Monday, November 18, 2013

Recap: Packers Outplayed By Giants, 27-13

If there's one thing to be learned from Sunday's loss to the Giants is that QB Scott Tolzien will be the first QB in four weeks to start consecutive games for the Green Bay Packers:
Mike McCarthy never had a QB complete every big shot he took down the field until Tolzien. He went 4 for 4 with 151 yards on his deep pass attempts. Even with the 3 INTs, his QBR of 29.6 was about what should be expected from a backup QB. He's a big improvement on the little they've gotten in recent seasons from QB Graham Harrell and QB Seneca Wallace.

I'm not going to defend every INT, but if there's one thing he and Mike McCarthy should have learned by now is that Tolzien isn't a good bet when throwing on the run. Two of his five INTs have happened when he escaped pressure and tried to make something happen on the run. Right now, McCarthy should tell him to play it safe and throw it short or away when the pocket collapses. Take those two INTs away and the Packers can live with 3 INTs in 2 games.

For the second week in a row, RB Eddie Lacy was limited as defenses turned their focus on him. It didn't help that RG T.J. Lang said the line was missing assignments. They eventually got away from the running game, but going run-run-pass-punt on their first two possessions, when the Giants were focused on the running game, got them off to a very bad start.

This was the best defensive game in a few weeks, but it's still a far cry from where they should be. RB Brandon Jacobs was amazed at how easy the running was in short yardage situations. The decision to cover WR Victor Cruz with CB Micah Hyde (and LB Clay Matthews on Cruz's 30 yard reception) was bad. I like Hyde, but he's limited by his lack of CB Sam Shields-like speed and he's probably not one of their top five pass defenders. The defense is struggling with their coverage in the middle of the field, it was another bad game for S Morgan Burnett and LB A.J. Hawk often seems to be leaving someone wide open. Matthews had a sack and he batted down a pass in the fourth quarter, but he looked like an ordinary player for the first three quarters.

The promising signs on defense is that LB Brad Jones and Matthews looked better at the end of the Giants game then they had since their returns. CB Tramon Williams has played great over the past couple games and is looking like the playmaker of old when he's playing against the slot receiver. There are still a lot of questions, as Bob McGinn wrote almost no one stepped up when the Packers needed it, but there is some sign of hope on defense.

The Packers looked overmatched on both sides of the ball, especially on the offensive and defensive lines against the run, and it's hard to watch them lose a winnable game. They've just got to try harder next week.

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