The Best and the Wurst is a weekly series wherein I highlight just a few of the things that stuck out to me in last week’s game.  They are not only or merely the best or wurst players overall, but are merely observations from the game.  Sometimes the considerations aren’t even players at all, but play calls, incidents, or various nonsense.




The Best

6 – 0: Here’s to having a longer wurst than best list and still remaining undefeated.  This is a team that played all or most of yesterday’s game effectively down 6 major contributors (Adams, Nelson, Montgomery, Perry, Raji, and Burnett) and a number of other players, as well.  As outlined below, the Packers were outcoached for much of the game and made a few costly mistakes in the closing minutes, and yet they still found a way to win.  This is what great teams do.

Datone Jones: For the second week in a row, Jones has stepped up and made some key plays for the defense.  Jones came up with a sack early in the 4th quarter, a rare Packers’ 3rd down stop.  He also stuffed San Diego running back Danny Woodhead behind the line of scrimmage, setting up that glorious final play by Damarious Randall.  Jones is starting to look like a first round pick.

Damarious Randall:  That final play alone puts Randall easily into the “Best” category.


the wurst 3

Pass blocking:  The Chargers were able to keep Rodgers in the pocket all game, stifling Rodgers’ ability to get out and make plays.  The offensive line seemed completely unable to prevent being pushed back and trapping Rodgers within the pocket.  They didn’t give up many sacks, but it was clear that the Chargers weren’t attempting to break down the pocket, but rather to merely limit Rodgers’ ability to be mobile.  The blue print for teams wanting to challenge Rodgers is out there: go light on blitz, keep him in the pocket, and play two deep safety.  Now it’s up to Rodgers to transcend and find a way to beat the scheme.

Pass Rush:  The Packers’ defense was only able to get to Philip Rivers 3 times yesterday.  Rivers had all day to sit back and pick the defense apart on most plays.  In fact, there were more than a few plays were the Packers’ pass rush was non-existent and Rivers still threw the ball away anyway.  Coming into the game as the second best pass rushing defense in the league, the Packers’ defensive front was pretty well neutralized against the Chargers.

Dom Capers’ Gameplan:  As good as defensive coordinator Dom Capers has been in preparing his defense and making adjustments in game so far this season, the defense was simply outcoached yesterday.  The Packers just didn’t have a response to slow down the Chargers for most of the game.  The pass rush was very inconsistent, and when it did provide some pressure, San Diego had Danny Woodhead running short underneath routes or screen plays which the Packers could not stop.  Short passes early on marched the team up and down the field.

Missed Opportunities:  The Packers put themselves into position to put this one away several times in the 4th quarter and could not do so.

On the penultimate drive for the Chargers, Joe Thomas had a sack that would have put the Chargers out of field goal range on 2nd and 18.  He let Rivers slip through his fingers and pick up about 16 yards, setting up a field goal which pulled the Chargers to within 4 points.

But on the very next play, Sam Shields was gifted an INT, another opportunity  that would have ended the Chargers drive and maintained the Packers 7 point lead.  Unfortunately, Shields just dropped it.

The Packers missed another opportunity to end this one after Rodgers had driven the Packers down the field on the ensuing drive.  On 3rd and goal, Rodgers had Richard Rodgers open in the endzone for a sure 6 points.  Unfortunately Rodgers overthrew him and the Packers were forced to kick a field goal.  If Rodgers had made the throw, one he makes 9.5 times out of 10, the Packers would have taken an 11 point, two-score lead with only 2:46 left to play.  In other words, it would have been the dagger.

Fortunately for the Packers, Damarious Randall got one more opportunity to put this one away and executed.  Yeah, let’s see that one more time.

Go Pack Go!


Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.