The Green Bay Packers were outplayed, outhustled and outcoached in their loss to the 49ers on Sunday. Other than that, the Packers looked pretty good.
The game reminded me of how the Packers played in the first part of the 2010 season. If you can remember back that far, the Packers lost three of four from week three through six, and got outplayed, outhustled and outcoached in each one. Nonetheless, each game was close.
- The Bears beat the Packers 20-17 in week three, forcing a late James Jones fumble and taking advantage of 18 penalties on the Packers.
- After the Packers beat Detroit in week four, they lost an ugly 16-13 game to the Redskins the following week. Aaron Rodgers threw an interception in overtime and the Packers were penalized nine times.
- The Packers allowed 150 rushing yards, Rodgers was sacked five times, and the Packers lost 23-20 in overtime to the Miami Dolphins in week five.
It was a stretch of games where the Packers always looked a step behind. Green Bay’s raw talent was obvious, but something was missing.
That’s what it felt like during Sunday’s loss to San Francisco.
Outplayed: 49ers linebacker Navarro Bowman had nine solo tackles and a huge fourth quarter interception to set up San Francisco’s last touchdown. Bownman won his one-on-one matchups more often than he lost them, and he made a big play when it was called for. Other 49ers to do the same included Frank Gore, Alex Smith, Aldon Smith, Vernon Davis, Randy Moss and David Akers. The list of Packers to consistently do the jobs they were assigned and mix in a big play or two was significantly shorter.
Outhustled: Morgan Burnett should be forced to stand outside Green Bay city hall and hold up a giant sign that says “I’m sorry” after the pathetic effort he showed on Gore’s touchdown run. We hear a lot of talk about the Packers focus on fixing their tackling this offseason. It looks like they still have a lot of work to do, especially in the effort department.
Outcoached: The 49ers created and exploited mismatches all over the field in the first half. They isolated Nick Perry in pass coverage a few times and seemed to always get a favorable linebacker vs. wide receiver matchup if they wanted it. And how about Collin Kaepernick’s run to set up Akers’ field goal at the end of the first half? My dog was looking at me and telling me that Kaepernick was running a draw there. The Packers coaches, however, apparently didn’t see it.
All of that adds up to a Packers’ loss. Actually, it was a pretty good ass kicking.
Nonetheless, the Packers only lost by eight points.
Get tougher, fix the tackling and stop with all the penalties. If the Packers address these issues, they’ll be fine.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can make a list of improvements for any team in the NFL, and then call that team a contender if they make those improvements. But here’s the difference: The Packers have a recent history of these same problems, and fixing them.
The Packers were soft, they couldn’t tackle and they committed too many penalties early in 2010. We all saw what happened when they fixed those issues. Their natural talent took over and they marched all the way to the Super Bowl.
There’s still plenty of time for Mike McCarthy and the Packers to make those same improvements in 2012.——————