And Then There Was One . . . Loss

Posted: December 20, 2011 by Kodi in NFL, Pack It Up

The Packers perfect season was snatched away from them by the Kansas City Chiefs

The 1972 Miami Dolphins are now able to pop their Champagne and light their stoagies

The Packers Defense finally broke and Rodgers and the offense were unable to bail them out

The Green Bay Packers had not lost a game in 364 days entering Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday but as I’m sure all of you have heard the Packers lost the game 19-14. It ended the Packers longest winning streak in franchise history, 19 games going back to week 16 of last season, which was the 2nd longest in NFL history. All season long the media coverage increased at the Packers kept winning but the Green Bay players consistently talked about the importance of heading into the future one game at a time. The Packers and their fans however may have looked pass the 5-8 Chiefs and didn’t expect Kansas City to snap Green Bays perfect season away from them.

Green Bay started the game off incredibly slow and it didn’t help that the Chiefs were holding onto the ball for long periods of time. The Chiefs had the ball for 20:33 of the first half and scored field goals on their first two possesions. They also had a drive early in the 2nd quarter that Kansas City had traveled 82 yards on 15 plays that took up 9:20 but eventually ended in the Chiefs turning the ball over on downs. Green Bay on the other hand had their longest possession in the opening drive be a 10 play 4:47 drive that ended up with K Mason Crosby missing a field goal. The Packers went 38 yards in that drive which was their 3rd longest drive of the day but they did go 54 and 80 yards in their 2 touchdown drives but their time of possession for those two drives only totaled 5:10.

The game against the Chiefs was easily the worst of QB Aaron Rodgers season and it was the first time all year that he did not throw at least 2 passing touchdowns. Rodgers did however run for a TD late in the 4th quarter but wasn’t given the opportunity to make a game-winning drive. Rodgers completed a season low 17 passes and had 35 attempts, meaning he completed just 48.6% of his passes the first time he was below 50 and just the 2nd time this season completing less than 60% of his passes. Rodgers threw for just 235 yards, his lowest total this year and averaged just 6.71 yards nearly 3 yards worse than his season average.

Aaron has had two bad games back-to-back combining to complete just 34 of 65 passes for 516 yard 3 touchdowns and 1 interception however one was a 46-16 blowout victory and the other was a deflating 14-19 loss. “They had a good plan today” Rodgers said “We didn’t execute very well. Didn’t throw very well, didn’t catch well, and didn’t get open enough.” “Yes we missed Greg [Jennings], it’s tough to replace a guy like that” Rodgers explained, “we need to do a better job of getting down the middle and making some plays when they are going to be so wide with their safeties.” It was the first time that the Packers and Rodgers had been shut out in the first half since the Packers week 17 finale against the Bears in the 2010 regular season.

It wasn’t all Rodgers fault as TE Jermichael Finley had multiple dropped passes and was targeted 10 times, twice as much as any other Packer player. Rodgers however explained that the drops were “just physical mistakes” that the drops “are going to happen. The mental ones are the frustrating ones; the physical ones are going to happen.” As frustrated as I have been with Finley’s play all season long there is no need to put all the pressure on him.

WR Jordy Nelson had just 2 catches for 29 yards with 4 targets but he was the early recipient of two questionable offensive pass interference calls. This game showed us that Nelson clearly benefits from Jennings being on the field and that even DB’s like Brandon Carr and Brandon Flowers are able to blanket him if he is the Packers #1 WR. “It’s going to affect you” Nelson told reporters “we expected ourselves to step up and make plays. We have a belief in our talents that we an make plays as well.” Sunday’s game has left many worrying but I don’t think that it was Nelson or any of the receiving corps fault.

The Packers were decimated by injuries all season last year but were still able to fight their way to a Super Bowl Championship. Green Bay battled injuries on the offensive line but nothing like what they have been dealing with this season. The Packers have started a different rotation on the o-line multiple times and with injuries to RT Bryam Bulaga and rookie T Derek Sherrod means that HC Mike McCarthy may have to live with the unit that finished the game in KC. Green Bay just got LG T.J. Lang after missing three games due to injury and when Sherrod got his leg broken the Packers were forced to shift up the line.

Lang moved from LG to RT a position he played in college and Evan Dietrich-Smith who had been playing for Lang during his injury was place back at LG. Marshall Newhouse is already forced to play LT due to the injury of Chad Clifton and nobody seems to know the timetable for the grizzled veterans return. Meaning that McCarthy may have to welcome the Bears aggressive defense into the trenches with what would be his 5 different starting offensive line. This is the same offensive line that allowed 3 sacks in the 4th quarter of the Chiefs game, 4 total, in a game which seemed like Rodgers was constantly being pressured.

I will say that Rodgers did show us some of his old tendencies, holding onto the ball too long and sitting in a pocket that’s collapsing, we all know how his athleticism was questioned but know what he is capable of. With this shaky offensive line situation, as Bulaga is unlikely to suit up, Rodgers may be expected to scamper for a few first downs, that is if he is in the game. I know it’s ridiculous to immediately question the play of a QB who just broke the Packers franchise record when he hit WR Donald Driver for his 40th passing touchdown of the year beating Favre’s previous mark of 39.

At the end of the year we will undoubtedly look back to this game because there is two ways we can take this defeat. Either we look at it as a blessing in disguise allowing the Packers to rest some players and still wrapping up home-field advantage. The level of media scrutiny will dissipate and the Packers can go back to focusing on their main goal, repeating as Super Bowl Champions. If they want that dream to come to fruition they need to rest some players and ensure that everyone is in tip-top shape but I’m not promoting sitting everyone. Certain veterans who are banged up should get some time to rest and Rodgers should still see some snaps no matter what the situation.

I do not know how many defensive players I would allow to rest because the Packers bend but don’t break mentality finally broke and the offense wasn’t there to save them this time. Green Bay’s defense let the QB Kyle Orton and the Chiefs embarrass them in his first career start and just 6 days from firing their Head Coach. The Packers didn’t record a single sack or turnover for the first time in the season but they did allow Orton to throw for 299 yards while throwing just 8 incomplete passes in 31 attempts. “Orton did a good job of getting rid of the ball. We depend a lot on taking the ball away and disrupting the quarterback” Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers explained after the loss.

The most difficult thing to comprehend is that for how good Rodgers and the Packers offense has been this year the Packers D has been equally bad, other than those turnovers. The Packers offense has racked up 5569 yards while scoring 480 points but the Packers D has allowed 5569 yards and 297 points. They have the exact same total through 14 games!!! The biggest issue is that the defensive unit had the opportunity to stop the Chiefs late in the 4th quarter and give their QB one last chance if they could just stop Kansas City. Green Bay was unable to stop the rushing attack and the Chiefs were eventually able to run the clock out and secure their victory. “I don’t like the way we finished the game. You have to get them stopped and we didn’t get that done. We didn’t attack. You want to get off the ball and get on their side of the line of scrimmage” Capers said.

And this type of quote is exactly why this loss may be a blessing in disguise. The Packers and their fans have felt untouchable during this incredible run but this loss is going to serve as a wake-up call. It will not only let our players rest without being scrutinized for not chasing perfection, this Packers team once again proved nobodies perfect (except the ’72 Dolphins) and there is room for improvement. Our QB is great but there are some things he can do better and if your best player is open for scrutiny you better believe the entire team is. I look forward to seeing how Green Bay answers to this adversity and am expecting a big statement from them at home.

  1. Annie says:

    Strange week, indeed! Colts win their first ( and probably only), while the Pack loses their first( and probably their only) !! Meanwhile, my cute boy, Tom Brady showed Tim Tebow what real talent can do! What will this week bring?! Stay tuned . . .
    Good analysis of your home team, by the way K.

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