After dropping another road game, the Green Bay Packers fall back under .500 to 4-5-1, and there is plenty of blame to go around for their 27-24 loss.
Aaron Rodgers had an excellent night, throwing for 332 yards on 21 of 30 passing and two touchdowns, including two unreal throws that traveled over 50 yards in the air.
But he did miss two crucial throws on what ended up being their last drive on the game. On first down, he didn’t attempt to throw it to Aaron Jones who was wide-open at the line of scrimmage with loads of space behind him. With all the traffic surrounding him, maybe he didn’t see him. Ok. But then, on 3rd & 2, he missed Marquez Valdez-Scantling by throwing it into the ground.
We can’t forget that Mason Crosby missed another field goal, which ended up being the difference in the game.
And we need to look at Mike McCarthy as well. For a majority of the game, the play-calling was uninspiring yet again. After a career game from Aaron Jones last Sunday, the Packers essentially abandoned the run game, especially in the second half.
But the thing that stood out the most is McCarthy’s aggressiveness or lack thereof. In the first quarter, he failed to go for it on a 4th and short in Seattle territory, which was followed by Crosby’s miss.
But more glaring was his decision late in a three-point game. After the Packer failed to convert on 3rd & 2, they had a decision to make with 4:20 left in the contest and a single timeout remaining. Instead of putting the hands in the hands of the game’s best player, McCarthy opted to trust his defense more by punting it.
The 55-year-old said that he was playing the numbers. But if he did, he’d know that the Seahawks were going to run the ball to take a chunk of time out of the clock. And Seattle is the best rushing team in the game and had run all over the Packers that night. Not to mention, the Packers are one of the worst at stopping the run and were further depleted with defensive injuries during the game.
And because of the suspect coaching and failed execution from the players, the Green Bay Packers’ season is now on life support. They are seventh in total offense, 13th in points scored, 12th in total defense, and 17th in points allowed.
And at 4-5-1, they are two games back in the division of the first-place Chicago Bears with six games left and the second-place Minnesota Vikings in-between them.
The Vikings currently occupy the second wild-card spot, with the Packers 1.5 games behind them. But Green Bay is also competing with the 5-5 Seahawks, 4-5 Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, and Dallas Cowboys for the 6th seed.
The odds are against them, with the playoffs looking bleak. When asked postgame if he still believed the Packers could make the playoffs, Aaron Rodgers responded:
“What kind of question is that? Come on, man.”
And after a pause, he continued:
“I don’t even know how to answer that. What am I supposed to say? Of course we believe in each other. It’s just going to take one galvanizing moment, whether it’s a speech or a practice or something happens in a game. We’ve got to get this thing going.
Rodgers will be the last one to give up on the season because he’s been in this situation before. It was just two years ago when Green Bay started 4-6, and the quarterback made his infamous “I think we can run the table” claim.
The only chance the Packers have at the postseason this year appears to be rerunning the table, but he has to go through two teams this time, and teams that are arguably better than the Detroit Lions from the 2016 season.
Green Bay’s remaining games are at the Vikings next week, at home vs. the Arizona Cardinals, home vs. the Falcons, at the Bears, at the New York Jets, and home against the Lions to close out the season.
There are three ‘almost guaranteed’ wins against the Cardinals, Jets, and Lions. And they are ‘almost guarantees’ because the Packers as a team have found different ways to lose this season after being set up to win: missed field goals, special team lapses, crucial fumbles, and bad play-calling.
Nothing is a guarantee with this team, but winning those three games are musts. But the two crucial ones are the road games against the teams the Packers are chasing.
They already beat the Bears and tied the Vikings in September, but both games were at home. Green Bay is 0-5 on the road this season, and Minnesota and Chicago are both better teams than the Packers.
It’s a tall task ahead of the team, but you can never count out an Aaron Rodgers-led team. It would still require a near-miracle for the Packers to be playing beyond December.
However, if anyone can make a miracle happen, it’s Aaron Rodgers, because he’s done it countless times in the past. It’s setting up to be a perfect script for the Packers quarterback who has a flair for the dramatic.