The Green Bay Packers 31-26 loss -- at Lambeau Field -- to the Indianapolis Colts was unexpected; the Packers were 7-point favorites. And the way it happened was embarrassing despite just the final 5-point differential. It was so bad that, likely for fans in the stadium and watching on TV, the highlight of the game was the squirrel dashing around the field. Some might argue that the Pack should have signed him because at least he was able to get open and into the endzone.
on Sunday who sat through a lackluster performance by their home team.
Photo by Mike De Sisti/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis
The Packers have now dropped three of their last four games, including two losses on the home turf. The game essentially was over after the first 13 seconds, when the Colts took the opening kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown. Add in another blown coverage -- to the tune of 60-yards+ on the return -- which led to an Indy field goal, and throw in a missed field goal (second of the season by Mason Crosby), and the special teams' overall play, it can well be argued, cost the Packers 13 points...the difference in the game.
To be fair to the special teams players, the defense also failed to dominate a heretofore woeful Colts offensive line that had given up a league-high 31 sacks coming into yesterday's game. The Pack only sacked QB Andrew Luck twice; the Colts, on the other hand, got to Aaron Rodgers three times.
The Pack's offensive woes -- which we thought had been somewhat resolved in the 1-point loss to the Falcons last week -- continued. With no running game, no receivers getting separation on defenders, questionable play-calling especially on third downs (e.g., 3rd and 6 late in the second half and you go deep???), and a generally flat performance overall this offense at the halfway mark of the 2016 season is a major disappointment.
What is ailing the Packers?
That's the question on everyone's mind today. Yes, there are injuries to key players on both sides of the ball. But every team could say much the same. Something else is going on here and it goes back to last season, as we have alluded to in earlier posts. Whether head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff are failing to put their players in position to succeed, whether the players aren't performing at their best for 60 minutes every game, whether general manager Ted Thompson is failing to find players who are difference makers...we don't know. It's probably all of those things. Even Rodgers called out his team after the loss yesterday for the overall lack of "juice" during the game.
At 4-4, the Packers are sitting in third place in the NFC North, just ahead of Da Bearz and behind the ViQueens and Detroit, the latter pulling off an overtime win against said ViQueens to move into second place. The Packers are also sitting in the 8th position in the conference, tied with Philadelphia and New Orleans. The odds of a 4-4 team making the playoffs is possible, but going deep? Not so much. Only one team has made the Super Bowl, if memory serves (which it may or may not), after a 4-4 start.
As the Packers now set off for three straight road games, the loss yesterday was a heartbreaker. Let's just hope it doesn't become a season-breaker, as well.