The Packers???? Playoff Picture all but Shattered:
After fighting to salvage their season during the time while Aaron Rodgers was on injured reserve, The Packers bid for a ninth consecutive playoff berth was all but extinguished yesterday afternoon against the Carolina Panthers in a 31-24 defeat. In Thursday’s article, I forewarned of a Packers loss in Aaron Rodgers triumphant return to the field. What I did not warn you all about was the less than stellar performance that Rodgers would display.
Rodgers clearly was rusty from a two-month absence from game action and did not look to have his arm strength at one hundred percent. He made some poor throws and bad decisions throughout the game which lead to a season-high three-interception performance. Over the past seven seasons, Packer fans have become accustomed to seeing many heroic performances from Aaron Rodgers. In fact, the last time Aaron returned to the field after missing time due to a broken collarbone, he threw the NFC North division winning touchdown pass to Randall Cobb on a cold winter day in Chicago.
Sunday Afternoon’s contest was the first time since 2009 that Aaron Rodgers threw three interceptions in a game. Although he picked the worst time to have one of the worst performances of his career, this stat speaks to the consistency and hard work that Aaron puts into his craft on a daily basis. Simply put a game like yesterday’s contest is an anomaly and we will probably have to wait another seven years before witnessing a performance like that again.
Despite throwing three interceptions, Aaron Rodgers kept his composure and gave his team a chance to tie the game in the final minute. After Aaron Rodgers threw a touchdown to Richard Rodgers, Mason Crosby attempted an onside kick which Green Bay recovered and began driving down the field to tie the game. Unfortunately for the Packers, the quest of running the table again ended on a 1st and ten completed pass to Geronimo Allison, which he fumbled at the Panthers 28 yard line and was recovered by James Bradberry.
The Packers Achilles Heel Exposed Yet Again:
Although Aaron Rodgers’s poor performance cost the Packers opportunities to score, as well as seven points off of his three interceptions, the Packers loss was a microcosm of their inability to win at the point of attack on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football.
In Thursday’s pre-game primer, I predicted that the Packers would lose to the Panthers because the Panthers are a stronger team at the point of attack on both sides of the football. As expected, the Panthers were able to push around the Packers offensive line and apply pressure to Aaron Rodgers, collapse his pocket, and hurry the timing on some of his throws. As a result of this consistent ability to apply pressure to Rodgers, the Panthers were able to create turnovers and eliminate the running game, which made the Packers offensive attack completely one dimensional.
On defense, the Packers deficiencies were more of the usual problems, highlighted by the inability to consistently rush the passer, the inability to contain the middle of the field, and the inability to get key stops on third down.
The Same Old Saga of Dom Capers:
Time and time again we have seen that Dom Capers defensive scheme simply does not work. Year after year the Packers defense lets up big plays at the most inopportune times, Year after year we continue to trust in the Dom Capers system, and year after year we are disappointed when the Packers suffer a soul-crushing defeat in the playoffs and waste another year with the greatest quarterback in NFL history at the helm. The Packers preach consistency year after year and the only thing that they do consistently year after year is find ways to lose games when the season is on the line and continually fail to provide Aaron Rodgers with a well-balanced team. I am aware that Aaron Rodgers salary does attribute to the team being hamstrung at times, but there are ways to provide more flexibility in spite of his contract. (which he has earned every cent of)
Final Take: ????
At the end of the day, the Packers organization has failed in its mission to bring another title back to title town USA and changes must be made to improve the Packers Super Bowl chances for the 2018-2019 season.
Be sure to catch my complete Thursday postmortem of the 2017-2018 Green Bay Packers season.
Everyone needs to hope that Tampa Bay wins tonight, because an Atlanta win eliminates the Packers from playoff contention.——————
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