The game last night started out beautifully.
Besides a fake punt by the Vikings that set them up for a field goal, your defense handled their attack almost perfectly.
The front line contained Adrian Peterson well enough that Teddy Bridgewater had to force a couple of ineffective throws, and even with the trick play, you managed to escape only down by 3 points on the first drive.
No big deal.
Then you got the ball and started out looking like the genius we are used to seeing.
It was a masterful drive until you got into the red zone and decide to get away from what had worked so far.
Instead of continuing to pound the ball on the ground, you decided to pass, and that is when your offense stalled.
But you still managed to get 3 points and tie the game.
After that first set of series, it appeared as if you were going to get a similar result to the first game, where your defense would stymie AP, expose Bridgewater for the inconsistent QB he is, and in doing so, your offense would control the momentum behind a bruising rush attack.
Then for some reason Eddie Lacy was completely absent from the next possession, and you ran 5 plays for a total of 7 yards. After rushing 9 times for 36 yards on the first drive, you only ran the ball 17 times on the next 10 drives to finish out the game with a total of 64.
I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only one who realizes, that we no longer have Jordy Nelson to bail us out on 3rd down after the previously two attempts have failed. We are now a running team who needs to only use the pass to supplement the run game.
The confusing part is your defense played stellar. They stopped Minnesota’s impotent offense (Bridgewater 99 yards passing, 0 TDs and 1 int. Peterson 67 rushing yards, for a 3.5 avg) on 6 of 9 drives, with an interception, and 5 punts, including two 3 and outs.That was a masterful display which should have set you up for a blowout.
Still for some reason you started playing with desperation. Throwing the ball 14 out of 19 plays in the next 5 drives, 4 which led to punts and 1 was a turnover on downs.
I understand you want to get Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense going, but you proved to all of us on the first drive that the best way to do that is to run Lacy.
What we learned from the 5 unsuccessful drives is that the receivers “jogged” their routes, cutting them off early, and ran at the defenders instead of away from them.
These are fundamentals that I see successfully taught to 2nd graders. That is why I’m baffled as to why these professionals are struggling with these basic concepts.
I suggested that you run screen plays, and you did run a very successful “one” to John Kuhn, but none to James Starks who is very skilled at that trade.
I also suggested letting Rodgers bootleg to the weak side so he could scramble or find his tight end in the flat. Again he did each of those once, and then for some reason you abandoned it.
Most surprisingly, whatever happened to the patented back shoulder throw that Rodgers used to use to carve up defenses? Why is that no longer a part of his arsenal?
I have to admit that once he started clicking with his receivers, Rodgers looked good, and even masterful at some points, but by then it was much too late.
Because you had failed to establish the threat of the run, Minnesota already had a comfortable lead, and was able to keep 2 safeties deep and eliminate any major big plays. They even made a stellar comeback attempt by your offense look confused and foolish.
Clay Matthews and the defense were once again the MVP of the game and they as a unit, as well as Mason Crosby, and Eddie Lacy (when you allowed him to) played good enough to win. However, your insistence to force the pass, without setting up the foundation to do so, hung them all out to dry.
I get it. Besides the division title, this was virtually a meaningless game. I can only hope that what you were doing was keeping Lacy as your “Ace in the Hole,” and waiting to show your best cards when it matters most.
I also appreciate that you drew the Redskins as your next opponents, and set the Vikings up with the “red hot” Seahawks. I agree that is your safest route to the Super Bowl.
However, if you continue to let the team play undisciplined ball, what could have been a very successful season, will be cut unnecessarily short.
So next time, please keep everything the same on defense, but run the ball with Lacy, until you have the defense back on their heels. Then run the ball some more with Kuhn. And when you think it’s time to start passing, run the ball again, and again and again.
By then you should be almost ready to win a championship.
Thanks again for your time, and once again if you have any more questions feel free to drop me a line.
I have a fairly busy schedule next weekend but if you give me enough of a notice, I should be able to make the trip to D.C. If you need me.
Until then. Good luck, and Go Pack Go!!!