It did not seem possible for the Packers to play worse than they did two week ago on Monday night vs Detroit. But by god they topped it with flying colors yesterday as the Baltimore Ravens forced five turnovers and shut the Packers out at home 23-0. There was a time when securing home field advantage in the playoffs was believed to be a major key for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. However, after two of the worst home games in our storied history, the Packers have turned Lambeau Field into a gutter of despair.
The opening drive started out promising for Hundley and the Green Bay offense. They moved the ball with fluidity and even connected with Davante Adams on a 33-yard deep ball to set up a 1st and goal. Hundley under threw Adams, but it was nice to see him taking an early shot downfield after working through a conservative approach in weeks prior.
Three plays later the Packers ran a pick play to try and get Randall Cobb open toward the back corner of the end zone. Judging by the throw it appeared Hundley had made up his mind of where he was going with the ball before it was even snapped. The arid pass floated right into the hands of Ravens corner Jimmy Smith who had been reading Hundley’s eyes ever since he broke the huddle.
This would be the first of three interceptions that Hundley would throw in the game.
McCarthy commented after the dismal game, “We definitely can’t win with 5 turnovers.”
The defense played about as well as they could, holding Baltimore to 219 yards of total offense. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix grabbed his second interception of the year which prevented a sure scoring drive. Of course the offense did nothing with this momentum swing punting the ball after a 10-play 14-yard drive. Yes, 14 yards on 10 plays.
Following last week’s win in Chicago we all thought McCarthy had a nice blueprint for sustaining a formidable offense with Hundley. 1. Run the ball 2. Get the ball out of Hundley’s hands and 3. Do not get behind on the scoreboard. Coach failed the team in all three aspects.
On 25 rushes the Packers tallied 75 yards. 19 of which came from scrambles by Hundley who should have been looking for open field far more than he did. The Packers only had two running backs, both rookies, in Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays. Mays fumbled the first two times he touched the ball and McCarthy admitted he lost some confidence in his running back out of Utah State.
The scouting report note of Hundley holding onto the ball for far too long was proven again on Sunday. He took 6 sacks and was hurried 11 times. Pro Football Focus calculated that on average that he holds onto the ball for nearly a second longer than Aaron Rodgers does before throwing. No improvement has been made for Hundley properly going through his progressions.
Instead of delivering the ball on time to open receivers, Hundley is glaring beyond them at the coverage. By trying so hard to avoid interceptions he is actually more prone to them. The defense is getting a head start on nearly every throw he makes.
“We haven’t had a game like this in my time here as far as turnovers,” McCarthy said.
He may be right, but the last time the Packers were shut out at home it was McCarthy’s very first game coaching the Packers. Circa 2006, the Packers were shut out by Chicago 26-0 to start the season. The Packers finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
Thanksgiving is coming up so we should all be thankful the Packers do not have a home game this week. Embarrassing themselves in front of home fans is not something I think I can stomach again. The Steelers should make quick work of the Packers as they appear to be hitting full stride late in the season.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.