Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Packers 3, Baltimore 48. The game to balance the 52-3 blowout win against New Orleans earlier this season. It also ended any doubt that the Packers aren't awful this season and properly placed the Packers as one of the 5 worst teams in the NFL. As Aaron Schatz said "a good pass defense just up and quit on national television." CB Al Harris had been shutting down number 1 wide receivers all season, but WR Derrick Mason had 5 catches for 97 yards. TE Todd Heap continued the long line of tight ends this season who have abused the Packers. FS Nick Collins and SS Mark Roman both allowed Heap TD receptions.

The defensive line also contributed to the collapse of the pass defense. The Packers recorded zero sacks in the game. DE KGB and DE Aaron Kampman generated little pass rush and all the players rotated in at defensive tackle failed to generate any substantial push. The defensive line failed to stop Baltimore's mediocre running game and helped RB Jamal Lewis look like the 2000 yard rusher he was a couple of seasons ago. Baltimore's offensive line held the Packers defensive line in check for the entire game.

It didn't help that QB Kyle Boller looked great. His passes to Mason were sharp and his touchdown passes to Heap and WR Randy Hymes were perfectly thrown. If Boller played every game against the Packers, then he would have a long NFL career.

The only improvement for the Packers in this game was that CB Ahmad Carroll had an excellent kick return in the first half. It led the Packers lone field goal and it was probably the only special teams play this season that has set up a score.

It doesn't help that QB Brett Favre is getting worse as the season goes on. It isn't that his skills are slipping, but that his decision making is getting even worse. Some teams need to throw the ball deep more often to keep the safeties back, but the Packers are the opposite. Safeties seem to play deep waiting for Favre to force a meatball pass downfield. Every pass over 20 yards was thrown into double coverage. The Packers were able to run the ball, which is another indication that the safeties aren't helping out much in run support. Favre is not working with a great collection of receivers at this point, but he does need to try and take what the defense is giving instead of forcing the ball downfield.

Why were the Packers all smiles, except Mike Sherman, while getting their butt kicked on national TV?

Plus the Packers lost another running back to injury. The good news is that RB Samkon Gado should fully recover from this injury in a couple of months, but he won't be able to help out anymore this season.

Was anyone excited to see QB Aaron Rodgers play in the 4th quarter??? Rodgers played like a rookie. He had two fumbles and a lousy interception in one quarter of play. It didn't help him that the Packers gave awful LG Adrian Klemm another opportunity to play. Klemm can't pull on running plays (an essential technique needed for a guard) and he contributed to the missed block that led to the sack, fumble, and TD return. Klemm started to move outside to block LB Adalius Thomas but then stopped and LT Chad Clifton didn't know who to block. I still think Rodgers can be a good NFL quarterback; he made some good passes and moved the team down the field against Baltimore's starting defense.

There was no silver lining on this game.

No comments: