At 6:14 pm, despite having recently gone on a Twitter rant about the end of the Packers game, I had already gotten over the loss. The Haiku Review was posted. The TV was off. I was trying to figure out what to do with the remainder of my evening.
It occurred to me that I didn’t feel particularly strongly one way or another about Sunday’s game. Maybe it’s because it felt so inevitable. Maybe we’d seen this coming since the conclusion of last week’s game. I don’t know the exact reason, but the sum total of my feelings felt basically like what I feel when I hear that horn they play on The Price is Right when somebody loses.
This, much like the point that inspired the post that got The Packer Perspective featured on Freshly Pressed last year, is the point the Packers have come to: they’re just not a very good team, and everybody knows it.
Be it injuries, poor coaching, bad luck, playing teams at the wrong time, or what have you, the Packers just stink right now. They can’t score points. They can’t stop anybody. They can’t get sacks. They can’t cover receivers. They can’t run the ball consistently. They can’t return kickoffs correctly. I could go on forever, but it’s pointless. The team’s weaknesses are obvious and well established, and short of a few miraculous healings, there’s really nothing they can do to fix it right now.
Perhaps if Aaron Rodgers can return next week, resurrect the offense, and rally the Packers for a run down the stretch, there is hope, but it occurs to me that at 5-5 it may almost be better to bottom out. If Rodgers can’t come back, what’s to say the Packers don’t end up at 8-8, 7-9, 6-10, or (gulp) 5-11, snag a decent draft pick, and try to make a run with a healthy team next year?
I don’t know what the answer is, but the solution seems to be out of reach for the time being.
Tramon Williams (8 tackles, 1 interception) - Whatever deficiencies (real or imagined) Tramon Williams may have, he seemed like the only member of the Packers defense that was at all interested in tackling on Sunday. He threw his body into tackles with vigor, taking on receivers and running backs alike. He also snagged an interception for the first time since early last year, the first pick recorded by the Packers since Week 7.
Jarrett Boykin (6 catches, 91 yards) - Remember when it was a foregone conclusion in training camp last year that Tori Gurley or Diondre Borel would make the Packers final roster? Remember when neither of them did? Remember how everybody said “who?” when Jarrett Boykin made the final roster instead? Remember how annoying it gets when you do the “repeated questions” trope in a blog post?
Seriously though, Boykin’s been good. He’ll be a good complimentary receiver when the Packers get healthy again. If he can produce with Scott Tolzien, he can produce with Aaron Rodgers.
Mason Crosby (2/2 field goals, 1/1 PAT) - The rumors swirled last week, but Crosby put any thoughts of a relapse to his disastrous 2012 form to bed with an absolute monster kick on Sunday. His 57 yard boot was the longest outdoor kick in Packers history. Plus, like yours truly, he’s growing a mustache.
12 - The number of players fielded by the Packers at two different points in the first quarter. For the record, playing with twelve players is against the rules, and the Packers were duly penalized for their illegal efforts. It set a perfect tone for the game.
167 – The unofficial time, in minutes, of the Packers game on Sunday. 2 hours and 47 minutes has to be one of the shorter Packers games in recent memory. This is what happens when your offense can’t move the ball and the defense can’t get off the field.
23 - Games since Tramon Williams last snagged an interception. Do you remember when it happened?
A for Effort - Trying hard gets you nothing in the NFL, but Scott Tolzien gave the Packers about all they could ask for this week. He’s got a big arm, and he unleashed it for a few nice passes…and a few not so nice passes, including a hideous late game punt-like interception to the middle of the field. I know he grew up watching Brett Favre, so I hoped he might have learned that launching lobs to no one particular in the middle of the playing surface is a terrible idea, but alas. Still, he was better than last week, and he had a couple nice drives.
Jordy Nelson is Ridiculous - Another week, another big game, another nice sideline catch for Jordy Nelson. Ho-hum. It’s becoming almost routine for Jordy, who has only had fewer than 66 receiving yards twice, and one of those two games was in Week 7 against Cleveland, when the game was well in hand early and there were few passes to catch. He’s a high level receiver and continues to prove it every week, no matter who is at quarterback.
Stayin’ Alive - With a loss by Detroit and a win from Chicago, the NFC North race is still close. The Packers are one game behind both the Lions and Bears, and they still have meetings with both teams this year. Is it likely they’ll leapfrog the two? Probably not. Is it possible. Yes! Especially with Aaron Rodgers possibly coming back for the Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit. Say it with me.
GO FOR IT - Having just been punched in the gut by Jason Pierre-Paul‘s absurd interception, the Packers trailed by 14 points but still had nearly 11 minutes with which to work. After a one yard loss on a run, an incompletion, a Tolzien to Nelson pass came up just short of the sticks. Facing a 4th and 1 on his own 29, Coach Mike McCarthy made the unconscionable decision to punt. Though there were eight and a half minutes left on the clock, the game ended at that moment. The Packers punted away any possible shot, however slim, at winning the game with that decision. Predictably, they never had a real shot at scoring again. I do not understand.
THROW FOR IT - Though Tolzien would go on to throw three interceptions, he had barely an opportunity to do anything at all early in the game. Four of the Packers first six offensive plays were runs, and those six plays led to eight yards and two three-and-outs. Obviously you can’t bank too heavily on Tolzien, but McCarthy showed no confidence in his young quarterback with his playcalling. At a certain point, you have to just play the cards you’re dealt. Clearly the running game wasn’t getting it done. Might as well let the Badger sling it.
(Nothing to) SHOW FOR IT - I’m going to write about this later this week, but for now, just consider the implications of this fact:
Only 4 of the Packers last 9 first and second round picks are on the field today.—
Jon Meerdink (@JonMeerdink) November 17, 2013
Up Next: The Packers host the Vikings at Lambeau Field. It’s a noon start time. If the Packers lose, I might set myself on fire.