held the league’s most electric QB to 33 yards rushing on 8 attempts and an overall QB rating to 79.9 – again, all on the road.

    Meanwhile, Rodgers played brilliantly. He had an extremely costly fumble, yes. But look what Rodgers did on the next drive – he led the team down on a brilliant touchdown drive. (This was probably the most important drive of the season.)

    Next, James Starks was fantastic. He has been injured for the majority of the season and then apparently has “not practiced well” and so he has not been given significant playing time.

    Ah, now my favorite topic for this blog…Mike McCarthy – who I am a huge fan of. I’ll admit it: he completely blew the end of the half. I have no idea what he was thinking, although I would seriously like to hear his thoughts. (He was probably asked in his post game press conference- the transcript hasn’t been released yet.) HOWEVER – his play calling was superb. The many people on this site who have begged him to commit to the running game certainly cannot complain… The offense was extremely balanced today. The screen call on 2nd and Goal from the 16 was brilliant as the Eagles were surely expecting a throw closer to the goal line. I thought McCarthy did an EXCELLENT job calling plays tonight, although, sometimes I feel like it takes a little too long to get the plays in. However, Troy Aikman himself said that McCarthy’s coaching job this season was one of the best he has ever seen. McCarthy has led this team to the playoffs after countless injuries and successfully led his team to a win on the road in Philly against Vick – something that is certainly not easy.

    Don’t get so bogged down in the negatives. Rarely will absolutely everything go right in a game… My biggest disappointment was James Jones’ inexcusable drop late in the 2nd quarter; had he caught that ball, he would have likely scored a TD and the game might have been all but over. Other than that – and again considering we were on the ROAD – I thought it was an all-around excellent performance.

    Was it a close game? Yes, duh! This is the playoffs- and both teams are great. In the end, the Packers made more plays and the Eagles couldn’t kick field goals.

    Bring on Atlanta! (I am REALLY confident about our chances against Atlanta. Matt Ryan doesn’t have anywhere near the legs of Vick and Vick is arguably almost as accurate as Ryan is… The thing is, Ryan rarely makes mistakes. However, if the Packers don’t make mistakes and just outplay the Falcons – we can definitely win this game!)

  4. Joe

    Fuck analysis

    Fuck theories

    Fuck opinions of reporters “no offense TP :)”

    Fuck it all..

    The Packers won, we play Atlanta next week, and lets go get their ass!!! Peace!

  5. nurseratchett

    Aww, heck Sarah’s just keeping it real….but…
    GO PACK GO!!!!!!!!!

    Dom Capers seemed a little stubborn in his defensive play calling in the second half, particularly in the 4th quarter; I was getting a little nervy when it seemed as if we couldn’t stop them; I distinctly remember (in my drunken haze) yelling “IT ISN’T WORKING…call another PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” more than once on the Eagles last few possessions.

    That being said, I am absolutely THRILLED at the running game resurgence (appearance?). No one believes a play action fake is a fake if you can’t actually run the ball. Aaron won his 1st playoff game tonight. FUCK YOU COLON COWHERD!

    GO PACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Shawn iltarion

    Great comment, Joe.

    We took a shot before half. James Jones dropped it. No complaints from me.

    Hoo-effin-ray. I am surprised my barbaric yawp didn’t blow the windows out when T-Will came down with that pick. Fricking awesome. HUGE win for A-Rodge and this team. We are totally ready for Hotlanta. We had no James Starks when those guys skated by us the first time. Bring them the fuck on.

  7. Ryan

    LOL Joe.

    I guess I was just frustrated to read what seemed like a negatively themed post after such an awesome win.

    Go PACK!

  8. Buddy

    All the naysayers can kiss our Green and Gold asses. A-Rod got the win in post season which will keep the Viqueens and Bears blog sites quiet. Way to go Pack!

  9. Sarah

    I can’t help it. I’m a cynical, negative Nancy journalist at heart. ;)

    It WAS a good win, and Joe is right. Fuck opinions of reporters and bring on the Dirty Birds.

  10. AZ Pack

    Great all around team play today. Glad to see Starks finally get the fair shake he deserves. He is a very valuable weapon right now because other than today, no one has a whole lot of film on this guy. Nice to see it.

    To win in ATL, we need Howard Green to be activated and the receivers need to catch the f’in ball. It’s rediculous… You make millions of dollars and you drop the ball when it is in your hands??? Jones is gone if he doesn’t step it up and start catching those passes.

  11. Yea, we won…lay off McCarthy!!! We were recieving the ball after half up by 11!!! He didn’t want an unnecessary turn-over with 35 secs. left and the shEagles had 1 timeout left…he tried to convert but the offense stalled after the 2nd play…in the end, it was the right call!!! completely disagree! GO PACK GO!!!

  12. JC

    I totally got hammered after the game and jammed out to “Jump in the Stands” … i cant believe i still have Robert Brooks’ CD.

    • JC

      That was all I wanted for my 13th Birthday, and Its good to know others can appreciate the value of this priceless gem :)… I will have to decline “god status” though, as there was once a youtube video of me Sobbing like a cheerleader, getting broke up with on prom night, burning my ratty old Favre jersey (that was about 3 sizes too small for me now) while taylor swift sings just another picture to burn…

  13. Jerry- L.A."s #1 PK FN

    You guys remember that Jordy Nelson fumble that was a potential game turner against the GIANTS. Granted it wasnt a TD potential pass but a fumble. That J.J. dropped ( VERY CATCHABLE )

  14. Madcity Packer Fan

    I am very proud of our Packers! They beat the odds and made shithead naysayers look like even bigger douchebags. I knew Starks would come around. I am surprised he is sparking now in the playoffs. What a good surprise! The dude had over 3100 yards rushing in college in 3 years. He has talent and it will only get better for him from here on out. McCarthy needs to focus on a game plan to stop the run and be successful in the red zone this Saturday! Either way we have had one hell of a season! Everyone stepped up when they needed to and made plays. 15 players on IR means our opponent is still in trouble! Love it!

  15. Madcity Packer Fan


    Sarah:

    I can’t help it. I’m a cynical, negative Nancy journalist at heart. ;)
    It WAS a good win, and Joe is right. Fuck opinions of reporters and bring on the Dirty Birds.

    Sarah is that a swear word I see!? ;)

  16. Jesse

    I thought Starks was pretty good and had a few awesome breakout runs. That said, the Pack seemed to tilt towards the run on 1st and 2nd down and then relied on the pass to convert on 3rd. It was ridiculous how consistent this pattern was. Don’t get me wrong, the emergence of a running game is awesome, but the Pack is an elite pass attack team and I didn’t see any confidence in the passing game (especially in the 4th quarter). Throw ’em off with a run here and there, but let Rodgers get hot and then unleash the fury! I am happy for the win, but disturbed by the unimaginative play calling. I seem to be the only person in the world that thinks this way. Anyway, next week is a new game and a new plan. I hope to see some Starks action, but if we’re gonna win next week it’s gonna have to tilt towards Rodgers and the pass attack. My two cents.

  17. Chris

    Just watched all the player interviews on Packers.com

    Very impressed with the blend of humility and purpose this team seems to have.

  18. ri

    I love how Jason Cole from Yahoo Sports ranked A Rodg as the 7th best QB in the playoffs. What a joke! He is certainly among the Elite and better then Little Ben, Vicky and Matty Cryin – which we will see demonstrated on Saturday! GO PACK!!!

  19. Abe Frohman

    so I’m going to float a theory out there. I don’t generally believe in conspiracy theories, but…there just seemed to be a bunch of circumstancial evidence pointing to the NFL wanting their poster children of comebacks to advance.

    1) the 10 second run off for Celeks injury never happened.
    2) on the deep kick that Wood returned, the clock didn’t start until he was tackled and then only like 2 seconds came off.
    3) on an extra point attempt, if there’s an offensive foul, it’s play over. Period. Would they get another shot if there were holding on the play? Nope….so why give it to them if their idiot TE steps out of bounds?
    4) the ref clearly said it was a 10 yard penalty – which since it was a dead ball foul should have been assessed on the ensuing kick off. But instead was only for 5 yards? I’d love someone to explain that to me.

    all told, that’s like 15 seconds or more plus 2 points that could have made a huge impact on the end of the game.

    Still, if we lose that game (and our history in close games is not good these last few years) I would have blamed James Jones. If he makes that catch, the dynamic of the second half is completely different. We force them to be one dimensional and pass. This sets up the pass rush and the blitz.

  20. Shawn iltarion

    The incomplete pass to Celek stopped the clock, hence no run off.

    Considering they called a whole 2 penalties on the Packers, I can’t complain much about the refs. If I were to complain, it would be two OTHER plays-

    On the 3rd and goal, Vick appeared to be stopped more than a foot from the endzone, like a foot and a half. Yet, when Philly lined up for the big 4th down play, the ball appeared to be spotted mere inches from the goal line. Those inches made a difference as Vick only scored by inches.

    On A-Rodge’s big fumble that momentarily changed momentum in the game, that play resembled the Matt Cassell tuck rule call made in the earlier game. After pump faking, Cassell went to tuck the ball and had it knocked out of his hand. The tuck rule applied, and it was reviewed and called an incomplete pass. On A-Rodge’s fumble, he pump faked and then lost the ball as he tried to tuck it in to run. Neither the announcers for the game nor any of the media even considered for a second that it might not have been a fumble? Why? No good reason. The play was nearly identical to Cassell’s. I don’t agree with the rule, but per the current BS NFL rules, that was damn close to NOT being a fumble. I hate many of these rules like the pansy-ass roughing the QB rules, and I find it extremely comical that the BS rules don’t seem to apply when it comes to possibly helping the Packers.

  21. Ryan

    In response to the “conspiracy theory” from above..

    1) Addressed above.
    2) I noticed that as well and I think you have a valid point.
    3) On the two point conversion, the Packers had two options because the receive did technically reestablish in-bounds… Thus there was no loss of down. Option 1 was to decline the penalty – because the Eagles technically converted the try, GB obviously didn’t want to do this. Option 2 was to accept the penalty and re-try. Basically, it was like any other penalty at this point.
    4) As for the yardage – I agree. I heard 10 and expected the Eagles to be at their 12; instead they were at the 7.

    I don’t believe there is any conspiracy theory. However, I would like to comment on something the above comment said: Rodgers rarely (except for that bogus call against Peppers in week 17) gets the roughing the passer calls that the rest of the league gets. Last year’s wild card game, this year’s Washington game… its very frustrating.

    Also – I thought an Eagles player got away with a spearing penalty. I believe it was Asante Samuel on maybe Jordy Nelson, but I’m not entirely sure. It was rather obvious to me but oh well.

    Overall, I thought the officials were pretty good. I was impressed that they got the 2 point conversion call right, although it did bring back nightmares of the Miami game… (Random calls being made after the commercial break.)

  22. Shawn iltarion

    Oh yes, good catch by Ryan. Andrew Quarless was obviously hit helmet-to-helmet by Asante Samuels and there was no call. I think that was on the big drive we scored anyway on, though.

    • Abe Frohman

      Yeah, I was thinking of that one, too. But like you, I think we scored on that possession and so the point was moot. I expect Samuel to be fined. Quarless wasn’t defenseless, so it won’t be the 15K that Collins got hit up for, but it should be in the 5 to 10 range. I mean if Quarless ended up with a concussion and we miss him for this weeks game, that’s huge.

      I had a real problem with how long it took the side judge to rule TD on Vick’s rush. They showed him running up the line. By that time, Vick had been pushed back behind the goal line. THEN he signals TD?

  23. JC

    Yep, I honestly don’t think he made it over since Vick is left handed and I’m sure he was carrying it with his left hand. but I’m not sure there was conclusive evidence to over-turn it either..

  24. Jesse

    FINALLY somebody agrees with me!!! It was starting to really annoy me that nobody was acknowledging the fact that the running game, especially towards the end, wasn’t getting the job done. Sure, Starks had a few fantastic breakout runs, but towards the end the running game was failing and there seemingly was no confidence in Aaron Rodgers to throw the dagger…which allowed Philly to compete in a game where they were clearly outmatched.

    http://www.acmepackingcompany.com/2011/1/10/1925799/packers-offense-recap-the-vanishing-fourth-quarter-act

    http://www.acmepackingcompany.com/2011/1/10/1925799/packers-offense-recap-the-vanishing-fourth-quarter-act

  25. DJ

    Good win…I’ll take it. Starks emerging was clutch and a welcomed sight. The D held Philly to 16pts in their house….good stuff.

    Still, I tend to agree with the tone of the article in that we seem to do everything the hard way & never put teams away when we can….be it a dropped pass, conservative play calling, or being allergic to risk, etc. I just knew up 11pts at half wasnt enough…we all did.

    We just dont know how to seize a big game or plunge the dagger in…we always let teams back in….and that scares the shit out of me. Lets be honest, our D is really good…but they arent dominating….so why we put the cuffs on Rodgers sometimes baffles me. I’d just like to see McCarthy call the same game with the lead as he does without it….but we all know that isnt the case & it allows teams to seize the momentum. We cant do that….especially on the road.

    That was what separated the mid 90s Packers from this team….when the 90s Pack got a lead they stepped on your neck (kept scoring & attacking) until it was game over. I just wish this staff & team had the same killer instinct.

  26. Killa

    I think it’s funny how some of you are saying not to be negative. The point is that if that ball is completed in the endzone and not picked off every single person on here would be asking for two peoples heads. James ” Sir Drops-a-lot” Jones and Michael “fats” McCarthy. Sir Drops-a-lot says it all for him. As for McCarthy, please stop defending him. He’ garbage. Dom Capers has been saving that sack of shits job all year. The defense does not play for him, they play hard for Dom Capers. Not going for points before the half after the dropped TD by Jones was was a boneheaded strategy. “Oh but what if we turn it over”. I think the momentum of getting points before the half and sticking a fork in a team at home is well worth that risk, especially with our D! Really his play calling was superb??? It looked to the trained eye that Rodger did the best with the poorly timed play calling he was givin. Do you think MM had it planned all week to get Crabtree into the endzone? Do you think he drew up Rodgers scramble then Jones coming back to the ball for a TD? You think that dumbass has been saving Starks since Nov. just for the playoffs even though we had two must wins prior to this week where a running game woulda helped? Was his play calling so good that we ran the clock out at the end, or did Dom Capers and the D bail him out? Again. What is with MM that the Offense can score points in the first half, almost at will, but in the second half (like said earlier) play calling not to lose. I just wish Rodgers would realize he is the offense and call his own plays in the huddle. I mean wtf would MM do pull him??? HAHA yeah pull one of two guys that you owe your job to. Don’t tell anyone to be negative on here when you’ll be one of many bitching on here if they lose next week due to MM’s stupidity. Offensive guru my ass. Just because you have 1000 plays in your playbook doesn’t make you a guru, it makes you a shitty head coach with a 1000 play playbook.

  27. Shawn iltarion

    I’m fine with people being negative. I just have a problem with people being stupid.

    Well, what makes an “offensive guru”? Opinions? Everyone has got one, right? So, they generally mean shit. How about we go with numbers instead? Stone cold facts. They don’t tell the whole story, certainly, but they surely give us an idea and they aren’t biased by say a guy’s weight or his face or his attitude or the fact that he went with A-Rodge instead of a certain “oft-retiring” QB, which are the normal reasons for bias.

    So, what do the numbers say?

    McCarthy has coached from 2006 – 2010

    Team NFL Ranking in Total Points Scored
    2006 – 22nd
    2007 – 4th
    2008 – 5th
    2009 – 3rd
    2010 – 10th

    Alright, alright, pretty damn good after a slow start. How about total yards of offense?

    Team NFL Ranking in Total Yards Gained
    2006 – 9th
    2007 – 2nd
    2008 – 8th
    2009 – 6th
    2010 – 9th

    For anyone who may not know, there are 32 teams in the NFL.

    Alright, so what the numbers objectively tell us is that since taking over a 4-12 team (22nd in Total Points and 18th in Total Yards) and coaching it for 5 seasons, MM’s offense has been ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in scoring every year after the first year, and it has been ranked in the top 10 for yards in every single year. In fact, MM’s offense has never ranked worse than 9th in yards and has ranked in the top 5 in scoring 3 of the last 4 years.

    Subjectively, those numbers tell us MM is an offensive guru. I mean, if not, then what the fuck IS? Indeed, having a 1000 play playbook does not make you an offensive guru. It makes you Lindy Infante. These numbers, however, DO.

    Alright, so the numbers tell us that even with two different QBs, (3 actually) and all sorts of injuries, McCarthy has done a great job with the offense. That is all fine and wonderful, except that MM happens to be a head coach, not an OC. So, what really matters is- WINS.

    So, how are we doing there?

    8-8
    13-3
    6-10
    11-5
    10-6

    1 losing season and 3 playoff appearances in 5 seasons. Won a playoff game and advanced twice in those 3 appearances. 48-32 overall. That is a .750 winning percentage. Let me say that again- a .750 winning percentage.

    The cold hard facts much really suck for MM haters. Cause I don’t know but this shit isn’t adding up to “dumbass” or “meathead” or whatever else people want to call him. Actually, to the poorly trained eye I would say this is adding up to a pretty damn good resume.

    Apparently, the only thing the MM shit talkers have left to spout other than senseless dribble about nothing is the infamous “he hasn’t won the big one” argument. Of course, only 5 current NFL coaches have. So, I guess the other 27 are dumbasses.

    So, in the immortal words of Lieutenant Caffey- “Should we take the advice of the GALACTICALLY STUPID?!!”

    • ri

      I think MM falls somewhere between your two arguments. I feel that with the way the Packers typically get off to a lead and score points early, it shows that he is a good coach with a good plan. However, as the game goes on, he really doesn’t know how to put teams away. Even with a lead, there should have been more shots down the field vs. a team with weak corners. Those deep balls (even if incomplete) will also open up the coverage for some 7-8 yard short plays. Just like there is a “balance” for run vs. pass plays, I feel that there should be a balance within the pass plays to keep the Defense confused.

      The bottom line is that a win is a win and onward to Atlanta we go. All I hope for is that the coaching staff truly evaluates this game and LEARNS from some of these mistakes. If they walk away content with getting the job done, it will catch up to them….

    • Killa

      WOW, those are some nice numbers. I guess thats what makes you smarter then everybody, huh? At least you try to act like it everytime you post. Because you can spout off numbers and stats that don’t add up to shit other than a 2-2 playoff record. Shoulda thrown in a TT refrence and you woulda had both knobs slobbed. How many division titles is that again? Oh, only one? But at least he didn’t lose a home playoff game right? Oh, wait he did too. At least he has an NFC championship though…. whats that don’t have one of those either. Shit, but he’s always in the top ten in scoring! WTF’s up with that, his resume is steller anyways.
      So what your saying, and proved yourself, is that he is a good regular season coach. Ok, that fine. How about Pete Carroll? How was his regular season? How did his offensive stats look this year? Not very good. Guess what he has just as many wins this post season as MM. So how exactly do your numbers matter again?
      I could give you “cold hard facts” on how his shitty play calling has costed points/games this year. How do his offensive stats matter in those situations? He’s had a prowl bowl caliber QB, WR, and 1000yd back every year too, except this year. Where was that top ten scoring offensive play calling ability against Detroit? Or the Jets? Deadskins? Bears?
      If Belichek, or even Pete Carroll had this offense they’d be in the top 2 in offensive stats. So you reasoning means shit. Throw all the stats around you want. HE IS NO A LEADER OF MEN. Thats the bottom line. He’s weak and it rubs off on the team at times. Thats why his record in close games since he took over is, (10pts or less)??? Thats right 23-26. Let me say that again 23-26. For a coach with such great numbers, thats a terrible one that over shadows your bullshit stats that mean absolutly nothing. So as long as MM’s teams have a huge lead we should be good, otherwise that resume will be in use soon.

  28. Derek

    Not to be nitpicky, but a 0.75 winning percentage over 5 years is averaging 12 wins per year for a total of 60 wins, not 48. His regular season winning percentage is acutally 60 percent, but really, who gives a crap. We are one of eight teams still standing this year! GO PACK!

  29. Shawn iltarion

    Derek, good catch. The percentage didn’t seem right to me either. I should have double checked it. A .600 winning percentage is still pretty good, but not as impressive.

    Killa, actually, all those stats are available on NFL.com. You can post them same as me. Don’t have to be smart at all.

    The stats refuted your “offensive guru” statement. That was their only point. They also suggest some pretty good play calling. Or do you think you can finish in the top 9 in yards for 5 straight years with shit play calling? Perhaps you do.

    Haha… 23-26 record in close games. That is actually not bad. You make it sound like it is horrible. I would have thought it was worse.

    No one gives a shit about record in close games. You talk about meaningless stats but THAT is an actual meaningless stat. Here is why- your team goes 12-4, winning 12 blow outs and losing 4 close games. Your record in close games is 0-4. My team goes 4-12 winning 4 close games but losing 12 blowouts. My record in close games is 4-0. Holy shit. You are a terrible coach. I am far superior. My win percentage in close games is 100%; yours is 0.

    Meaningless. That’s why all anyone cares about is what your overall record is- 48-32. That is what is going to get you a raise or get you fired. No one would even bother to keep track of that close game shit. Just win, baby.

    Now that we’ve been enlightened by Derek that Meathead has a .600 winning percentage. We can argue whether averaging 9.6 wins a season is good enough or not. Fine. But the close games shit means nothing. If you want to blame McCarthy for the Pack losing in close games, then you also have to give him the credit for the Pack winning all the blowouts. It evens out.

    A .500 playoff record is nothing to scream at, either way. We’ve been to 3 playoffs under MM, and we’ve won our first game two out of 3 times. That is pretty good, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t expect to win the Super Bowl every year. Maybe that is just me.

    BTW, hasn’t the Packers just won 2 close games in a row against playoff opponents? Just saying.

  30. JC


    iltarion:

    I mean, if not, then what the fuck IS? Indeed, having a 1000 play playbook does not make you an offensive guru. It makes you Lindy Infante.

    Love That one! so true

  31. Ryan

    I couldn’t disagree with you more Killa. I thought McCarthy delivered a well executed game, in terms of play calling. He had a great balance of run and pass plays. (32 rush 27 pass.)

    I don’t really understand your argument about McCarthy not drawing up some of the more chaotic plays in the redzone… I do know this: The Packers were 3-3 scoring TDs in the redzone. That’s the direct result of good execution and good play calling. (Perfect example: 2nd and goal from the 16 on the Packers most IMPORTANT drive of the season… MM calls a screen to Jackson who executes it perfectly (waits for his blockers and then actually follows them) and scores.) Also, another critical stat: we were 8/13 on THIRD DOWN. That is EXCELLENT. Some of that credit has to go to MM, but not just his third down play calling – he set up short D&Ds on 3rd. Of course, a lot of it is execution, but MM deserves some credit.

    Sure, towards the end of the game he got conservative. I don’t blame against Vick. The running game was working beyond our wildest dreams and wasting a LOT of clock.

    Last year, Pro Football Weekly ranked MM as the 4th best OC in the league. Pretty good.

    Finally, MM has to be evaluated on more than just his play calling, which I think is superb. He and TT recognized the talent of Rodgers and then McCarthy himself as coached Rodgers to be one of the best QBs in the league. He has brought a team with more injuries than any other team in the league to the 2nd round of the playoffs, and for all intents and purposes won 3 straight playoff games.

    McCarthy deserves some credit and I’m tired of having to defend him. The players love him (as Rodgers told FOX’s Pam Oliver the other day) and clearly respect him – watch the locker room scenes.

    GO PACK!

  32. DJ

    I think the MM defenders are missing the point. Nobody is saying he cant call plays or doesnt have a good offensive mind/scheme….but what we are saying is that tactically…. he surrenders the initiative & momentum by trying to protect a lead rather than increasing it. Rather than staying the course that has given us the lead & adding to it in order to put that team away…..MM stops playing against the opponent and starts playing against clock REGARDLESS of whether its the 2nd qtr or 4th qtr. Which then puts undue pressure on our D to win the game when the tragedy is that the offensive is good enough, when freed, to win the game by itself! How many times have we all seen Rodgers absolutely carving people then suddenly it stops…that is by design….not by the opposing defense but rather courtesy of MM. Meanwhile, the best team in the league at finishing teams is the Patriots. Why? Because Belichick NEVER, regardless of the score, takes the ball out of a hot Brady’s hands. Ever! There is no doubt in terms of talent & weapons…that we have the same kind of potential. So it really isnt a question as to whether or not MM has the ability to be call an effective & explosive type game…..he obviously does. The question is does he have the guts to sustain it. And that answer is No.

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