I meant to do a post on this topic earlier in the week, but work got the best of me and I also got sucked into this documentary about the White family of West Virginia on one of my free nights (I could not decide if it was sad, disgusting, fascinating, or all of the above).
Anyway, I have been thinking about the Packers approach on offense in Sunday’s win over the Bears. It initially bugged me that the Packers did not stick with the short passes that moved the chains so effectively in the first Bears game, and appeared to be working fairly well early on Sunday. The Packers also showed brief flashes of a competent run game, so I also wondered why they didn’t stick with it a bit more, especially with James Starks in the second half.
I am usually not one of those people that nitpicks at playcalling (unless it’s the fullback dive), but I do like to try and look at the big picture after each game and decide if I liked the approach or not.
In the week three loss, the Bears were content to sit back, let the Packers move down the field, and wait until drives imploded via penalties, turnovers or other miscues. Under no circumstances were they going to let the Packers start connecting on their trademark deep passes.
This is what the Bears do and they do it well. They do it well against almost every team they face, but especially against the Packers.
Early on Sunday, the Packers game plan looked similar to week three. They were moving the ball, and it seemed like only a matter of time before the yards gained through short passes and the occasional run started resulting in points scored.
Then Donald Driver fumbled and everything started looking like week three again.
Instead of sticking with the dink-and-dunk/grind-it-out approach in the second half, McCarthy went back to what the Packers do best: Chucking the ball downfield. Some people might consider that decision impatient or stubborn. Others might call it a necessary adjustment. It is probably a bit of both, but added together, it was the correct move.
How would Packers fans have survived the offseason if Sunday’s game mirrored the week three defeat? If the Packers were going to go down, it was best they went down playing to their strength instead of trying to be something they were not because of who they were up against.
McCarthy did not want a repeat of week three (and several other weeks this season) where his team dominates the stat sheet, but loses the game. He did not have the confidence that his offense could sustain drives, and I can’t say I blame him. He has seen too many fumbles and dropped passes this season to be comfortable watching his offense try to grind it out.
McCarthy’s decision paid off…this time. Both of the Packers eventual scores were set up by passes that traveled over 15 yards in the air to Greg Jennings.
But there could be a time in the near future where a similar move blows up in McCarthy’s face. Hopefully he has the ability to decide when patience is the correct move instead of going back to what he is used to.
However, if McCarthy is ever in doubt, I would much rather see him choose to play to the Packers’ strength instead of letting an opponent dictate the style.——————