Since no one gave me the alternative of being waterboarded instead, I have sat through the tape of this Sunday’s game to bring you the low down, total view. The Green Bay Packers would find against the Philadelphia Eagles that their injuries and losses would only continue to mount.
12:03 1st Quarter – The Eagles’ first drive would end in a punt after picking up a couple first downs.
The Packers open the game in the nickel, which they would be in for about 95 percent of snaps with the dime accounting for the other 5 percent.
On 3rd and 2 from their 32, the Eagles leave Clay Matthews unblocked. Nick Foles fakes to LeSean McCoy and keeps it, strolling right around Matthews for an easy 4-yard gain. Hard to believe the Eagles would run that play if Matthews were 100 percent healthy.
On 2nd and 7 right after, the Packers are cheating towards the weak side for some reason. McCoy takes a lead to the strong side, where the blockers now outnumber the defenders. McCoy splits A.J. Hawk and Casey Hayward and picks up eight yards and another first down.
On the following first down, the Packers bring Morgan Burnett up to take the edge. A.J. Hawk shoots an inside gap and tackles McCoy for a 3-yard loss. On 3rd and 13, after an incompletion, the Packers are in the dime. Hawk is still the linebacker on the field and jumps the releasing running back. Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward are all in bump-and-run coverage at the line of scrimmage. Yes, that leaves Davon House as the odd man out of the dime. The Packers essentially rush three while letting Datone Jones drop back as a spy for Foles.
It works perfectly. Everyone is covered. Foles looks for his tight end crossing the field, but Hyde has it blanketed. Foles attempts to run for it, but Jones shows his closing speed by just getting enough of Foles to bring him down for a sack.
6:20 1st Q – The Packers’ first drive goes 50 yards in 11 plays, only to end with a missed field goal.
The Eagles would sit in a 3-4 base defense for the majority of the game, which puts five guys at the line of scrimmage with two linebackers behind. They would often roll a safety into the mix as well to give them eight guys in the box.
The Packers’ first play of the game is a dump to John Kuhn that gets 6 yards, which is a play reminiscent of the Packers’ game plan against the Patriots in 2010. Unfortunately, Scott Tolzien’s entrance in the game would change that game plan.
On second down, the Packers line up seven on the line of scrimmage and run Eddie Lacy straight ahead. He finds a seam between Evan Dietrich-Smith and Josh Sitton and gets 11 yards.
On 3rd and 5 from Packers’ 43, Seneca Wallace would find Jordy Nelson on an out from the slot, which picks up 8 and the first down. Two plays later, James Jones makes a nice catch on a ball behind him for 13 more, and the Packers have now moved to the Eagles’ 31-yard line.
Unfortunately, from the edge of field goal range, the Packers would move backwards from there. On first down, the Packers run Eddie Lacy to the left, but no one can get to DeMeco Ryans before he shoots a gap and hits Lacy for a 2-yard loss. On second down, Wallace double pumps on an unusual screen play to Lacy, throws it out there anyway, late, and Lacy is tackled for another 2-yard loss.
On 3rd and 14, the Packers probably should just be picking up some yards to assure an easier field goal. The Eagles blitz six, but the Packers have seven to block and pick it up beautifully. Still, Wallace immediately flees a safe pocket, running to his right and dooming the play from the beginning. He dangerously finds Brandon Bostick along the sideline for no gain.
This leaves Mason Crosby with a 53-yard field goal attempt. Crosby’s kick is never within the uprights and manages to careen off the right upright just to be obnoxious.
Packers fans would not find out until the next offensive series that Wallace hurt himself on the third down play. This makes two weeks in a row that the Packers would lose their starting quarterback on the final play of the first series after both scrambled needlessly out of the pocket.
This time Packers fans would at least be left with the ironic symmetry of Wallace’s final numbers — 5-of-5 for 25 yards and one injured five hole.
5:57 1st Q – The Eagles would get this party started by scoring two plays later. On second and 8 from the Eagles’ 45, Foles, with pressure closing on him, would take a shot down the middle of the field. DeSean Jackson has Tramon Williams by two yards on the deep slant, though in Williams’ defense, he knows he has “help” deep down the middle.
Foles has Jackson if he delivers a good pass, but the pressure in the pocket didn’t allow Foles to set his feet and his pass doesn’t have enough on it. Williams dives across Jackson for the interception, but Morgan Burnett would cho0se that moment to have his one pass defense of the game. Burnett scrambles back just enough to get an outstretched hand on the ball, deflecting it off of Williams’ right arm, where it bounces like a low-hanging fruit for Jackson to grab. Williams and Burnett collapse into each other’s arms while Jackson backpedals into the end zone. Unfortunately for Packers fans, Jackson doesn’t decide to spike the ball short of the goal line.
That makes it 7-0 Eagles, and as soon as Scott Tolzien enters the game on the next play, Packers fans already have to know this is another one of those days.
4:52 1st Q – Thanks to a non-existent penalty on the kickoff return, Tolzien gets to start his first drive under center at the Packers’ 6-yard line. After a run to Lacy up the middle gets 1 yard, Tolzien throws his first pass high and wide of Nelson on a deep out. Trent Cole beat David Bakhtiari on the play, and Tolzien was lucky he threw the ball on time or a safety at best was going to be the result.
On 3rd and 9, Tolzien found Andrew Quarless on the out, and it looks like Quarless has a good shot at the first down. However, he allows a defender to knock his foot out of bounds just as he is diving for the first. This is a dubious spot, but whatever, the Packers have to punt.
After a 51-yard punt by Tim Masthay with no return, the Eagles start their next drive on their 34. They manage to get into Packers’ territory before having to punt.
On 2nd and 1 from their 43, the Eagles run a draw to McCoy up the middle. The Packers brought Burnett down into the box to seal the edge, and there is seemingly nowhere to run. McCoy dances in the backfield, skips around Burnett, who can only wave at him, and darts up the left sideline for 20 yards. Sam Shields does well to get off a block to tackle McCoy there.
Fortunately, the Eagles would go no further. A holding call would back them up, and then on third and 5, a sack by Datone Jones would knock them out of field goal range. Jones had the rare opportunity to go one-on-one with an outside guy when the Packers put Matthews inside and Jones outside. Jones beat the hobbled Jason Peters for his second sack of the game.
8:42 2nd Q- Tolzien and the Packers offense would commence with an epic 18-play, 91-yard, 8-plus minute drive that would end in disaster.
The biggest play of the drive came on a 3rd and 9 where Tolzien pulled an Aaron Rodgers by taking a shot up the sideline after the defense jumped offsides. Jarrett Boykin would go up and pull the pass in for a 36-yard gain. Replay would show Boykin put his hand down out of bounds prior to his second foot, but the Packers and Eagles would act equally oblivious to the replay: the Packers refusing to hurry, and the Eagles refusing to challenge.
On fourth and 1 from the Eagles’ 26, the give to Kuhn would work for once when T.J. Lang gets a great push at the line.
Two Lacy runs would move the ball to the Eagles’ 12, and then an out to Nelson would put the ball at the 5. On 3rd and 3 from there, Tolzien tries to hit Nelson on the out and throws a disastrous pick to Eagles’ corner Brandon Boykin instead.
The Eagles stayed aggressive and blitzed seven on this play, leaving all three Packers’ receivers in single coverage. The blitz failed. The Packers left in seven to block and picked the blitz up. If Tolzien just shows some patience, he is going to have the Boykin he wants to find — Jarrett — open in the middle of the end zone. Regardless, the pass to Nelson was underthrown, allowing for the interception.
Only the speed of Brandon Bostick stops a return for a TD. Boykin returns it all the way to the Packers’ 27 before Bostick forces him out of bounds.
The Eagles end up getting nothing from the long return. After a 9-yard stroll by Foles, McCoy loses 3 when Johnny Jolly tackles him by his facemask and amazingly there is no penalty. On 3rd and 4, Foles tries the corner to Jason Avant. Casey Hayward has good coverage, and Foles throws it away.
Alex Henery comes in and misses the 39-yard field goal to leave the score at 7-0.
2:54 2nd Q – The Packers would proceed with another 5-minute drive that gets nothing.
The drive consists of mostly failed James Starks runs and short passes that do work. After a screen pass to Starks got 9, the Packers had 3rd and 1 at the Philly 24. Again, this play is well-blocked, and if Tolzien holds the ball, he is going to have guys breaking open. Instead he tries the quick pass to Quarless, and the ball is knocked down.
Mason Crosby marches in and misses a 42-yarder this time. With Aaron Rodgers down, Mike McCarthy wisely explained that the entire team would need to step up their game to try to make up for the loss. Well, you can count Crosby, the sunshine warrior, out of that equation.
1:16 2nd Q- The Eagles have their first sustained drive of the game, going 60 yards in 9 plays to kick a short field goal and go up 10-0.
The drive mostly consists of two plays. On 2nd and 10 from the Eagles’ 32, Foles finds Jackson on a simple stop route. Shields falls down when trying to break for the ball, and Jackson gets 21 yards. On the following play, an incompletion, Hayward would aggravate his hamstring and have to leave the field. Two plays after that, the Packers have House in the slot covering Riley Cooper. After initial good coverage, Cooper loses House, and Foles scrambles to his right and finds him. Cooper gets 25 yards, moving the ball all the way to the Packers’ 20.
The Eagles would kick a field goal shortly thereafter.
Getting the ball for the final time in the half, the Packers would go on another drive and finally get a field goal to make the score 10-3 at half.
The most important play to a 2-minute drive is typically the first, and on first down here, Tolzien finds Bostick on a 10-yard out. Bostick breaks a tackle and turns the play into a 20-yard gain. A couple plays later, a loft down the sideline against double coverage is complete to Jordy Nelson, who just steps out of bounds before making the pylon. On 3rd and goal from there, Tolzien would miraculously find James Jones on a back shoulder pass, but Jones would step out of bounds with his second foot and force the field goal.
11:20 3rd Q – The Packers would get a first down before having to punt with their first possession of the second half. Right after missing a wide open Nelson across the middle, Tolzien almost throws another pick on the slant to Boykin. Punt.
The Eagles would then go 84 yards in just three plays to take a commanding 17-3 lead.
On second and 1, the Eagles run a sweep around the right end. Though he is not blocked, Mike Neal hesitates and then fails to set the edge. Two blockers swing around the end, untouched, and one buries Hawk while another walls off Brad Jones. McCoy runs loose up the right side and gets 30 yards to the Packers’ 45 before M.D. Jennings tackles him.
On the very next play, Foles has plenty of time and decides to take a shot downfield for Cooper. House is in somewhat disinterested coverage with Jennings supposedly covering the middle of the field. Jennings turns his back and runs towards Cooper instead of to the ball. Cooper has to go across the field to track down the badly dying pass, but that takes Jennings and House right out of the play. Cooper makes a diving catch, just barely, and you can practically say game over.
9:20 3rd Q – Tolzien would throw his second INT of the game at this mark. On first and 10, Tolzien has Nelson open in the middle against a zone defense if he just holds in the pocket. Instead, he slides to his left and then tries to force one to James Jones. The ball gets deflected, as is wont to happen against the Pack, and then caught off the deflection by a diving DeMeco Ryans.
The Eagles run the ball into field goal range with McCoy getting consecutive carries of 18 and then 22 yards. On the second play, the Packers swing B.J. Raji to the outside and have Matthews crash inside. Both get walled off by blockers and McCoy bursts up the field for 22 yards before Hawk can chase him down.
On 3rd and 4 from the Packers’ 19, McCoy gets a sweep left. This time Matthews holds the edge and McCoy tries to stop and run the opposite direction. Hawk brings him down for a 3-yard loss. A field goal now makes the score 20-3.
3:22 3rd Q – The Packers would drive 86 yards in 7 plays and four minutes to show some hope at 20-10.
The biggest play of the drive is a corner route to Nelson where he was mugged by Boykin. The resulting pass interference call would be a 30-yard gain for the Packers. After a well-blocked screen to Lacy got 13 yards, Tolzien found Bostick on the out and up from the slot for a 22-yard touchdown. That is both Bostick and Tolzien’s first NFL touchdown.
00:10 3rd Q – The Eagles score on their fourth consecutive possession and all three of this quarter to go back up 27-10. The 80-yard drive takes just 7 plays and 3 minutes.
On 2nd and 6 from the Eagles’ 24, Williams jumps in front of Jason Avant, going for the interception, but Avant reaches out with his hands and snags the ball from Williams, gaining 23 yards on the play. On 3rd and 6 from midfield, the Packers again go with the dime and rush three with Matthews this time spying. Matthews sees a lane to the right and rushes through it. Foles merely runs through the lane on the other side and goes untouched for 16 yards.
Two plays later, Foles finds a wide open Cooper for the 32-yard touchdown. Williams shadows Cooper at the line and then lets him go to Burnett. Cooper fakes the cross and runs the corner. Burnett overcommits to the cross and gets spun around. Cooper strolls in for the touchdown and surely this game is over.
12:20 4th Q – The Packers would go 54 yards in 8 plays to narrow the lead to 27-13, the final score of the game.
The first play of the drive was a 19-yard scramble by Tolzien, moving the ball near midfield. A couple plays later, a roughing the passer call would move the Packers to the Eagles’ 25. The Packers would get as far as the 17 before a back shoulder pass to Jones was not thrown far enough and knocked down. Crosby would manage another field goal to at least make it a two score game.
9:30 4th Q – At this mark, the Packers would get their last chance to get back into the game.
On 3rd and 10 from their own 22, Foles would get sacked by Mike Daniels and stripped by Tramon Williams. Wiliams would recover the football at the Eagles’ 13. The play would initially be called down by contact, but a replay challenge by McCarthy would actually work, giving the Packers the ball right there.
After a pass to Kuhn got 4 yards, the Packers try Lacy going left. Lacy has a great cutback opportunity if he takes it, and maybe even the edge, but he hesitates too long and ultimately just gets 2 yards. On 3rd and 4, Tolzien tries the quick out to Boykin for the first down, but the ball is knocked down. Tolzien rolling to his right, as designed, is what dooms this play. By rolling that way, he puts two defenders between he and Boykin. The first — Connor Barwin — knocks the ball down.
McCarthy chooses to go for it on fourth down. I wouldn’t have. I would have kicked it. Yeah, that leaves it a two score game, but one of those would be a field goal, which the Packers have proven immensely more capable of getting than a touchdown.
Anyway, the defense would make that moot on the next possession. On fourth down, the Eagles run into each other in coverage and leave James Jones all alone on the cross. Tolzien doesn’t see it. He tries instead for the more difficult corner throw to Nelson. If he throws it a foot shorter, it is a touchdown. Instead, Nelson can only get one hand on it, and the ball remains loose all the way until Nelson hits the ground. I’m not sure this isn’t a catch, but the replay actually got it right by not overturning the call of incomplete.
That incompletion would essentially end the game.
The Eagles would make sure of it though by doing what they normally struggle to do — burn the clock.
After two runs by McCoy got one first down, the Eagles faced 3rd and 7 after a false start where the Packers actually stopped McCoy short. The Packers blitz for one of the rare times in the game, and the Eagles appear to catch them with a screen to their backup tight end, James Casey. Except Casey cuts back inside instead of following his blockers and runs right into Brad Jones. Jones still fails to make the tackle, and Casey gets 8 before Jennings brings him down.
The Eagles wouldn’t even face another third down in running the final 9:32 off the clock.
As was debated all week, it is tough to win with your backup in this league, but what is no debate, is that you cannot win with your third string, least of all when the guy has to enter during the game due to injury.
Unfortunately for the Packers, the injuries that came like an avalanche leading into the bye have simply never stopped. It appeared that neither Clay Matthews nor Nick Perry, who only saw limited action, should have played in this game. Neither were effective. However, the Packers have few options with Mike Neal dealing with a sore knee, and Nate Palmer, literally the fifth-string OLB, being the only healthy options at that position.
In the 3-4 defense, the outside linebacker is counted on for pass rush and for contain. The Packers struggled mightily in both areas against Philadelphia. The Packer corners actually played pretty well in this game besides two bad plays by House. All three touchdown passes were the direct result of poor play at the safety position. I am still trying to figure out when the “ascending” Morgan Burnett is supposed to show up. Chris Banjo was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and M.D. Jennings can’t outplay Banjo.
Scott Tolzien actually played fairly well in this game besides his one disastrous throw in the red zone. Once again, the Packers are in the mode of hoping he can progress with an actual week of practice under his belt. Then, we hope he can actually stay healthy for a game.
Amazingly, despite how poorly the Packers are playing right now, they still have the bonafide chance to win at New York and at home against Minnesota. They simply have to keep their quarterback healthy, no matter who it is, and make some plays on defense.
This is Mike McCarthy’s biggest test of the season right now. Find a way to win one of these next two games against beatable opponents, or this season is lost.