Monday, October 1, 2012


That was close.  A 1-3 start would have been a problem.  And we were, once again, only one or two calls from it going the other way.  McCarthy's relief was palpable.  Although it was impressive that the Packers were able to put the Seattle debacle behind them (at least in their offensive performance), hopefully the Saints game served as a "teaching moment" for the team.  Key take-aways:

  1. Replacement refs can still screw you over -- three really big mistakes by the "real" officials: the push-off against Morgan Burnett on the Saints' opening touchdown, the un-willingness to over-turn Jimmy Graham's catch that was clearly pinned between his ass and the ground, and the failure to call Sproles's fumble on the kick-off return.  All atrocious.  The crowd at Lambeau was seething.  God help them if those calls had been made by replacement officials.
  2. Be more prudent with your challenges -- I find McCarthy can be a little aggressive with the challenges at times.  His first challenge seemed to be more of a time-out than a challenge.  That seemed unlikely to be over-turned.  His second challenge was more sound and he had to throw the flag, but when it didn't get over-ruled he was done.  And, of course, that decision almost cost the Packers the game when they were out of challenges and could not get another look at what even the most brain-dead replay official could see was a Sproles fumble that would have sealed the game.  I, by the way, think it's time to update the challenge rule, but will save that for another rant.
  3. Zone defense sucks -- last week in Seattle it was the offense that was stubborn to adjust their game plan as Seattle mauled Rodgers in the first half, but they eventually did in the second half.  About 3 long Colston receptions into this game, it was obvious that the zone coverage the Packers were employing on defense was not going to work.  Yet they stuck with it all day, giving up multiple 3rd-and-long conversions and 429 yards through the air in the process.  The Packers' defensive secondary continues to look confused.  Sam Shields' blown coverage on the 80-yard touchdown was inexcusable -- just a pure, obvious mental lapse thinking he had safety help.
  4. Gotta get big plays -- the Packers thrived on big plays last year.  Long passes on offense.  Take-aways on defense.  They aren't getting or creating those plays as much this year.   The turn of events where Harrell fumbled on the goal line ("Just, whatever you do, don't turn the ball over!!!" were without doubt the last words he heard from McCarthy before taking the field for his first regular season NFL snap) to be shortly followed up by a Drew Brees bomb for a touchdown was a 14-point swing that the Packers were truly lucky to overcome.
So the win is a relief, but the team still feels like it needs to get their heads on right.  Indianapolis will be playing with emotion after their head coach was diagnosed with leukemia, and the Colts have put up a pretty good fight.  Losing to an inferior team to start a 3-game road stretch would not be a good next chapter to this season.

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