Packers vs. Steelers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: PIT 38 GB 31

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Packers Matt Flynn vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Packers Matt Flynn vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers:  2013 Game 15

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

Aaron Rodgers sitting out again is of course the top story line. The Packers seem to go out of their way to prove that injury decisions are not influenced by winning or losing.

Does Matt Flynn have another week of magic left in that feeble arm?

The Steelers are playing much better of late and are a team that won’t be affected by playing in snow and/or cold weather.

Today’s game is the first time the teams have met since Super Bowl XLV.

 

Today’s captains for the Packers: – WR Jarrett Boykin (offense), CB Sam Shields (defense) and FB John Kuhn (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:
Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers

12 QB Aaron Rodgers
51 LB Nate Palmer
65 G Lane Taylor
73 G/C JC Tretter
99 DE Jerel Worthy

The Packers placed TE Brandon Bostick and DE Johnny Jolly on injured reserve Saturday, reducing the roster to 51 players. Therefore, only five players are listed as inactive instead of the usual seven.

10 QB Matt Flynn starts for Rodgers, and 76 DT Mike Daniels starts for Jolly.

Pittsburgh Steelers
3 QB Landry Jones
14 WR Derek Moye
39 CB Isaiah Green
44 LB Jamaal Westerman
71 G/C David Snow
92 DT Hebron Fangupo
93 LB Jarvis Jones

54 LB Chris Carter starts for Jones and 28 CB Cortez Allen starts for 22 CB William Gay.

 

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

The comeback:  A tremendous feeling, obviously. We have a highlight tape we watch every week and Wayne and Larry, you guys are all over it.

Atlanta halftime vs. Dallas: InAtlanta there was a lot more juice and activity in the locker room. Whereas in Dallas it was more of a focus thing. It was , “lets not go out and try to do to much, let’s take one drive at a time and crawl back into this game.” The approach and the way the players went about it was an experience I’ll be able to draw from.

Fear of a letdown: If you look at your week of preparation there are some strong indicators of how your team is going to play. Our team has been full of energy all week… I feel strongly our team  will come out strong today.

Steelers: The last fore-five weeks they’ve been playing extremely well. A lot of new faces, but they’re coming together. Best group of returns we’ve seen. They’re record does not fit what we’ve seen on film preparing this week.

Steelers get the ball outside quickly: A lot of outside screens to playmakers. ben’s doing a good job handling the run/paSS  check at th line of scrimmage.

Turnovers: They do go in streaks. I think theh focus for today is the offense and return game, they need to take care of the football, defense has to take it away. The tackling will be very important today, a lot of over the middle plays, tackling angles will be critical and very evident today.

 

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Packers vs. Steelers – First Impressions – First Half:

Packers win the toss and elect to receive. That’s a change, but the real question is, how do they win so many coin tosses?

Flynn takes a sack on 3rd down – never saw him coming. Shades of last week’s first half…

Brett Keisel – most “old-school” looking player in today’s NFL?

Been really happy with Micah Hyde on punt returns. Very sure-handed (most important) and usually gets positive yardage.

Nice blitz pickup by Eddie Lacy after taking a fake handoff.

James Jones steals an interception away from Pitt DB. Matt Flynn says thanks!

Eddie Lacy… making defensive backs pay the price for taking him down…

3rd and one – what will the Packers do? Why run the Kuhn dive, of course. This time it works! (Does seem to work much better when QB is under center, as opposed to shotgun.

Packers take a 7-0 lead as Boykin outfights Pitt DB for the ball. Packers receivers helping Flynn out big time…

These Packers have never met a lead they don’t want to immediately relinquish… Two big plays and the Steelers are on the 10 yd line.

And it’s 7-7.

 

Score at end of 1st quarter:     GB 7 PIT 7

Weather starting to be a factor. Shields slipped and fell on the Steelers TD and the ensuing kickoff is fumbled by the Packers but luckily recovered.

For all the good things Matt Flynn has done, he is downright awful at getting rid of the ball when under pressure.

McCarthy’s concerns about the Steelers returners come to fruition. 41yard punt return by Antonio Brown.

Sean Richardson in for MD Jennings – makes immediate impact. He and Hyde stop Bell for a loss on 3rd down. Steelers punt.

I realize Richardson is kind of green and might be more prone to making mistakes than Jennings, but I’d take my chances. MD Jennings is not making any impact plays.

Marshall Newhouse in for one play as an extra tight end and gets called for holding… that’s all we need to know…

bad. bad. bad.  Matthews injures his thumb on a sack of Big Ben. In obvious pain. Does not look good.  smh…

I think I like Eddie Lacy’s attitude as much as anything. All business, no showboating… Run over a few guys, smile and get back to the huddle.

Eddie Lacy with the 480 degree spin in the air. I give it a 9.99

MD Jennings getting schooled on special teams as well… 40+ yd kickoff return puts Steelers at Packers’ 45yd line.

 

Score at end of 1st half:   GB 14 PIT 10

 

Packers vs. Steelers – First Impressions – Second Half:

All that pre-snap movement on the Pittsburgh punt  – raised my antennae for a fake.

Matthews officially out for the rest of the game.

Big booth review here – possible Packers fumble recovery near the Pitt goal line. Looks to me like the ball got slapped out before Bells knee touched the ground. REVERSED!!!

First and goal at the 3yd line. Pittsburgh holds and then blocks the FG attempt. Penalty on the attempted return and it initially goes back to Packers with an automatic first down. Doesn’t seem right to me. Referees convene once more.  Still Green Bay ball. Now Pittsburgh tries to challenge. Possession in the field of play is not challenge-able. Still Green Bay ball. What a sequence of events…

wow…

And TD Lacy.

Note to MM. When you’re inside the 5 yard line, just give it to Lacy 4 times if you need to…

BJ Raji with a beyond stupid after-the-play penalty.  15yds and first down after they had stopped Bell for no gain.

TD Pittsburgh. Arghhhh

Defense has allowed 3 Pitt scoring drives immediately following a Green Bay score.

And a pick sick as Quarless bumps into Flynn as he’s throwing. Incredible.

Well, now that the #Packers are down by two scores, let the Flynn magic commence…

So much for that. Penalty on Quarless, lacy limps off. Packers punt.

Now we’ve seen everything. One-handed AJ Hawk interception… #Packers

 

Score at end of 3rd quarter:   PIT 31 GB 21

Packers have uncharacteristically hurt themselves with penalties today.

Flynn has soundly proven he has no touch for that end zone fade pass. yet Packers keep trying it and failing to score seven.

Packers down by seven. Defense with a three and out. Yes, I just typed that.

OK, I’ll say it. I’d rather see the Kuhn dive than the Flynn fade. (And I hate the Kuhn dive) Packers tie the game, 31-31.

Big play by the Steelers? MD Jennings was involved somehow.

Great play by Neal to get off a block in space and make a tackle on the Pitt TE. Sets up a 4th and 1 on their own 47 with 6 min left. Pitt will go for it and make it.

And now Neal is down… Looks like it could be Perry and Mulumba at OLB the rest of the way.

I can not fathom why Jamari Lattimore is not starting….

Packers have the ball with 3 minutes left, ball on their own 8yd line.  Of course, first play is a sack.

Seeing how well the rollouts worked for Flynn last week, wouldn’t that be a decent idea to counteract the Steelers pass rush? Have seen very little today, which surprises me.

Flynn fumble. I get he was trying for the first down. So I won’t lay any blame.

Shocked that the #Packers let #Steelers score there. Love it, but I’m shocked MM did it. That’s a “polluted mindset.”

Why did it take seven seconds to get that last play off? why?

Spike it when the ref says go, or throw into the end zone and you get another play if incomplete. That was just dumb.

OK, so if Nick Perry doesn’t go offsides on that field goal, the Packers & Steelers are still playing…

Final Score:  PIT 38 GB 31

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, 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 Drafttek.com.

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  • Savage57

    In so many ways a game that captured the Packers season in a microcosm. Always tickling us with the possibility of what might be, grounding it with the reality of what is.

  • luppy

    Special teams lost this game. Other than Hyde they were terrible in all aspects! Much to common in recent years.

    • Bearmeat

      100% right. Can’t wait for McGinn’s ratings for ST on Tuesday.

  • Dobber

    31points should be enough to win.

  • Chad Lundberg

    At this point, I don’t even know if it would be worth it to make the post season anymore. We’re banged all over, and I mean almost ALL OVER, but regardless of the team’s health, that defense just can’t seem to ever do enough. Imagine playing against Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl?

    It’s time to face the horror everyone. Even if we make the playoffs, I am NOT getting my hopes up. At this point, all I can prey for is that we somehow, someway get another quality safety and another playmaker on that front seven during the offseason. Our defense is BAD.

    After so much nonsense this season, TT might have had enough, and MM might finally be on his way out. Just stating the possibility, that’s all.

    • Bearmeat

      I just want to beat the Bears and win the North. With our luck this year, shaming Chicago/Detroit/Minny for a 3rd straight year would be enough.

    • Stroh

      McCarthy absolutely not. Capers? Absolutely yes… McCarthy kept the team together and didn’t allow them to give up on themselves or the team. Capers calls the D plays doesn’t he? Replacing him makes all the sense in the world, but replacing McCarthy would be asking for a much worse HC that really would waste Rodgers career. McCarthy is widely considered among the top 6 HC in the NFL. Good luck finding better. Far, FAR more likely to get much, MUCH worse!

      • Archie

        For all of TT’s 9 years as Packer GM we have blamed the defensive coaching staff for the inept defense. TT fired the defensive staff in 2009 and hired a new one. But after 4 more years of inept defense, here we sit, no different than before the last firings. What’s the common element here? TT + MM. Thank you. That’s why I call them the ass-clowns. Sunday we get to watch the Bears blow out the Pack in another uber-high scoring game. Philly will do same to DAL. CHI-Philly, the perfect week 17 parlay. And if you want to go 3-way, add Packers/Bears over any number. Thanks to the ass clowns in GB and DAL, my wallet is stuffed.

    • Dobber

      “Imagine playing against Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl?”

      I would love it.

      • Chad Lundberg

        With respect, that’s delusional. Post-season record aside, Manning has the best football IQ of any QB ever IMO. He has torn up top rated defenses, imagine him having his way with our poor defense? It wouldn’t even be a fair fight.

    • Chad Lundberg

      Apparently most here like our defense and thus like our chances in the playoffs. My bad, I didn’t realize you were all so optimistic.

      I understand that Rodgers should be back by the time we make the playoffs, but even with him under center, does anyone really think that we’ll score 40+ points a game? That’s what it’s gonna take people.

  • Dave D

    How horrible is McCarthy? Nice play calling 1st and goal. Then after penalty, spike the ball and get two shots to score. Just horrible Mike.

    PS Capers must go.

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      You’re right Dave D, the clock management by the Packers after Hydes return was pathetic. The Packers had 1:25, no timeouts from the Pittsburgh 31 to start the drive and after 2 plays, they still have 43 seconds and it’s 1st down on the Pittsburgh 5. The call to Starks was actually a decent call as long as they run up, spike the ball on 2nd down so they have 2 more plays. So at the end of the day the Packers managed 3 F’ing plays in 1:15, and that’s INCLUDING the 10 second runoff. That’s just horrible coaching and use of the clock by MM. At least now we know why MM record before this season is 7-26 when trailing in the 4th quarter! 4 plays in 1:25..COMMON MAN!

      • Archie

        McFatty’s IQ = 65. He’s an ass-clown, just like his boss.

  • Herb the Bitter

    Did Nick Perry play besides the boneheaded offsides? Seems like all I saw was Mulumba and Neal.

    After last week’s high today I just saw a whole bunch of mediocrity.

    I’ll give them credit for one thing. They’re a resilient bunch.

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      He played OLB when Neal got hurt, but my guess is he’s normally on the FG defense team anyway.

  • Since ’61

    Our Packers basically beat themselves today with poor special teams play except for Micah’s late return, stupid penalties on defense with Perry ‘s the worst and stupidest. Even with losing Matthews defense gave up too many points. Bye, Bye Capers. Offense did their job and almost pulled it off at the end. Hoping for the Eagles or it’s over. Thanks, Since ’61

  • Alex Parkhurst

    Eagles 21 – Bears 0 in the 1st Quarter

    Looks like season ain’t over just yet.

    • Bearmeat

      Yeah – but if ARod doesn’t play, can the Flynn-led offense really out score Chicago’s?

      Cause our D/ST..eesh

      • Dobber

        “Yeah – but if ARod doesn’t play, can the Flynn-led offense really out score Chicago’s?”

        No.

        Without ARod, the Packers were only marginally better than Dallas, and look at what the Bears did to them…not that transitivity holds in the NFL.

  • Russell

    We threw the ball way too much this game. Lacy & Starks were getting yards in chunks, but MM kept throwing! The season will be not so disappointing if we can somehow beat the Bears. We are not a Super Bowl contender at this point, so I hope this can be our Super Bowl by beating the Teddy bears

    • Archie

      Not a bad way to look at this game. Win or lose, the season is over. Another 49rs massacre at Lambeau. If somehow NOR finishes 5th, they would have to travel to GB. That would be more interesting. And what if AROD returned for playoffs? Loss of CMIII/NEAL really hurts defense.

  • Dave D

    I called the fake punt way before ball was snapped, again MM gets out coached on game day. And I repeat, nice play calling 1st and goal with not time-outs. As Fred Sanford used to say way to go you “Big Dummy”

    • Archie

      Some call him an ass-clown. Some call him Lombardi-like. Go figure. He will always be an ass-clown to me.

  • GBPDAN

    To many injuries once again, I can’t believe the amount of injuries this team has had this year

    well, at least Philly in up on Chicago 21-0

    • http://GV889@aol.com Jerry

      Year in year out the injuries that the Packers incur are beyond comprehension. The Mayo clinic should open a case file!

  • Palmer Cottrell

    There is a reason why those teams passed on Flynn. He is not ready for prime time. The Pack needs to find a back up next year that can play in the NFL.

  • Palmer Cottrell

    The Packers are a bad team with bad coaches going no where. If they don’t make changes in the Off season they will be losers again next year. Start with Capers and the special teams coaches and then get rid of New House, House, Sitton, all of the sateys and get two line backers that can rush the qb’s that would be just a start.\

    • marpag

      Including Sitton in your list destroys any sort of credibility you might otherwise have had…

  • Art

    At this point it would be a nice consolation beating the Bears. Let’s face it, the Packers are not SB material this year. However, with Rodgers out for so long it gave TT and MM an opportunity to really be able to review every player out there and be able to decide who stays and who goes. Perhaps they now realize that Raji is not worth $8 million, that Jennings must go, Capers must must must go, etc. Next years should be a great year for the Packers.

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      Raji will get paid, I just hope not by Green Bay, at least not for 8 million or more. I was watching him yesterday and it’s like he’s velcroed to the O-Lineman blocking him. He’s been a total Non Factor that last 8 weeks or so, and it’s not from a high snap count this season. MD Jennings was just horrible yesterday.

  • Art

    One more thing, as a New Jerseyan I’ve been to enough Eagles games to really see the sort of animals that act as Eagles fans. Perhaps that’s why the stadium has a jail! As a Packer fan, we all have vivid memories of the (BIG) loss to the Eagles. But watching them in the first half against the Bears you see that their offense play calling is so original, so imaginative, so unpredictable. So NOT McCarthy. Perhaps consideration should be given to hand over the play calling to an offensive coach with talent.

  • http://GV889@aol.com Jerry

    While watching todays games on Direct TV I thought I herd someone say johnny Jolly’s neck injury might be career ending!Can anyone confirm, I hope I herd wrong.

  • GBPDAN

    He has a disk injury in his neck that may need surgery , maybe even fusion. Any time there’s a injury like this, involving the cervical spine, it could be career ending. What level the injury is at will also play a part in the outcome. I wish jolly all the luck in the world

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      Wow that bad huh? What a shame because he played so well this year. Hard not to pull for Jolly. Good luck Johnny!

  • Since ’61

    The Eagles are leading the Bears 54-11 with 2 minutes to play. So here we are with everything that has happened this season still with our destiny in our own hands and a shot to win the division. Regardless of what happens against the Bears next week this has been one hell of a crazy, wacky, roller coaster ride and one of the strangest seasons I have been involved with as a Packer fan for 52 years and counting. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • Bearmeat

      Just win next week. Everything else is gravy. Even a bad loss to the 9ers couldn’t in the ruin my good mood after that.

      ARod has to play. And Lacy. And CM3. And Cobb. Please.

  • Russell

    Ok here’s the Hollywood end of the regular season. ARod comes back in week 17 to lead the Packers to a 35 – 31 victory over the hated Bears. Go Pack Go!!

    • Barutan Seijin

      I don’t need the drama. 55-3 would be nice.

      There’s nothing better after a game than Bears Fans Tears.

  • GBPDAN

    This week’s injury situation will be interesting. Will Rodgers play? Cobb? Is Mathews, Lacy and Jones injuries serious enough to keep them out against the bears? I’m hoping for the best.

    • Dobber

      My understanding was that CMIII rebroke his thumb and is headed for another surgery, but that was an early report and I haven’t seen anything more on it.

  • J204

    D gave up 31 pts (dont count the pick 6).. Just not good enough to win a football game. Special Teams is a joke. A 23 yard attempt blocked? Good thing the refs royally screwed that up.. I am afraid Clay will never play a whole season. Yes these injuries might be freak random things, but some guys just are prone to get hurt more than others and Clay is that guy. Oh well Flynn to win next week??

    • marpag

      “A 23 yard attempt blocked? Good thing the refs royally screwed that up.. ”

      If the refs hadn’t botched the Le’Veon Bell fumble call a few plays before, the Packers would have scored a defensive touchdown on the play, the field goal would never have been kicked, nor would it have been blocked, the ball would never have been batted, and Steelers (& Packers) fans wouldn’t have as much to complain about.

      Let’s stop short of thanking the refs…

  • Big T

    No matter what the outcome now, this year will go down as the Rodgers fiasco year. How unprofessional and childish the way MM and TT handled the situation. No one with a sound mind kind back those 2 jackwagons anymore…