How did it come to this for the Packers? Of course we all know about the injuries, but that’s not an excuse. Plenty of playoff-bound teams, like the Patriots for example, have their share of players on IR.
When you lose close games, you can often target a few key plays or decisions throughout the season that highlight why you are in the position you are in.
1. James Jones’ fumble against the Bears
Even though the Packers were racking up a record number of penalty yards and finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot, Aaron Rodgers appeared poised to lead a fourth-quarter comeback victory against a hated division rival.
You can’t fault Jones for trying to make a play, but where would this season be if he just went out of bounds?
2. Rodgers chooses not to slide and gets a concussion
Some people pin last week’s loss to the Lions on Aaron Rodgers. They say his decision to not slide was selfish and he is now a “concussion prone player.”
Rodgers should have slid, no doubt. But his ill-advised decision does not mean he’s selfish and does not make him more concussion prone than any other player.
Rodgers is playing without arguably his top receiving target, his 1,200-yard rusher and his veteran right tackle. He also lost his starting guard early against the Lions. In order for the Packers to score points, Rodgers has to make plays.
Rodgers chose not to slide because he was trying to make a play. It was not a good decision, but it had nothing to do with acting like a tough guy, proving a point or being selfish.
3. Going for it on 4th and goal against the Redskins
If I was an NFL coach, I would probably be much more conservative than most fans could handle. However, if I coached the Packers, my conservatism would have resulted in an extra win this season.
Thanks to the benefit of hindsight, we realize that Mike McCarthy should have kicked the field goal when faced with a 4th and goal from the Redskins 1-yard line early in the second quarter. Those extra three points likely would have changed the game’s outcome and given the Packers another conference win over an opponent that ended up beating the Bears a few weeks later.
Honorable mention for the No. 3 slot goes to Donald Lee’s fumble on the opening drive. Jermichael Finley was lost for the season on the ensuing return.
4. Greg Jennings drops a 73-yard TD pass against the Lions
We probably could populate this entire list with plays from the Lions game, but this specific play forced me to unleash a string of profanities and expletives that caused my dog to hide under the couch the rest of the game.
Doesn’t this play highlight the Mike McCarthy era in a nutshell? You’ve got a talented player with a history of making big plays royally screwing up and altering the course of the entire season.
If Jennings catches this pass, the Packers probably beat the Lions and maybe Rodgers doesn’t even have to try and scramble on the play where he gets concussed.
5. Failing to challenge Gonzalez’s 4th-down catch against the Falcons
The issue with this decision wasn’t the apparent lack of clarity on replays, it was Mike McCarthy’s refusal to challenge despite having all of his timeouts left.
It’s late in the half and it’s a turning point in the game. Throw the red flag! You can’t carry those timeouts over into the second half, anyway.
Packers fans have had plenty to cheer about this season. Unfortunately, they have also had to suffer through too many Homer Simpson moments — moments where they slap their foreheads and yell “Doh!” as their favorite football team bumbles away another winable game.
I listed the top five “Doh!” moments of 2010. What say you? What other blunders or screw-ups am I missing?——————