Monday, December 18, 2006

Packers 17, Detroit 9. Must flee TV. What an ugly game. Neither quarterback played well at all, lots of turnovers, and lots of penalties. As bad as the Packers have played at home this season, any win helps, but this win did not inspire confidence against the Vikings at home next week.

First Quarter: Football Outsiders says that Detroit's offensive line is 25th on running plays and 28th on passing plays, but after watching this game I could have been convinced they are the worst in the NFL. They gave their backs nowhere to run and QB Jon Kitna had no time to throw. DT Cullen Jenkins doubled his season sack total (from 3.5 to 6.5 for the season) in the first half! Kitna didn't help himself when he had time, and threw an awful interception to CB Al Harris. Harris made a great juggling catch, but Kitna threw an awful pass where only Harris could catch it and gave WR Roy Williams no chance. Unfortunately QB Brett Favre isn't playing much better and although TE David Martin dropped a TD reception and one other pass on the same drive. Favre sets the NFL record for completions on a nice slant route to WR Carlyle Holiday. The Packers seem opposed to running the ball (5 1st quarter rushes vs. 10 1st quarter passes) and each team only manages a field goal in the quarter.

Second Quarter: The defense played an outstanding game. Detroit couldn't run the ball, Kitna had no time, and the Packers recovered turnovers. Detroit's offense had less than 100 yards of offense in the first half. Unfortunately, Favre's dump off pass to RB Ahman Green is too high and leads to an interception by ex-Badger CB Jamal Fletcher after a good drive to start the quarter. After another Kitna sack and Detroit punt, the Packers manage a good drive, TE Donald Lee saves the drive with a great catch-and-run on 3rd and 10, and a pass happy drive (7 passes, 2 runs) leads to RB Vernand Morency's first TD run. The biggest difference in the game is that the Packers can run the ball and Detroit can't. Favre threw passes to three tight ends in the half, and all were dropped except the completion to Lee. The Packers are playing their tight ends too much. With the exception of a brief streak by David Martin before his injury, throwing to the tight ends has not been a good offensive strategy. The passing offense only works with Favre throwing to the wide receivers and usually with three wide receivers in the game.

Third Quarter: Mike Martz may be an offensive genius, but it took him until the second half to realize the Packers' linebackers can't cover. Kitna passes to TE Casey FitzSimmons and RB Arlen Harris on a crossing route lead to another Detroit field goal. It could have been a touchdown but Kitna forced a 3rd down pass into the end zone instead of throwing it to a wide open Arlen Harris on another crossing route. The offense has three drives die in the quarter; the first two were killed by penalities and the last one by an awful interception in the end zone by Favre. What was he thinking? FOX reports that CB Charles Woodson has recovered 7 turnovers (INTs and fumbles) this season and he leads the NFL. I thought Woodson would be an awful free agent and be out for the season by week 4, but he has played through injuries and has been one of the best free agent signings by any team this season. WR Mike Williams comes to life and eventually leads the team in receptions (3) for the day because Martz lines him up in the slot and he beats the linebackers covering him.

Fourth Quarter: Favre has another interception, but Green really should have caught that pass. Detroit only has 12 yards to go but decided to run it three times although they are averaging less then 3 yards per carry. They settle for another field goal. Finally, with Favre struggling and only 9:29 left in the game, the Packers decide to run the ball a lot. It leads to a clock killing drive ending with Morency's 2nd TD run of the game. Detroit has one more chance, but it only leads to two more Kitna sacks.

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