Cory's Corner: Oh The Humanity

The Lions added to the Packers misery. 

It felt like a scab was ripped off on Sunday. 

First, the Packers gave away a playoff game to the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Say what you will, but the Packers, the team that inched into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, should’ve beat the mighty 49ers. San Francisco didn’t win the game, Green Bay lost it. 

Then, the Lions went into halftime owning a 24-7 lead. They were gashing the 49ers defense on the ground and looked like they were playoff veterans. However, the game was turned on back-to-back drives as the 49ers pulled even after three quarters. 

Watching the NFC title game had to be nearly impossible for the Packers. They had a seven-point lead entering the final quarter before things went sideways. And Detroit continued to play the role of the Riverboat Gambler by refusing to go up three scores by kicking the 45-yard field goal. The Lions instead went for it on fourth-and-2 and the ball trickled off of Josh Reynolds’ fingertips. 

The NFC North had a guaranteed spot in the Super Bowl two weeks ago but it melted away with dropped interceptions and poor quarterback play late. The Lions could’ve advanced to their first-ever Super Bowl appearance but unnecessary risks took their toll. 

The thing that we learned was that the NFL is very unpredictable. For two straight weeks, the better team didn’t win an NFC playoff game. It just goes to show you that you cannot assume the game is over in the NFL. Players get tight and nervous and do things that are very uncommon with a lead — let alone a lead vs. the conference’s top seed. 

The Packers and Lions will be dynamic rivals for the foreseeable future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them in the conference title game soon. The Packers have an ascending young quarterback and the Lions have a running game that can run over and around anyone — and one of the best pass rushers in the game. 

None of that makes stinging playoff losses easier to swallow, however. Expect both teams to remember how it ended in Santa Clara when they hit the pads this coming summer. 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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5 points
 

Comments (42)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

January 30, 2024 at 06:24 am

All gas No Brakes was the mistake.
You have a 17 point lead.
You only have to match what they put up.
The game is about momentum.
The more you fail with the gambling.
The more you help a team come back.
It's 1 and done in the play-offs.
You don't have the next game to make up for Brain fog.

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GregC's picture

January 30, 2024 at 06:47 am

As much as I don't like the 49ers, we have to give them credit for winning those games. Two up-and-coming teams gave them their best shot, and they hung in there, did what they do best, and made big plays down the stretch to get those wins.

Although I don't want the 49ers win over the Packers to become part of a championship narrative, a Lions-Chiefs Super Bowl would've featured two teams that the Packers beat late in the season, which also would've been a little galling. Let's face it: The Packers just weren't quite there yet this season. They were closer than most of us thought they were, but they didn't quite have what it takes.

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gmeyers1's picture

January 30, 2024 at 06:59 am

It was coaching errors in both games. Not taking the field goal to keep the margin at 3 scores by the Lions turned the tide to the niners & playing prevent on their last drive by the Packers. The Packers needed a stop, or enough time to make a final drive. They didn't achieve either one.

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Gman1976's picture

January 30, 2024 at 07:16 am

While we may feel we have the better teams, the 49ers had the better TEAM. Why? The 49ers have on their TEAM a better coach. Both losing coaches didn't take the points on 4th down; both losing coaches cost their teams victories; and both losing coaches haven't learned that gamblers generally lose. Hopefully, our coach will have learned the bitter lesson for next year.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 30, 2024 at 12:18 pm

So there's no fault of the players for not getting 2 yards when the coach showed his trust in them? That's been working for them all year; I can see why he did what he did. I can't put this all on Campbell. The Lions have a run game that choked; they should have gotten that first down.

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jannes bjornson's picture

January 30, 2024 at 04:06 pm

When you call the Play, the ball should go to your Best WR...

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 30, 2024 at 11:08 am

It kind of comes down to who makes the plays in the 4th quarter. GB made mistakes at the wrong time. It's a mix of talent, experience and being able to handle the pressure late in games. It's about learning to finish. Yes, GB beat the Lions and the Chiefs, and almost beat the Niners. But Mahomes was very close to making the comeback in the 4th quarter and if not for the failure to call PI or a foul on the defender against MVS, the Chiefs might have won that one.

It's like some teams just feel like they always have it in them to come back from behind and Reid somehow has the Chiefs believing that, as do the Niners. I used to feel that way about the Pete Carroll coached Seahawks. You'd look week after week at the scores and they'd be down, often by a lot, and somehow come back and win the game much more often than not.

I was hoping the relative youth of this Packer team would keep them from choking late in a game, because they don't yet know how rare it is to be in that spot and have a chance to go to a Super Bowl. Rodgers had that mentality on the Title run in 2010, but seemed to get tight in the playoffs later in his career and not play his best at the most important time.

But this team will compete and be fun to watch for some years again, with Love under center and these young skill position guys. We can hope that a new DC will bring some consistency in the play of the defense. But you never know; a season can hinge on injuries, too. Many of GBs playoff losses in Rodgers later years happened when key contributors were on the bench with injuries and the next guy up just wasn't as impactful.

2 points
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mnbadger's picture

January 30, 2024 at 10:28 pm

the next guy up wasn't as impactful because 12s contract or unhealthy connection to old teammates didn't allow us to build a deep enough roster with talent and/or experience across te first 22, say nothing of the bench.
This is Gutey's biggest failure since taking over as gm.
GPG

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HarryHodag's picture

January 30, 2024 at 06:54 am

Hindsight is always 20-20. I will leave it at the fact that the Packers over-achieved and the Lions under-achieved.

On to 2024! Remember this NFL fact: no team comes back the next season exactly as they were the year before. The Packers will have some large holes on defense and maybe a couple on offense, plus they have to find a kicker who can find the goal posts. Carlson's misses all year had a far larger impact than most people realize.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 30, 2024 at 12:24 pm

I am heartened by the fact that GB made it as far as they did with such glaring holes on the D. I wonder if Gutey might not have traded Rasul, if he'd know GB came a FG away from playing in the Conference Championship. But they had a rag tag band of safeties and CBs and somehow got there.

If Gutey does anywhere near as well in the draft this year as in the past two years, and the younger guys like Quay and Devonte Walker take a step up (Valentine, and Johnson as well), they might be okay on D. There are 5 picks in the top 100 players. We've seen they are not scared to rely on rookies; they had to, they don't have the salary cap to bring anyone in that costs much of anything.

But yes, it will be a different team. The key pieces are all there, though.

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T7Steve's picture

January 30, 2024 at 07:04 am

The 49ers lucked out against the team playing the best football last week.

Luck counts.

Bad luck does too.

That's why they play the games.

We could go down the path that the NFL wants certain teams to win and the best matchups for the big games. There has been some weird officiating this season. That's beyond the point. Teams have to take that out of their hands.

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Coldworld's picture

January 30, 2024 at 07:43 am

I’d say the 49ers won the adjustment battle, having lost the pre game planning one. In the end, that and their depth of options combined with tactical errors by their opponents coaches let their strength and experience drag them through. You can not leave multiple points untaken against really good teams. We did and so did the Lions.

The Lions showed that they aren’t a complete team any more than we are, on D in particular. They also showed us what a really good OL can give as an advantage and what having a more athletic and adaptable QB gives us when that briefly broke down in the third quarter. Goff under the harassment Love had all game fell apart. There’s a lesson there I hope Gute and LaFleur take to heart. Our IOL must get better if we are to win out.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:22 am

Luck? I don't think so. There's no officiating conspiracy, the Lions spit the bit. They dropped balls, fumbled, and I would argue, choked in the moment. I felt bad for them, but they made their own bed. The takeaway for me is that the Packers were a whisker from the super bowl with the youngest team in football.

9 points
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T7Steve's picture

January 31, 2024 at 06:56 am

Actually, I meant the 9ers were lucky the Packer youth came back to bite them. The Packers outplayed them for more than 3 1/4s and didn't capitalize on the 9er mistakes. The 9ers proved they deserved to move on by taking advantage of Packer mistakes.

The bad officiating has been getting talked about all year. The always make mistakes, but this season it was all about the timing of them and how they affected games. When replays clearly show one thing, and they do another, it's fishy when the NFL is involved with gaming.

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golfpacker1's picture

January 30, 2024 at 05:35 pm

Nice conspiracy theory. I am sure that all pro sports want the best matchups so it will draw the most viewers, but nobody is rigging the games. The teams and players decide who gets there. Missed opportunities whether on offense or defense have way more impact on the games outcome than the refs do.

1 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

January 30, 2024 at 07:36 am

The Lions collapse was bittersweet. Doesn't make me happier about GB's game, but at least nationally the talk isn't about the Packers blowing it anymore.

The Lions were rolling in the 2nd half and then just fell apart in the 2nd half. They are a good team but I never felt they were a great team. Campbell is a risky and dumb coach imo. He has done a great job overall with getting the Lions to this point. But makes not smart decisions at times. In the 4th quarter down by 3, and they try going for it was just a bad decision. Take the 3 and tie it up. I can live with that decision though. It was a 48 yard FG so not a chip shot. And if they missed it was going to be relatively the same spot. Punting there also doesn't work. So going for it isn't a horrible decision, even though I would have kicked it. But the bad decision was the 3rd and goal. Deciding to run it and getting stuffed to use a TO essentially cost them the game. Not that they had a great chance to come back, they would have had a chance. But blowing the timeout the only chance they had was the onside kick. Which is essentially no chance. To me it was a lot of bad coaching at the end of the game that ended up costing them.

It will be interesting to see where Detroit goes from here. I could see this being the anomaly season. Or i could see this launching them into the future. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

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LambeauPlain's picture

January 30, 2024 at 07:46 am

We know what the Packers need to round out their young talent into a complete, SB contending TEAM.

And the greatest urgency is finally being addressed on Defense. The passivity at critical times must end...and the Packers Defense must finally, once again be feared. Barry has finally been held accountable.

Also urgent: significant improvement must be seen on STs too with far better discipline/fewer penalties... and the FG operation. It is one thing to go for it on 4th down and whiff (Lions) ...and just as bad to attempt the FG and whiff (Packers). Bisaccia has to be accountable here...he was all in on Carlson, all but guaranteeing he could "fix" him. And the stupid penalties are all about coaching issues.

Matt has had these 2 urgencies for most of his 5 years in GB. He is accountable too!

Get it done.

5 points
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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

January 30, 2024 at 07:47 am

That stat they showed during the Lions game where like 7 Detroit players had been in the playoffs and 78 of the 49ers had, I think tells a huge story about each game. You can only gain the experience by being there. The Pack in ‘95 and ‘09 were similar. The 49ers had it…GB and Detroit didn’t. YET!

3 points
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Razer's picture

January 30, 2024 at 08:30 am

I think that the outcome would have been different if the Lions continued to run the ball. San Fran was not able to stop the Lions run game and the Lions have two great backs. The Lions stopped running in the second half and put the ball into Goff's hands. Run the friggin ball - you do that well!

Both the Packers and the Lions couldn't play defense well enough to win those games. Defense wins championships and neither of the NFC North teams had the defensive stars that would make the stop. Look for both teams to stock up on defensive talent.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:13 am

Gibbs fumble while turning his back on an inside run gave the 49rs the key stop and momentum. Execution wins playoff games.

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 30, 2024 at 08:40 am

The Lions always find a way to lose. They’re the Jets of the NFC.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:25 am

past performance IS an indicator of future results. You know in your heart of hearts that a sizeable contingent of Lions fans still have those paper bags at the ready in their closets.

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 30, 2024 at 08:48 am

Remember when the Falcons were up 28-3 on the Patriots in the Super Bowl? That Falcons team had Dan Quinn as HC and Kyle the Genius as OC. Dan Quinn was never the same after staying on-brand and losing. Campbell stayed on-brand as well, and if his WR had hands one of those 4th downs would have been converted. Who knows what would have happened if the Lions would have taken the field goal.

Detroit will likely lose their DC and OC this offseason. That leaves a master motivator in place, and a ton of talent on the field. I was pulling for the Lions to win. It will be interesting to see if Campbell's career takes a similar arc to Quinn's. He made his calls, they just didn't work out.

6 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:30 am

I remember when the Oilers collapsed against Buffalo, and when the Packers collapsed against Seattle. IMO, when a team suffers a horrible collapse like this in the playoffs, you might as well start over because the next time they're in that situation, they'll all be thinking about the previous collapse.

The Lions are not going to win the division next year. The Packers are. This was Detroit's moment in the sun, and in true Detroit fashion, they coughed up a lion-sized furball.

4 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 31, 2024 at 12:07 am

LMFAO. Lion sized fur ball!

0 points
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NFLfan's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:04 am

I'm proud of both the Packers and the Lions.
They can now have confidence in their strengths and focus on refining what it takes to close out a big game.
Both coaches need to study Reid and Shanahan's mindset.

Those 2 Field Generals will be matching wits all game.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:15 am

I'll put my money on Mahomes.

2 points
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MooPack's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:09 am

Packers to interview Ravens secondary coach Dennard Wilson for defensive coordinator job.

https://packerswire.usatoday.com/2024/01/30/packers-to-interview-ravens-...

This past season, the Ravens defense finished first in points allowed, takeaways and passer rating, second in passing touchdowns allowed and third in passes defensed. The team intercepted 18 passes and allowed only 4.7 net yards per passing attempt.

While with the Eagles in 2022, Wilson helped Philadelphia rank first in passing defense by total yards allowed.

Now there is a DC I could get behind.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:27 am

Does he get to bring along his secondary? Players, not plays.

1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 30, 2024 at 12:28 pm

GB was already pretty decent against the pass; but couldn't stop the run. Can he help with that?

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Leatherhead's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:24 am

I think the Packers will be looking for a DC who can work with the secondary. The front end is pretty stable, but there's quite a few question marks in the secondary.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:28 am

Could also depend on who they're bringing along to coach the secondary.

2 points
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Oppy's picture

January 30, 2024 at 08:21 pm

Wait, does Savage qualify as a question mark in the secondary?
Because he's pretty much a question mark in the secondary.

Just because he's the best the Packers have on roster doesn't make him a plus player. It makes him the best in a sub par safety room.

1 points
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jvole's picture

January 30, 2024 at 09:31 am

Note that San Fran made defensive adjustments at halftime that seemed to confuse the Lions. What a concept!

I'll be mildly rooting against San Fran because I'm sick of hearing about the 'Shanahan' tree of coaching. Bleggh, give me a break.

5 points
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MooPack's picture

January 30, 2024 at 10:03 am

Packers also to interview Ravens ILB coach Zach Orr. I'm glad Ravens lost instead of waiting after Super Bowl. Right now Ravens Dennard Wilson would be my first choice. Very good track record with some winning teams with excellent defenses. Developed some good DB's. I hope LaFleur pulls the trigger.

0 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

January 30, 2024 at 10:35 am

Cory Quote: "It just goes to show you that you cannot assume the game is over in the NFL."

If you are old enough you may remember that old Yankee baseball player named Yogi Berra would agree with you. He became infamous for saying such as this one:

"It ain't over, till it's over"

1 points
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PackFanatic99's picture

January 30, 2024 at 11:11 am

I enjoy your commentary, but I have to say I disagree that the Packers were the better team. Unlike the meltdown vs. Seattle in 2014 which was an incredible series of unlikely events, in this one SF simply outplayed the Packers in the 4th quarter. By a lot. They had a sustained drive including some good throws & one incredible catch vs. Tight coverage. They pressured Love into making a mistake. When thrown an INT, they actually caught it. How can you get outgained in yards, beaten in 3rd down conversion & have more turnovers & claim you were the better team?
SF was the better team. Not by a lot, but by a little bit.

3 points
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TOMMY'63's picture

January 30, 2024 at 11:52 am

I don't know what the rest of you think. I was cheering for Detroit to win , and tio win the superbowl. Why? Because Detroit hasn't won championships since the 40s and 50s. Just think atleast 70 years ago. That's sad and heartbreaking. I don't have hatred toward the lions,but the vikings, thats another feeling. Dont understand why mlf is calling position coaches who've never been dc for interviews. Why? Isn't it better to call the experienced veterans who are now free?

2 points
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barutanseijin's picture

January 30, 2024 at 02:39 pm

The Lions haven’t won a championship since the 1950s?

That’s a good thing. May it stay that way.

0 points
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ricky's picture

January 30, 2024 at 11:54 am

That the Packers lost the game, rather than SF winning it, is what really hurts. These opportunities are hard to get, and when you are entering the playoffs as the hot team, the one no one wants to play, that is even more rare. That the Packers couldn't finish off drives that got them inside the red zone three times, and only came away with six points, allowing SF to stay in the game. No finger pointing. But also, two dropped interceptions, one that might have been a pick-six? So many wasted chances. But, that is now behind us, and we can look forward to the draft, and the schedule for next year.

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JohnnyLogan's picture

January 30, 2024 at 12:36 pm

The Packer loss was due to a combination of unfortunate events, but, didn't most of us believe that SF would march right down the field and score? We all knew weeks, if not years, ago that Barry was an awful DC. MLF refused to admit it or was too blind to see it. That's a severe failure in coaching; MLF has to improve in hiring and in clutch time strategy. So far he's proven to be a decent developer of offensive talent. That's about it.

The two key factors in clutch time are the coach and QB. In all of his playoff losses, MLF, whether with Rodgers or Love, has come up short. There's no guarantee he'll be better. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

January 31, 2024 at 10:35 am

Missed opportunities, like settling for a FG instead of a TD or no points at all, bit GB and the Ravens. Add in missing on potential turnovers, whether to just get off the field, take away a scoring chance for your opponent, or even better us scoring and changing momentum. Mistakes, whether its missing a block or committing a stupid penalty.
Every team that loses commits these sins. Refs usually are NOT the reason teams lose. If they wanted to, they could call penalties on every play for offensive or defensive holding. You control what you can control.

What does everyone think would make the biggest improvement for the Packers next year. I say new blood leading to better play with the D-backs, starting at Safety. We need to draft 2 and sign a good FA.

0 points
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