Okay, so I haven’t written in over a year. And, honestly, I have no idea if this is going to lead to me doing this more. But, for one night at least, I am back.
(Plus, we pay for this damn site, we might as well USE it, you know?)
Unfortunately, it comes under these circumstances – the Green Bay Packers suffering a 38-10 road annihilation at the hands of the defending world champion New York Giants on Sunday night. Now, I apologize if this comes off rusty as hell, but here are my takeaways from this sad, pathetic showing:
- Let’s be honest, gang – a result like this was coming at some point. We may not have expected it, but we probably should have. The Packers have been a beaten, bloodied bunch for quite some time now, mostly scraping by against the Jacksonvilles and Detroits of the league. The Giants are a different animal altogether and, boy, did they show it throughout.
- Big Blue, much like in last year’s playoff game, simply overwhelmed the Packers up front on both lines.
- Aaron Rodgers had little-to-no-time to make anything happen, the main factor in the offense sputtering and stumbling all evening. That’s been an issue for a lot of the season, but in particular these past two weeks. Somehow, someway Mike McCarthy needs to fix it.
- But how? Injuries and a sickening lack of depth have left the Packers with the group they have. As they say, the group is what it is. Yes, Greg Jennings will be back. And maybe Cedric Benson. But how much does that really mean if the five up front can’t protect? Not a whole lot, really. This offense, as of now, resembles a new Jaguar with an engine of a car from 1976.
- On the flip side, Eli Manning literally could’ve written “how are you doing?” letters to every member of his family on every single dropback. The Packers generated zero pressure. Now, you could chalk that up to refs missing numerous holding calls and the absence of one Clay Matthews and, of course, you’d have a good case. But it’s still on the guys playing to make things happen. They fell flat on their collective face. Or rear. Or both.
- Still, give the man his due: He’s a great quarterback and just seems to know where every little hole is in Green Bay’s defense. He certainly gave the youngsters in the Packers’ secondary a lesson or 14.
- Losing C.J. Wilson early didn’t help one bit, but man, who expected to see New York rip Green Bay’s run defense apart like that? Consistently allowing five-to-nine yard gains, the Packers haven’t been this gashed since Seattle. Not getting any easier next week, we all know that.
- McCarthy’s decision to allow Mason Crosby to attempt a 55-yard field goal early on was completely indefensible. Punter Tim Masthay has been a weapon all season – that’s where you use him. Or, hey, let the reigning MVP try to make a play. But don’t send your flailing kicker out in that spot. Having confidence in a guy in the hopes it’ll boost him to turn it around is one thing - but McCarthy’s decision bordered on arrogance. A major turning point in the game. That got the Giants fully rolling and, well…have they stopped rolling?
- For those saying the Packers have always had games like this under McCarthy – Tampa Bay in 2009, Detroit in 2010 and Kansas City last year, for examples - well, you’re right. But what’s troubling is that they almost never have games like this against upper-level teams under McCarthy. That’s worrisome.
- Getting players like Matthews, Sam Shields and Charles Woodson back will boost the defense, no doubt. But this team will, almost assuredly, live and die with how well Rodgers performs. And, again, with that offensive line, it just doesn’t seem like Rodgers is going to get the time he’ll need in big games to play to his ability. Remember, there are no reinforcements on the way there, folks.
- That’s especially true if the Packers draw San Francisco or these Giants again come January. In games against those teams this year, Green Bay’s offense was punched in the mouth repeatedly and showed it was flat-out unable to respond. If they are to get to New Orleans in February, you have to think Green Bay will have to go through at least one of those two teams. As of now, it sure doesn’t seem like the Packers are up to it.
- It’s not time to give up. Or to say the sky is falling. Not saying that. But after tonight, it is time to re-assess what kind of team this is. In short, it seems like a team that’s still a tick away from being amongst the league’s elite. The Packers could get there, but they’re running out of time.