There is no getting around the fact that yesterday’s total collapse will send shock waves around 1268 Lombadi Ave. When a choke happens as big as the one that happened yesterday some heads will end up rolling. Even if those heads are just special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum and goat third string tight end Brandon Bostick, people are losing their jobs over this.
The Packers seem to have a good knack for these kind of playoff embarrassments dating back to the Super Bowl XXXII loss to the Denver Broncos and continuing it with 4th & 26, the 2007 NFC Championship game, the 2009 Wild Card game and now the worst of all yesterday. The Packers literally stopped playing after the Morgan Burnett interception that Russell Wilson pass and inexplicably went to the ground like the game was over. My thought of why his teammates and coaches told him to go down is that because Sam Shields stupidly ran back the interception that clinched the 2010 NFC Championship game in Chicago. Of course the game was actually over then.
The crazy part is if just one of so many ifs went Green Bay’s way the Packers would be on their way to Glendale, Arizona. If Mike McCarthy went for it on fourth-and-inches, if the Packers didn’t give up a third-and-19 conversion, if the Packers get just one first down after the Burnett interception, if Burnett returns the interception into field goal range, if Ha Ha Clinton-Dix doesn’t drop a potential pick-six, if Clinton-Dix makes an easy play on the ball on the two-point conversion and if Bostick blocks like he was supposed to the Packers would be Super Bowl bound. Only one of those things had to happen not all of them. That’s how you blow a game you had a 99 percent chance of winning in the last five minutes. It has to be horrendously egregious.
It was a total team effort in blowing the game, but Mike McCarthy has to be at the top of the list. It’s amazing that after being accused of playing scared the first time in Seattle he went back there again and did the same thing only worse. This after being so relaxed and at ease all throughout the week. To McCarthy’s credit, his team was much more ready to play than Pete Carroll’s team was, and he had a terrific game plan. If only that game plan included jumping on Seattle’s throat.
As much as what he did during the game was bad, McCarthy’s quotes after the game really bothered me. You could barely tell that the Packers lost the game by reading his quotes and he wasn’t really regretful about anything. He might need to do some soul searching. Here are a few quotes that bothered me:
– “This is an excellent game. Fun game to play. It was competitive. That was everything we thought it would be.”
Really that’s your attitude after a game like this? Your players and fans will never get over this the rest of their lives and you’re talking about how much fun the game was. No anger or remorse over anything? Really?
– “I felt great about our defense all week, just the way they’ve been building here in the last eight, nine weeks. So, that’s why we had to take the field goals.”
This is just incorrect. If you have so much confidence in your defense you trust them to be able to get a quick stop if you do not convert the fourth and inches. Then you would be right back in position to get at least the three points you just got with a kicker who was going to make every field goal he attempted yesterday.
– ” You talking about defense? Hey they made big plays when they needed to.”
WHAT? Mike, the game is 60 minutes long. They played great for 57 minutes, but the plays that needed to be made were in the last three minutes and overtime. The defense failed miserably. That’s not to say they’re most to blame over the offense or special teams, but they shared a role in the collapse. They certainly didn’t make big plays when it mattered most.
– “I’m not aware of it.”
This was when McCarthy was asked about Clay Matthews not being in the game late. You’re the head coach, how on earth are you not aware of that?
“I had as far as a target to hit was 20 rushing attempts in the second half.”
WHY? The amount of rushing attempts should not be dictated before the half or a game. It should be based on the flow of the game. Aaron Rodgers certainly wasn’t thrilled with the conservative play calling.
The one person who comes out looking pretty good in this is Ted Thompson. He built a team that was better than Seattle’s yesterday and outplayed them greatly. The Packers were the better team and the completely healthy one yesterday. It was all set up perfectly, which is what makes this so tough to swallow.
The question that will be lingering for awhile over 1268 Lombardi Ave is a big one. Is this the begging of the end for the Thompson, McCarthy, and Rodgers era? McCarthy and Thompson just signed new deals, so they’re not going anywhere soon, but will the trio ever get that elusive second ring together? This is the kind of loss that can spill over and kill next season too. Then again, the Baltimore Ravens lost in similar brutal fashion in the 2011 AFC Championship and came back to win the Super Bowl the following season, so you just never know.
The Packers went into this game with house money and nothing to lose with nobody expecting them to win, and somehow they left it losing everything and crushing our hearts in the process.