All prognosticators of sporting contests will be wrong on occasion. I was very wrong in predicting that the Packers would not only best the New Orleans Saints, but that they would dismantle and destroy them. For the moment, I shall hold the brim of my hat in both hands sternly at my belt and stare at the ground with great shame. At the same time, it would have been difficult to predict some of the things that happened Sunday night. So here’s the most memorable 10…
1. Oh… that makes perfect sense.
Let’s hope the “Julius Peppers as a receiver” era is over in Packerland.
Really, Big Mike? You have that much lack of faith in our receiving corps (and running game) that you feel the need to resort to tricks? Oh, you’ve been practicing it since training camp? For what? Five minutes a day? I bet even five minutes a day is a stretch. You know what would have been funny? Julius deflecting it up and having some Saints defensive back return it for a touchdown. That would have been awesome and solidified Mike McCarthy’s buffoonery once and for all.
Monty has taken guff from a lot of people for referring to Coach McCarthy as “Buffoon.”
I’ve never complained.
2. Onside kick while leading?
People will complain because the onside kick “didn’t work,” but I have the coach’s back on this one. As I wrote once upon a time, the percentage of success in recovering an onside kick is at its highest when the element of surprise is the greatest. Therefore, the bigger the surprise, the more likely the kicking team will recover. This is a type of play where you can’t look at the result and say Coach McCarthy was wrong, the Packers just didn’t recover this one.
The result is not important. Taking into account all possible outcomes and determining what percentage of those outcomes will be successful if played an infinite amount of times is what really matters. This onside kick would be successful a very high percentage of time under the identical situation. The same can’t be said about Peppers playing red zone receiver.
Jackie Chiles says, “Had Julius caught the damn ball, it was still a horrible call.”
3. It’s about damn time!
I could hear all of Packers Nation yelling exactly that after Eddie Lacy busted off a 67-yard screen pass. I’m not sure where the screen has been all year, but Sunday night felt like the Packers matched or exceeded the total of the first seven games. Will screens work every time? Of course not. But you still have to keep them in your arsenal.
4. Did that really happen?
I’m still stewing about Peppers being put in as a wide receiver. I just still can’t believe the Packers made that call. Unbelievable.
5. Some nice wrinkles
The Packers did insert some nice misdirection plays into this week’s offensive game plan that proved not only successful, but enjoyable to watch. I think this is what people are talking about when they say the Packers offense lacks creativity. We haven’t seen many new wrinkles lately. At the end of the day, you have to work on your bread and butter the most, but it’s nice to know that the chef is in the kitchen messing around trying to uncover the next great dish to serve cold to opposing defenses.
6. Ha Ha makes the list again.
Maybe this is unfair to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix because to my knowledge there was not one single player on defense who did anything constituting a good game.
Sunday night though, to me it looked like Ha Ha’s several missed tackles might have been more “business decision” than anything else. I never saw Clinton-Dix go after a guy’s ankles like he did against Mark Ingram. Maybe it was some sort of Alabama/Heisman Trophy/Legend/Respect stuff going through his head all night because it didn’t look like he wanted any part of taking Ingram head on.
Hell… I wouldn’t want to take him on either. Fortunately, it’s not my job to do that.
7. Guion does it again
Letroy Guion has an uncanny ability to make big plays in crucial short-yardage situations. He was largely responsible for the Dolphins’ failed 1st and goal to go situation, which resulted in the Packers defense stuffing a 4th and goal run, and he was the main man again when the Saints went for it. He beat his man cleanly at the line and the play had no chance of success. Although Guion might not clog up the middle on a down-by-down basis like B.J. Raji did, Guion is making bigger plays than Raji made since his rookie year.
8. On serve
Did you happen to notice that the game was tied five different times in the first half? It was 0-0, 7-7, 10-10, 13-13, and 16-16.
Unfortunately, the game wouldn’t continue to be that close.
9. Refs hate the Pack and love the Saints
Cris Collinsworth can talk all day about Aaron Rodgers’ injury being the turning point, but to me it was the reversal on Davante Adams’ first down catch. There is no way in a million years that play should have been overturned. And yet the Packers seem to have calls like this not only called against them, but consistently overturned against them.
This call was so painstakingly bad that it made Coach McCarthy completely lose his mind. That’s when he decided to run the ball behind his backup guard on 4th and 1 at his own 40-yard line, more or less announcing to the world that he had zero faith in his defense’s ability to make one lousy stop. The Packers were down only seven at this point and there was more than three minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
How can he possibly justify that call on any level? How does he stand before the team and tell his defense he has faith in them? Clearly he doesn’t. Or maybe Big Mac is just so scared of quality teams that he can’t hold it together in the thick of it all. I honestly don’t know. It’s seriously mind-boggling though.
10. Top Jimmy
Nice push-off, asshole. Saints get all the calls.
Humble pie is a good thing heading into the bye.