Saints 44, Packers 23: Game Balls and Lame Calls

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Well, that escalated quickly.

The Green Bay Packers saw their four-game
winning streak come to a crashing halt Sunday night as they were blown out by the New Orleans Saints 44-23 at the Superdome Sunday night.

Here is who played well and who left some things on the field in the Packers’ loss

Game Balls

WR Randall Cobb

Cobb is going to earn himself a nice paycheck next season and hopefully it will be from the Packers.

In what was the biggest highlight of the night for Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers and Cobb hooked up early in the first quarter to give the Packers an early 7-0 lead. Cobb also made some great plays along the sideline and in a game where Jordy Nelson was held to one catch for eight towards, he carried the load brilliantly

He finished the night with five catches for 126 yards and the one touchdown. On a night that was otherwise forgettable, Cobb came to play.

RB Eddie Lacy

Lacy came within three yards of passing Cobb as the team’s leading receiver Sunday night.

For the first time in his career, Lacy finished with over 100 yards receiving (123). He demonstrated his ability to break tackles and gain extra yardage after contact. One of the knocks against Lacy was his inability to make plays as a receiver. If this game was any indication, Lacy is getting closer to becoming an even bigger weapon for the Green Bay offense.

Just what opposing defenses wanted to hear.

Lame Calls

CB Davon House

The defense as a whole had a terrible night but House struggled the worst. Missed tackles, blown coverage and just looking overmatched would be the best way to describe House’s play.

He learned quickly Drew Brees is no Cam Newton or Ryan Tannehill. The Packers need Sam Shields heathy and fast, especially with the Eagles and Patriots looming sooner than later after the by week.

Head coach Mike McCarthy.

Julius Peppers at wide receiver. A surprise onside kick at the Superdome. Running your running back at your backup guard on fourth down.

These are just a few reasons as to why this game was probably McCarthy’s worst game of the season.

The Peppers play was just bizarre to watch and even if it had worked, why run it in the first place? Sean Payton is usually the master of cute offensive play calls. Maybe McCarthy wanted to play too.

The onside kick was also stupid. Why risk giving an offense you had not stopped all game a decent shot at a short field that early? Once again, McCarthy outsmarted himself and it hurt the Packers.

After T.J. Lang went out with an injury to his ankle, Lane Taylor entered the game. On a critical late fourth down, McCarthy called a play that had Lacy run behind the inexperienced Taylor, not Josh Sitton.

The result? Lacy was stuffed and the ballgame was over.

It wasn’t McCarthy’s best effort. It’s just a shame these games for him almost always come against opponents that are capable of going toe to toe with the Green Bay offense.

QB Aaron Rodgers/Dr. Pat McKenzie

At last check, Rodgers still was the franchise in Green Bay.

So why was he still out there after he badly tweaked his hamstring? It was immediately clear Rodgers was not himself after the play. He literally could not move and was throwing jump passes that would have made Tim Tebow proud.

This falls on Rodgers’ stubbornness and the team’s medical staff. Rodgers has to have the sense to take himself out when he’s hurt. His health is far more improve than trying to pull off an impossible comeback.

McKenzie and his staff also have to have the stones to tell Rodgers he is out. This simply was a story of allowing a player’s ego dictate what was going to happen rather than doing what was in the player’s best interest.

Thankfully the bye week has come at the perfect time.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.

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  • David

    Lame Calls:

    MM – for the reasons in the article.

    Capers – Well just for being Capers.

    The Defense – Every part of it was brutal. Missed tackles, wide open receivers, no opposing team punts, again!

    Punt Return Team – Wait, they never played one snap, my bad.

    Referees – Bad calls on Adams interference in red zone. Adams would-be first down catch. House interfence call. If the refs are going to call that interference the D -backs may just not play at all.

    Does anyone agree that the rules and the refs are ruining a great game?

    Watched some of the Steeler game and Indy had, at least, 5 brutal calls go against them.

    Something has to be done about it, right?

    Marpag? Since’61?

    Thanks

  • Big T

    I have an idea for MM… Listen to the commentators (Chris) they know what is coming before it happens. Listen to the fans, they know what is coming. Hell listen to anyone except the voices in your head Mike… I hate to see that cheating bastard Peyton beat us. I have always said, everything being equal, if it comes down to coaching we lose every time. Oh, the go cart defense was a joke too… How was Jordy so easily shut down?

    • TedTomsin

      You said it Big T.. Peyton is a “cheating bastard”. Makes you wonder if the Packers have someone inside the organization that is giving intel to the Saints for this game.

      We know for a fact this goes on. Bellichek did it in NE. Also let’s not forget Brett Favre giving away secret intel to Matt Millen on how to beat the Packers while he was on the Jets.

      It just seemed like New Orleans knew all the offensive and defensive calls in this game. That tells me something fishy was going on in this game. I think it’s something the Packers Security Team should look into. Peyton is a scum bag and will do anything he can to win including cheating. If there’s a mole inside 1265, I hope TT flushes him out quickly and he gets a public tar and feathering down Oneida St.

      • Chad Lundberg

        Usually I say that’s just Paranoia, but I have to admit, the way they treated Tom Crabtree just before they faced GB is a little suspicious.

  • Big T

    Stop putting the camera on TT. Every time they show the dumbfounded look on his face we lose the game. I know TT can’t help that look but maybe wear a cap and sunglasses. Damn camera man…

    • TedTomsin

      You bastard Bit T!! How dare you mock him. One of the best GM’s in our history!!

    • Archie

      Damn Big T you have a way of hitting the nail with your observations. I never thought of that but I think you are right.

  • Eric Melbye

    Peppers as receiver was a little weird, but I’m OK with the decision. GB practiced it for weeks. It should have confused the D and been an easy TD. I’m OK with the onside kick, too. It was early in the game, and MM probably saw that it was going to be a shootout, so why not try to steal an extra possession? Crosby is usually very good at those kicks. And I’m OK with keeping AR in the game. His hamstring limited him, but it didn’t seem *badly* tweaked–he ran for a 14 yd. TD, after all, and did as well as he could passing from the pocket. I guarantee he played better than Flynn would have. What hurt us most was simple stuff–penalties, missed tackles, poor blocking, general lack of fundamentals, especially on D.

    • Since ’61

      Eric – agree completely. This game was lost because the defense could not stop the run, once again, against a good team on their home field. Since the Packers could not stop the run, the Saints play action was very effective, receivers were wide open and Brees was deadly accurate. The Nascar defense should go the way of the Amoeba defense and hopefully take Capers with them. Thanks, Since ’61

      • Archie

        Actually defense got exposed by MM’s poor play calling on offense. Once TOP went srtongly in favor of NOR, our defense became impotent.

        • Since ’61

          Archie – the TOP went to the Saintsbecause the defense could not stop them. It had nothing to do with MMs play calls. It’s interesting to me that no one complained about play calls during the 4 game winning streak. Now we lose to a good team on the road because our defense could not make a stop and it’s all about the play calls again. Makes no sense. The Packers had about 475 yards of offense. Bad play calling does not produce that much offense. Thanks, Since ’61

      • Thegreatreynoldo

        Again, I agree with your points, except that I do think the Nascar defense has a place in the playbook, but unless you’re ahead, preferably by 2 scores, it should not be used as one’s base defense.

  • marpag

    “Jordy Nelson was held to one catch for eight towards”

    “Once again, McCarthy outsmarted himself and it hurry the Packers.”

    [Rodgers] “literally could not move.”

    [Rodgers] “health is far more improve than trying to pull off an impossible comeback.”

    **sigh**

    Where did you get the medical information that shows Rodgers’ injury is more severe than the training staff thinks it is? And how do you know that this is a clear example of Rodgers’ stubbornness and ego? Is it perhaps possible – just possible – that maybe Rodgers is not badly injured?

    • dobber

      He looked pretty good running that TD in late in the game. I think what it comes down to–and we all know–is that ARod on one leg >> Matt Flynn on three.

      • Since ’61

        Absolutely! Rodgers was moving around extending plays even after he tweaked his hamstring. Thanks, Since ’61

  • A Lerxst in Packerland

    I generally like bold, aggressive play calling, but going for it on that early 4th & 1 in their own territory was just reckless.

    And yes, the flags have become ridiculous in recent years and are ruining the game. I miss the game I grew up with. The one where the defense actually hit and tackled the guy with the ball.

  • icebowl

    Good summary Kris.
    It’s sad how the D can make mediocre players look like gods.
    I felt like I was watching the Keystone Kops , missed tackles, players colliding w each other, wide open receivers…..
    Add to it the three stooges ref showing and you have the makings of a real comedy…
    Only it was too sad to watch….
    Eight letters fir our Packer nation :
    C-O-L-L-A-P-S-E !

  • dobber

    It sucked to watch, but maybe this team needed to be beaten up a little bit. They had a couple pretty good weeks…maybe started reading their clippings a little bit.

    Not saying I wanted to see them lose, but a road game against an opponent that always plays well in its building (not quite the dumpster fire some people were calling them)…there was no shame in losing to the Saints.

    Hopefully it stings enough to keep this team focused down the stretch.

  • Jonny83

    The game just reinforced what I thought before the game, the team will go as far as Rodgers can possibly take them. They looked completely shell shocked and out of it when Rodgers got injured. I know some in the media will criticize Rodgers (looking at you in particular Bayless) but if you watched Rodgers pre injury and afterwards you could see the difference clearly. He could barely move (TD he basically limped in untouched) and couldn’t step into his throws, it was pretty much all arm.

    Defense is slightly better but it’s still towards the average part of the spectrum. They can win games but when you come across a quality QB and offense they just can’t shut it down. There is a one and done playoff exit vibe coming from this defense, unless Rodgers plays unbelievable of course.

    Still the Packers are 5-3 and the division or a wildcard playoff spot are still in reach. Get healthy as they can with the bye and beat a poor Bears team at home.

  • Since ’61

    The Packers losing is bad enough, but if you watched the games all day beginning with the Lions game in London, you saw nothing but terrible officiating all day. At times there were penalties called on 3,4, even 5 plays in a row. If this keeps up the games will become unplayable and unwatchable. My suggestion is for the officials to just leave a penalty flag on the field all the time and then pick it up when they don’t call a penalty. Between all their obnoxious money grabs and terrible officiating the NFL is killing itself. Their objective may be player safety, which if true, would be a good thing, but the result is a miserable on field product that is getting worse instead of better and not making the players any safer than they were in the past. Time for the bye week. Thanks, Since ’61

    • David

      Right on Since ’61, the games are starting to become unwatchable.

    • Archie

      Agreed. It’s like watching arena football except possibly worse.

      • Since ’61

        Archie – sadly, your comparison with arena football is becoming frightfully accurate. Thanks, Since ’61

        • SchenySchen

          I don’t want to become an Iowa barnstormer fan…….,their blog website isn’t this good.

  • Kurt the Turk

    Looks like the Packers are who we thought they were after Week 1.

    Can beat the rotten teams soundly, but good teams have no problem exploiting GB’s weak offensive line and weak defense.

    At the halfway point the W/L records are a pretty good indicator in the NFC and the division. Lions are the team to beat in the North. In the NFC, GB is somewhere in the 5th to 8th-best team. In other worlds, mediocre but with a great QB.

    • Michael Charron

      Right on, you got it right. Not sure why it is so difficult for a lot of people who think this team is a Super Bowl contender just because we win a very weak division. Exactly, we are a very mediocre team with a great QB who needs to play great every game. We have beaten 1 team with a winning record in 2 years.

      • Kurt the Turk

        1 team w/a winning record these past couple years? I didn’t know that (demoralizing) stat. But it pretty much sums up the situation.

    • Archie

      Yep. Shout if from the rooftops. Let Packer Nation bathe in the truth – TT/MM have no clothes!

  • Justin Michael

    First I found it interesting Collinsworth pointed out that Sean Payton told him he had an excellent idea exactly what the GB defesne was going to show this game thus was able to create a very effective game plan and call the game very well. This is concerning if that is the case as again the run d got absolutely slaughtered by a team that doesn’t rack up the rush yards on the regular. I am not calling for Dom’s head here but since he has been here the run d has been pretty crappy especially last 3 years to opponents you would have to beat in the playoffs.

    Second I think AR hammy isn’t as bad as everyone thinks. If that think strained really bad no way he would’ve been able to get into the endzone there near the end of the game. If anyone has actually strained a hammy bad you know that you literally can’t move your leg. He will be alright. Bye week came at the right time.

    • Slim11

      I’ve strained, pulled and torn a hamstring. Mobility is amazingly impacted by a strain. He should have been pulled immediately.

  • https://twitter.com/LeagueObservr LeagueObservr

    Remember the days when Green Bay ran a 4-3 defense, Fritz Shurmur was the DC, and they had those big DT’s in the middle of the defense, just daring people to run at them??? Ya, I do to. I miss those days…

    • Jerry

      So do I!

  • https://twitter.com/LeagueObservr LeagueObservr

    When McCarthy tried to be clever with that onside kick, on the road, against a lethal quarterback leading a team with it’s back against the wall, I knew it was game over. McCarthy needs to stop trying to be clever, and just stick to playing with sound fundamentals…

  • David

    With there Defense, or lack of it, the offense needs to score, literally, on every possession and not field goals.

    How can Capers still be there?

  • Chad Lundberg

    Julius Peppers at TE? CALLED IT!! I wish it happened at a more convenient time though.

    Rodgers at 50% is still better than Matt Flynn, I think he’s perfectly capable of making the right decision if he can’t play. Seriously, you don’t need to call out Aaron Rodgers like that. Who says he has a giant ego? The fact that you don’t like him playing when he’s a little hurt? Whatever dude.

  • Taryn Miller

    But..but…wasn’t this defense just being acclaimed as to being a ‘close comparison’ to the 2010 defense….proof that ‘close comparison’ is truly in the eyes of the kool-aid clique and stat sheet worshipers.

    This defense is like the physically gifted option-read QB in the NFL today.You’ll get your oohs and aahs at moments, but when all is said and done….remorse sets in and those moments of jubilation are replaced with already written excuses stored away in the files ready to be copied and pasted in an instant. :)

    • Chad Toporski

      The loss of Burnett and Shields needs to be a bigger part of the discussion with regards to the defense’s performance on Sunday night.

      • Since ’61

        Why? Neither Shields or Burnett would have helped stop the Saints ground game. That’s why the Packer lost. Yes, Shields probably would have played better than House and Burnett may have played better than Hyde, but the Packers allowed 170 yards rushing to the Saints 3rd string RB. If we had Shields and Burnett and NO had their # 1 and 2 RBs would the result be any better. Also, let’s not forget the Saints starting center was out and his replacement was starting his 1st NFL game and the middle of our DL still got destroyed, except for that one 4th down stop early in the 3rd qtr. No Chad, I don’t think the Packer injuries are an excuse when the Saints had several of their own starters out. Our defense lost the one on one battles and we were beaten. No excuses. Thanks, Since ’61

        • Chad Toporski

          It’s not an excuse, it’s a reason. And yes, Burnett would have helped in the ground game.

          And I’m not going to play that “balance out the injuries” game, because that doesn’t really mean anything. Unless you want to throw in Raji, Mulumba, Palmer, Tretter, Barclay, and Abbrederis? We could go down that rabbit hole forever.

          • Since ’61

            Chad – your correct, balance out the injuries doesn’t mean anything. but, if you are going to take the position that Burnett would have made a difference in the game, as the Devil’s advocate I’m going to take the position of saying that the Saints starting center or their #1 RB would also make a diference. That’s only fair. The fact is every team has injuries. You suit up your healthy guys and go out and play. Last night the Packers healthy guys on defense got beat. And again they looked bad against the run and on too many pass plays. What we’re also over looking is where was the pass rush. That might help if the pass rush showed up. Thanks, Since ’61

      • Taryn Miller

        The 2010 had a ‘next man up’ mantra,if injury is being offered as excuse(defense) for this teams defense,then you Chad have already erased the notion of comparison as legit.

        • Chad Toporski

          When did I make a comparison to 2010?

          Nope, don’t believe I did.

          • Taryn Miller

            Sorry…was thinking about another contributor to Packer sites.

  • Thegreatreynoldo

    At least half of being a good quarterback is between the ears. Rodgers is much better than Flynn even if he can’t get his normal velocity. I am not a fan of those who ascribe Rodgers’ decision to continue playing to overweening ego. BTW, given the QBs get too much credit or criticism, one’s QB better have a modicum of ego or at least be emotionally mature. I am not aware of any evidence that Rodgers has an out-sized ego.

  • Jerry

    I really don’t understand MM’s thought process in regards to inserting Peppers as a receiver. Cobb and Nelson have been playing lights out and they make their living catching footballs but MM decides DE/LB Peppers should be brought in as a receiver? Just doesn’t make sense to me.

    • Steve Cheez

      it just smacked of desperation

      • dobber

        …or of a guy who tries too hard to make himself look clever.

        You know how to look clever? Score a TD.

        • Savage57

          Agree. Desperate move by a guy who’s creatively challenged, trying to show up his buddy Payton, who’s not.

  • Thegreatreynoldo

    The truth (IMO) is that in terms of actual current production (as opposed to talent since I think a couple of players will get better), the defense is largely made up of JAGs. Using Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Reject, here is a rating of GB:
    Yellow : Brad Jones; Barrington, Hawk+; Lattimore+; Pennel+;
    Green -: Boyd; Datone; Guion; Neal; Hyde;
    Green : Daniels, Perry; Clinton-Dix; Hayward;
    Green+: Peppers; Burnett; House;
    Red – : Tramon;
    Red : Shields, CMIII.

    Some of these players are inconsistent. Some are learning still. The problem I see is that too many yellows and Green minuses are DL and LBs. I am sure many will disagree with me on these assessments: I went back and forth on a couple of players.

  • Rogersthebest

    mike McCarthy needs to go! his stupid calls killed GB. and has no idea how to play defense!