Patriots 31 – Packers 27 : Green Bay Didn’t Lose, They Just Ran Out of Time All Green Bay Packers All the Time

While the Green Bay Packers put forth a tremendous effort Sunday night against the New England Patriots, they remain a team that shoots itself in the foot.

An interception for a touchdown, a 70 yard kickoff return by an offensive lineman, throwing the ball deep late when extending a drive was needed and finally, not being ready with a play and wasting most of the last 20 seconds of the game.

Unfortunately the mistakes overshadowed a lot of very good things the Packers did:

They ran the ball with success.

They chewed up the clock, keeping the ball away from Tom Brady as much as possible.

They played the Patriots toe to toe, which many people (including myself) thought would not be possible without Aaron Rodgers.

Matt Flynn showed real grit. He doesn’t have the greatest arm, but with the right play calling, he can be and was effective.

They dominated the time of possession, 41 minutes to 19.

So while we can all be satisfied with the effort, handing the Patriots 14 points is a sure way to watch them walk off the field as winners.

The Packers know they outplayed the Patriots, but they have nothing to show for it other than the belief they can play with anyone. But are moral victories useful at this point in the season? Probably not.

Luckily, it doesn’t affect their playoff chances and we can all be proud of the Packers. Just a shame they couldn’t have a win to show for it. To borrow a quote from Vince Lombardi, “We didn’t lose the game, we just ran out of time.”

My game day impressions:


The Packers day couldn’t have started any better today.  Needing help from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Detroit Lions, both came through with come-from-behind wins. Down by 21 with less than seven minutes left in the game, the Eagles win could certainly be called a miraculous early Christmas present for the Packers.

Thanks to those  two wins, the Patriots game tonight really doesn’t matter as far as playoff implications go. The Packers once again control their own playoff destiny. Win out, and they’re in.

If third string QB Joe Webb and his Vikings were to somehow upset the Vikings on Monday Night, the Packers would still win the Division by winning out.

This all makes watching tonight’s game so much more relaxing.

MY KEY TO THE GAME: If I had to pick JUST ONE thing, it would be this: If ever the Packers could use some points from the defense or special teams, this would be the game. If the Packers can get some “bonus” points in this game, then there is hope for the Rodgers-less Packers.

My 1A key to the game: Control the clock and keep the ball out of Brady”s hands as much as possible. That doesn’t just mean run the ball.  A short possession passing game with some runs thrown in will do fine. Limit the Patriot’s offensive opportunities.

Inactive for Green Bay on Sunday: Aaron Rodgers, Pat Lee, Josh Gordy, James Starks, Frank Zombo, Nick McDonald, Marshall Newhouse, Cullen Jenkins.

God, it hurts to see that first name up there.

James Starks inactive is a mild surprise. My theory is you’ll see more of the Packers RBs catching passes tonight. Simplify passing game for Flynn. And Jackson and Nance are better at pass protection than Starks. Packers don’t want to go to QB #3

MM Comments on WTMJ Pregame show:

Eagles: Can’t worry about what’s going on around the league.

Aaron will be evaluated on Monday and we’ll have more information about him on Wednesday.

I don’t think it’s a big moment for Matt Flynn, it’s important for our entire team to come out and do their jobs.

We’re not going to reinvent the wheel. We’re going to beat this team with fundamentals.

Belichick: Distinctive way he approaches the game of football. Not afraid to change completely defenses from week to week.

Brady:  Great vision. Knows where everybody is at all times.

Detroit loss: We’re clearly past it. Important for us to come out of here tonight with a win.


Mike McCarthy, as much as I criticize you, the move to defer to the Pats and then onsides kick the opening kickoff was stunningly ballsy and the perfect moment. Bravo!

And Mike, does this mean you feel the need to go above and beyond to have a chance to win this game?

The Packers rarely fool anybody with their screens. Very much telegraph it and the timing is always off.

Packers offensive line are just not that swift when it comes to picking up blitzes. Without Rodgers back there to burn them, expect NE to blitz more than they usually do.

Not to sound ungrateful for the good start, but the Packers will need to score TDs tonight.

And this is why… The patriots march right down thye field for a quick 7.

AJ Hawk once again turns his back when blocked and completely loses sight of the ball carrier. So weak. Result: TD

They can throw at Shields all night, but they’re not going to out run him on deep routes…

SCORE: Packers 3 Patriots 7


Perfect throw by Flynn to Jones for the TD, but what does Jones seemingly  have against leaving his feet to go get the ball? Gives the DBs too much of a chance to get a hand in…

McCarthy shows confidence in the D. 3rd and seventeen and he just runs John Kuhn and punts the ball.

BJ Raji unusually active tonight. Covering a lot of ground.

So far, Packers D doing as well as we could possibly ask for…

Nice job by Flynn on a third down pass to Nelson, as the Packers again fail to pick up the blitz. Two guys on Clifton again. Um, Daryn, where are you?

A good running back immediately sees there is nothing there outside and quickly cuts it inside. Jackson waits, and waits and gets tackled for a loss.

Packers finally timed a screen right and the OL actually blocked! Amazing. Great hurdling effort by Kuhn, also…

After a great clock-eating drive Thank you Mike McCarthy for calling that play at the right time… Always my biggest criticism of your goalline playcalling.

And then the most embarrassing special teams play of the season – and that’s saying a lot. An offensive lineman with a 70 yard runback?

More poor clock management. If Packers call a timeout with New England on the 3 yard line on 3rd down, they get the ball back with 1:40 left in the half. Plenty of  time to attempt to gain some first downs instead of just conceding the half. I thought you wanted to win this game, Mike?

McCarthy came into the half roaring like a lion and left like a scared lamb. If you really want to win this game, the go for it! 1:40 would have been plenty of time to get into field goal position.

SCORE: Packers 17 Patriots 14


Jones being his passive self once again = INT.   Awful tackling = TD

When did Kuhn turn into an Olympic hurdler?

I just saw Scott Wells block on a screen. Really, that’s like seeing the rarest of birds…

John Kuhn can fly like superman…

LOL – Danny Woodhead trying to block BJ Raji. I don’t think Raji even felt him on the way to his second sack.

So, is Mike McCarthy a better play-caller with an average quarterback? YES!

SCORE: Packers 24  Patriots 21


Packers can’t run the ball in on the goal line: And that’s why passing on first down to jennings on the last goal line situation was such a great call. OL can’t get a push down there.

I don’t think they should have gone for the TD on 4th down, but I sure think they needed to try different plays on the goal line. The Kuhn dive is expected and not the best choice.

Desmond Bishop might be wearing down a bit. Has looked gassed on several plays. He’s never played this much in a season before, also.

Shields WAY too unsure of himself on kickoff returns. Just pick a lane and blast into it – whatever happens, happens.

Can the Packers please get that pick now? Should of had a few…

Well, New England takes the lead 31-27 and the Packers have seven minutes and sixty yards to the end zone.

3rd and eight, packers on the New England 40, need to sustain the drive and McCarthy has Flynn throw deep to a tight end. Yes, the old MM rears his ugly head again. He obviously doesn’t see the value in extending drives…

Packers defense holds and the Packers get the ball back again, this time with 4 minutes left and 57 yards to go. Let’s go!

McCarthy AGAIN tries to go deep with Flynn. His floater is intercepted, but the Packers luck out with a penalty against the Patriots. HEY MIKE, FLYNN IS NOT AARON RODGERS. HE CAN NOT MAKE THOSE PASSES. YOU WERE DOING WELL, CALLING GOOD PLAYS FOR FLYNN. WHAT HAPPENED?

Matt Flynn doesn’t have much of an arm, but he’s got grit.

What a disappointing way to end the game. Flynn looking to the sideline for help and apparently getting none…

Clock management… again…

Final Score: Packers 27 Patriots 31


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


  • Dave D

    The goods new is that Brady did not get the ball at the end of the game!

    Run out of time with 4:22 to go two timeouts and the two minute warning. Can you put a little more pressure on your back up QB? Are you kidding me?

    Just when I think MM can’t be any worse, he is?

    • Yeah, he just had to have Flynn throw the ball deep on third down instead of maintaining the drive. Give the ball back to NE.

      Overall, McCarthy called his best game in a while.
      But then reverted back to his tendencies that don’t work that often. Throwing deep when you just need a first down and the fullback dive on the goal line.

  • Ron LC

    “An interception for a touchdown, a 70 yard kickoff return by an offensive lineman, throwing the ball deep late when extending a drive was needed and finally, not being ready with a play and wasting most of the last 20 seconds of the game.”

    That pretty much sums it up. 6 losses, 4 by 3pts and 2 by 4pts. 0 and 6 in games that should have been won = BAD COACH. I don’t give a damn if they played well, they LOST AGAIN. Piss poor play calling by MM. 5-16 for MM in close games. If they ever have plans on the SB, it ain’t gonna happen with MM at the controls.

    A 313 lb lineman carrying a squib kick (the right choice) close to a TD. Will someone in the GB organization please fire that AZZ hat Slocum NOW?

    I’m really getting PO’d at this moral victory crap. They lost and that means NO Fng CIGAR!

    • While I agree Slocum needs to go, only the players can take the blame for that debacle of not being able to cover an offensive lineman running with a loaf of bread.

  • Dave D

    Do these three things EVER work?

    1. Squibb kick (yuk) (7 points)
    2. Three Man Rush (yuk yuk) (7 points)
    3. Hand off in short yardage to 1st back. (triple yuk) (-4 points)

    • 1) yes, sometimes. Problem is there’s no way to really control it so the results fluctuate wildly.

      2)Problem is Brady kills the blitz, if you don’t get to him. It’s a pick your poison situation.

      3) Not with the Packers offensive line.

  • Ruppert

    It’s just amazing what can happen in the run game when we actually put a commitment forth. I almost fee bad criticizing MM after such a good effort, but I’m going to. Is he the worst goal-line play caller in history? I almost woke up the whole house on the 2nd consecutive FB dive.

    I don’t really even mind Capers’ 3 man rushes. You have to rush 3 sometimes. You just have to. I think he did an excellent job of mixing in different rush looks. The blitzes that NE picked up in the 2nd half did more damage than the 3 man rushes as the game wore on, IMO.

    And Special Teams…we now have a “poster child” for our crappy STs, and it’s a big fat idiot taking a kick back. Aside from that, though, we had at least 2 more special teams penalties, and it was probably more. We had a huge number last year, and we’ll probably have more this year. Totally inexcusable.

    All in all, very proud of the effort. Last night was the first time all year I was really thinking “How good could we be if we’re totally healthy?”

    • Ruppert, the first down, goal line TD to Jennings was a brilliant call at the exact right time. In big spots, however, MM reverts back to his tendencies. Like watching John Kuhn get hit behind the line by a DL that has overpowered a GB Offensive lineman and broken up the play.

      As I said in a comment above, Brady kills the blitz if you don’t get to him. 3 man rush is a necessary evil, sometimes.

  • JimR_in_DC

    I’d say something about the loss, but I’m too busy drinking. 😉

  • FireMMNow

    1. If Rodgers plays we probably lose worse. MM would not have stuck with the run. Please learn something MM and run the ball 3-4 times in a row.

    2. DC gave up 10 points in my opinion. OG KR for 70 yards not his fault. Woodson dropped the easiest pick of his career on a terrible throw. Should have killed that drive. INT return. TOP helped, but DC again had a good game.

    3. Raji was a beast. Nice to see a breakout game rushing the passer.

    4. If we go shotgun on the 1 yard line again I am going to lose my mind. Especially when we ran the ball well all game.

    5. B-Jack looked decisive, but does anyone run the stretch worse than him? Putrid.

    6. Kuhn played his best game as a packer. Every catch or run seemed like a tough third down conversion.

    7. Is there a weaker OG in the league than Colledge. Sad to see a guy get dominated physically every game.

    8. MM still needs to go. One of his better games this year, but still crap when it matters most.

    • Chad Toporski

      “1. If Rodgers plays we probably lose worse. MM would not have stuck with the run.”

      I completely agree with this statement. With Rodgers at the helm, good-bye short passing game and running game.

      Sure, he might have thrown more yards and maybe even TDs, but the time of possession wouldn’t have even been close to what it was. And that could have meant more TDs for the Pats.

      (Though the defense did GREAT. They really only allowed 17 points the whole game.)

      • Time of possession was KEY to being in this game. With Rodgers there, it doesn’t happen (mostly not Rodger’s fault)

    • John Kuhn was Superman yesterday. Made yards when there weren’t any there to be made.

  • ELong

    Should have won this one. We seemed ready to play and for the most part MM called a good game. In spite of that, I agree with previous posts that MM just doesn’t have what it takes to get it done when it counts (still livid about the Lions). I wonder how his tendency to choke in key moments (3 & 1 calls, time mgmt., etc.) affects the rest of the team. You can just feel it watching the game.

    I thought Flynn looked good and our running effort was solid. Lots to build on, and with Finley and Barnett in the mix we have some upside next year. I’m just still not convinced that MM can do his job well enough to make it all come together.

    • Flynn did much better than I thought he could. He’s a gritty guy, weak arm, but he’ll give you what he can. A more balanced offense gameplan helped him a lot.

  • PackersRS

    It was a much better game from MM. His gameplan was really good, was better than Bellichick’s. His playcalling for the most was outstanding.

    Yet, in the end, poor clock management skills cost us another close game.

    I think there were too many dropped passes and ints, and such poor Retarded Teams (sorry if it’s not PC) performance to put the blame on MM.

    But, in the end of the day, it’s another close loss…

    • For most of the game, his playcalling WAS better. Made me wonder during the game if not having a top quarterback to work with forces McCarthy to call a smarter game. Of course, the two deep balls during the last two drives were wastes. Flynn can not throw a pass with a lot of air under it for accuracy.

  • Trevor

    What ever happened to play action roll out down at the goal line. The well has run dry on the FB dive

    • Chad Toporski

      Apparently McCarthy believes in the old addage that “if at first you don’t succeed…”

      He needs to stop calling the same play twice in a row. We’ve seen it fail too many times.

      • Trevor

        I agree 100%, He get very unimaginative once he gets inside the 5 yard line.

  • Terry McCloskey

    The Detroit game will be the watershed game of MM’s tenure in Green Bay. Because it did not mean much I just sat back and enjoyed the game last night. But when you see the coaching late in the game you know that it is MM that is involved. The team played SLOW over the last 4 minutes. Huddling every time took a bunch of time. Did they really need to huddle EVERY time. In the end it was lack of time that killed them. When are we going to get a real coach?

  • Umm…the Bucs LOST yesterday. While I think that was what you meant by getting help from them, you posted that they had a come-from-behind win.

    • typo – I’ll fix it. Thanks for spotting it…

  • Chad Toporski

    So, Al… I’ve been thinking about this.

    Compare/contrast this 4th quarter drive with the one in Atlanta. In that one you said we scored too quickly. In this one we obviously couldn’t do it quickly enough.

    I know circumstances are different, but what can you take from these two performances?

    • Impossible to compare, Chad. There are only certain very specific situations where you could venture to say “they scored too quickly.” The Atlanta game was a perfect example. But all I was trying to point out by that article was that the clock could have been managed better, just as it could have been in this game, but on the opposite spectrum. Overall point is that the clock management is sorely lacking “smarts.”

  • Dunce cap of the game goes to Quinn Johnson for taking out two of his own teammates on the debacle of a kickoff return.

    • Have no idea what he was thinking there…

      • JimR_in_DC

        Maybe he’s color blind.

  • A_Lerxst_in_Packerland

    So close…I started with low expectations for this game, yet I ended up thinking they were going to pull off the upset right up to the end. Darn shame that Flynn didn’t get the “W” for his efforts.

    That said, I was left with 2 nagging thoughts after the game:
    1. Why the heck don’t they ever run plays designed to stop the clock in their so-called two-minute offense?
    2. Why wasn’t there a safety valve receiver for Flynn on some of those no backfield sets?

    • 1) you mean passes to the sideline? Maybe he didn’t trust Flynn’s arm?

      2) No backfield mans no running backs. Only safety valves could be tight ends, but in some cases, they are blockers too. In general, lack of safety valve use has been a pet peeve of mine for the last 2 years.