The Packers Special Teams makes me cry–joyful tears. For the longest time, the Green Bay Packers have not placed much stock into their Special Teams Unit over the years and it has shown. Throughout much of Aaron Rodgers’ tenure as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, he has not received much support from this oft-overlooked portion of the game. Many times he has had to drive down a long field to earn points. In other cases, Rodgers’ offense had to be able to overcome disasters that took place due to Special Teams. As a Packers fan, I have been trained to expect a negative play every time the Special Teams goes out to perform.
And who could blame me? Let’s look at two different games with Special Teams blunders that helped end two different Green Bay Packers teams’ hopes to hoist the Lombardi:
In the 2014-2015 NFC Championship game, the Packers were playing against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. The Packers were in control of the game at half time. The defense was playing well. The Packers Offense was doing the best it could against the LOB (Legion of Boom) defense of the Seahawks. At halftime, the Packers were leading 16-0. Things were looking up for the Packers but in the third quarter, momentum was stolen by the Seahawks Special Teams. The Packers came out expecting a field goal and instead the Seahawks ran a fake and scored a touchdown. The Special Teams was not prepared.
The Packers Defense did enough to hold the Seahawks until 2:09 left in the game but it didn’t matter. All the Packers had to do was recover the onside kick and they would be going to the Super Bowl…then the Special Teams did the improbable. They did not recover the onside kick. Momentum shifted completely. The Seahawks scored another touchdown and the two point conversion. Rodgers led a game tying drive. Overtime: the Packers never saw the ball again. Special Teams affects momentum.
In the 2021-22 divisional round game, the Packers were in control of that game too. Playing against the 49ers at home, the offense was not doing well. However, the Defense was holding the 49ers offense down. So how did the 49ers outscore the Packers? A Special Teams whoopsie, of course. Blocked punt, endzone, touchdown. The Packers went on to lose that game too. Special Teams matters.
The Packers, after having several bad years of Special Teams, seem to finally agree. With the hiring of Coach Rich Bisaccia, the “We-fense” (the self imposed name by the Packers for their Special Teams) seems to be working and it is amazing to see. I still cringe every time I see a punt or a field goal attempt but I think it is getting better. Maybe, and just maybe, instead of the Packers Special Teams costing the Green Bay Packers a win, it will earn the Packers a win for once. Only time will tell and all we can do as fans is watch, probably with our hands still covering our eyes because of our past experiences.
My expectations are starting to change from “utter failure” to “this can be a weapon.” It will take some time but I am extremely happy to report that, other than one muffed punt by Amari Rodgers that was recovered by Amari Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers “We-fense” may not be a liability but an asset. The Packers will need them to be this Sunday against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team. Cross your fingers and knock on wood. Let’s hope I continue to cry joyful tears and not sad tears because of the Packers Special Teams.——————
Damon is a diehard, fully-immersed cheesehead who currently lives in southern Missouri. He teaches at a local high school and has a family YouTube channel about all things Packers. You can follow him on twitter at @packersfamily and on YouTube at The Packers Family.
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