Could This Loss to the Colts be a Turning Point for the Packers?

Right Way Wrong Way sign

The Packers must find the quickest route to get back on their winning ways

In most any situation in life, be it a movie, fight, game, etc.,  there is a turning point.  At five games into this season and with two tough road games coming up, the Green Bay Packers face just that.  Some may say it’s too early to see it that way, but this sport is about momentum and the Pack need to shift it in the positive direction now.   If this isn’t THE turning point, it’s the beginning of it.

A 2-3 record is hardly a “game over” scenario.  Even if they aren’t able to overtake the Houston Texans  next week, there is still plenty of time for this team to make good on the 2012 season.

That said, it won’t come by continuing some of the things this team has done through five games.  It bears repeating that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  The Pack need to realistically consider some different options to help turn this thing in the right direction.

There were many takeaways from this game but a few that really stood out:

Pass Rush

Dom Capers likes to put the defense in the zone coverage when the Pack get a healthy lead and opponents start throwing a lot.  It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘bend but don’t break’ defense.  Well, it’s broken.   Even when the Packers blitzed in the 2nd half today, they couldn’t get there.  They had some success in the first half but seemingly ran out of gas and were sending only four rushers at the end of the game.

Colts QB Andrew Luck may be a rookie, but he’s already the type of QB who teams must pressure to stop the Colts offense.  On the last drive, everyone knew he was going to be throwing and likely looking for WR Reggie Wayne.  Still, the Packers were stonewalled and gave up completion after completion with Wayne scoring the go-ahead TD.  It was similar to the Giants playoff game.  Giving a good QB too much time and surprising to no one, he always found an open man.  Even the best DB’s will give up plays having to cover 4+ seconds.



Packers Collapse? Blame Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

McCarthy & Rodgers talk it over

I can’t really fault those who want to blame Dom Capers and the Packers defense for this loss. They did allow rookie QB Andrew Luck to repeatedly find veteran WR Reggie Wayne, for back-breaking receptions despite a secondary flooded with defensive backs.

But the real blame for the Packers’ loss to the Colts lies at the feet of Mike McCarthy and/or Aaron Rodgers. Our own Adam Czech specifically points the finger at the Packers last drive of the first half, but let me take it a little bit further.

After the Packers went up 21-3 in the second quarter, suddenly the offense changed. To see how, let’s look at their next three posessions:

2nd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 1:17
1-10-GB 43 (1:17) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to J.Kuhn pushed ob at GB 49 for 6 yards (J.Freeman).
2-4-GB 49 (1:12) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to J.Nelson.
3-4-GB 49 (1:07) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to J.Finley (S.Brown).
4-4-GB 49 (1:04) T.Masthay punts 36 yards to IND 15, Center-B.Goode, fair catch by T.Hilton.


3rd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 15:00
1-10-GB 20 (15:00) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left.
(PENALTY on GB-T.Crabtree, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at GB 20 – No Play.)
1-20-GB 10 (14:51) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles up the middle to GB 22 for 12 yards (T.Zbikowski).
2-8-GB 22 (14:11) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to J.Finley to GB 28 for 6 yards (J.Powers).
3-2-GB 28 (13:24) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right intended for Ja.Jones INTERCEPTED by J.Powers at GB 39.


3rd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 11:06
1-10-GB 20 (11:06) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left to Ja.Jones.
2-10-GB 20 (11:03) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers sacked at GB 15 for -5 yards (C.Redding).
3-15-GB 15 (10:28) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles left end to GB 17 for 2 yards. A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left to J.Finley.
(PENALTY on GB-A.Rodgers, Illegal Forward Pass, 5 yards, enforced at GB 17.)
4-18-GB 12 (10:16) T.Masthay punts 58 yards to IND 30, Center-B.Goode, fair catch by T.Hilton

Notice something missing from all three of these possessions? Yes, a running play.

Up until that point, (and not counting an Aaron Rodgers scramble), the Packers had run the ball 12 times in the first half and passed 14 times. For the Packers, that’s about as balanced as it gets. And guess what, it was working.  The Packers scored three touchdowns using this approach.