Thursday, December 16, 2004

Packers 16, Detroit 13. A game they should have won, although Detroit is playing better than the Packers this season, and they won it. How can Detroit be the better team with a worse record and an anemic/pathetic offense? The Packers turn the ball over (-11 turnover differential) while Detroit doesn't (+8) and Detroit's defense is average while the Packers defense is bottom 5 in the NFL. Because Detroit protects the ball on offense and plays solid defense, they have been in a position to win games this season, but if this game was any indication, QB Joey Harrington just can't finish the opponent off in the 4th quarter.

First half: QB Brett Favre continues his offensive malaise. Favre's human and he goes through slumps and this one started in the first quarter in Philadelphia. The offense couldn't get anything going in the first half. It wasn't just Favre, WR Javon Walker was held in check almost the entire game and WR Donald Driver and TE Ben Steele (for about the fifth game in a row) contributed alongside Walker as each had a dropped pass. Could the refs call some more penalties? They were all legitimate penalties, but the refs called this game tight. Detroit's first scoring drive was all penalties. RB Kevin Jones continued to look good. He's been one of the best backs in the NFL during the 2nd half of the season and the Packers missing tackles (DE KGB blew a tackle on Jones's TD run) did help. In the game vs. St. Louis, two DBs ran into each other on a crossing route and WR Issac Bruce ran for about 50 yards after the catch. Same thing happened in this game and WR Az Hakim ran for about 15 yards. The Packers have to fix this because the next three opponents are going to try and exploit this confusion. The defense played poorly (considering they were only trying to stop Detroit) but held them to two field goals on two of the scoring drives. Packers 0, Detroit 13.

Second half: The refs tight calls started helping the Packers and the first scoring drive was fueled almost exclusively by penalties (55 penalty yards and 13 offense yards). Harrington: 2 completions in the 3rd quarter and 0! in the 4th quarter. How can you not come back from a two score deficit against Detroit? Harrington looked awful but the pass coverage was very tight in the half and the run defense was much better (no missed tackles). This was the worst wind I have seen in an NFL game this season. The wind gave an additional 15 yards one direction and took away 15 yards the other. The receivers stop dropping passes and Favre shakes off the slump with a 90 yard TD drive. The wind killed P Nick Harris's last punt and gave the Packers the field position they needed to win the game. Packers 16, Detroit 13.

Overall this was an ugly game to watch. The Packers weren't playing their best, Detroit's offense was inept, and a ton of penalties. Jacksonville is slumping bad (and coming up from Florida to play in Green Bay in December) and should have no chance, but they too have played better than the Packers this season. Jacksonville is very comparable to Detroit, although they are playing better thanks to better QB play. Just need to keep winning and don't have to worry about what your conference foes are doing.

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