I can’t really fault those who want to blame Dom Capers and the Packers defense for this loss. They did allow rookie QB Andrew Luck to repeatedly find veteran WR Reggie Wayne, for back-breaking receptions despite a secondary flooded with defensive backs.
But the real blame for the Packers’ loss to the Colts lies at the feet of Mike McCarthy and/or Aaron Rodgers. Our own Adam Czech specifically points the finger at the Packers last drive of the first half, but let me take it a little bit further.
After the Packers went up 21-3 in the second quarter, suddenly the offense changed. To see how, let’s look at their next three posessions:
2nd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 1:17
1-10-GB 43 (1:17) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to J.Kuhn pushed ob at GB 49 for 6 yards (J.Freeman).
2-4-GB 49 (1:12) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to J.Nelson.
3-4-GB 49 (1:07) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short right to J.Finley (S.Brown).
4-4-GB 49 (1:04) T.Masthay punts 36 yards to IND 15, Center-B.Goode, fair catch by T.Hilton.
3rd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 15:00
1-10-GB 20 (15:00) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left.
(PENALTY on GB-T.Crabtree, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at GB 20 – No Play.)
1-20-GB 10 (14:51) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles up the middle to GB 22 for 12 yards (T.Zbikowski).
2-8-GB 22 (14:11) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to J.Finley to GB 28 for 6 yards (J.Powers).
3-2-GB 28 (13:24) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right intended for Ja.Jones INTERCEPTED by J.Powers at GB 39.
3rd Quarter: Green Bay Packers at 11:06
1-10-GB 20 (11:06) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left to Ja.Jones.
2-10-GB 20 (11:03) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers sacked at GB 15 for -5 yards (C.Redding).
3-15-GB 15 (10:28) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles left end to GB 17 for 2 yards. A.Rodgers pass incomplete short left to J.Finley.
(PENALTY on GB-A.Rodgers, Illegal Forward Pass, 5 yards, enforced at GB 17.)
4-18-GB 12 (10:16) T.Masthay punts 58 yards to IND 30, Center-B.Goode, fair catch by T.Hilton
Notice something missing from all three of these possessions? Yes, a running play.
Up until that point, (and not counting an Aaron Rodgers scramble), the Packers had run the ball 12 times in the first half and passed 14 times. For the Packers, that’s about as balanced as it gets. And guess what, it was working. The Packers scored three touchdowns using this approach.
So, with a chance to go up by four scores and seal the game for real, what happens?
Pass… pass… pass… pass…pass… pass… pass…pass… pass… pass…
Why? Why Mike? Why Aaron? Of course, we have to ask both of these guys because we just don’t know how often Rodgers had a pass/run option and chose the pass.
You might be tempted to say it was because Benson left the game with an injury, but that happened with 13 minutes left in the 2nd quarter and Green had gotten 3 carries since then. So why not continue to mix in the run to keep the defense guessing?
You might be tempted to say they were going for the kill by trying to pass their way down the field. Well how often has that worked this season? This isn’t 2011. The magical offensive passing juggernaut is just a distant memory. Opposing defenses know how to make things difficult for the Packers, especially missing Greg Jennings. This year’s offense, by necessity, has to be more balanced.
We’ve seen this running game disappearing act many times before from McCarthy and/or Rodgers. Last season they got away with it. This year they aren’t. (See the first half of Seattle game when they ran the ball 3 times and trailed 7-0).
The end result of this sudden unwillingness to run the ball is often that you don’t keep possession long enough for the defense to get some rest. The Packers’ possessions in the second half were for these number of plays: 3, 3, 9, 3, 4, 4, 2, 5.
The Packers defense was on the field 10 minutes more than the offense this game. By the last Indy possession, you could see they were gassed, and you saw the results.
Rodgers and other players like to talk about putting together a complete 60-minute performance. Well to do that, you need to stick with what’s working until the other team shows they can stop it.
If you saw the Giants game yesterday, they basically ran the same handful of plays over and over, because Cleveland had no answer. There’s no reason to stop yourself, as the Packers have done several times this season. They did it again yesterday.
The defense was far from perfect and Mason Crosby missed two 5o yard field goals, but the real blame for this loss belongs at the feet of the Packers’ play calling and whoever was ultimately responsible; McCarthy, Rodgers, Clements, whoever it was, this loss is on them.
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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.
29 thoughts on “Packers Collapse? Blame Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers”
The whole team pretty much blew not just M.M. and A.R. I’ve read many post’s about the 2010 team starting out like this team. Those teams played defense. Those teams caught the ball. Those teams didn’t make 52 stupid commercials you see 100 times a game during off-season. Mostly those teams had Joe Philbin who helped game plan and install the offense. M.M. has been unable to make adjustments to what teams do to his offense since last year in K.C. They have coach’s for the most part that never played the position that they coach. M.M. and T.T. continue to shuffle around a bunch of below average coach’s. Edgar Bennett is now coach of the WR for example. WTF!!!! Didn’t he play running back! Lastly I’ll say this. I watched the New England game the other week and was thinking WOW, been doing this since like 2002. A machine. I’ve sat here and been smashed when I’ve suggested that T.T. has totally blown most drafts. The offensive line is a wet paper towel. You bitch slap our receivers at the line and they either stop running their routes or just drop the ball. The two best lineman the Packers have had (Jenkins & Wells) have walked in the last two years without even much of a offer. He’s missed many more than he’s hit on. Rodgers seems to have gone Hollywood. He signed a TE who leads the NFL in drops in the last 20 games for 15 million! He’s missed FAR more times than he’s hit.
Agree 100% with everything you said. Also have been bashed for bashing T.T. but the proof is in the pudding. To quote the great Bear Bryant…”The same things win that always won, just a bunch of different excuses when we lose.” Running the football and playing defense wins games. We cant do either!!
Gotta agree. The game was “gift wrapped” for us when they missed the FG, giving us great field position at the 1:17 left mark. Getting the ball there & knowing we’d have it at the beginning of the half, up 21-3 should have sealed the game….but didn’t! Did MM not learn anything from the Seahawks game?
I agree completely. I would add that the coaches simply have no ability to adjust on the fly. Dom capers couldn’t seem to make any adjustment to stop 1 receiver. How our pass rush was negated by a line full of backups also surprises me. Clearly the team thought it could coast through the second half. That is the coaches fault! GoPack!
I would also add that many of us thought the signing of Jeff Saturday would be a good stopgap at Center. Clearly that has not been the case and the line misses Scott Wells. Saturday is too often overwhelmed physically and is still struggling 5 games in (not to mention an entire offseason) with making the protection calls and being on the same page as the other linemen and Rodgers. GoPack!
Fumble fingers Finley… time to let him go. He is a liability, another TD pass dropped, crucial 1st down pass dropped. I don’t like to see people get injured, but this may be a blessing in disguise. By the way fumble fingers was only part of this loss, the whole team wanted to lose badly….
Right on Al. This problem lies at the feet of three men:
1. Mike McCarthy. How long does it take you to realize that teams are playing 2 deep shells and man press, hoping to neutralize Rodgers and his WR’s with pressure? RUN THE DAMNED BALL IDIOT!
2. Aaron Rodgers. We got rid of Brett Favre Aaron. You don’t throw too many stupid balls, but you take FAR too many looks downfield. Check to the short guy and let the WR’s make plays. THEN the deep ball will open up. Idiot.
3. Dom Capers. You’ve got exactly 2 games to right this ship. If you don’t you’ve got to leave. I’m sick of the 3rd and long conversions. I’m sick of porous pass coverage and defensive holding/PI. You have the players. You’ve got to start being agressive. No more of this zone crap. Play press man. Rush the passer and at least go down swinging if you’re going to go down!
The maddening thing is that this team has the talent to be elite at almost every single position on the field.
I am going to the Texans game this coming Sunday. Either this team will come out swinging and pull a 2010, or they’ll get their brains beat it.
If it’s the former, we’ll know we’ve got a playoff team that has a chance in December. If it’s the latter, the DC will be fired and the HC and QB1 will be put on notice.
Really, it’s a long term win/win.
1) YES! And try to call plays in a sequence that is not predictable and plays with a design that attacks what the defense is giving you.
2) Yes, YES and YES!!! When we made our superbowl run at the end of the 2010 season, the offnese was unstoppable because Rodgers was patient and directed a ball controll passing game. We need long scoring drives with the number of plays in the teens – pass or run – to control the clock. This means short,quick passes. Three step drops!!! Then the opponents pass rush is almost irrelevant.
3)YES! I am so sick of seing over/under coverage with the under coverage being WAAAAY to soft and leaving a huge hole. Capers, you need to correct this if you have young DB playing too soft on coverage. It is time to play MAN Press!
I agree with Bearmeat, this is a team that should be elite at almost every level.
As for the coaches….
McCarthy is a good, proven coach that can lead the Pack to the Super Bowl. I think we can all agree we’re glad to have him and not a guy like that bumbling idiot Rex Ryan. However, I definitely agree, the play calling needs to be more adjusted. “Balance” can be overrated, if you can’t run for more than two yards what does balance really do? However, totally abandoning the running game has proven costly… hint hint the sacks. Benson and Green need to be given the chance to get in a rhythm.
The defense has plenty of playmakers and enough talent for as good of an offense as we have. I don’t care if we’re middle of the league, that should be more than enough for A-Rod and company. Just get some stops when it counts. The front seven is getting better and better with the young guys contributing more and more each week. The secondary is really scaring me, though. Can they really be worse than last year? Hopefully not. Go Pack
I didn’t think we would miss Joe Philibin this much…
The problem is not Philbin. MM has always gotten too pass happy – and when the deep ball hasn’t worked for AR, he’s just not a great QB.
There are obviously many places to point the finger of balme, but I think the ultimate failure was MM. As in the Seattle game, when MM admitted he did not make in game adjustments to the offense, we saw the exact same thing in the second half yesterday. The sequence of play calling was terrible in the first six offensive series for GB. They kept trying to run outside against a undersized, speed defense. Not smart. On two plays, the design called for Tom Crabtree to block an elite defensive end. Predictably, TC was blown up and the play resulted in a big negative for GB. After studying the Colts defense all week is that the best the coaching staff could come up with??? Then they had Randall Cobb running patterns like he was trying to “sit down” in a zone when he was being man covered. No wonder he was not getting open. RC should have been running crossing patterns and slants, not sitting down with his man right on top of him.
MM seems to come into a game with a scripted strategy. When the defense reacts to take that away, MM does not seem to adjust and attack what the defense is giving him. Maybe MM is too close to the field to see what is taking place and he needs an offensive coordinator up in the box so GB is better able to make in game adjustments.
I do not even want to talk about the lack of defensive adjustment and basically letting one person on the other team beat you. But Dom Capers had a similar problem – The strategy he drew up during the week was not working and he was not able to make the necessary adjustments in game to correct the problem. Now DC is working with a lot of inexperienced players that should do nothing but get better, but MM is working with an offense that should be elite.
“Maybe MM is too close to the field to see what is taking place and he needs an offensive coordinator up in the box so GB is better able to make in game adjustments.”
That’s a really interesting thought; makes me wish they’d try a game or two with the OC up in the box and see if it makes a difference.
Capers was given the entire 2012 draft to add playmakers. This, in addition, to Matthews, Raji, Woodson, Williams, Burnett, and Shields. There is no excuse for crappy defense right now. The Colts an average offense and they looked elite in the second half.
The plan in the second half was obviously to bring a lot of rushers – 5 or 6 – on most plays. The rush wasn’t getting home in time and so the DBs were at risk. It didn’t work and no adjustments were made. Against the Bears, they were rushing 3 or 4 and getting enough pressure to allow the DBs to make plays.
The DB I am most disappointed in is Woodson. Not only is he too slow to run with guys now, but it doesn’t look like he can stay with guys in close quarters now either and he is not making big tackles. He is not worth the big $$ they are paying hi. I would like to see House and Hayward take his snaps.
WOW! Did they all head for home at halftime, because that was not the same packer team I know and love in the second half! We are in trouble if that group shows again because the texans ARE for real I fear, and that would mean 2-4 and a big hole to climb out of!!!!!! REAL SCARY BOYS!!!
Although I hate losing like this, I think it is good for this team to be forced into adjustments. We know that this coaching staff can adjust. It did in 2010. Last year they were never forced to adjust anything because of their regular season dominance. By the time the playoffs came along teams had us figured out.
Winning teams like the Patriots and Giants change and adapt every year. Let’s hope the Pack is up to the challenge.
The problem is that they didn’t learn from the Seattle game. I thought that would have been a big enough wake-up call, but apparently not.
Agree completely. I just don’t see the in-game adjustments, but I’m also concerned with the game strategy too. Most have said that Lombardi was a great coach during the week but on game day, Starr ran the show. Starr had the ability to read the defense and call plays on what he saw. Who is doing that today? Is this a case of MM and Aaron sharing the duty so there really isn’t any accountability? It’s baffling to me how we could completely blow up in the 2nd half. MM has the perception of a highly disciplined coach, but I still think he lacks the smarts to be a “great” coach.
I would hate to be in the O-Line, even the ball boys know McCarthy will continue to ignore the running game and Rodgers will hold the ball for an eternity. No Philbin and no Wells has to have an effect the only question is how much as well as Jennings not playing again (he may get the big pay day by default). Too bad Quarless is not available, Finley looks like Mike Vick, a “coach killer”, and Crabtree looks tough but played as soft as Richard Simmons on Sunday. I made a prediction when Crosby signed his extension when they noted he had only 1 pressure kick under his belt that chances were he would choke again, the only difference was this was far to the left, all of the others have been far to the right. It looked like an amateur contest with someone from the stands trying to win $10,000.
What offensive coach, in their right minds, would start running the ball LESS when they have a big lead?
Seriously, McCarthy. Don’t know what you were trying to accomplish there.
Wow. That was awful I can not even begin to describe. I have been a fan since I was 5 , since 1962 and this was the most pathetic disgusting performance ever. Up by 5 after saving some face in the second half and let Colts walk down the field!!!!! Can they ever stop anyone anymore on 3rd down!!!!!!!!!!!. That was the big problem last year and it is now. I almost feel ashamed to be a fan right now. Embarrassing, Embarrassing,Embarrassing,Embarrassing,
Some good thoughts.
Alex Green deserves to play
DJ Williams too.
Finley now not only does not block right, catch the ball but is not a true tight end who is hard to tackle and bring down. Now he only gains yards when he catches the ball at full speed and in stride. So question is how long can they live with him if he can not make a big play or two a game??
A day later I am still embarrassed and disgusted with the passive aggressive defense. Prevent. No press coverage, play off the recievers BS. It has to be Capers. Maybe he has to get out of the sky booth and be on the field!!! I am sick of a year and half now of games. where we make the great stop or plays to get the other team in long 3rd down situations only to give up easy long first downs. Happened against Giants in NY and almost every game since. Seen half ass efforts to get after qb usually resulting in trying to blitz and the opposing receiver is left with plenty of room to catch the ball. Wayne was great but where was the coverage when he was obviously getting the ball!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope this is the wake up call they need.
It’s tough to run the ball when we have long yardage to gain thanks to a QB that is back to his old habit of holding on to the ball too long. However, it’s still on the defense ,when the O gives you a lead and the D needs to make one stop to win the game.How many easy INTs did we drop 4 , the one in the end zone by Williams was gift wrapped and would of given us the win.
I had felt that the 2010 season MM should have been let go if he didn;t win the Super Bowl. Never have been a fan of his play calling.I have been long life packer fan, and live in Indy.I was really okay with giving up the yardage to Reggie Wayne.We had the worst defense last year so plugging in some rookies and roles players were not going to turn this D around.What bothers me the most is that our offense could not move the ball against a defense that had second string players for the most part in the secondary, Which falls in line with MM play calling.T fisrt series at the start of the second half showed me that we were in trouble. this team has never showed the killer instinct. We also need to give up on the Jermichael Finley project he has not shown any signs that he wants to take it to the next level. Along with a very bad middle linebacker in AJ Hawk. there are plenty more on this list. We are not that great a team, I think to much is put into last years 15=1 record.Its a long season for us and not looking like we have a shot at making the playoffs.I hope I am wrong but we can lose maybe 2 more games tops to have an outside chance.
I cant fault the play calling at the end of the 1st half, but the 2nd half we come out passing like we’re trailing 21-3. And, the D must have been thinking about the post game meal. Losing to a beat up Indy team and rookie QB when you have an 18pt 2nd half lead, unforgivable.
The collapse of the Packers rests at the feet of Dom Capers. This coach has a big reputation with few accomplishments. He has no defensive schemes. Opponents receivers are always open and there is never any Packer player in position to turn an end sweep into the middle. 27 points should be adequate to win a game with just an average defense.
The player draft seems to be working again with some of the bottom feeders climbing up the latter & the elite teams beginning to slide. With the Packers drafting near the bottom, the quality of choices is diminished quite a bit.The 49 ers, even St. louis are moving up. Our only hope for the immediate future is to develop the less than elite players & we have to do it on the PLAYING field. It could happen, but we better do it quickly or this season is over
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