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Five More: Packers 43, Falcons 37

James Starks

The score looks close, but the Green Bay Packers were never really in trouble against the Atlanta Falcons.

We’re going to put our dreams of another championship parade on hold for now though. The defense that was played by the Packers on Monday night was nowhere near championship caliber.

We’d advise you to do the same.

Here are five more thoughts on the win.

We may as well start with that defense
We mentioned this last night. The Packers were pretty good in most areas of their defense against Atlanta. They held the Falcons to 91 yards rushing. Safety Morgan Burnett got his first interception since 2012. Clay Matthews and Sam Barrington looked solid in the middle. The Packers held every Falcons receiver not named Julio Jones in check. And there’s the problem. Julio Jones, 259 yards.

There’s really no explanation for this. It’s not as if Jones accrued that yardage total by making spectacular catches in tight coverage. It looked more like he had a three-yard forcefield surrounding him at all times that the Packers’ cornerbacks couldn’t penetrate. Jones was wide open time after time and then he’d catch the ball and run and run and run. I don’t recall seeing Sam Shields and Tramon Williams play a worse game than they did on Monday. Tramon had some garbage performances when he was dealing with that shoulder injury a couple years ago, but there was usually someone there to pick up the slack. On Monday, Tramon was bad and Shields was worse. Not until the Packers tried Davon House on Jones did we get a hint that he could be stopped.

Suddenly, that season-ending match-up with the Detroit Lions and a healthy Calvin Johnson is a lot more worrisome.

A.J.’s role
As expected by most, linebacker A.J. Hawk played sparingly for the second week in a row. We noticed him on the field twice, but he was obviously out there a little more than that because he had two tackles. The Packers will give you a bunch of mumbo jumbo about playing the match-ups and how Hawk still has a role in the defense.

He does have a role in the defense and I’ll tell you what it is — backup inside linebacker.

Welcome back, Jimmy!
James Starks, the Sweathogs have missed you. You probably forgot this guy was on the team because the Packers have barely used him since the first half of the season. Well, they used him on Monday night and for more than just running straight into a pile of bodies in garbage time. Starks got 10 carries, which is the most he’s had since week 5. He turned those 10 carries into 75 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 26.

We love Easy Ed, but more James Starks please.

Davante isn’t there yet
Receiver Davante Adams had his breakout game against the Patriots, topping 100 yards for the first time in his career. How did he follow that up? One catch for six yards. Typical rookie receiver. There’s a little more at play here though.

The Packers didn’t need Adams to do anything against the Falcons. Their defense is awful. The Packers can say, hey, we’re going to throw the ball to Jordy and the Falcons can’t do anything about it. Where the Packers will need Adams is when they face tough secondaries like New England’s. Then, Nelson and Cobb aren’t going to be open as often and the Packers will need Adams to step up. Like when they face Seattle in the playoffs. Can he do it?

Maybe, maybe not. He did it against the Patriots, but went right back to looking like a clueless rookie against Atlanta.

Remember when PATs were automatic?
Not this season! If memory serves, the Packers have now failed to convert two extra points this season. On Monday night, Mason Crosby had one blocked.

Blocked! I don’t know if that’s worse than outright missing one or not. The bottom line is, extra points shouldn’t go unconverted at all.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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44 Comments

  1. Jtmax December 9, 2014

    The db’s played off of receivers too much in second half trying to play prevent defense and that cost them. They did a great job in first half. Also if you re going to play zone you have to shift coverage to fill gaps the coners directed jones towards safeties but safeties did not step into the gap. They werw too afraid of the deep route so hung back in prevent defense mode. Thats the problem

  2. the real russ letlow December 9, 2014

    I was a little surprised that our DBs didn’t play a little more press man coverage on Jones. Bump him at the line, hit him off of his route. Disturb the pattern a little. That being said, Julio Jones is the real deal. He can do it all as a WR. Was he 259 yards good? I don’t think so.

  3. Vijay December 9, 2014

    They need to play 60 minutes of football on both sides of the ball. However, we still don’t appear to have the hogs needed to get the job done this year. Because we are oddly injury free this year, I doubt that ol Teddy calls up a reserve (like Johnny Jolly) to help down the stretch run. Jolly is healthy to resume activities via RotoWorld.

    1. Packer Bob December 9, 2014

      But we did last week. Held Tom Brady to 21 points. Same team, same players.

      1. Kato December 9, 2014

        One game. I dont think that is repeatable. Panthers held NO to 10 points on the road, while we gave up a 40 burger to them there. The NFL is everchanging.

        1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

          “The NFL is everchanging.”

          Er, isn’t everything?

  4. pf4l December 9, 2014

    The good: (We won) Aaron Rodgers(MVP), Jordy, Lacy in the 1st quarter. Starks, Davon House, M Burnett.

    The bad: Where to start……..
    Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. Although a few of you were riding Tramons jock a few games last season. He continues being the same Tramon since the new contract. Is this dude really making 8 million a year? For…..what?
    Sam Shields got benched in favor of Davon House. Between Shields and Williams, the Packers are shelling out abot 17 mill/year. We deserve better. Thankfully the bad contract of T W is over soon. VERY soon.

    Just like last weeks game. Lacy was great in the 1st quarter, then he shit the bed (sans) the short yardage td’s. I know Lacy is a power guy, but watching Starks run, and hit holes quick, gives you a huge contrast of quickness between the two. Lacy is still dancing too much behind his lineman. Lets not pretend that the Falcons have a strong run defense.

    I won’t even comment much on D Adams. Learn the plays and your routes dude.

    ST’s looked like shit.

    In the 1st half the Packers dominated. In the 2nd half, the Packers had their asses handed to them, being outscored 30-12. So how did this happen? Why couldn’t they dominate (or play even) in the 2nd half? From my view, the difference was in coaching and coaching adjustments after 1/2 time. for some reason, Capers thought it was a good idea to play single coverage on Jones, while getting ass raped.

    It should be noted, w/o Burnetts pick the offense turned into a td, that may have well won the game.

    But nonetheless, enjoy the victory, hopefully they can get some things right, because Buffalo’s defense is no joke, and they have a beast def front 7. The good news is their offense doesn’t offer many threats other than Watkins.

    1. Packer Bob December 9, 2014

      Wasn’t Adams the key to the offense last week against the Patriots when he had 121 yards? Wasn’t he the guy who got the signal and caught the ball on the fake spike that helped us beat Miami?

      And you’re gonna call him out because the rookie ran the wrong route one time? Nice.

      1. Kato December 9, 2014

        And he caught one pass for six yards…..

      2. pf4l December 9, 2014

        Wasn’t Adams the 1 receiver the Patriots left alone so they could shut down Jordy and Cobb?

        He’s run a lot more than 1 wrong route Mr Packer Bob. Do you even watch the games?

        1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

          And how did that work out for them?

          1. pf4l December 9, 2014

            I was trying to make a point. Stay focused please.

    2. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

      Agree with most except for the Capers and STs hate.
      The Punt blocking was awful, it used to be one of the best parts of our STs unit ’til this year; dunno what’s going on, maybe it’s rust do to few opportunities. The 2nd blocked PAT was also a bit worrisome, every point is important in the playoffs, and there is no bigger gimme in profession sports than the PAT. Those concerns addressed, our coverage units were great again as were our hands teams (Boykin may have made the play of the game), and Crosby proved he can kick it deep when asked to do so, unfortunately Hester still decided to return it, hence the reason we’ve (IMO) been directionally kicking most of the season, esp. since Old Man Winter dragged his wrinkly, frostbitten ass to town.

  5. Packer Bob December 9, 2014

    “And there’s the problem. Julio Jones, 259 yards. There’s really no explanation for this.”

    Maybe the explanation is that he’s the best WR in the game right now? He had 189 yards against Arizona last week.

  6. Scpackfan December 9, 2014

    ST’s did recover the onside and bobble nicely thanks to JN, I hate seeing our star WR fielding balls

    1. Fritz December 10, 2014

      i even cringe when our star WR is tackled when running after the catch!

  7. E. Wolf December 9, 2014

    The problem is the defense coasts by after they get up three, sometimes, two scores. We are lucky it did not bite us in the ass.
    As I see it, the problems is a philosophical one, a lack of professionalism. Remember how pissed that German goalkeeper was when Brazil scored that one goal? Know how pitchers jealousy guard their ERA, even in blowout wins of six, seven eight or more runs? Recall how the truly great defenses, like the Bucs defense and Ravens defense ten years ago, the Bears of 1985 etc. They brought it all the time and every time, and fought to the last to prevent opponents from scoring as much possible.
    We lack that, and it could be derived from coaching.
    I do not think we are that far off personnel wise.

  8. Jtmax December 9, 2014

    Our defense is built for takeaways and not shutting it down. When an accurate qb start to let it loose because he’s down by 25 pts we get torched. House follows the receiver better and not as greedy as williams and shields so he’s better for clamping down on receivers. That’s the mentality our db’s must have to ahut it down. We have the speed. Just not disciplined

    1. Shawn Neuser December 9, 2014

      Great post.

    2. pf4l December 9, 2014

      We had 1 takeaway. Didnt the Packer defense shut the Falcons down in the 1st half?

      When i here this bend but dont break defense bullshit, i want to hurl. Thats what bad defenses say.

      Shields and Williams weren’t greedy, they were slow. Williams couldnt keep pace with a gimpy Roddy White.

      1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

        Isn’t that what is said of the Patriots D? Pretty sure no one considers them to be BAD, not great either. Sorry, but in this day and age of free agency it’s virtually impossible to have a Top Tier D and O. The way the game is played today (esp. this year) I’ll take the great O and mediocre D over the inverse every time.

        1. pf4l December 9, 2014

          Our 2nd half defense could be called a lot of things for giving up over 300 yards and 30 points, but mediocre isnt one of them.

          1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

            One terrible half, man. The rest of the season it’s been somewhere between mediocre and good.

  9. Kato December 9, 2014

    Ok. I am really hoping that this game was a case of the defense letting up, because that is easily correctable, and that is on coaching. If it is the alternative, then I am very disturbed. Where was the pass rush against arguably the worst offensive line in the league? Especially in the second half. If Mike Daniels wants that big contract extension, he is going to have to earn it by being consistently disruptive, not flashing in a game here and there. Ditto Datone Jones. I dont understand why some of you (Packer Bob) act like nothing is wrong with this team. The sky is not falling because of this one game against Atlanta, and I am certainly not going to completely freak out, but this is supposed to be a super bowl caliber team. And super bowl caliber teams play defense from beginning till end. While things could be much worse for us (1 playoff appearance in the past 8 seasons), the packers have the best qb of this generation and have failed to take advantage of it in recent years. Since the super bowl, this team is 1-3 in the playoffs. Two of the defeats embarrassing. And I get the feeling the same thing is gong to happen this year unless the defense gets their act together. Seattle is going to kick the shit out of green bay if this continues.

  10. rebelgb December 9, 2014

    Actually he is the 2nd best receiver in the league. I love Julio, he is on my Fantasy team, but man Megatron is the best in the league. Who by the way we have to face the last week of the season and likely in Lambeau again the week after for the wild card game.

    Julio is awesome though.

    1. pf4l December 9, 2014

      I’ll go with Jordy Nelson. but then i dont play FF. Mainly because i don’t want to cheer for any other teams players or defense, i think that clouds loyalty, but thats just me.

      1. Kato December 9, 2014

        Mike Evans since Week 9: 32 catches for 599 yards and 8 TDs

        1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

          V-Jax and Mike Evans-that should be fun, especially since McCown has already beaten us (granted sans MVR-Most Valuable Rodgers) and it’ll be on their turf.

      2. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

        Maybe, I see it as possibly enhancing your appreciation for the sport. Then again, it’s likely FF is largely responsible for the recent butchering of the game.

    2. Kato December 9, 2014

      Dont forget we have Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans the next couple weeks. While they arent at the level of Julio Jones and Megatron, they can certainly hurt you. It can be argued no receiver has been as hot over the past month as Mike Evans. And lets not forget TB has some guy called Vincent Jackson right there along with Evans. Play like we did this week in the second half and we could be looking at 1-2 to finish the season, maybe 0-3.

    3. Fritz December 10, 2014

      so, u think Detroit is going to win on the road in the wildcard round? where? NO? Seattle? Philly? i’d like to know where u think they can win on the road in the playoffs first round?

  11. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

    I’ve loved James Starks ever since I saw him truck Patrick Willis in ’10 (Same game as Driver’s incredible TD). The dude is always positive (like our entire RB corps and the majority of our players), humble, works his ass off, and does nothing but produce, maybe not to the level of some, but he almost always brings a positive impact to every game he plays in. Maybe most of all, I love the way he runs, with arms and legs flailing, like he’s a 1-man realization of those animated, cloud-of-dust, Looney Toons brawls.

  12. pf4l December 9, 2014

    The bottom line to me was, that the defense hasn’t embarrassed us this year. They played stout in the 1st half. The in 2nd half they shit the bed and got raped giving up about 300 yards and 30 points, just in the 2nd half. When you give up 30 points in a half…yea, you got raped!!!

    Throw it under the rug if you want, but this reminds me of some defensive meltdowns we’ve come way to familiar with over the last few years in big games. It makes me nervous coming this close to the playoffs.

    1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

      Your first sentence should negate your last. They’ve had 2 truly bad halves of play including last night’s embarassment all year-that’s 26 halves.

      1. pf4l December 9, 2014

        Please explain…..What was the other bad half?

        1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

          Second half vs. Nawlins

          Not so much the points, but the way they took whatever they wanted and that big blown coverage that pretty much sealed the loss.

          1. pf4l December 9, 2014

            I’d say this 2nd half performance was far more sad.

          2. pf4l December 9, 2014

            Yea your right, looking back, that 2nd half wasn’t stellar either plus Rodgers threw up a couple picks (tipped passes).

          3. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

            Monday Night’s was definitely worse-it was the embarrassment. The Big Easy game was just run-of-the-mill bad.

  13. NYCPackerBacker December 9, 2014

    We are getting bounced by Seattle in the playoffs. This team decided to give up 37 UNANSWERED fucking points in the second half to the Falcants!!!!!!! FUCK

    1. Phatgzus December 9, 2014

      I don’t think you quite grasp the meaning of unanswered. Here’s a helpful link for ya:

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unanswered

    2. pf4l December 9, 2014

      The most unanswered points the Pack gave up to the Falcons was 10.

      1. Fritz December 10, 2014

        the sky is falling, the sky is falling… sounds like NYCpackerbacker has been living in NYC too long– too much lib loon BS like global warming, climate change, toxic 2 litre soda, etc. etc. panic fodder for the Chicken Littles out there– the scaredy cats, et. al.

        btw, Shehawks have been beaten in Seattle already this year by lowly teams like the Boys. so, in the words [er, letters] of the greatest living QB: R-E-L… u know the rest.

  14. Phatgzus December 10, 2014

    -I-S-H? Advice on Bratwurst condiments, perhaps?