It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.
Yes, I know that’s backwards (my apologies to Charles Dickens), but it fits the Packers Cowboys game doesn’t it?
The first half brought us as uninspired an effort as we have seen from this team. That’s saying a lot with some of the games we’ve endured this season.
My prediction for this game was that the Packers would need to score in the 30’s on the 32nd ranked Cowboy’s defense to offset the bunch of points Dallas would put on the Packers D. I rarely get predictions right, but this one worked out.
However, never could I have predicted how this game evolved.
The first half was a symphony of horrible play by the Packers on both sides of the ball, but most shocking was the offensive ineptitude. A few people on twitter and even Troy Aikman used the line that the Packers offense were making the Cowboys defense look like the 1985 Chicago Bears.
From my perspective, Mike McCarthy’s play calling was horrendous. Both in type of play and situational play calling, he gave the Dallas defense nothing but vanilla looks and little to be concerned about.
I’ve been down this road before with McCarthy, most recently with my “McCarthy did the Packers no Favors Against Giants“ post. The situation was even worse the first half of this game. Same old tired plays and some real head scratchers. Two yd pass route on third and nine? Four yard out route on third and ten? Keep giving the ball back to Romo and a hot Dallas offense? WHY????
I was beside myself. I lashed out on twitter. I said I’d be OK with the Packers losing out if it meant McCarthy was sent packing. Yes, I really said that.
I’n not normally the emotional lash out type of guy, but this one time I did. Next thing you know, the wrath of Packers apologists came down on me. I was a retard (not my word), an idiot, a dope. I wasn’t a true fan (guess I’ve been a poser for 45 years).
I don’t really care about what people say about me, but I tried to engage some of these people with some intelligent discussion. I suppose that part did, in fact, make me an idiot. More name calling. Then the excuses.
“The players are mediocre.” “It’s all the injuries,” they wailed. “Look at all the money sitting on the bench. “The coach has nothing to do with it!” ” How could I be so stupid?
Fast forward to the second half.
Suddenly, the same “bad” players on offense looked unstoppable. Did some of those injured players magically come back at half time. No, these two incredibly different halves were played by the exact same players.
What was different? Two words: Mike McCarthy.
He was downright excellent in the second half. Yes, I said his playcalling was excellent. We saw plays we haven’t seen since last season. Middle screens, fake screens, misdirections, multiple rollouts and more.
The Cowboys were totally flummoxed. This was not the team they had watched on tape in preparation for this game. That team played in the first half, and Dallas was ready. They had no answers for McCarthy’s playcalling in the second half.
And there, folks is the crux of my criticism of Mike McCarthy. That’s his job as offensive play caller – totally befuddle the other team.
I know he has the ability to be a great play caller – but we don’t see it consistently. This season, we’ve hardly seen it at all – even when Rodgers was playing. Hell, we even saw Rodgers get into a tiff with McCarthy over a red zone play call.
Please don’t give me the argument that the players executed better. That might even be true but the point is, the play calling approach was completely different in the second half. If you don’t believe me, listen to McCarthy’s comments in his post game press conference. He admits his play calling veered off track in the first half, especially the second quarter.
McCarthy has been ultra conservative and predictable the entire season. Had he called plays creatively like the second half, the Packers would have beaten the Eagles and Giants and they’d be in first place in their division, not Detroit.
I am 100% convinced of this. Does that make me an idiot?——————
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.