Football Night in America: 🏈
The outcome of a close game often hinges on only a few plays. Sunday Night’s game in Pittsburgh certainly gave credence to this old adage as the Packers bid for an upset win was thrown by the wayside because of four crucial plays.
The Packers had the perfect formula for success against the Steelers. They displayed a balanced offensive attack, (26 passing attempts, 24 rushing attempts), turned the Steelers offense over three times, and they provided safe play calls for Brett Hundley that had tremendous results, allowing the Packers offense to consistently move the ball down the field. Brett Hundley even lead the Packers down the field late in the fourth quarter to tie the game on a 6:40-second drive that was capped off by a Jamaal Williams touchdown. Hundley’s game-tying drive saw him make big plays to his receivers, tight end, and running back which allowed the Packers to methodically march down the field and even the score at 28.
The Packers gave the Steelers the ball back before the two-minute warning and forced the Steelers to punt the ball after having it for just 42 seconds. However, the Packers were not able to capitalize and put together a game-winning drive. Instead, they went three and out in one minute and three seconds, forcing them to give the ball back to Pittsburgh.
In typical fashion, the Packers defense gave up just enough big plays on the games final drive to put the Steelers in field goal range. Antonio Brown made a Jared Cook like sideline catch dragging his right toe inbounds, followed by another sideline catch to set the Steelers up for a 53-yard game winning kick by Chris Boswell.
Four plays that spelled Doom for the Packers:
1. Mike McCarthy going for a 57-yard field goal:
In Heinz Field’s seventeen-year history, no one has made a field goal past 53 yards. I have seen times where Mike McCarthy has passed on 57-yard field goal attempts at Lambeau Field. McCarthy simply just made a game-changing momentum shifting blunder at a crucial time in a game. (why am I not surprised) This almost assured failed field goal attempt gave the Steelers momentum and a shortened field which is a perfect recipe for a touchdown against the Packers ever porous and deteriorating secondary.
2. The missed helmet to helmet hit call on TJ Watt:
Ed Hochuli and his crew had another big game blunder in an important moment of the game when they missed a clear helmet to helmet shot on Brett Hundley which would have given the Packers a first and ten at their own 33 yard line instead of second and sixteen at their own 12 yard line. At best the Packers could have gotten off a potential game-winning field goal attempt, and at worst they could have run the clock out and went to overtime. The officiating in the NFL has been horrendous this year and must get better!
3. Antonio Brown Sideline Catch:
As Packer fans who are used to seeing how our team can invent ways to lose games, I think we can appreciate the skill required to make an outstanding catch and find a way to drag that right foot in bounds while simultaneously possessing the football while being pushed out of bounds. The only solace that we can take in Antonio Brown’s catch is the fact Jared Cook made that same catch against the Cowboys in the divisional round in last years playoff game.
4. Chris Boswell’s 53 Yard Field Goal:
Why not lose a game by having a kicker who rarely hits 50-yard field goals, nail a 53 yard, stadium record-tying, game-winning field goal to win the contest.
Packers 🧀 Pet Peeves:
1. Defense being dominated at the point of attack yet again.
2. Antonio Brown and LaVeon Bell combining for 22 catches, 352 yards of total offense and 2 touchdowns. You simply need to make adjustments, which our defensive coordinator can never seem to figure out how to do.
3. The Steelers were 8 for 13 on third down. The Achilles heel of this defense is the lack of ability to get off of the field on third down plays. Again the Packers could not get off of the field on third down which caused the defense to become fatigued by the end of the game. (Time of Possession: Green Bay 26:24- Pittsburgh 33:36)
As Packers fans, we all know that it is these four “avalanche plays” that will stick with us instead of the near-perfect game that the Packers played and almost came away with a season-altering upset. Now the Packers must defeat the Buccaneers and Browns in consecutive weeks in order to keep their season alive and give Aaron Rodgers a chance to “run the table” all over again.
Three Stars: ⭐️
1. Antonio Brown
2. Chris Boswell (even though he missed an extra point)
3. LaVeon Bell
Honorable Mention: DeVante Adams and Brett Hundley
Final Thought: Ted Thompson needs to pay DeVante Adams——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave