Pathetic, flat, uninspired and unemotional.
These are a just few words that could be used to describe the dud that the Green Bay Packers put up against the New York Giants on national television Sunday night. It was a game many fans had circled on the calendar since the schedule was released in spring. The Giants ended the Packers’ season in the playoffs last season and many a player and fan were eager to get some revenge on the Giants in their own house.
Instead, by a score of Giants 38, Packers 10, salt got added to the wound and boy does it burn.
Here’s who stood out and (more likely) stunk it up during the Packers’ fourth loss of the 2012 season.
WR Jordy Nelson
At times, it seemed Nelson was the only wide receiver that showed up to play. Yes, Randall Cobb made a couple plays out of the backfield but Nelson was really the only one that got anything going downfield.
By “anything going,” I really refer to only one play.
Nelson’s beautiful 61 yard touchdown that tied the game at 7 was really the Packers’ lone highlight of the night so in a sense, Nelson gets a game ball by default.
The good news is that the play Nelson made on the sideline was similar to the plays he made last season during his breakout season. Hopefully the Packers can get more plays like that from Nelson now that he is healthy again.
FB John Kuhn
Kuhn’s name has not been called much this season as he’s scored only one touchdown, but the Packers fullback made some plays against the Giants that helped provide the Packers an answer to Ahmad Bradshaw.
Kuhn caught three balls for 49 yards to go along with four carries for 17 yards. It was refreshing to see Kuhn get some work in the screen game. If the Packers continue to struggle running the ball, perhaps some screen passes to Kuhn will help alleviate the pain.
LB Dezman Moses
The pass rush was abysmal against the Giants, but Moses once again provided some hope in the absence of Clay Matthews.
Moses recorded the Packers’ only sack of the contest and he was the one linebacker to at least somewhat consistently get near to Eli Manning. The promise many people noticed in Moses early in training camp and the preseason is beginning to find its way on to the field and while no one can replace Matthews, Moses definitely will be a player to watch the rest of the season.
The offensive line
The pass protection was so bad it’s nearly impossible to single one offensive lineman to give a Lame Call to.
Aaron Rodgers was sacked five times which puts him at a total of 36 on the season. His career high is 50 so if he is sacked three times in each of the next five games, he will surpass that total. This game was just further proof that no matter how athletic your quarterback is, if you do not have a solid line in front of him then the offense will not go anywhere.
Even though he struggled at times this season, it’s clear how much the Packers miss Bryan Bulaga. Evan Dietrich-Smith has not taken to left guard too well nor has TJ Lang at right tackle in place of Bulaga.
The Packers were victorious over the Lions last Sunday, but the offensive line struggled then too. If the Packers want to make any kind of noise in January, the line has to improve—now.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy
Fans may have (half-jokingly) been blaming the Packers’ struggles on McCarthy’s mustache that he has been growing, but no amount of facial hair will cover up the fact that McCarthy was not at his best Sunday night.
Early in the game, the Packers were driving the ball into Giants territory. Faced with a 4th down and 3, McCarthy opted to send in struggling kicker Mason Crosby for a 55-yard field goal attempt rather than let Rodgers take a shot at gaining the three needed yards.
Crosby naturally missed the field goal and it sent the Packers into a tailspin from which they never recovered.
McCarthy also could have committed more to the running game. While the two-headed attack of Alex Green and James Starks has not exactly inspired confidence, sometimes just attempting to run the ball is enough to open things up for the passing game.
McCarthy owed it to his quarterback to help shore up protection or at least get receivers open and he fell short.
CB Tramon Williams
For pretty much the entire Packers defense, the Giants game looked like their 2011 season being replayed before their eyes.
In the case of Williams, it was completely true. Williams could not tackle to save his life. At one point, he had both arms wrapped around a receiver yet the receiver dragged Williams a couple more yards before he was forced to the ground.
The Giants tried to keep the Packers in it thanks to some bad throws by Manning as well as some drops by his receivers. Unfortunately, the Packers took themselves out of the game thanks to poor tackling and Williams once again was a liability in bringing the receiver to the ground.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin
That was real classy there, trying to score another touchdown with the game well in hand. Going for it on 4th down to try and get to 45 points? Not cool.
Luckily, the Packers’ fans have very long memories. So do the players and in particular, their MVP quarterback.——————
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. Follow @KrisLBurke