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Five More Thoughts on Packers’ 44-21 Loss to Falcons

When you make it this far and fail, it hurts. Maybe not as much as it did back in 2015 in Seattle, simply because the Green Bay Packers actually had that game. They never had this one. It was over pretty much from the start.

The Atlanta Falcons are NFC champs and the Green Bay Packers are now 1-3 in NFC Championship games under Mike McCarthy. Aaron Rodgers is 1-2 in them as a starter.

That’s painful.

So now we go into another offseason of uncertainty, just not quite good enough.

Here are five more thoughts as the season closed with its inevitable thud.

This is Still More Than We Expected

On the bright side, this Packers team made it much further than we expected. When they were 4-6, we were talking about how this looked like a 6-10 team. The run of six wins in a row to make the playoffs and win the division was a phenomenal feat. Adding two playoff wins on top of that was great. This Packers team overcame adversity and injuries. Aaron Rodgers put together a run of stellar play that rivals his best. In the end, there just wasn’t enough talent and there were too many injuries. It was a hell of a ride, though. The guys who played a role in that ride don’t have anything to hang their heads about. Well, most of them, anyway.

But That Pass Defense…

You probably had a good idea that this wasn’t going to be all flowery. The Packers’ pass defense — a weak link all season — cost them dearly against the high-powered Falcons’ passing attack. That’s no secret. What I found amazing and inexplicable was how the Packers played pass defense. So LaDarius Gunter was no match for Julio Jones. Who is? At least Gunter was near Jones most of the time. The same could not be said for his teammates. Falcons’ receivers were repeatedly wide open without a defender within yards. It’s as if guys were so worried about getting burned deep, they just gave up any and everything underneath. The zone scheme the Packers were running didn’t really work either, did it? Here’s a nice sample of what I’m talking about.

I do not understand what the directive on defense was for the Packers. Who’s coaching these guys to play like this? I’m baffled.

Amazed By Jordy

It’s crazy that Jordy Nelson played football two weeks after breaking his ribs. If you’ve ever had anything to do with bruised, cracked or broken ribs, you know how painful that is. It’s hard to move, much less run around, contort your body and get hit. Yet, there was Jordy Nelson on Sunday doing just that. He ended up catching six balls for 67 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Davante Adams was largely ineffective with an ankle injury (three catches, 16 yards) and Geronimo Allison was the same with a leg injury (one catch, 11 yards). On top of gutting it out, Nelson actually was able to perform. Maybe not at his best, but at a fairly high level. That guy is one tough son of a bitch.

Coming Out Flat

This COULD have been a totally different game. It could have been the shootout a lot of people were expecting. We never got the chance to see that because the Packers never gave themselves a chance. The Falcons got the ball first and scored a touchdown on their opening drive. Not terribly surprising. However, the Packers managed to hold them to a field goal on their second. We have to take that as a win with this defense. We never got the track meet we could have because of the Packers’ failures on their opening two possessions. On the first, Mason Crosby misses his first playoff field goal since 2011. Ironically, that last miss was also in Atlanta, so he must have some issues with kicking in the Georgia Dome. The Packers’ second drive was derailed by fullback Aaron Ripkowski’s fumble at the Falcons’ 11. Had things gone according to plan, the score should have been 10-10 at that point and then we’ve got ourselves a game. In fact, it could have turned into the type of game we saw in Arizona in 2010 — a 51-45 dual between Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner. Those two plays seemed to suck all the life out of the Packers and they never recovered.

The Injury Legacy

We’ve talked about this before. What will Mike McCarthy’s legacy with the Green Bay Packers be? At this point, he’s the guy who only one Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. There’s something else we ALWAYS talk about when we talk about McCarthy’s teams, though. Injuries. Year after year, the Packers seem to have more injuries than any other team — that’s certainly not a scientific analysis or anything, but the Packers are always beat up. Do you know how many guys the Falcons had on the injury report on Saturday? Zero. Being healthy is a huge component in winning football games. The Packers never are and we always talk about overcoming that adversity, but why? How do McCarthy’s teams resemble a M.A.S.H. unit year after year after year? That cannot be coincidence. Something isn’t right and the Packers need to address it, whether it’s the training program, the medical staff or the types of players they’re drafting. The Packers barely strain themselves in practice anymore, so it must be one of these other things. Right now, part of McCarthy’s legacy is injuries.

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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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10 Comments

  1. Mike R January 23, 2017

    Guys, I like checking the website out every now and then for some Packers news, but the ads are just out of control. It is impossible to read a story when text is shifting up and down, pop-ups, etc.

    Not sure how the Packers are going to be able to turn their defense around next year. They literally have 3-4 good players out of all of them, the rest are average to well below average. Nick Perry being one of them that is good, and I would not be surprised to see a team willing to throw some money at him. Clay Matthews looks like he is not the same player, and defiantly not worth the amount of money he is making. He is a way better player as an ILB. Expect more of the same defensively next year. They certainly will not be making any radical changes to players or coaches, which is really the only way it will change.

    1. Chad Lundberg January 23, 2017

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  2. Howard January 23, 2017

    Not to many have complained about Rips fumble(s). I think many believe the offense could have not done much to overcome the defenses ability to slow down or stop the Falcons. I think if the game was closer the Falcons would have put up numbers in the upper 50 range with ease. I know Rip has made those long runs all year with defenders all over him without fumbling. At some point you have to understand the circumstances and go down. Now that the league has tape on Rip putting the ball on the ground, I hope Rip will understand there is nothing wrong with going down when you have made the first down or large yardage and you have multiple defenders going for the ball. Remember you have just made a great play that gives the team 3 or 4 more chances.

  3. Deepsky January 23, 2017

    I put the blame on the offense. The offensive line was bad against an average pass rush. Rodgers seemed like he was in a funk, unable to sense or adjust to pressure. They had to score 40 points and couldn’t do it against the worst scoring passing defense in the league.

    1. icebowl January 23, 2017

      #12 was off – alot of throws falling short, a number of them uncatchable. He didn’t seem to have the look of confidence from the onset…
      As stated above, watching missed FG and fumble along with seeing Falcons scoring at will just drained the energy out of him…

      Frustration reached peak when he ran for long yardage and didn’t slide to take a sizeable hit from a-hole ATL D-Back…

      I think the team knew the day of reckoning would come – that someone would expose their weaknesses…. they were pretty much running on fumes going into the game….

      Should be interesting season to come – not an easy schedule…. running the table may not work a second time…

      Looking forward to another roller coaster ride, hopefully w new, more engaged management….

      1. PF4L January 23, 2017

        Confidence may dip when the 0 line is getting pushed back in his face. Watch it if you have it dvr’d.

  4. I Steal Fish January 23, 2017

    I def think one of the main problems was this team peaked in dallas. I think that win was just too much of an emotional high, it seemed like the players never really got there heads into this game. those had to be the most dropped passes of any game all year. and the defense. lawd. dom capers new name should just be dominated capers.

  5. PF4L January 23, 2017

    This is still more than we expected. ( But what did it actually do?)
    1) Got us in the playoffs. Gave Packer fans the warm and fuzzy’s, high hopes and pride.
    2) Gave Rodgers and the Packers National media attention.
    3) Set back Rodgers career, set back his playoff record in NFCCG’s.
    4) Impeded possibility of much needed change.
    5) It did the same thing, as it’s done the 5 previous seasons.
    6) Another opportunity to get embarrassed in the playoffs on National TV….YAY

    But that pass defense……
    1) Aaron Rodgers carried this defense, further than they deserved to go.
    2) Defense was clearly in way over their heads.
    3) Where have you been? Wide open receivers have been a problem we have been having for years, this is not something new.

    Amazed by Jordy…
    1) Jordy was the hero of the game. It’s a shame the rest of the team didn’t appreciate his presence enough to step up their game and be competitive.
    2) Should have been pulled at 31-0.

    Coming out flat…..
    1) Things happen…should we expect perfection from the offense, but live with deficiencies of the defense year after year?
    2) That was Ripkowski’s 1st NFL fumble. He’s handled the ball 53 times. This guy looks to be a true asset in the future.

    The injury Legacy…
    1) IDK…Do we acquire players with injury history for “value”?
    2) Maybe it’s something in house…IDK.
    3) This is what i know…We won a Super Bowl with a shit ton of injuries. Never use injuries as an excuse.
    4) Injuries expose 1 of 2 things. Either you have your team prepared for them (2010). Or you get exposed for not having your team prepared for them (2016).
    5) Injury excuse is for losers. So is using other teams crowd noise as an excuse.
    6) Wasn’t this team healthy in week one when Blake Bortles threw for 320 yards?

    2 more things…..

    The O line had serious problems. Dion Jones, and Ryan Poole came in untouched to hit or sack Rodgers 3 times. Rodgers got absolutely killed out there. In his 1st 20 drop backs, he was sacked once, hirried 6 times and hit 7 times. He took some serious shots back there.

    We learned later in the game. Jason Spriggs is just seriously raw. I’m not saying he’s a bust, i’m saying he looked out of his league. Don Barclay doesn’t have the rookie excuse…..just an ugly performance.

    We can’t have 2 lineman, locked up blocking one person, while a free lb’er runs right by them and comes in untouched to blow up Rodgers. It happened repeatedly.

  6. Gort January 23, 2017

    Jordy = WOW!

    Rip’s fumble (the one that counted) was a great play by Atlanta.

    Rodgers was a bit off, but it looked like everyone was. The team did peak against Dallas. They had to or they lose that game.

    Don’t know if the defense is bad because good players played with nagging injuries and couldn’t perform to their potential or if they simply are not very good. Something must be done there. I think the team over achieved and I think that they need better personnel. That leads me conclude that the problem is with the personnel department, all the way to the GM. If a team consistently under achieves, then the problem might be coaching. Even with that opinion, it might be time for fresh ideas on defensive coaching staff.

  7. Louis Pistoni January 24, 2017

    As usual on this site Mony, John Bonham, Rob Tex and all the boys jump on the the lets denigrate the Packers bandwagon. Fact is McCarthy did a heckuva job righting the ship to even get this far. If it wasn`t for Aaron Rodgers brilliance and McCarthy`s team guidance they wouldn`t have made the playoffs. THE PACKERS LOST BADLY TO THE FALCONS BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO DEFENSE. They haven`t had a credible defense since 2010 and what happend that year–They won it all! They were 2nd ithe league in scoring defense and I believe in the top 5 in run defense. That`s how you win the Super Bowl! Their secondary is quite horrible. Their corners can`t cover and worse, don`t want to tackle anyone. Demarius Randall is a main culprit and his buddy Rollins is right there with him. They offer very little physicality. I remember Charles Woodson particularly tackling in run support with physicality. I`m showing my age here but they have no Herb Adderley, Willie Buchanon, Craig Newsome, Al Harris, or Woodson to name a few on this roster.