Game of Inches: How the Packers Let a Trip to the NFC Championship Game Slip Away

In a game of inches, the Green Bay Packers let too many slip away. The result was another heartbreaking playoff loss. 

You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half step too late or too early you don't quite make it. One half second too slow or too fast and you don't quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in ever break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us, to pieces for that inch. We claw with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know, when we add up all those inches, that's going to make the f***ing difference between winning and losing, between living and dying.

As you've likely ascertained, this is a slice from the speech famously delivered by Tony D'Amato, Al Pacino's character from Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday. It's a great piece of sports theatre, regardless of your take on Stone's Hollywood interpretation of professional football. 

The central message is also directly appliable to the Green Bay Packers' 26-20 overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Divisional Round. 

Game of inches. Never has it been more true. An inch here, and an inch there, and the Packers are probably preparing to play the Carolina Panthers for a chance to go to Super Bowl 50. 

On Saturday night, the important inches simply slipped away from the visitors at University of Phoenix Stadium. Added up, those inches were the bleepin' difference between winning and losing. 

Get out your ruler. These are the inches that cost the Packers a chance to play for an NFC Championship.

1. Sam Shields' first dropped intereception should have been a huge play. To be fair, it came on his third snap back after missing a month with a head injury. But he still perfectly undercut Michael Floyd's deep-in route, and Carson Palmer essentially threw the football right to No. 37. Shields would have had a chance at a big return. At the very least, the Packers' first possession would have started inside Arizona's 40-yard line. 

2. One play after the Packers gave up a 4th-and-1 to the Cardinals in the red zone, Nick Perry nearly ended the drive. For whatever reason, he came off the left side unblocked—allowing him to unload on Arizona's unsuspecting quarterback. The ball actually came out of Palmer's hand at the end of the play, but it fell right beneath him and he was able to cover it up before B.J. Raji, who also saw the fumble, could get to it. Should Perry have opted for the more traditional strip sack, instead of just plowing into Palmer? Maybe. But he still forced the fumble. The Cardinals got a very fortunate bounce to retain possession, and they scored two plays later. 

3. Arizona's first touchdown came off an incredible throw and catch from Carson Palmer to Michael Floyd. But there's really no reason why the pass should have been completed. The Packers called a perfect coverage, with Sam Shields, Micah Hyde and Morgan Burnett bracketing Arizona's two-man route to the right side. Two things went wrong: Shields took one bad step forward, and Burnett was a half-second late getting to the corner. Hyde had the short route blanketed. If Shields stays deep and Burnett reacts immediately to the corner route, Palmer's pass either isn't thrown or isn't completed. Instead, Palmer made the pass into a tiny window and Floyd completed the catch with two feet just barely inbounds. It was a four-point mistake, as the score came on third down. 

4. Before his late heroics, Jeff Janis provided a taste for why he didn't play much in 2015. On 3rd-and-8 from Arizona's 10-yard line, Rodgers threw incomplete to Janis on the outside. Either Rodgers missed horribly, or Janis ran a sloppy route. I'll bet it was the latter. If Janis squares his route, he likely catches Rodgers' throw and either gets the first down or walks into the end zone. Instead, the pass skipped off the turf, just out of Janis' reach. Mason Crosby then came on for the field goal.

5. Sam Shields' second dropped interception was a far more difficult play than his first. On third down in the red zone, Carson Palmer overthrew running back David Johnson near the goal line. Shields was right there behind the play, but he couldn't make the catch as he was contorting his body and reaching for the football. It was a tough play, but one you need to make when you're a touchdown underdog on the road. It was a three-point drop, as the Cardinals kicked the short field goal a play later.

6. Hate to pile on Sam Shields, but his third drop was a back-breaker. He essentially ran the first-down route for Michael Floyd, and Carson Palmer made a terrible decision and threw it right to Shields. Another big return was possible, if not probable. There's a reason why Shields failed as a receiver at Miami. Still, he has to make that play. No way around it.

7. The dropped interception wouldn't have been so disastrous had the Packers made a stop and held Arizona to a field goal. That scenario looked likely on 3rd-and-10. Palmer threw short of the sticks to David Johnson on a quick angle route. Joe Thomas was in coverage, but there was traffic in the middle of the field and plenty of players around to make the stop. Instead, Johnson's second effort and late tumble produced a first down. This came on the same drive that saw Larry Fitzgerald extend out at the sticks for a first down on 2nd-and-13.

8. One play after Johnson gave Arizona a new set of downs, the Packers were hit with some crazy misfortune. Carson Palmer attempted to connect with Larry Fitzgerald on a slant play over the middle, but rookie Damarious Randall played the route perfectly, working through some traffic and getting an arm in to break up the pass. But instead of the attempt falling harmlessly incomplete or landing in the arms of a Packers defender for an interception, the ball deflected right to Michael Floyd, who was waiting all alone in the end zone. That oblong ball does some cruel things.

9. He made up for it on the final drive, but Aaron Rodgers would probably like back his fourth down throw the possession earlier. On 4th-and-5, Rodgers went to James Jones on a quick stop route against Patrick Peterson. Despite tight coverage, Jones was open. Rodgers' throw came in low, and Jones couldn't get two hands under the ball. Who knows how that drive would have end had the completion been made. Maybe it wouldn't have changed anything. A miss is still a miss.

10. Two completed Hail Mary's traveled 101 yards and forced overtime, which started with a crazy, double-take coin flip. Insanity continued on the first play of the extra period, when Carson Palmer spun out of a sack and found Larry Fitzgerald wide open against a busted zone coverage. Mike Neal was inches away from ending the play with a sack. He had Palmer dead to rights, but the Cardinals right tackle gave him a slight shove and Palmer managed to wiggle away to his right. Mike Daniels was also closing down the quarterback before he spotted Fitzgerald and threw back across his body to the left. Seventy-five yards later, the Cardinals were on the doorstep of eliminating their pesky visitors.

The margin for error in any game is small. It's microscopic against a 13-win team in their own building. The Packers were resilient, and their response to the waterfall of adversity faced in the game helped produce one of the most incredible finishes in playoff history. But in the end, the litany of missed inches were too much to overcome.

As was the case after blowing a trip to the Super Bowl last January, the Packers will now have all offseason to ponder all the missed opportunities that helped produce another playoff heartbreak.

 

Zach Kruse contributes to CheeseheadTV.

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Comments (81)

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Mebrooks5291's picture

January 18, 2016 at 03:07 pm

sloppy all year

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ray nichkee's picture

January 18, 2016 at 03:19 pm

Those 3rd down spots favored the cards too. Line up and play your man. The pack didnt lose any respect in this game.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:19 pm

Damn right. The reason I didn't feel bad after the game.

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D Ernesto's picture

January 18, 2016 at 03:26 pm

I thought it was a good game. My take is that AZ thought they would dominate again and the frustration that all of a sudden things aren't happening kept building up.
Anyone who saw the game knew in the first half that the Packers had them rattled.
Thank God Dom Capers used his ultimate wisdom and changed up the defense to a zone coverage and allowed Palmer the openings to pass to wide wide wide wide open receivers and bring it back or who knows the Packers may have run away with it. No heroics needed in the end.
If you saw one receiver, at all, this season, any game as open as Fitz in overtime I would be shocked. That is Dom Capers defense. Start blaming him.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

January 19, 2016 at 10:11 am

I thought it was nuts that we held the 1 or 2 rated offense to 75yds in the first half, and cause Fritz caught a couple good balls he panicked and switched to zone and the wheels fell off. Just like MM not playing Janis in the third and most of the fourth quarter as I'm guessing cause he was needed to field punts but WTF it is the playoffs man play full tilt... Hold nothing back!! Also I think we should have played to win at the end go for 2...

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Tundraboy's picture

January 19, 2016 at 11:23 am

I think you might have hit the nail on the head. MM wants to win his way on his terms which is fine as he usually gets us to the point where we can. But I get the sense he is so hell bent on winning his way, that he loses sight of the fact that there may be no tomorrow and momentum has swung and we need to get it back immediately or risk losing. Sounds absurd but last year and this year, we let things slip, this time for a whole half. And to me there wasn't the sense of urgency you would expect. Great to stay the course, but plans change in a game, tipped balls turn into TDs.

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Bugeater's picture

January 18, 2016 at 03:53 pm

I've decided to watch the highlights up until the 4th and 20 and the Hail Mary. That's the end of the game for me. Don't need to see anything after that!

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 18, 2016 at 03:59 pm

Sometimes the ball bounces the other way...

Proof of that, is Palmers fumble that he lands on.

And the pass to Fitzgerald that Randall breaks up and lands in Floyd's hands.

On this day the ball bounced in Arizona's way.

That being said, Packers missed their chances. Shields has to make 2 of those INT's. And they had to get another TD vs kicking a FG.
That pass to Janis was probably the wrong route by Janis, but at the same time Janis had the corner wide open. They needed to find a way to get on the same page there... That and there were a few deep passes that they missed on. Hit on one of those, its a different game.

So many close chances in this game...

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Bearmeat's picture

January 18, 2016 at 04:02 pm

This is the difference in winning the super bowl and losing it, and I'm honestly not sure how much is luck and how much is just execution. In 2010, they had plays JUST like this in EVERY playoff game that proved the difference in all but the Atlanta game.

Since then, they haven't. They could have won 5 Lombardi's since 2009, and they've got 1 because they made those "special" plays in 1 of them.

How to fix this other than having a generational type talent of Charles Woodson in his prime to make those special plays and elevate others to do the same? And even then, it's usually not enough.

I don't know.

Damn. It.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 18, 2016 at 04:54 pm

Bearmeat, once again, can you tell me how good would be Patriots without Gronkowski, Cardinals without Larry Fitzgerald, Panthers without Olsen etc. We know for sure that even Big Ben & Steelers suffered from the lost of Antonio Brown... And Packers were without 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th WR - Aaron Rodgers did not have his man to go, as Big Ben missed his against Broncos...
Do not be to harsh to the Packers. Put the season in perspective. It was down year for Aaron and we all know that, but he will be back better than ever next season...
Also, it is not to forget that Packers passed to post season through the hardest schedule of all post seasons teams...

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Evan's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:23 pm

We saw how good the Pats are without Gronk toward the end of this past regular season - pretty damn pedestrian.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:49 pm

yea,

"just put it in perspective"

"its just a down year "

yea,

now take the past 11 years with the best player ever, a should have been/ could have been dynasty and put that also into perspective

see

there is nothing to see here. everything is fine

"next year"

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Bearmeat's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:53 pm

Vikings fan - don't respond to genuine questions with your nonsensical crap. Seriously, GO AWAY.

You are a disgrace as a football fan to ditch your childhood team because you didn't like how the GM treated his old and ornery QB. Go enjoy the corpse of Adrian Peterson and the utterly pedestrian Teddy Bridgewater.

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barutanseijin's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:21 pm

Your beloved ARodge is into his old and ornery years. He was as pissy as Cutler this year. But like Favre, he's been put on a pedestal, so he's above criticism from Packer fans.

Speaking of #12, given his 2015 accuracy problems, I see no reason to assume that Janis was at fault for #4 above.

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chugwater's picture

January 18, 2016 at 06:50 pm

Oh, you're talking about the Packers? I thought you were talking about NE from 2006-2013.

Yeah, I thought they should have fired Belichek too.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:56 pm

Let's get real. The NFC North Runner-Ups are just as lucky to be there as "let an opportunity slip away."

as a Packer fan for 38 years it's a shame

but as a Viking fan for the past 2 , I too have come to accept mediocrity from the greenbay packers.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:54 pm

Can someone PLEASE block this clown? He should be on dailynorseman - not trolling here.

It'd be different if he were adding to the conversation, but all he EVER does is dig at TT and actual Packer FANS.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 06:47 pm

I was adding to conversation when I 1st suggested the Packer's Defense as a whole would benefit from moving Clay Matthews to ILB.

The very 1st to suggest such a thing and took a lot of crap on here for it.

Remember me posting Ray Nitschke's stats and how "Clay Nitschke" could have the same dominating effect from the ILB position?

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 06:54 pm

then there was this:

Stroh says:
April 02, 2014 at 08:06 pm
Wow that's the highest I've seen Moncrief mocked. I've said this before tho. The only WR I would take over him are Watkins and Evans. I would rather have Moncrief over Bechham, Cooks, Lee and Robinson, Matthews, etc.

ben says:
April 02, 2014 at 11:59
To me, Brandin Cooks is in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans's League. The most explosive athlete in the entire draft with crazy tape and unsurpassed production. He is also an unbelievable weapon in the return game. I'd have no problem taking Brandin Cooks in the top 10. Time will tell, but I think he is that special.
Moncrief has good measurables, and I love good measurables, but I bet Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham, Martavis Bryant, Jordon Matthews, and Abbrederis will all be better pro receivers.

I'll rule out a WR in the 2nd. Watkins, evans, cooks, & beckham will all be gone, and there isn't much separating the 2nd round WRs from the 3rd & 4th round WRs in this draft. Again TE, ILB, C, S, & CB are all of bigger need.

Stroh says:
April 22, 2014 at 10:30 am
I'll rule IN WR in the 2nd.

I would say the difference is Vast! I personally love Moncrief and if the Packers were to get him at #53 it would be a STEAL!

Ben Says:
April 22, 2014 at 11:46
Moncrief has the measureables I like. But he's a little soft and lacked big production even at the college level. Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, OdelBeckham, Martavis Bryant, Abbrederis, Marquise Lee, Paul Richardson, & Jordon Matthews will all be better pro-receivers.
It's not that I don't like Moncrief. But like I just said, with all the value in rounds 2-5 at the WR position, Moncrief is a reach in the 2nd.
"a STEAL! at 53"? come on now,
You'll see Stroh, I'll make sure you do.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 06:59 pm

and guess what, we reached for a possession receiver in the 2nd round.

when we could have used that valuable pick on a position of glaring need

and that draft, like I said before the draft, was the best and deepest WR draft in NFL History

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:09 pm

I actually posted that the packers should take Janis and Abbrederis in the later rounds before that draft.

& Here's a ben's pre-2014Draft bonus post:

Best Value at Center:
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (3rd-4th round)
Russell Bodine in the (4th-5th round)
Corey Lindsey in the (5th-6th round)

(All NFL Starters their 1st year taken in the later rounds)

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:12 pm

Stroh says: April 16, 2014 at 07:54 pm
"Way too high. Bodine is no 4-5th rd pick."

Ben says: April 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm
Are you saying Bodine is a 3rd? , (cause there's about a -100% chance he falls to the 6th)

Stroh says: April 17, 2014 at 12:07 am
Bodine is a 6th at best. He won't sniff the 4th or 5th.

ben says: April 17, 2014 at 12:26
Bodine is a 6th at best. He won't sniff the 4th or 5th." is laughable.
I'll cut this now, and paste it here after the draft.

Guess what? [Bengals traded up for only the 3rd time in franchise history to snag Bodine in the 4th.]

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:55 pm

And how did that Corey Linsley pan out?

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:07 pm

??

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:09 pm

???

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Tundraboy's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:28 pm

Just ignore him. I do. Scroll down.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 11:39 pm

And that is thee problem. Packer fans are unable to confront reality. The reality of how disappointing and pathetic the last 12 years has been.

Aaron Rodger could have went to the Oakland Raiders, the Detroit Lions, or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won 1 championship in 12 years.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were a team destined for greatness, but 12 years later with so much opportunity squandered, the fanbase is still content with mediocrity.

Put your head in the sand and scroll down just a little longer. The post-Aaron Rodgers Era is almost here.

I may have jumped ship because of TT and MM, but make no mistake about it, I want the Packers to lose every damn game because of their delusional, homer, non-objective fanbase.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:42 pm

or how about when I was the 1st on this blog to suggest how peppers would play OLB instead of DE

remember that? it happened

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:24 pm

Remember for years how I would tell everybody here that the Packers were winning despite AJ Hawk instead of because of AJ Hawk.

And then you all would disagree by saying how he's the been the leading tackler on the team.

Then I would point out how almost none of those tackles were behind the line of scrimmage.

My original post about how all his tackles were all 5-6 yard downfield actually ended up really catching on here. (a couple years later that is)

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:29 pm

not sure who Gordy is but, here's an oldie but goodie:

10/12/11

Gordy should still be on the team. I'd feel a lot better going up against a proven dud like pat lee. AJ is weak and absolutely loves sucking up blocks. The most overrated packer since atari bigby. Everyone else is doing good, but newhouse and sharrod will struggle. If any QB can deal with poor pass protection it's Rogers. I'd like to see Davon House get some time, possibly opening the door for woodson's move to safety. I'd also like to see Brad Jones get some time at ROLB or MLB for aj on passing downs. Trade james jones & matt flynn now.

I truely don't see how anyone who takes the time to focus in on AJ play after play can possibly think he's a good player. He looks the part and calls the defense. But the guy prances around on his toes and seems to think his job is to suck up blocks and jump on piles. He wrestles blocks instead of shedding them and attacking the ball carrier. He must hold some record for the most defensive snaps at MLB with the least tackles for loss. AJ did have a good year last year, but that doesn't mean he's a good LB. Clay is great, bishop is good, AJ is average and doesn't have the quickness, aggresiveness, flexibility, speed or mentality to ever be great or even very good. A $35 million dollar error. "aj will have to renegotiate his contract or face being cut by the beginning of the 2013 season."

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ben's picture

January 19, 2016 at 12:22 am

(see how I put that end part in quotes?)

I did that so when you all were proven wrong and I was proven right years later, it would be easier to quote myself.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:37 pm

While you were saying how Justin Harrel "was flashing", I was saying Justin Harrel didn't have "it"

When you all were still counting on Sharrod to compete for the starting LT position, I had said he had already proven he wasn't the guy

When everybody was still holding onto chance that Pat Lee might evolve into something, I was saying he never would

oh here's a classic from 2011:

10/2/11
Give me a break. The guy (jarret bush) has made one play in like 5 years. It was a very nice play at a very crucial time, but that doesn't make up for all the flags, breakdowns in coverage, and special team screw ups over the years. For every punt he downs inside the 20 he misses or touchbacks 3 others. We should have saved the near 2 million / year and let him sign with the titans.

He does have some athletic ability, unlike pat lee. He has also looked a little better in coverage lately. I must admit there is a sliver of hope that he'll be able to contribute without screwing it up like he has for years.

There is no hope for pat lee or aj hawk. Lee should have been cut, and AJ will have to renegotiate or be cut by the end of next season. James Jones should not have been given 10 million dollars.

2nd round pick pat lee, top 15 pick justin harrel, top 5 pick AJ hawk for 40 million dollars, 2nd round pick Brandon Jackson, 2nd round pick darnyl colledge, all need to go the way of 2 of other ted's 1st day picks Brian Brohm & Terrence Murphy. With 3-8 years of game film on the top prospects on the planet, systematic timing & measuring of physical performance, extensive medical examinations, background investigations, & many personal interviews U'd think a General Manager could hit on more

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:51 pm

Don't worry, My hard-drive took shite and I lost most of my posts warning everybody here how good the Vikings were going to be this year.

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zeke's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:53 pm

And when it came time for the chip-shot FG to advance, they shit the bed. Because that's what Vikings do.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:10 pm

The TKstinator says:
May 29, 2015 at 04:24 pm
CHTV: "It must be great always being the smartest person in the room."
ben: "No, it isn't. It's horrible!"

For the record, I'm not the smartest person in the room. I'm the smartest person not in the room.

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4thand10's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:53 pm

Hawk still managed to make plays for the Bengals...I guess they didn't see it as a huge problem. Where exactly have the the Vikings gone since Favre was there?? How many coaches? How many QB's?? Choking was a perfect thing to watch for them. AP will be gone and who will lead that team?

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:34 pm

Yea, Hawk killed it. Shoulda gave him 50 million instead of 35 million.

A very young top 3 defense, special at almost every single position will carry the Vikings. Much like Aaron Rogers has carried TT and the Packers the last 12 years.

Not to mention a better coach and much better play-caller than MM. And a GM who has had the NFL's best draft 2 straight years. And they also have a true leader and emerging Quarterback with terrific awareness in Teddy Bridgewater.

Jerrick McKinnon is a freak just learning the RB position and Stephon Diggs is pure gamer. Pruitt is going to end up being the best TE in the division within 2 years. I like Charles Johnson, he's a great athlete.

From special teams to offense to defense the only Viking's need is on the Offensive Line.

New stadium (check), GM killing it (check), Good coach (check), a Great and I mean great defense (check), Franshise QB who leads (check), Absolute stud RB's (check), Explosive Weapons at receiver (check), special special-teams with a dangerous return game and a kicker 2 years in who had the greatest rookie season of all time (check)

2015 NFC North Championship (check)
2016 Superbowl Championship (ch )

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zeke's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:55 pm

Your skills at assessing talent are unmatched. They are only one LaMichael James away from being a dynasty. Good for you.

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 10:50 pm

it would suck to be wrong

but the last 3 years James has what would be the 6th best KR average in the HISTORY OF FOOTBALL. (#1 Gale Sayers, #2 Corderrelle Patterson)

Not to mention he would be 25th ALL-TIME in Punt return average. And Lamichael has excellent hands and a career 4.4 yards per carry average.

Have I been proven wrong or something?

Like Jeff Janis, sometimes the right players just aren't given their due opportunity.

and yes, it's very good for me

i'll stick with my as of yet unfulfilled expectations and predictions for Lamichael James and the future best WR in Packer history

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zeke's picture

January 18, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Yes, you've been proven wrong. Repeatedly. But that's what it is to be a Vikings fan. You have been (and forever will be) the red-headed step-child in search of a beating. Lucky for you, if you manage to hang out long enough in Mankato and catch AP's attention he'll fix that for you. Good luck. We're all rooting for you.

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Lacy's picture

January 19, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Yeah but your quarterback wears mittens

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Dan Stodola's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:33 pm

"For the record, I'm not the smartest person in the room. I'm the smartest person not in the room."

If your not in the room or for that matter a part of the Packers community, then get the F out!

Your queens didn't last in the playoffs, in fact the Packers outlasted them. They got lucky and won a game against the Packers for a change. Packers will start another NFCN title streak next year. AD is going to be done quickly and Teddy isn't good enough to lead that team any further than to the playoffs!

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ben's picture

January 18, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Great.

more re-postable material for..............I'd say about November

(note to future Stroh: ) Wrong Again Dumas!!!

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Amanofthenorth's picture

January 19, 2016 at 08:06 pm

you're

<sighs>

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Since&#039;61's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:00 am

Re-post this - Minnesota Vikings 55 years of futility. 0 for forever in the Super Bowl. You call the last 12 years mediocre for the Packers what would call the entire history of the Vikings? Total futility. They have literally won nothing. They couldn't make a 27 yard FG to get past the first round of the playoffs. If you switched to become a Vikings fan because you think they are going to win with AP and Terry Bilgewater you will enjoy plenty of frustration and you can have the child beater whose career is finished any way. Thanks, Since '61

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nostradanus's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:12 pm

Indeed in the game of football as in life, ones fortunes can hinge on a mere moment, a roll of the dice, a slight hesitation and of course a few inches. However; an argument can be made in both the positive and negative for each application.
This is what makes life and winning so sweet, glorious moments to cherish and I for one am thankful to have a team, coach and players which can at least bring us those euphoric moments and sometimes painful ones. But isn't it a beautiful ride in which there is hope.
Go Packers in 2016!!
NostraDANus

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KenEllis's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:18 pm

Just inches away from 2nd round playoff victory in 2015.
Just inches away from a NFCC victory in 2014.
Just inches away from a wildcard victory in 2013.
Not inches away from a victory in SF in 2012.
Not inches away against the NY Giants at home in 2011.

The team won the Super Bowl in 2010, hope the Pack gets there again before the post-Aaron Rodgers era begins.

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4thand10's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:15 pm

Looks like improvement to me after free agents leave and picking at the bottom of the draft order.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 19, 2016 at 03:08 am

Those facts you wrote shows the results of the excellent team with excellent and stable leadership... NYG 2011, SF 2012, SF 2013 (SF disintegration starts in the beggining of 2014 - that team was above themselves and they disintegrate because of that - They did not have good results while Harbaugh was still there), Seahawks 2014, Cardinals 2015... Different teams and with exceptional of NYG (they won SB! that season) those teams where heavy favorites to win SB in the each of respective years...
What the achivement made by Packers. I do not know about you, but I'm proud that I'm fan of them!

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Evan's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:24 pm

Bottom line is winning a Super Bowl is a lot more luck than most people care to realize.

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ben's picture

January 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

pathetic

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jh9's picture

January 18, 2016 at 05:35 pm

Great teams with great coaches find ways to win.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 18, 2016 at 06:04 pm

And we haven't since 2010. That's the frustration. We SHOULD have found a way more than once so far in the Rodgers era and we haven't.

If GB doesn't win at LEAST one more super bowl with Aaron Rodgers, it'll be a disappointment.

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Paul Ott Carruth's picture

January 18, 2016 at 06:24 pm

To quote a wise GM..."just a fart in the wind."

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chugwater's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:09 pm

That same GM would not say that about this team. It's built for more playoff runs and chances at the Super Bowl. The team he's referring to went 8-8 and sat at home for the playoffs.

This team is a far cry from that.

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Paul Ott Carruth's picture

January 19, 2016 at 12:34 am

The team he was referring to was the 1997 squad that just lost 31-24 to the Broncos. The exact quote is "We're a one year wonder. Just a fart in the wind." Now that you have the facts he would say the exact same thing...possibly worse seeing as how this team hasn't even returned to the show as Holmgren's squad did.

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chugwater's picture

January 19, 2016 at 05:47 pm

My memory has failed. My mistake. Appreciate the correction.

Still think he would not say the same thing about this team. It's built to compete for years to come. Young receivers have talent and now needed experience. Randall, Q, and Gunter are adequate replacements for Williams, House, and Hayward at a cheaper price. Just need an ILB and a few D lineman.

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Samson's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:01 pm

"If GB doesn't win at LEAST one more super bowl with Aaron Rodgers, it'll be a disappointment."

Worst case scenario: Season 2016 turns to $hit because the Pack have just too many holes to fill & TT continues to play his D&D game,-- AR may want to end his career elsewhere. -- Happens more than you think.

Season 2016 is critical.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 19, 2016 at 03:12 am

You wish! What are you? Another Vikings fan who looks how to snatch another Hall of Fame QB from Packers? Did you heard what Aaron said? To remind you: "I love to be Packer!"

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Samson's picture

January 19, 2016 at 11:48 am

Most players say they want to play "only" with one team. ---However, today's NFL doesn't promote a long career with just one team. (it's a winning & money thing)

On another point: -- You pom-pom waving cheerleaders are hilarious!!

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Curry Rambeau's picture

January 18, 2016 at 07:43 pm

That overtime coin toss was just inches away!

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Samson's picture

January 18, 2016 at 08:50 pm

Zach
You're better than this. -- To play the "just inches away" game. --- Almost all games are decided by inches.-- Most here need to move on after this game and start some informed GB analysis. ------ The Pack finished the season 5-7 in their last 12 (only a hail mary at Det kept them from finishing 4-8). --- AR looked pretty much like Aaron Cutler too many times in 2015. -- I'm hoping this isn't the "new" AR. -- The Pack without an elite QB is in trouble.

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4thand10's picture

January 18, 2016 at 09:12 pm

"start some informed GB analysis. ------ The Pack finished the season 5-7 in their last 12 (only a hail mary at Det kept them from finishing 4-8)."

If only, if only, could have should have would have.

I would rather have Rodgers QB than anyone else, took it to AZ with basically street WR's. I can't really say that about too many other QB's in the league.
What will Bridgewater do without AP?
What will Stafford do without Calvin Johnson? Or what will he do period for that matter??
Cutler? Not that good to begin with let alone the question of How many years does he have left in the tank??
If Vikings Linebackers are so good, why would a field goal decide the game?
Haters are gonna Hate...I'm a Packer fan, always will be and this is a packers fan site. If BEN WAS actually that clairvoyant...he wouldn't be here, he would be making millions at Fantasy football and would have to work. C'mon man, it's football and there's always a lil' luck and weird bounce of the football. I will say that normally I won't complain about officiating, but with a lot of games and not just the Packers...they have been not consistent and horrible. That needs to be fixed. Bring full instant replay back or whatever, I don't care, it just needs to be way more consistent than it has been.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

January 18, 2016 at 10:13 pm

As well or awesome as DIx played, he has to anticipate the cutback on that Fitz fiasco. Seems like they were too pumped up...and Dom called up a blitz to add fuel to the fire and it blew up in their faces. Real shame. I doubt Carson Palmer could have orchestrated a methodical drive in OT..... arrrgghh...

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Paul Ott Carruth's picture

January 19, 2016 at 12:36 am

The probability was quite high that Palmer would have orchestrated a methodical drive. Check out the second half drive stats for Arizona.

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paxbak's picture

January 19, 2016 at 08:27 am

Which is why we should have gone for 2 : (

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ollie418's picture

January 18, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Why zone Dom?

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Paul Ott Carruth's picture

January 19, 2016 at 12:37 am

Because Hayward was getting exposed by Fitzgerald playing man coverage.

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jbromusic's picture

January 19, 2016 at 11:39 am

ollie, give it a rest. the reason why carson palmer was off for most of the game is because dom was changing up and man and zone coverage. dom had his head spinning!

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Ima fubar's picture

January 19, 2016 at 04:15 pm

The other night in the Denver game the analyst pointed out that Pits was going into the zone hoping the pass rush would get to Manning before he could throw.
Dom had the same idea me thinks. Only problem Dom is fat ass Raji ain't a pass rusher, never has been. Peppers is 37 and worn out in the second half, always has been this year. Guion you never know with him and Daniels makes a couple plays and takes a couple of plays off.
There is no consistent pass rush on this team.

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Paul Ott Carruth's picture

January 19, 2016 at 12:44 am

Bruce Arians was a fool and Mike McCarthy was wise. That’s the narrative following the Packer loss on Saturday. Yet, Arians will be coaching on Sunday and McCarthy will be a spectator. In all fairness, the Packers didn’t lose because McCarthy kicked for overtime and the Cardinals didn’t win because Arians decided to throw the ball on 2nd down with just over 2 minutes remaining. Correlation doesn’t equal causation. However, the approaches taken by both men in pressure situations couldn’t be more different. But why does McCarthy get lauded as wise and Arians as reckless? I think it can be summed up in one phrase: conventional wisdom. I find it amusing when people use that phrase to justify a position. “Conventional wisdom says you run the ball in that situation.” “Conventional wisdom says you never throw it in that situation.” “Conventional wisdom says you run out the clock.” “Conventional wisdom says that no other coach in the league would have gone for 2.” Whenever I hear someone utter those two words, I immediately know they don’t know how to think for themselves and they are devoid of logic. Using that phrase is a comfortable fall back for not thinking because the “experts” say this is the way something should always be done yet there tends to be very little real time data to support their position. If my friends jumped off of a bridge would I do it too? Well, that depends mom, how high is the bridge from the ground and what is my landing surface? Four foot thick foam? Conventional wisdom tells me I shouldn’t jump off the bridge because 9 out of 10 moms are experts on the negative effects of following your friends off of bridges.

Conventional wisdom suggests Arians was foolish to throw the ball in that situation. It stopped the clock. It made their third down play predictable. By running all three times, the Packers will get the ball back with about 1:10 to 1:15 left. Let’s address these results. The clock did stop. The third down play was predictable. The Packers got the ball back with 1:50 left on the clock. So was that the reason the Packers were in a position to connect on the Hail Mary or did it have much more to do with Rodgers’s ability to scramble from pressure? Is 1:10 enough time to get the same result? The bottom line is the Packers were going to get the ball back regardless of Arizona’s decision to throw. 1:10 is an eternity in the NFL. So why might Arians decide to throw? Arians plays to win by playing the opponent and not the clock. He’s not stupid. Clock management does play a role but it’s just not as big a factor as it is to other coaches. The Packer offense had produced a total of 23 yards on 10 plays following the Arizona field goal to make the score 13-10 Packers. Quite unspectacular and unintimidating. The Packers did nothing with the ball in the second half after scoring the go ahead TD. It was highly likely Arians knew this and thus decided to try and end the game and not give the Packers any chance at making a comeback. If they don’t get it they are at least in a position to kick the FG and play defense against an offense that didn’t mount much of a challenge near the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th quarter. Running in to a run postured defense that has been stout all game and instead going to your best weapon on the field made quite a bit of sense, despite what some “experts” will tell you. Now, if you want to question the type of low percentage route that is fair. It’s also fair to question why throw it to Fitzgerald when he is being covered by Shields. What is ridiculous is the notion that Arians was an idiot for even considering throwing the ball given the Packer defensive posture and success against the run up to that point. It only screams stupidity to those who believe the Cardinals were running offense against the clock and not running an offense against the Packer defense. By the way, when is the last time the clock made a tackle, threw the ball, caught a pass, or made a block? A coach should never apologize for putting the ball in the hands of their best player in pressure situations. Herd mentality, unfortunately, forces many coaches to think otherwise.

Let’s look at the 2 point conversion. I know this has been beaten to death but it contrasts nicely with the “Arians was an idiot” narrative. This has been the common line and thought on this issue by most people: “You always go for one in that situation. That’s a no-brainer.” Right…..conventional wisdom. Yet, I’ve heard not one logical argument based on either statistical probability or general flow of the game that makes any logical sense. None. Zero. The closest thing to logical I’ve heard is the flawed belief that the defense was playing well. It played well in the 1st half. But how was the defense really performing in the 2nd half? After the Green Bay touchdown, the Cardinals proceeded to move the ball 74 yards on 10 plays and cut the Packer lead to 3 by settling for a FG. Remember that costly penalty by Fitzgerald? Were it not for that the Cardinals would have had 2nd and Goal from the 3 yard line. It was highly probable Arizona would have cashed in for 6 instead of 3. Randall had a terrific interception to stymie a Cardinal drive that began at their own 31. That interception occurred in the end zone because Palmer led the Cardinals on a 59 yard drive to the Green Bay 10. After failing to do anything with the Randall INT, the Cardinals went on a 14 play 80 yard drive culminating with the Floyd ricochet TD. The Packer defense couldn’t get off the field on numerous 3rd downs with the 3rd and 10 catch by Johnson perhaps being the biggest backbreaker of them all. On three different possessions, the Cardinals were able to move deep in to Packer territory with relative ease. Let’s move on to the hard statistics on this issue. The NFL average for converting 2 point conversions is 50%. The win probability for a team winning the coin toss in OT and electing to receive the ball is 50.7% (33/65 games). The probability the Packers were going to win the toss was exactly 50%. The Packers had a 2 point conversion success rate of 66.7% on the year (4 of 6). The Packers had 100% certainty they would have the ball to convert the 2 point play. Just using these stats completely destroys the argument that going for the kick was a “no-brainer.” But let’s be honest ladies and gentlemen….McCarthy most likely didn’t have access to these stats at the given time. However, he didn’t need them. He had his own real time data to determine the likelihood of winning the game in OT. His offense hadn’t produced a sustained drive of significance since the 1st half. It’s clear in his press conference he believed the defense was playing well to take his chances in OT. Unfortunately, the “flow of the game” as he often refers to dictated otherwise. It isn’t surprising he believed his offense could pull off an 80 yard drive in OT vs. getting 2 yards to win the game in regulation but that, as well, defies in game data. The offense did nothing outside of the Janis touchdown in the second half. It produced a whopping 23 yards on two drives. And this is the most bizarre explanation of why he didn’t go for the 2 point conversion: “Frankly where we were as far as our young guys at receiver and the two-point plays we had available, I wasn’t comfortable with those particular calls.” I’m pulling up Bullshit on my speed dial and placing a call. I’m hoping Mike can explain why he kept Janis in on the 8 yard TD with him being uncomfortable and all. Why did he even play him at all if he was uncomfortable with his abilities and knowledge? He didn’t need to use Zebra personnel at all. He could have gone to more 21, 22, and 12 and keep Janis shelved. I would hope he would be comfortable with Abbrederis executing a two point play given that he was slated to play early in the practice week and would have practiced those plays but who knows given his cockamamie explanation. I understand 2 point plays are “special” plays (they’re no different than any other short yardage pass play….only think to take in to account is adjusting intermediate and deep routes to account for compressed area) but you mean to tell me with the time they had he couldn’t do some on field coaching for his young WRs? He is the “master” of play calling after all right?
McCarthy went on to say, “I understand how analytics plays into game management. But from my viewpoint you look at the numbers, but you also have to take in the flow of the game and things that were going on in the football game.” I agree with Mike about flow of the game more than the out of game analytics in determining success probability. Success in week 5 doesn’t equal success in the divisional round of the playoffs. Even if you look at the situation from in game data and discount out of game analytics his rationale falls glaringly short….unless you think those drives by Arizona were simply aberrations. If that’s the case I want some of whatever Mike was smoking. Like I said, on all accounts…..analytics, in-game offensive data, and in-game defensive data, the Packers were less likely to win the game in OT than if they were to go for 2. Feel free to disagree but please bring me something other than “no-brainer” arguments supported by nothing.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 19, 2016 at 02:50 am

This is quite persuasive. I did go back and look at the play by play. GB's 2nd half offense largely consisted of Lacy's back to back runs of 14 and 61 yards, and two heaves to Janis for 60 and then 41 yards. Abbrederis was shut out in the 2nd half, and JJ was shut out all game (I think 0 receptions on 4 or 5 targets). RR had 3 receptions for 28 yards in the 2nd half. Most plays would have been considered fails - either short or no gain, and not a few negative plays.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 19, 2016 at 03:16 am

Conventional wisdom says you fans on this page will call for Mike McCarthy's head if he went for two and failed!
Personally I read it many times from lot of you!

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Tundraboy's picture

January 19, 2016 at 11:08 am

Could not agree more. Thanks. I would rather MM seized the moment and not taken the conventional approach based on a coin flip probability that we would either win toss and have to go 80 yards, or not and that our exhausted D would stop them. Both of which we struggled to do in the second half. His justifications are just cover your ass double talk. Look at what transpired, the game got away, and by a miracle we tied it giving us a chance again to win. So do it. Play to win. That was my immediate gut reaction and as had been pointed out it was the right one based on what I clearly saw in the preceding 30 minutes. No denying that.

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Ima fubar's picture

January 19, 2016 at 04:18 pm

You always go for one because if you go for two and don't get it your bosses fire your ass.
I love the idea. You got the ball on the 2 why not. Your there to win. But those pay checks are mighty nice too. Kicking a safe tie ball keeps me employed. Thus no coach is going for two.

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lecko's picture

January 19, 2016 at 05:22 am

the most unbelievable thing about Arizona game is that the QB12 AGAin chose not to throw to the open receivers 83 and 84, becaiuse he just dont trust them ??? Read in depth analyisis form packersnews. http://www.packersnews.com/story/sports/nfl/packers/baranczyk%20/2016/01...

I noticed thiaa already in regular season, with game on the line and Janis being open, Aaroin would rather look th other way. This is so unresponsible otwards team and the large fan base. I just wish somebody would put Aaron begind the computer and show him those opportunities and let him comment one by one, why he doesnt throw to receivers. On those 2 long throws, they were desperate thhrows and AAron diid grat job of just throwing long, and of coures Janis ois the only one with speed that can get to them.

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Ima fubar's picture

January 19, 2016 at 04:22 pm

I'm a firm believer that cry baby Rogers had Janis benched. He told the coaches Janis didn't run the exact routes he wanted and thus Janis was in Rogers dog house. Yes you pointed out that even when he had to come in Rogers looked the other way. I saw that too.
I wasn't until Janis got open and was the only choice and caught some balls that Rogers finally gave in and looked for him.
The coaches have a star here but need to work with him on route running. Him and Jordy together with their track speed would be formidable. If the coaches can fathom that deep mental idea.

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Handsback's picture

January 19, 2016 at 07:31 am

The Packers lose on the last play of games due to not executing their assignments. The reasons behind this are many, but primary.....they are a young team. Last year, Williams (not young) let his guy get the inside and behind him for a Seattle TD. Outside of that, Green Bay's youth works against them in close games where discipline is needed to carry out the assignments.

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egbertsouse's picture

January 19, 2016 at 08:14 am

Whenever it's a close playoff game, MM will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What we have in MM is Andy Reid's twin brother; a decent B level coach who puts together a decent team and game plan, wins a bunch of games, but a bad game coach who mismanages big games and finds a way to lose.

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jh9's picture

January 19, 2016 at 09:05 am

I agree. Great teams with great coaches find ways to win--not ways to lose.

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Ima fubar's picture

January 19, 2016 at 04:12 pm

Shields is the absolute best at hanging his head and holding out his hands as if "gee I almost got that ball that was right in my hands and would have turned the game around, almost'.
If his hand and eye coordination is that bad it proves another ted t mistake here.
Why aren't these guys being taught to turn back to the ball, look at the same ball the receiver is rather than keeping your back to him and letting them catch it. DUH>

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