Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 26, Vikings 26 All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.
Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.

Despite playing to a 26-26 tie, the Green Bay Packers gained ground on the division-leading Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. And as far as the NFC North title is concerned, that’s a win for the Pack.

Without quarterback Matt Flynn’s late-game heroics, it’s hard to imagine the Packers pushing the game to overtime. But Flynn, down by 16 in the fourth quarter, led his team back and tied the game at 23.

And the game was played on my 23rd birthday, so of course, yours truly had something to do with the comeback. Duh.

Some players just fit in a certain system. And there’s no way around it–Matt Flynn’s ceiling is as a backup with the Packers.

Some–myself included–overestimated Flynn’s value when he hit the free agent market after the 2011 season. Sure, he’s been traded from the Seattle Seahawks and cut by the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills since leaving Green Bay, but at this point it’s pretty clear that the Packers’ system is good for Flynn and Flynn is good for the Packers.

“We were looking for a spark,” head coach Mike McCarthy said of Flynn after the game. “We had a history with Matt. He went out there and played football.”

Sounds simple. And it is. Flynn went out there and played football. He made the throws he had to make and took what the leaky Vikings defense was giving him.

At the very least, Flynn gives the locker room a shot of confidence as they head into a season-altering game Thursday against the Detroit Lions. The last time Flynn played in Detroit was when he entered the game in relief after Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion. The offense sputtered, and the Packers lost that game 7-3.

Now, the Packers head into their Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions needing a win, which would put them in first place in the division. The only question is: Will they have Aaron Rodgers?

Game Balls

Eddie Lacy

Teams know they’ll be getting a heavy dose of Lacy when they play the Green Bay Packers, but it doesn’t matter. Stacking the box can only do so much against a bruising back who routinely breaks through arm tackles. Lacy finished the game with 110 yards on 24 carries and proved his worth in the passing game, totaling 48 yards on six catches. The guy is really, really good.

Matt Flynn

Flynn saved the day Sunday. Nothing against Scott Tolzien–I think he has a future as a long-term backup in the NFL, but Matt Flynn was simply better against the Vikings, and he gave the offense the shot of life it so desperately needed. Obviously, the entirety of Packer Nation wants its starting quarterback back, but it’s going to be interesting to see how this Tolzien vs. Flynn thing unfolds. We may not have an answer until Training Camp 2014.

Clay Matthews

Matthews looked a lot like Clay Matthews against the Vikings. It’s amazing what having two hands and a pair of movable thumbs can do for a guy. The guy was all over the field–and Christian Ponder’s back–on Sunday, recording two sacks and three hits on the quarterback. If the Packers’ defense is going to turn things around and become a slightly-better-than-average unit yet this season, Matthews is going to need to be a man among boys like he was on Sunday.

Jordy, Jones and Jarrett

The Packers’ top three receivers are great, and that’s not even including Randall Cobb, who is perhaps their most dangerous offensive weapon. From making lunging acrobatic catches to creating yards after the catch, the Packers’ receivers continue to get it done. And as good as Flynn was in leading the comeback, the receivers definitely made his job easier.

Lame Calls

Marshall Newhouse

I try not to pile on one guy, but it’s the same thing over and over from Marshall Newhouse. How can a guy go from a starting left tackle to one of the worst right tackles in the league? He simply hasn’t gotten any better over the past couple seasons, and the gap between he and Don Barclay is astronomical. He has fans chanting “Derek Sherrod” in hopes that he’ll be replaced. That’s not a good sign.


From the stands, I really didn’t think Morgan Burnett played well, and the guys at Pro Football Focus would agree with me, as Burnett’s -3.4 grade ranked dead last on the team. Davon House was victimized in coverage, along with Micah Hyde (again) and (gulp) Jarrett Bush. Being without Sam Shields is a big deal, and his absence has been a huge factor the past couple weeks.

Overtime confusion

I understand that players aren’t necessarily the biggest fans in the world, but it’s beyond weird (to me) that there continues to be confusion about the NFL’s overtime rules. The head referee, Bill Vinovich, thoroughly explained the rules of overtime after regulation, but tight end Andrew Quarless apparently didn’t understand. “It’s definitely a weird feeling,” Quarless told reporters after the game, per ESPN. “This is my first tie I’ve been a part of. Like I was telling [another reporter] earlier, I thought we were going to go to double overtime.” I just…I don’t know.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


63 thoughts on “Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 26, Vikings 26

  1. Marques, you forgot Greg Jennings. His fourth quarter drop was worthy of a game ball.

    As I commented on Cory’s post, I would give both the D-line and O-line lame calls after Sunday. The defense got runover and the line did little to slow up either AP or Gerhart.

    The O-line didn’t do the QB’s any favors and they made Eddie Lacy work twice as hard to get his nuggets. The three OT line penalties crowned a poor showing by this line. We have been getting worse as the season moves on.

  2. Unless Detroit turns the ball over like they did against Tampa Bay, I don’t see us winning on Thanksgiving. Our D is not aggressive or physical enough to cause turnovers. I highly. doubt that Rodgers will play. And if Minnesotas D can reek that much havoc on our Oline, im not looking forward to Detroits Dline, in the Dome, playing against us.

    1. I wish that I had Calvin Johnson in fantasy football. If Sam Shields makes it back, we may be able to cover some of the other guys. We need Stafford to float us some of the turkeys that he offered the Bucs.

      1. Even if Sam Shields comes back, I’m playing all my Lions this week in FFL. I fully expect the Lions offense to put on a clinic this Thursday. I don’t think it will be at all pretty.

        Stafford has been much more 2011 Stafford of late. Maybe the earlier portion of the year is the anomaly. Still, they’ve lost a couple of stinkers in a row, and they’re healthy.

    1. I don’t see how the Packer D holds the Lions–with Bush, Megatron, Pettigrew and now Burleson–under 40.

  3. Totally, 100% agreed on Newhouse. He’s awful. I mean, just horrifically bad. It seems you could put just about anyone in there and he couldn’t do any worse. I just don’t really understand it because he wasn’t nearly this bad in his previous starts. His job ought to be in SERIOUS danger…

    1. I’ve been a Newhouse apologist (mostly last season), but no more. He just can’t handle it on this level, and he’s being targeted. They need to at least platoon him.

      1. Here’s another place where injuries really hurt. Because it happened so early in the year, people seem to forget that our starting left tackle was supposed to be Bulaga. If he were healthy, we would likely be looking at Bulaga on the left and Bakhtiari on the right. And that sounds a whole lot better than any combination of players that involves Newhouse.

    2. Marpag is right on the money…if MM activated Sherrod, why doesn’t play him, or put him on season-ending IR…Newhouse should be released.

  4. besides Lacy the real surprise bright spot has been Bakhtiari. He has done so much better than could have been reasonably expected at the start, and he can only get better, a real lucky find at a very important position. But on D? Tell me if Perry, Worthy, and perhaps Jones (to early to tell) are not close to the “busts”.

    1. WIM, and everybody else…we stole the tie…Tolzien is a project…our D-Line without Johnny Jolly is pathetic…Where were Pickett and Raji, especially in the second half and OT? Our best D-Lineman is Jolly, and by far. Please do not resign Raji…He has been invisible almost all year. As far as our RT situation…If Sherrod is healthy, he needs to start. Newhouse,…I am not going to pile on…
      If Rodgers is not back on Thanksgiving, and Shields is out…this game will be a blow-out.

    2. Jones has 3 sacks in the last four games as a rookie getting limited snaps, and you’re suggesting he’s a bust already? You think you might be asking a bit much?

  5. CM3 played a great game but I think on the crucial 15 yd run by Peterson on 3rd and 9 he crashed down inside not holding contain on the left side. Did anybody else see it this way?

    1. If I remember the play, yes I think you’re right, but Matthews is such a dang good run defender I’m willing to cut him a little slack.

      I thought Hawk had a down game (even though I’m a lot more supportive of him than some others are). He repeated tried to jump around the blocker, and Peterson kept eating his lunch. Part of that might be explained by the fact that the D-line didn’t play well, and Minny was getting guards on the linebackers all day.

      In addition to Jolly being out, I think Pickett’s groin is still bothering him. He doesn’t seem to have his usual power, and he was getting shoved aside a lot.

      1. Marpag, that’s an excuse for Pickett, who looked over-matched and was consistently pushed-around…However, if his groin is still bothering him, play Boyd, he could not have played worse than RP…He is nearing the end of his stay in Green Bay…Raji is again a non-factor…What is TT thinking of, offering this bum $8,000,000 a year? For what? So people don’t say, “Here is another terrible 1st round pick by TT.”…He stinks!
        On the positive side, Matt Flynn brought a spark. Bakhtiari did another solid job at LT. Lacy was spectacular…and Clay Matthews is back-with a vengeance!
        Am hoping AR is back Thanksgiving Day (doubtful)…If not, it may be a long day for the Packers…

        1. John W., if what Marpag says is correct, concerning Pickett’s groin injury, cut him some slack…But, you are correct, in that both Pickett and Raji stunk the place up on Sunday.
          Here a month ago, our D-Line was a strength, and now without Jolly and with Pickett playing injured, it has been a weakness.
          I agree that Raji needs to be cut loose at the end of his current contract. Almost anyone out there would be an upgrade…Also, am now on the side of those calling for the ouster of Dom Capers and his inept 3-4 Defense. Time for real change in Green Bay. Back to the 4-3…and consideration for a promotion of Kevin Greene…new DC…

      2. JWillard, I agree with marpag on this one…Pickett is playing hurt, and is maybe 50-60%…Agree with you that Raji seems to have played himself off the team for 2014…Resign this fat boy-Raji?…Not!

  6. Unless everyone gets healthy before Thursday, this should be a loss. But, with 10 days of rest before our next game, we could get a lot of players back , including Rodgers, and some of our dinged up players that are playing now can also heal up. ‘IF’ we get no more injuries, we finish 10-5-1. This maybe enough to win the division. The way the Lions and Bears have been playing, I see them losing a couple more games against other teams.. We may not fair well in the playoffs, but beating out our division rivals for the division crown always feels good

      1. True. And if Lions defeat Pack and then go 3-2, 9-6-1 will be better than 9-7 and maybe good enough to win the division.

        However, it’s no sure thing that AROD will play v ATL. I have read they are targeting DAL game.

  7. I still feel we would have finished 14-2 or 13-3 ‘IF’ fully healthy’ and would. Have had a first round bye in the playoffs. Win one game at Lambeau and the Packers ‘would’ have been in the NFC championship game. None of us would be bitching (especially me) as much if this happened. The injuries this year are mind boggling, I don’t get it

    1. 2 points means down by 8 or one possession–a touchdown plus another 2 point conversion.
      1 point means down by 9 or 2 possessions.
      0 points means down by 10 or 2 possessions. Unless you absolutely know the future, who wouldn’t go for 2?

      1. I like your math. The defense getting the ball back twice in the 4th quarter was an absolute bonus. It was the right call – but – you need an offense that can get points. There in lies the rub.

      2. …If ands and buts, were fruits and nuts, the whole year would be Christmas…If the 2-point conversion is successful, we might win the game, or not…

  8. Criticizing Marshall Newhouse and Morgan Burnett, seriously?

    These 2 players were drafted by TT and are part of the deep pool of talent our GM has provided our coaches with — at least that is what everyone who covers the team has been insisting.

    Furthermore, TT just signed Burnett to a huge new contract so he has to be a great player just like Brad Jones, John Kuhn, Mason Crosby, and AJ Hawk are great players because TT gave them above market contracts.

    Stop criticizing TT’s players cause they are all really good.

    1. SDPackerFan, so, I am not the only one who sees these ridiculous contracts for average or below average players. You also forgot the subpar Tramon Williams, who is our highest paid DB. Both Mulumba and Lattimore are better LBs than Brad Jones, who would not start on most other teams in the NFL.

  9. Someone please stick a Lame Ball up Newhouses azz… Sick of people saying its because of injuries. Screw that nobody with a sane mind would even keep him for a tackling dummy. 2nd string, 3rd string, aah no, only string he is would be on the end of a tampon.

    1. Are you at least willing to admit that Newhouse wouldn’t even be on the field if it weren’t for injuries? So maybe it IS a teensy bit about injuries, hmm?

      1. Its about having quality back-ups. Every team has injuries. Look at the Bears, their back up qb is better than the starter. I don’t care if 52 of the 53 man original roster were injured, Newhouse does not belong in the NFL. Just wait TT will give him a big raise soon. MM will try to sneak in his back door.

        1. Yes – GB’s depth has been tested this season… problem is they’ve failed most every test.

          Boykins and Bakhtiari are the only “depth” players who have come in and performed well.

          Pick a safety
          Hyde (while he has shown some redeeming qualities… the fact of the matter is he can’t cover NFL receivers. Sort of a problem if you’re a CB)

          …all have faired miserably.

          I guess Lattimore did pretty well. Not sure why he doesn’t ever play.

    2. Big T, tell us how you truly feel about Newhouse…Sad to say, I would use somewhat different words, but, I agree with your overall assessment.

  10. I’d give a game ball to Starks, I’m afraid that without another back to shoulder some of the load, lacy isn’t going to last. Lacy’s pounding people, but absorbing a lot of blows himself. Somehow I don’t think Alex Green would be quite the same.

    A consolation game ball to tolzien. I think that it may have been his last chance to see the field. How quickly Tolzien’s fortunes have changed.

    1. Tim, Tolzien was not much above average in the Big Ten. Please, anyone tell me, with a straight face, that Wallace and Tolzien are better backups than Vince Young or Graham Harrell…or Coleman, for that matter. Could the cold facts be, that TT and MM got lucky, with a stud like Rodgers, but, simply don’t have anything but average eyes for talent, and cannot ‘coach-up’ a back-up QB?…Save the thrice-dumped Matt Flynn?It would appear it is either back to the practice squad or the waiver wire when AR returns, for Tolzien, and hopefully soon!

  11. Lame Calls:

    McCarthy on game day. He gets out coached every week. The Packers had the ball, after the catch by Jones, on the Min 11 1/2 yard line with 1:10 to go in regulation. What is the call on first down? Run to the left with Lacy. Are you freakin kidding me. Put it in the end zone and ball game is over!

    Also, just get rid of Caper’s he is horrible. Receivers are so wide open almost every play.

    If I were the decision maker he gets fired during the game!


    1. If Flynn throws a pick, season is over. That’s why MM tried to run the ball. He wants to live and fight another day. He knows that with Flynn he has a fighting chance to beat Detroit. I still believe in Flynn. He just has chemistry with our receivers. Detroit’s secondary is as bad as ours if not worse. Now if MM doesn’t give Flynn all the snaps with first team all week, then I would agree that he’s an idiot but I am 100% sure he’s not dumb. He did win the SB.

      1. jtmax…are you saying to play for the tie?…Reminds me of that bum we had for head coach about ten years ago…Mike Sherman…he was constantly playing ‘not to lose’…it’s a losing strategy.

  12. If Rodgers doesn’t get hurt we are probably 8-3 at this point and no one is complaining about talent or play calls. Yes, we would still be complaining about Newhouse. In any case we still have a good chance to win the division if we can beat the Lions on Thursday and get Rodgers and Cobb back. Everyone was upset when we were 1-2 and Rodgers was healthy, then we beat the Lions in a solid game. With Flynn we should be able to put points on the board. If the defense shows up we have a reasonable chance to get the victory. Thanks, Since’61

    1. Defense? The 10 guys other than CIII suck. Their coordinator sucks and their head coach sucks and their GM talent evaluator sucks. Did I miss anyone else relevant to the current disaster? This so-called defense is brutal to watch.

        1. Stroh, I like the way you think! Thanks for the laugh! By the way, Happy Turkey Day to all you Packers bloggers.

  13. I’m about 1 millimeter from calling it a season. An expected curbstomping on Thursday should just about do it.

    Off season Priority list:

    1. Sign a FA Safety or draft one (maybe two) high.

    2. Fire Capers

    3. Consider bringing back Pat Shurmur to call plays. MM obviously can’t be the head coach and call plays on gameday.

    4. Let Raji Walk.

    5. Sign Pickett for VERY cheap or let him walk.

    6. Resign Jolly

    7. Let Jones Walk.

    8. Drink. A lot. To numb the crappy memories from this entire FB season.

    1. I believe Raji is playing not to get hurt, now that he’s decided to go into FA. God help us if mails back that $8MM/yr contract signed. Anyone know if the deal is still on the table?!

    2. …Bearmeat…I’m assuming you mean Brad Jones. If so, agreed…How did this bum ever get extended with a big contract?…If we win in Detroit on Thursday, it will be a near miracle…
      Depressed in WDC…

  14. With all the injury situations on defense and offense there is no continuity to practice and preparations for games. We have to play street ball out there. Hard for any coach to win in this situation. Our only chance is for Flynn to play out of his mind like he did against Detroit last game as Packer. Redemption time Flynn. Got nothing to lose. Go Pack!

  15. Looking at 40-12 on T-Day. Get your bets down. Pack hasn’t covered since AROD went down and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. All teh BS about teh great home grown talent stocked on our roster has circled the drain. TT is a fraud. MM is a fraud. It’s all about AROD. Dom Capers should not be blamed. No defensive coordinator could do any better with this collection of misfits. Hawk and Jones make us soft up the middle. In front of them is a soft Raji and behind them is a soft and confused pair of S. If I were Capers I would resign.

    1. Are you kidding, don’t blame Capers! The only constant about the defense the last four years IS Capers. I would fire him at halftime on Thursday.

      On a side not did you see the way San Fran tackles! That is how it is done!

  16. Did I mention the 3 HIPPO DL and the midgets at CB? Two HIPPOs now wounded and other is looking for first plane out of town, trying no to get injured before he hits FA. What a shambles!

  17. My mother’s parents and family left Minsk for America in 1905. What would have kept them there from 1881 to 1905, and what happened in about 1905 that would have caused them to leave then?

  18. The thing is, most of the players on the defense have shown that they can blitz, cover, and get turnovers. Not so much this season. Is that something to do with scheme, or has everyone on the D regressed all at once? We’ve seen the potential from a lot of guys at different times. Why aren’t they reaching that potential? I’m not one to question people on their jobs when I couldn’t do any better, but what are the position coaches doing to coax potential out of the players? Or maybe Capers is really to blame and the play calls aren’t working. Players or coaches, who’s to blame?

    Probably a combination of both but it’s something to think about when we’re ranting about how “the defense can’t do _______.”

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