Quick Takes on the Packers’ Past, Present, and Future
Has no one brought up the touchdown celebration of Davante Adams, in which he dunked the ball over the goal post? I don’t know which is worse, that he didn’t know of the rule change or that he didn’t care. The 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff prevented Mason Crosby from kicking the ball out of the end zone. Had it allowed a long return by the Lions, it would have been much more than embarrassing, as the catch only gave the Packers a three-point lead at the time. And c’mon Davante, it was only a three-yard catch.
Aaron Rodgers ran seven times against the Lions for 46 yards (not counting three kneel-downs for negative-four yards). He began the 81-yard drive that led to the Packers’ third touchdown, and nine-point lead, with a nifty 12-yard scramble. But the topper was his 13-yard run on third down that kept the final touchdown drive going – a great play call by Mike McCarthy. It was the third time this season he’s run for 40+ yards. Unlike Tyrod Taylor (95 runs), Cam Newton (90), and Russell Wilson (72), almost all of Rodgers’ 67 runs have been scrambles. I’d love to see McCarthy call more planned runs by Rodgers during the playoffs – a time when you need to cast aside injury worries. It’s going to take some extraordinary measures for the team to offset its defensive deficiencies.
Green Bay was uncharacteristically prone to penalties against New York: 10 for 75 yards. The Giants had only five for 30 yards. For the year, the team finished with the 10th most penalties (6.2 per game) and the fifth most yards penalized (51.7 per game). Each average, however, was a small improvement over last year. The Packers offense was flagged five times for five-yard miscues: Bryan Bulaga twice, David Bakhtiari, Lane Taylor, and Aaron Rodgers (for delay of game). The crowd noise at Ford Field was said to be unusually loud.
Useless trivia time. How many coaches has Mike McCarthy faced this season with a higher win percentage than he? (Answer at bottom).
At the Wednesday press conference, McCarthy gave out few details about injuries. He did, however, have lots of good things to say about promoting receiver-turned-cornerback Herb Waters to the roster. It would be quite phenomenal if Waters were to begin his career as a defensive player in a playoff game. Waters has never even recorded a statistic in a preseason game, much less during the regular season. If any of the minimal-experience DBs – Waters, Kentrell Brice, Josh Hawkins, Marwin Evans – gets on the field on Sunday, they are bound to immediately be targeted. At least Giants head coach Ben McAdoo doesn’t have any inside knowledge about them – he left the Packers and joined the Giants in 2014.
Jordy Nelson is a ball-spiking maniac this year. I imagine it relates to how thrilled and relieved he must be that his surgery was successful, and that his performance is back to close to where it was prior to the injury.
Temperature is obviously on the minds of the Giants. A blog called The Giants Beat has been forecasting the temperature for each quarter of Sunday’s game: Q1 & Q2 – 12F, feels like 4F; Q3 – 11F, feels like 3F; and Q4 – 10F, feels like 3F. It will be an experience the Giants haven’t faced this year. Though they’ve played in some relatively cold places in November and December, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Washington D.C., and in their own MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, their coldest game of the year was in Dallas: 32 degrees at game time. The Packers’ four most recent outdoor games, meanwhile, have been at home versus Vikings (37F), Seahawks (26F), and Texans (32F), and at Chicago (11F, 12 mph wind). The Giants’ wide receivers have their own peculiar way of preparing for Lambeau – after their game on Sunday they headed off to Miami. We’ll see how that works out.
Trivia Answer: None has exceeded McCarthy’s 65.1 win percentage. However, on Sunday he faces Ben McAdoo, who in his first year has an 11-5 record – 68.75 percent.