The Green Bay Packers (5-4) are facing something that not many teams have faced. The injury bug is crushing this team’s chance of any type of playoff run. When healthy they are a top six team in the NFL, but when you lose two QBs, two starting lineman, 3 linebackers, a defensive back and two top receivers they become a mediocre team at best. With that being said the game against the Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) was depressing to watch. The mental mistakes that happened on the field were truly terrible. From Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett knocking into each other and popping the ball up to DeSean Jackson for the first garbage touchdown to a 10 yard under thrown ball that Riley Cooper came back, caught the ball and rolled into the end zone for the second garbage touchdown. Two missed field goals by Mason Crosby puts worries back in to Mike McCarthy and all Packer fans that he is going to go back to his ways of last year. I watched Clay Matthews go after the inside fake rather than keep outside contain and get beat by a slow Nick Foles, if he stays home and makes a legit hit those could be fumbles. Scott Tolzien looked much better than expected and I think that he won the back-up job with that performance. Mike McCarthy already named Tolzien the starter against the New York Giants next week. Let’s get him some reps in practice and we’ll see what happens. On to the grades.
Keys to the Game
1. Honestly I think the defense did an okay job, but for the second week in a row could not get the offense back on the field with 8 minutes left in the game. The Packers defense held the Eagles to a four play drive drive after Tolzien’s end zone interception and the Eagles missed a field goal. There were some bright spots on defense where the Packers could not make a play, Jackson’s touchdown, Cooper’s touchdown and Williams just missed an interception on a completion to Jeremy Avant. The bad wholly outweighed the good. Tackling was awful, no pass rush what so ever, containment was bad and receivers were left open. Grade D+
2. “The Packers need to dominate time of possession. This Eagles team is fast paced and can score quickly, if the Packers can keep the Eagles defense on the field they will get tired and the Packers can run the ball all over them in the fourth quarter.” Those were my exact words in my week 10 preview and boy did I get it right. The Packers drove down the field in the 4th quarter and Tolzien looked to complete a pass to Jordy Nelson for a touchdown on 4th and goal to pull within seven of the Eagles. The problem is the head ref did not see it that way through replay and no touchdown was rewarded. The Eagles got the ball back on downs with 9:32 left on the clock and the Packers never saw the ball again. Grade B
3. The Eagles did it again and finessed there way to a win. The Packers couldn’t smash them in the mouth and the Eagles just took it to them. In the first quarter it looked like the offense was going to run all day, but losing Evan Dietrich-Smith and Don Barclay really hurt this line. Grade F
4. The crowd was immediately deflated once Seneca Wallace went down and Scott Tolzien came in. I was only watching it on TV, but the crowd never truly got going and the home field advantage that is Lambeau Field was not there. Grade D-
Player of the Game
Eddie Lacy came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, but once Tolzien came in the Eagles put eight in the box and dared the Packers to beat them with the pass. There was a time when teams could stop the running game with six in the box, telling what happens when your have the 3rd best running attack and no Aaron Rodgers to go with it will do. Lacy still ran for over 70 yards, but that was mostly in the first half. Player of the game for the Packers is Jarrett Boykin who had 8 catches for 112 yards, but the overall player of the game has to go to Foles. Yes, his receivers went and made plays and he got a break on the Jackson touchdown, but that’s is how it goes when you are playing good football.
1. Scott Tolzien looked competent, made a some bad throws, but he was not on the team on Wednesday and had very limited practice time because the Packers we’re trying to get Wallace ready. To be honest with a week of prep this kid might be able to do some work, his arm is very strong.
2. Brandon Bostick got his first 3 receptions of his career and his first ever Lambeau Leap. It hurts that it was in a loss, but Bostick will remember this one forever.
1. I have to say it, the coaching has been terrible. Dom Capers needs to get this defense together and figure it out. I understand injuries, but that cannot be an excuse. The Packers needed to rely on the defense to win this game, but it didn’t happen. The offense kept the defense off the field by dominating the time of possession. As mentioned above the Packers have let up an 8:00 minute drive in the 4th quarter of back to back games. That can’t happen. M.D. Jennings can’t cover anybody and doesn’t understand the concept of under thrown balls. Absolute failure.
2. Crosby is back to his old tricks. Those two missed field goals played an enormous part in this loss. Instead of going in to half with score being 10-9 the score was 10-3. Crosby can’t get into his slump of last year otherwise he will be out of a job. Pretty good chance the Packers bring a kicker this week to compete with Crosby.
Injuries, Injuries and more Injuries…
Aaron Rodgers, Seneca Wallace, Jermichael Finley, Randall Cobb, James Jones, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Don Barclay, Brad Jones, Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, Casey Heyward, Johnny Jolly, Bryan Bulaga should I keep going? This is nothing new in the NFL, but to be honest this isn’t the first season in which the Packers have been destroyed by injuries! The last four or five seasons have been like this one. As a Packers fan I have to keep the faith, but as someone who is watching the games it is truly hard to envision the Packers making a playoff run.
The Packers head to New York to square off against the Giants, who after a 0-6 start are back in the race for the NFC East title. Can the Packers keep from losing three straight games?