Sunday, October 7, 2012

Maybe We're Just Not That Good

This is what I remember thinking after the Packers lost to the Redskins on October 10, 2010 on a last-second field goal.  The Packers lost several of their players to injury that game, and it seemed like a downward turn in the season.  That feeling was amplified when the Packers lost again at home the following week to the Dolphins.  And that's how I felt today -- questioning whether the Packers are really as good as everyone thought.

This game was on ice.  A 21-3 lead at halftime against the worst team in the NFL last year with a rookie quarterback.  But two key injuries to Benson and Raji seemed to sway the game -- making the Packers one-dimensional (except for Green's long run in the fourth quarter) and resulting in 5 sacks in the second half, while the Colts were able to consistently rush the ball, setting up Reggie Wayne for big gains.

The Packers defense continues to be a work in progress.  They just don't seem to be able to get the stops when they need them.  Shields was inconsistent -- some nice plays, but victimized too much including a critical 25-yard pass interference penalty.  Nobody in the secondary seemed to be able to tuck away interceptions.  Although Casey Hayward got one, the usually sure-handed Tramon Williams dropped at least two, as did Woodson.  Luck is good, but no defense should be picked apart by a rookie.  He finished with 362 yards of passing.  Ugh.  Feels like this is going to be another long season on the defensive side.

The offense, which operated like a the well-oiled machine we've come to expect in the first half, completely stalled in the second half.  The inability to run the ball after halftime made the Packers look inept.  They just couldn't get anything going.  It was like a different team.  Were they over-confident?  Did they mail it in for the second half?  Were the injuries to Benson and Finley too much to overcome? I just don't have answers to these questions.  But if, as a team, they are so precarious, it does not bode well for the season.

Going to Houston to face the undefeated Texans next week is going to be a tough order.  We could be staring at 2-4.  And the NFC is going to be tough this year.  Just in our division, the Bears, Vikings and Lions all are looking good.  The Falcons and 49ers are rolling.  It's still early to hit the panic button -- after all, they managed to come back from a 3-3 start in 2010 to win the Super Bowl.  But they better get it going here soon, or it could be a challenge to even make the playoffs.

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