Packers 30, Lions 20: Game Balls and Lame Calls

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Packers vs Lions, Packers Lions 2014, Packers Lions Week17, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Rodgers injury, Micah Hyde, Clay Matthews, Ndamukong Suh

Game Balls

QB Aaron Rodgers

Before the game started yesterday, all the buzz about the NFL MVP was suddenly around Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.  After another multiple sack performance along with a safety, many were wondering if Watt could perhaps steal the award away from Rodgers.

That talk lasted all but an hour and a half.

Rodgers has displayed his toughness throughout his career, but there was no more impressive of a display than we he did against the Lions in a must-win game. After aggravating his hamstring injury from the previous week on a touchdown pass, Rodgers was carted to the locker room and Packer Nation was about at DEFCON 1.  Was this historic season suddenly about to go up in flames?

It initially looked like that as the Lions came back to tie the game at 14-14, but Rodgers returned to the game and was able to direct the Green Bay offense while hobbling down the field.

It was just a gritty performance by Rodgers, a fitting cherry on top of his second MVP campaign.

LB Clay Matthews

Speaking of cherries on top, Matthews had a dynamite second half to the season  and iced it with another great game against Detroit.

Matthews finished the 2014 regular season with 11 sacks, and 8.5 of those came in the final eight games.  He led a defense effort that kept pressure on Matthew Stafford all day and his sack was a vicious (but clean) hit.  Matthews was also active at the line of scrimmage and made some key stops on Joique Bell that kept the lead out of reach for Detroit.

Moving Matthews all over the field seems to have re-energized his game as well as a return to health as he played in all 16 games for the first time since he rookie season in 2009.

PR Micah Hyde

The Packers have their return man. Hyde’s 55-yard punt return served as a catalyst for the Packers and was the lone bright spot on a dismal day for Green Bay’s special teams.

This was Hyde’s second touchdown return of the season.  He has deceptive speed and that will serve him well as (one would assume) he takes full control of the return job into the playoffs and the 2015 season.

Lame Calls

Special Teams

Green Bay’s special teams started with a bang thanks to Hyde’s return but ended the game on whimper.

Another blocked field goal (that’s seven blocked kicks on the year) and an inexcusable turnover on the Lions’ free kick after the fourth quarter safety made this yet another burn-the-tape game for Shawn Slouch’s unit.

Thanks to the resurgence of the defense, Slocum has become the top Packers assistant to earn the ire of fans and rightly so.  They haven’t cost the team a game yet (luckily) but one would think anything short of a Super Bowl ring means Slocum being shown the door and a new special teams coach being brought in.

LB Brad Jones

Jones’ knack for stupid penalties continues.

While some might consider the roughing the passer call on Jones “ticky-tack” as he only slapped the side of Stafford’s helmet, he has to know that he can’t have his hands anywhere near the head of the quarterback.

It’s a bad rule, but that was a very avoidable penalty that led to a Lions touchdown.  We might be talking about a bigger margin of victory had Jones not committed that foul.

Ndamukong Suh

Suh is just an overgrown toddler. For whatever reasons, he likes to stomp on things.

A week after Lions center Dominic Raiola was suspended for stomping on Jimmy Clausen, Suh once again showed his dirty side as he stood with one foot on Rodgers’ bad leg (which along may have been an unfortunate coincidence) but then took his other foot and seemed to put his whole 300 lb frame on Rodgers’ bad calf.

Rodgers noticed this and pushed Suh away in completely legitimate anger.  The fact Suh didn’t even react to Rodgers shows all you need to know about whether or not this was an intentional move by the defensive lineman.

The officials at the game missed this (not their fault, it was a subtle move by Suh which is how he gets away with this stuff) but the TV cameras did not.  The league will see this and, given Suh’s previous history of dirty play, he very likely will sit at least for the Lions’ playoff game in Dallas against the Cowboys.

It was just another stupid play by a coward of a defensive lineman.

——————

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.

——————

  • David

    Lame Calls – McCarty’s play calling on first drive inside the ten. Have to score a TD with seven shots at it. Even Since ’61 will agree!

    If that happens against Dallas or Seattle outcome will probably be different. Right Since ’61?

    Having said that great win and again, GO PACK GO!

    • Don

      He knew that, after 6 failed attempts to score, going for it again was still a higher percentage play than sending Crosby out to attempt a FG.

    • Big T

      I think they could’ve had 7 more shots and still been denied. That’s how good MM is on the goal line calls. On a serious note, I think once they get inside the ten yard line, all communication devices be disabled for MM and let Rodgers make the calls…

    • william dickson

      blah blah blah cow42 we know who you are,.thought you were done trolling. having said this I feel better…..eagle fan go home

      • David

        Not Cow42 you butt hole from New Jersey. Only good things that come from New Jersey are their tomatoes.

        • william dickson

          your from jersey

    • TedTomsin

      Agree David, that was absolutely pathetic on MM’s part not using Lacy until the final 4th down when EVERYONE on defense knew he was getting it. I don’t get that guy sometimes. You have a bulldozer for a running back so you elect to use a shovel instead. Not a smart call MM.

      • Nick Perry

        That’s the part that was so bad, not having Lacy in until the 7th play on 4th down. The Lions were keying on Lacy no matter what, Lacy never had a chance. If Rodgers was healthy it would have been a perfect time for a bootleg by Rodgers to the right, just like the TD in the NFC Championship games against Chicago in 2010.

      • shavager

        AMEN–I CALLED the run with Kuhn carrying the ball for no gain–you could see it coming if you’ve watched McCarthy’s Packers very much. Just don’t know what McCarthy’s thinking sometimes–IF the fans and viewers see it coming–does he NOT know the defense does too? Geez, it’s not rocket science McCarthy!!

    • shavager

      AMEN brother–McCarthy should’ve at least used some motion, showed run and passed it, showed pass and allowed Rodgers to roll to one side and pitch to a RB if necessary. Since this defense proved they can’t hold an offense inside the 10 yd line, they should’ve just kicked the FG and taken the 3 points. Folks, this ain’t brainstorm mentality–McCarthy gave up 3 points and even though they scored on Hyde’s return, this isn’t likely to happen against better opponents.

  • Savage57

    Right on about Matthews. He alone set the tone for the defense early in this game. He made sure that the Packers came out swinging and landed some big head shots and body blows to soften up the Lions.

    Lame call should have gone to offensive unit for the 0-7 GTG series to open the game. Home field, fast start, all that? Need to learn how to step on necks.

    MVP? I have a hunch Watt and AR will cancel each other out and Romo wins the MVP as a darkhorse. I heard Skip Bayless has a vote.

    • Tundraboy

      Speaking of Bayless cant wait to hear what he has to say about Rodgers now, hopefully nothing,

      • Big T

        Bayless will love on Donkey Kong Suh and maybe try to sway the MVP voters to vote for Suh.

      • billy

        Skippy is already on the Romo train this morning…

    • TedTomsin

      Looking back I think it was a smart move by MM to not give captain status to Matthews and give it to Morgan Burnett instead. I think that was a little psychological ploy on MM’s part to get Matthews to play to his max and it is working. Next year after hopefully his second ring Matthews will finally be Captain Clay.

      • Since ’61

        Ted – I’m pretty sure that the 6 team captains were voted for by the players. Although MM put the process in motion In don’t think that he made the actual selections. Thanks, Since ’61

        • TedTomsin

          You are correct Since 61′. I forgot but yes, the players vote on it. My bad.

          Ted

  • Since ’61

    I think game balls should also be given to the OL. They did a superb job against a very good DL both pass and run blocking. Lacy also deserves a game ball for some of the hardest rushing of the season. As for the play calling on the 1st drive, we had the TD on the pass to Jordy if not for the holding call against the Lions safety. Once the penalty put the ball on the 1 yard line I’m not sure why we didn’t continue to run the ball since we had just run all the way down the field. At least run it on second down. If we’re going to throw in that situation I would say throw it to R. Rodgers who demonstrated that he can make a tough catch in close quarters later in the game when he caught a key 3rd down pass. R. Rodgers is coming on, it’s time to use him as we would use Finley in that situation. Listening to MMs post game press conference he said he saw something that led him to call those pass plays. We don’t see the films they study all week so he gets the benefit of the doubt. In any case it all resulted in Hyde’s punt return for a TD. I’ll take it. Yesterday’s game and each game going forward is about winning. Our OL and our defense are both playing well, add a healed up A. Rodgers and I like our chances. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • packett

      definitely game ball to Oline, Dominant performance against a superb foe.

      Game ball to Morgan Burnett. Covered well in the back, which helped Matthews and Mike Neal. Was great in run support.

      • montana83

        Anyone notice that Stafford’s completion percentage was 48.8%. The DB’s were awesome. The Lions can’t blame the conditions as a limping A Rodgers was at 77.2%.

    • Thegreatreynoldo

      Right on, Since ’61. The offensive line deserves a game ball for outstanding pass pro (1 sack – against Flynn – and just 2 QB hits) and T,J. Lang in particular, and also for run blocking, although Detroit clamped down on running as the game went on. Like your reference to R. Rodgers, though I would compare him to Bubba Franks: use the big body to screen off the opponent or find the hole in the zone and then rumble for what you can get, and he has started to learn to block. Maybe R. Rodgers earned some trust. I wrote that we needed 6 receptions from the TEs and we got 5 (but very efficiently on 5 targets). The DBs played well too, holding Johnson and Tate to under 100 yards. Really, all the full time guys played at least pretty well. I would call this a complete team victory.

  • Ferrari Driver

    Well written and spot on.

  • Tundraboy

    Liked overall game plan, Run and build a lead but the end of that first series was absurd. They looked like the 60’s packers with Lacy and Starks and then pfft. Great game and Great win

  • Big T

    Well, I called the Donkey Kong Suh stomp. What a complete dickhead. He is lucky Rodgers didn’t open a can of whoopass on him…

    • Gman

      I read a good post about giving Suh a 3 game suspension & a fine. A tough penalty like this would likely keep him out of the playoffs entirely and penalize him ’til it hurts so that he won’t be a repeat defender.

      • Razer

        Suh is a dickhead – no doubt about it. I would like to see him get fined BUT I want him to play against Dallas. It makes for a good game and hopefully the Lions win. They can go to Seattle, who they match-up well with. Either way, Detroit can beat-up on Wilson and Lynch before we get there. Detroit winning probably gets us Carolina at Lambeau.

  • barutanseijin

    Trestman, Emery & Kromer axed. They were lame, especially Trestman, but I was kinda hoping they’d last a little longer.

  • Thegreatreynoldo

    I have no idea why a super bowl victory should save Slocums’ job. He should be judged on his own merits, insubstantial as they may be. I don’t think a SB victory will save Boykin’s roster spot next year, or B. Jones’, short of one of them playing lights out the rest of the way. There are few excuses this year, as he had essentially the same personnel to work with all year due to the lack of injuries and lack of roster turnover, and we have years of evidence.

    • TedTomsin

      I agree for the most part Reynoldo unless the Packers make the super bowl and his special teams are the main reason why we won the game. If that’s the case than I shall grant him one year of immunity from firing.
      I also have to be honest. There’s a part of me that loves Slocum being on this team. When things go bad I tend to use the guy as a sort of cyber punching bag to vent. In that regard I value him and he’s been very very good in that aspect this season in particular.

      Ted

  • Razer

    There have been at least three times that Brad Jones has taken a penalty that has caused the team a TD. Shortly thereafter I watched him let Reggie Bush out of the backfield without making a move to disrupt him that led to a big gain. I don’t know what happened to the guy but he has regressed these last two years and is a big liability on defense. Oh to have a Levy as our ILB.

  • Thegreatreynoldo

    Per Mortenson, the NFL has suspended Suh for 1 game. Appeal to follow, I assume.

    • TedTomsin

      Oh God!! Oh God!! Please tell me you are joking Reynoldo. My worst scenario seems to be playing out as I had not hoped it would.

      Of course Suh is going to claim innocence and will appeal. All this is going to do is stew more racial flames about black NFL players getting the wrong end of the stick when it comes to the law and the white guy getting away without even a slap on the wrist.

      Suh will say he did nothing wrong with his hands up and back turned and will claim Rodgers was the attacker and Rodgers will claim Suh did not have his hands up and purposely tried to hurt him even though the video cannot prove intent and only show Rodgers as the attacker of Suh.

      Doesn’t Goodell think? Suh should not have been suspended for this as nothing good can come out of it. Had the qb been Teddy Bridgewater instead of Rodgers, this would not even have been an issue. The Rodgers hitting of Suh on the backside is what ignited this.

      This suspension of the gentle giant Suh is going to backfire on the NFL mark my words. Let the outrage and riots in Detroit begin. I heard Al Sharpton is already on a flight to Detroit as we speak.

      • BradHTX

        While I generally hate it when people inject politics (or whatever this topic qualifies as) into sports discussion, I gotta give you major props for calling Suh “the gentle giant.” Well played, sir.

        • PissedoffinAZ

          Smoking with Ted, huh?

        • TedTomsin

          Thank you Brad. What can I say, the conditions were all there so took it.
          Ted

      • PissedoffinAZ

        Wow, Ted what have you been smoking? Gentle Giant? Kind of like Godzilla, huh?

        Suh SHOULD have been suspended for the rest of the playoffs, although Detroit will likely not get past Dallas. (Personally, I think he should be out for life based on his collective record.)

        The rest of your post is equally nuts. Suh absolutely knew where Rodgers was. Someone had a hold of his jersey and he purposely pulled away and stepped back. Even if you were right, he certainly felt something underfoot the first step, but did he stop? Look? Correct? Hell NO, because he knew exactly what he was doing. SUH IS DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY.

        Last, let’s look at your apparent racism. First, Suh would have been fined for this if he had stepped on the water boy.

        Second, the minute some jerk like you mentions Al Sharpton, the message is clear. You have a racism problem. You denigrate those in the black community for defending their own, but never a word about Hannity, Limbaugh, et al who “defend” the likes of like Darren Wilson. The FAUX mudslingers repeatedly quoted juror # whatever, who turned out to be a liar. So are you now going to make equally disparaging comments about the white guys defending the grand jury in Ferguson, which has now been shown to have been a total farce, as predicted?

        • TedTomsin

          Ah, Earth to Al Sharpton Jr. this was called SATIRE!! you moron!! making fun of the idiots that are protesting and how screwed up this country is taking the side of thugs and murderers vs law abiding citizens and especially the law enforcement community.

          Frankly I am a little offended you didn’t compliment me on this masterpiece. I thought it was some of my best work I ever did with how I incorporated Suh and Rodgers with Ferguson.

          Oh well, at least Jordy Nelson made the pro bowl which makes me very happy.

          Ted

          P.S. I am not a racist but I am willing to learn if you will teach me PissoffinAZ

          • PissedoffinAZ

            I doubt you could learn anything. You are a racist, this was not satire, Thug is the new N-word.

            FYI, I have several relatives in law enforcement, which I totally support except when the cop is dirty, or a racist, or a rapist, or has in any way sullied his/her badge and oath by being a bully, abusing power, or being a lawbreaker.

  • shavager

    Anybody watching the game KNEW Kuhn would get the handoff on leftside dive that went for ZERO, two passes got ZERO, the 4th down handoff dive by Lacy to the right side fooled nobody in the stadium. Just what McCarthy was trying to prove is unknown, it was Hyde’s punt return that bailed them out. He can’t afford that against better defenses like the Hawks. Slocum’s leadership on ST’s is hurting this team–blocked FG’s, blocked Xpoints, punt return TD’s against them, short kickoffs, Masthay’s failures in punt kicks–it’s looking like a nightmare scenario for McCarthy’s playoff hopes. Maybe it’s time to promote Ron Zook and show Slocum the door now, not after a playoff loss.