Packers 31, Jets 24: Game Balls and Lame Calls

NFL, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Packers vs Jets, Packers vs Jets 2014, 2014 NFL Week 2, Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Mike Daniels, Mike McCarthy

It was a disastrous start, but the Green Bay Packers pulled it together and rallied to defeat the New York Jets 31-24 at Lambeau Field.

The Packers fell behind almost immediately after a botched snap between rookie center Corey Linsley and quarterback Aaron Rodgers gave the Jets the ball deep in Green Bay territory. New York quickly got the ball into the end zone and jumped out to an early 7-0 lead.

It got much worse for the Packers as the Jets continued to march the ball down the field with little resistance from the Green Bay defense. New York had a sudden 21-3 lead early in the second quarter and Packer Nation grew nervous.

Thankfully it was a good day for a rally as the Packers’ offense woke up in the second quarter and Green Bay pulled within five as the Jets led 21-16 at the half.

Green Bay dominated the second half and hung on to win 31-24, thanks in part to a poorly-timed timeout that wiped out the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

So who were the best and the worst from the Packers’ first win of 2014? Let’s take a look.

Game Balls

WR Jordy Nelson

It seemed like Nelson was the only Packer who showed up to play 60 minutes of football. He consistently provided a spark when the offense needed it and his 80-yard touchdown late in the third quarter proved to be the game winning score.

Nelson had nine receptions for a career-high 209 yards and a touchdown on the day. If anything, his performance proved that he not only earned that new contract he signed in the offseason but that he also might still be underpaid.

DE Mike Daniels

The Packers had been searching for a heart and soul for their defense since Charles Woodson left after the 2012 season, and it seems they found that in Daniels.

Daniels wreaked havoc again Sunday against the Jets, getting a critical sack of New York QB Geno Smith. Not only that, but he kept his teammates fired up after the Jets humiliated the defense in the early part of the game. There’s a lot of problems on that unit right now, but Daniels isn’t one of them. He’s obviously part of the solution.

Marty Mornhinweg with an assist from the refs

Not sure if Mornhinweg thought he was still head coach of Lions or not, but he can’t call a timeout. He’s not the head coach. Luckily, the officials had no idea who made the decision and blew the whistle that prevented what would have been the game-tying touchdown pass.

After having plenty of those kinds of breaks not go their way, the Packers were more than happy to catch one for a change. The Jets were eventually stopped on that drive and Green Bay ran out the clock to seal the win on the subsequent possession.

Lame Calls

Head coach Mike McCarthy

As hard as his team was fighting to come back and win this game, McCarthy seemed like he was trying to lose it.

With his team down 21-6, the Packers coach opted to kick a field in the second quarter instead of trying to punch it in the end zone. On the kickoff immediately after, Green Bay trailing 21-9 at this point, McCarthy called a surprise onside kick that not only backfired but also reeked of desperation.

Thrown in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Green Bay bench and a horrible decision to challenge a Jets completion later in the second half and it was not his finest hour on the sideline.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers

Another read-option team, another soiling of the bed by Capers’ unit.

After all the re-tooling the coaching staff did on the defensive side of the ball, it was the same old Green Bay defense early and often against the Jets. The unit, mainly in its new 4-3 “hybrid/elephant” look, was constantly on its heels as New York and Smith used the read-option at will to march down the field and take a 21-3 lead.
Thankfully the defense tightened down in the second half but that was after they shifted mainly to their 3-4 base defense. Capers, for his own sake, can ill afford many more meltdowns early in games like the past two weeks. The defense needs to improve, especially with three consecutive games against division opponents up next.

OL Derek Sherrod

Bryan Bulaga needs to return and fast.

After it looked somewhat possible he could have played this week since he practiced Wednesday, the Packers instead gave the start to Sherrod and he almost got Rodgers killed on Green Bay’s first drive.

The clock is ticking for the 2011 first round draft pick, and these last two weeks have not inspired much confidence. The Seahawks and the Jets have two very good defensive lines, but some improvement has to be shown week-to-week and Sherrod has not shown it.

He had a quieter game after early struggles, but those consistent early struggles will eventually put the Packers in a hole they can’t emerge from.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for 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


43 thoughts on “Packers 31, Jets 24: Game Balls and Lame Calls

  1. Rodgers can only cover up Capers and McCarthy for so long. Last week not once do the Packers throw to the right side. This week several big plays came from the right, including the 80 yard TD pass. I’ll never really understand McCarthy. That challenge? The onside kick? Errrrrrrrr!!!!!
    I’ve been begging for the Packers to go out and sign a veteran O-Lineman. Even if Bulaga comes back next week do the Packers really want to continue with Sherrod as the first off the bench with Barclay out?

      1. Correct. Holding ball too long again. Missing some easy throws. Has not been sharp. The line settled in and gave him lots of time as the game wore on. GoPack!

        1. Problem is they are always settling in. O should not be and a lot of that is MM’s ridiculous play calling and non use of “hot hand” Where was the 3 RB rotation or even 2 yesterday, , screen pass,a reverse.

        2. AR holds the ball because he correctly refuses to put the ball in harm’s way. He knows that an interception is much more devastating than a sack. Some of those seeming off target passes, especially to Jordy, are purposefully thrown where only his receiver can make the catch. AR also knows that he has the talent to make a positive play the longer he has the ball.

          Does all this create a higher injury risk? Yes. It also makes AR a winner.

          1. Yeah, I agree with you. But… he needs to just throw the ball away more. Taking a sack after the O-line gives you over 7 seconds to throw is pretty bad. Forget your completion percentage and throw it away.

      2. You’re right Bearmeat but Rodgers continues to lose targets every year. Jones, Finley are gone. The Packers have really NO ONE that even puts a small amount of fear in a defense at TE. Yes he hasn’t been as accurate but I don’t believe he has close to the weapons as years past. I did like what I saw from Adams yesterday. I’d really like to see him start to pick it up. Yesterday was a nice start for the kid. The 3rd sack he had 10 seconds at least and stumbled over his feet, couldn’t believe it. That’s the epitome of holding the ball to long.

  2. Lame Call; Jet’s timeout prior to touchdown. If you watch the replay, you can see and hear Richardson (91) of the Jet’s call the timeout. He was right behind the side judge who heard it. Then Richardson points to Morningweg (sp). The announcers did not pick it up.

    Really saved the day. Boy Capers is brutal.


    1. I listened to the replay and could not hear Richardson. But he definitely ran up behind the ref and said something. And immediately, the ref blew his whistle. Nice catch. Better call it into CBS Sports!

      1. I’m not in the US and was watching via the internet. On that feed, the WHISTLE was loud and clear, and it was definitely before the snap. Still probably a blunder by the ref, but right or wrong, the play was definitely dead…

  3. There is something wrong with a defensive scheme when Julius Peppers is 30 yards downfield in pass coverage. The guy made the play, but really Dom? Really!? It gave me the same SMH feeling as when I see Hawk covering some 4.4 WR. Can we dispense with the Swiss Army Knife approach to defense and let guys play where they play? It’s nice to have a knife on your key ring, but when it’s time to butcher a moose, you need the right tool.

  4. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth so I will take a win, regardless of how it came to us. Good teams impose their will on other good teams. I can’t say that I saw much of that yesterday. Some key plays by some of our boys and a few bad plays by the Jets is about what it boiled down to. Being down 21-3 after a 10 day rest on your home turf is wrong and it starts with the coaching.

    I doubt that Detroit will hand us a win this week.

    1. Fully agree. That has been my thought for just about all games that GB won…more a function of the other team making critical errors and beating themselves, and really haven’t seen a 60 minute pounding for long, long time.

  5. Nice to see some people are finally figuring this out. The ‘let’s play hump and grab d-line’ with a couple big oxes didn’t work. An aggressive 3 man front [remember Cullen Jenkins??] is how a 3-4 defense works. Without BJ the Immense, it was forced upon Capers. Packers now need to develop a full rotation of aggressive linemen to fill out an entire game. The defense also played significantly better with House and Clinton-Dix in the game.

    So long, it’s been good to know ya Dom Capers. Well, not really….

  6. In the case of Sherrod: I gotta think he’s one of those guys who can only play one O-line position well. And that position is left tackle.

  7. One fundamental problem keeps happening: We lose containment on the edge. Everyone wants to get that sack, but we have to learn to keep that simple principal that no one gets outside the outside ends. I learned this in little league. Particularly when going against a running team, in run situations, you have to turn the runner in to where your help is.

  8. MM and TT are masterminds… Keep Sherrod in and put 2 extra guys in to block for him. The man cant find his azz with both hands PLEASE the experiment has failed it is time to move on. When Sherrod gets Rodgers knocked out for the year, then MM and TT can live up to their azz clown image and maybe even do the tube snake boogie together…

  9. Capers:

    1) Packers are a draft and develop team.

    2) A 3-4 scheme works if you have the right players, but here are all the D-Linemen drafted in the last 7 years, their round & current contribution IMHO.

    Khyri Thornton (3rd) – injured
    Datone Jones – (1st) – ????? jury out
    Josh Boyd – (5th) – ????? jury out
    Nick Perry (1st) – ?????? jury out
    Jerel Worthy – out of football
    Mike Daniels (3rd) – Good player
    Ricky Elmore (7th) – out of football
    Lawrnece Guy (7th) – out of football
    Mike Neal (2nd) – ?????
    CJ Wilson (7th) – traded to Raiders
    BJ Raji (1st) – Injured
    Darius Wynn (6th) – Buffalo Bills
    Jeremy Thompson (7th) – out of football
    That is every D-Lineman drafted in the last 7 years I think:

    So, you blame Capers for all this or maybe somebody or something else???

    1. Nick Perry and Ricky Elmore aren’t defensive lineman. But, anyways, you’re forgetting the infamous Justin Harrell.

        1. Guess I misunderstood your post. They were drafted as DE’s who would be converted to OLB. They were never meant to play Dline in the NFL. You can also add Jarius Wynn to the mix, as well.

          Either way, I do think you’re right about them drafting guys that lack mean streaks. I posted the other day about how the team is lacking attitude, especially on defense. Obviously, you don’t want guys that are going to get themselves suspended but most good defenses seem to have a couple James Harrison type of guys.

  10. Capers continued:
    Of all those names, any of these players strike fear in you or in offensive linemen in the NFL. I am wondering if we draft D-lineman who are good players in college but lack a) an attitude b) a mean streak c) a killer instinct d) a 100% motor on all plays.
    Daniels fits the motor attribute but all the other guys?????
    Just asking.

  11. There is no question that the defense didn’t look very good yesterday (and that’s probably being a bit kind), but here is some context to consider:

    To be fair, we should remember that the OFFENSE pretty much spotted the Jets a TD from the first snap of the game and set the defense on its heels. I know we can’t guess at “what would have happened if…” but if we don’t count the Jets’ 16-yard TD drive to open the game, the score at the end of the first quarter would have been 7-3 Jets, and the score at the end of the first half would have been 14-13 Jets. The score at the end of the game would have been 31-17 Packers. That’s got a whole different feel to it.

    Believe it or not, on a purely statistical basis, the defensive performance was actually very good. (Seriously!) I understand that stats definitely do NOT tell the whole story, but…

    The Packers gave up only 312 total yards to the Jets. Last year, the league-wide average for yards per game was 348. A 312 yard average would have ranked 28th in the league last year.

    As for rushing, the Packers gave up 3.9 per carry. Last year’s average per rush was 4.15. A 3.9 yard average would have ranked 24th in the league last year.

    As for passing, the Packers gave up 166 yards (that takes into account minus-10 for sacks). Compared to last year’s numbers, a 166 yard average would have ranked DEAD LAST.

    And even if we do count the 16 yard touchdown that the OFFENSE basically gave up, 24 points would have ranked 16th compared to last year’s average. 17 points would have been second from the last.

    Having said all this, the defense definitely needs to play better. No argument from me. But when people say that the defense was “pathetic” or “terrible” or even “the worst ever,” it just proves that they have completely unrealistic expectations. Sometimes your opponent is going to score a touchdown. Get used to it. Otherwise, you’ll just look silly.

    1. Good points brother marpag. Still the Packer’s D gives up too many first downs on 2nd and long, 3rd and long situations. On the Jet’s first drive, yes it was a turnover and a really short field BUT the Jet’s had 3rd and 11 and a pass over the middle was complete for a very easy, uncontested first down. Unacceptable, don’t you think?

      1. Yeah, of course that was a bad play, and they need to clean some things up, for sure. But you can’t judge the defense by one play, or even by a handful of plays. Last year, NFL teams converted 38% of their 3rd downs, and more than 49% of their fourth downs. So it’s going to happen once in a while, right?

        You can’t really think that the Packers are NEVER going to give up ten yard pass for a first down, can you? I’m not saying that it’s a good thing, but can you honestly expect that it will NEVER happen??

        1. Again, you are correct. Can’t stop every 3rd or 4th down conversion. The Packers are not good at getting off the field. The other team doesn’t have to punt in the first half. Don’t know the stats would like to know where the Packers D rank in punts against.

          Against Seattle, in the first half, Green Bay took a 10 – 7 lead after scoring a touchdown. Seattle, after a holding penalty, had 1st and 20 at their own ten yard line. Next play 11 yard run by Lynch, next play pass for a first down. They went on to score a TD and never looked back. How about a big stop, get ball in good field position and change the game? Never going to happen with Capers and the middle of the Defense. Too slow can’t cover. Bad schemes.

          Bye Bye Capers, I sound like a broken record. I am starting to annoy myself, yikes!

          1. Don’t know about the forcing punt stats, but last year, the Packers were totally average when it came to their opponent’s third down conversion rate … 38%, right on the league average, tied for 17th out of 32.

            Personally, I think third down conversion is not a very meaningful stat. A good offense can get a new set of downs without even needing a third play, and a crappy defense can give up a new set of downs every time their opponent snaps the ball.

    2. Remember to turn the columns over on your stats…defensive yardage is like golf: low numbers are good. So they would’ve ranked 5th compared to total yardage average last year with 312, and they would’ve ranked first at 166 compared to last year’s average (Seattle was first last year at ca. 170 yards/game).

      My question is: what would those final yardage numbers (and the score) looked like if Eric Decker hadn’t pulled up lame for half the game?

      The secondary still, for the most part looked good, but they only had two sacks despite getting plenty of pressure on Smith and failed to stop the run.

      The plus side: Detroit next week does not have a running QB or an option-type attack. Stafford’s going to sit back and throw.

      On the minus side: Detroit has a very good DL and will test the Packers OL, their ability to move the ball on the ground, and their ability to keep ARod upright…and they’re better in the dome than on grass, so this week’s scuffling performance against Carolina doesn’t mean much.

        1. I think Dobber was responding to your line: DEAD LAST, implies worst. I think you mean to convey…having 166 yards allowed is first-rate indicator, not worst. Just semantics, I guess. We get your point though, and is appreciated.

          1. Ah, I get it. Yes, I mean to say that the Packers did a good job of limiting the Jets passing attack, at least from a statistical point of view. 166 yards of passing is horribly low for an offense, and very good for a defense.

  12. How about honorable mention for game balls to two players that in recent years many Packer fans were giving up on, Mason Crosby and Tramon Williams.

  13. Kris, I enjoy your articles and acumen, but I don’t agree with some of what you wrote, and also think there were some omissions. Nelson played great, but Cobb and Boykin stunk. Cobb was matched much of the time against LBs and safeties (which should have had Rodgers drooling at the mismatch) but he produced only pedestrian numbers. Boykin was so bad he got replaced by Adams. There seems to be a Sherrod-bashing bandwagon. I did not charge Sherrod with a sack. The sack you describe as almost getting Rodgers killed should be charged to Rodgers (3 of the 4 sacks should be charged to Rodgers). But Sherrod got so much help that it is hard to judge his performance. It is safe to say he can’t run block worth a darn. Lang had an off night. Bakhtiari had a pretty bad game both in pass pro (4.5 hurries including 3.5 knockdowns) and in run blocking. I had hoped that Bakhtiari would make a jump, but he looks like a below average starting LT. I do agree that Bulaga can’t get back fast enough, in part because it is hard to help both tackles. Linsley was solid. Sitton was very good. TEs were so-so, but they can’t get open or stretch the field. Despite the comment below, Guion showed improvement and was serviceable. Boyd played pretty well. Daniels was very good. Peppers had 3.5 pressures: he looks like he might start turning these pressures into sacks. Hawk and Lattimore played the inside runs very well. Looked to me like Hawk had 2 tackles for loss, but his coverage was the same old Hawk. House and Tramon Williams (2nd game in a row for each) played very well. Both are in contract years, BTW. I don’t know what is up with Hayward. I thought maybe his hamstring acted up, but he played 11 snaps on special teams. Bush was played in the dime a lot. Crosby’s 55-yd field goal was big at that time.

    1. Nice review TGR. Guion chased Geno all the way to the sideline and got a “landing” on his legs. He’s not as bad as folks think. Every nose tackle in the NFL is going to look like they get washed out on most plays.

      It would nice to have Casey out there. Something must be off if Bush is taking snaps over him. However, House played great.

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