Monday, January 11, 2010

Packers - Cardinals post mortem: Part 1

The morning after doesn't feel any better than the night before, does it, Packer fans? Nope. Not at all. Overtime is called sudden death and that's what it felt like.

Lots of things to dissect. Which at this point serves nothing more than a therapeutic purpose, but at this point that's exactly what Packer fans need.

This will not be the loser's lament of bad officiating being responsible for the loss...although that can certainly be argued. To the Packers' credit, though, it's not the Packers arguing that point. It's other analysts.

Take, for example, Mike Florio of, discussing the non-call of the face mask penalty on the final play of the game in overtime. In an entry entitled, "After further review, Packers got screwed," Florio states, "As one league source said via e-mail, 'It should have been a personal foul grabbing the face mask and 15-yard penalty and a first down for Green Bay.'" He goes on to further state, "And we agree, completely." You can read all of Florio's comments here, including a link to the video clearly showing the play.

Even ESPN and the New York Times got into discussing the issue. The Times' article is entitled, "When Is Grabbing the Face Mask Not a Face-Mask Penalty?" You can read it here.

But it's the call that wasn't. Just like the non-call a play earlier where there was clear helmet-to-helmet spearing on Aaron Rodgers by the Cardinals' defender. Or the two times that Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald pushed off -- or to be more precise, ran over -- Charles Woodson to catch TD passes without being flagged for offensive pass interference.

Again, the Packers themselves are not blaming the officials. As Woodson and others said after the game, they all get away with things...that's the game. And as one radio sports talk host noted, it wasn't the officials that allowed the Cardinals to score 51 points.

In case there's any question about the latter, he was referring to the total absence of Packers defense throughout the game.

And that might be the hardest thing to explain. TV announcers were saying late in the game that Kurt Warner had said before the game that they thought they could exploit the Packers defense over the middle. And that's what he did all day long. He exposed the Packers secondary just as Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger had done weeks ago. The loss of personnel to injury in the defensive backfield -- first among them, Al Harris -- came back to roost in the worst way possible yesterday.

As defensive coordinator Dom Capers apparently said after the game, it's clear there is a long way to go in making this defense solid on all fronts. Close...but not quite there yet. Yesterday's game was not a good way to find that out.

Aaron Rodgers also made mention in his post-game news conference that next year's team will not be the same as this year's. He mentioned being unsure about what the status of Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher would be. While acknowledging that that's part of the business, you could also tell that Rodgers really felt the impact of those two veterans perhaps not being along for the ride next season. He noted it would be a long plane ride home. Yep. For a variety of reasons.

5 reasons for loss

In his blog on, sports reporter Jay Sorgi outlines five "same old reasons for Packers loss." In order, he lists: offensive line, secondary, penalties, drops and fumbles by receivers, kicker's lack of accuracy.

All this is fleshed in much more detail -- and very much worth the read -- here.

And so...the offseason discussions and speculations will begin. Just a lot sooner than we wanted.

More to come. Stay tuned...