There are defeats and then there are defeats that expose a football team. The Green Bay Packers’ 30-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was one of the latter.
We all knew this football team had weaknesses, but to one degree or another, we felt those weaknesses could be fixed or improved upon. Now, it certainly doesn’t seem that way. The Packers were dominated by a clearly superior football team on Sunday. Making matters far worse, is they were dominated at home.
In the process, the Green Bay Packers went from borderline contender to pretender.
They are now two games behind the Minnesota Vikings in the division and with the Vikings currently holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, that gap is essentially three games.
Anyway, let’s get on with it.
The formula for the Packers’ defense is pretty simple. Get in the backfield and disrupt. Their pass defense is always better when they get after the quarterback. Their run defense has been so stout because they’ve had so many tackles for loss. Obviously, the defense failed in both aspects on Sunday. The Packers had just one sack and two tackles for loss. So it was of little surprise then that Dak Prescott was able to throw for 247 and three touchdowns with an average of 9.1 per attempt. The same goes for Ezekiel Elliott’s 157 yards and 5.6 yards per carry average. The 191 total yards rushing the Packers gave up might not have been the total that it was if it weren’t for the long runs. There were too many of those and not enough action behind the line of scrimmage.
The Return of Five Wide
One positive thing we noticed on Sunday was the return of the four and five-receiver sets. The Packers used this extensively back in 2011 and then it slowly disappeared. We’re not really sure why, but logic says that if you’re going to carry seven receivers, as the Packers are this season, you might as well use them. So this was a welcome sight and the Packers did have some success with it. The biggest beneficiaries were Ty Montgomery, who also spent a good deal of time in the backfield, and Jeff Janis. Montgomery got 36 snaps and Janis had 32. Montgomery turned in his best game of the season with 10 catches for 98 yards. Considering he did that in 36 snaps, maybe the Packers should find ways to utilize Montgomery more. Janis had just two catches for 14 yards, but considering he had just two catches in all of 2015, that’s a step in the right direction.
Not a Lack of Players, Just a Lack of Playmakers
About those seven receivers… Just because the Packers have them on the roster doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any good. Of the seven, only Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson currently have decent grades from Pro Football Focus. Cobb has an 80.3, which ranks him 15th at his position. Nelson has a 74.8, which puts him 33rd. Everyone else is in the 50s, with the exception of Montgomery, who has a 49.4. Those are considered poor grades, the lowliest group in the PFF system. Consider that Jordy Nelson has also turned in two duds in a row now and it’s clear that Aaron Rodgers isn’t the only problem with the Packers’ offense.
Packers Getting What They Asked for From Peppers
The one player worth singling out on the Packers’ defense is Julius Peppers. He played just 31 total snaps, with 18 of them coming in passing situations. Peppers notched the Packers’ only sack on the day and also had two hurries, which is a nice return for that snap count. It’s also just what the Packers need from Peppers. Get out there part time and make plays for us. Unfortunately, as we’ve discussed time and again, Peppers is a liability against the run at this point. Teams can run right at him and often do. So while the Packers are certainly getting something positive from Peppers, they should really consider limiting his snaps to only passing situations.
When Has That Ever Worked?
What was the buffooniest move made by Buffoon on Sunday? You must know. It’s the same damn buffoon play that Buffoon has tried to use so many times before only to meet failure. The only difference is now the player is different. Yes, I’m talking about handing the ball off to the fullback in short-yardage situations. It used to be John Kuhn who got blown up for the 1-yard loss and now it’s Aaron Ripkowski. Let me just remind you for the 50th time, Buffoon. You have a power running back in Eddie Lacy. He’s a guy who gained more than half of his yards after contact on Sunday. Feel free to give him the ball in short-yardage situations from now on.