Monday, October 27, 2014

Packers Head Into The Bye Week With A 23-44 Loss To The Saints

Ironically, this 2014 loss at in the Superdome was an awful lot like their loss in the Superdome back in 2008. In both games, the score was close at halftime and neither team's defense was stopping anyone, before the Saints ran away with it in the second half. Maybe we should just expect that the defense will be taking the week off when playing QB Drew Brees in his dome. Also, the Packers have played their worst on the road this season.
It wasn't the best performance from the offense, though they weren't likely to keep pace with the Saints if the defense wasn't planning on stopping them from scoring on every drive. WR Davante Adams needs to spend some more time with Aaron Rodgers and learn what Rodgers is expecting him on his routes. The Saints proved, once again, that if you double WR Jordy Nelson with a safety over the top on every route, he won't have a big game against your team, but that's OK if Adams and WR Randall Cobb can take advantage of it. Cobb did have a great first half, but he didn't do much in the second half, when they needed him to step up. These are things to work on it, but it's not why they lost the game.

In many ways, this is nothing new for the Packers D. They've had trouble stopping the run (big game from RB Mark Ingram) and they've been inconsistent all season. I thought they would overcome the absence of SS Morgan Burnett and CB Sam Shields, and maybe the D wouldn't have been any better if those two had played, but the Packers could have used Burnett's run support and Drew Brees picked on Shields's replacement (CB Davon House) early and often.

LB Clay Matthews continues his frustrating season. There was some thought that the read option was part of the problem, but that's not a weapon in Drew Brees's arsenal. Brees seemed to be taking advantage of Matthews's tendencies on every play. He did finish the game with one sack in pursuit on one of the few times Brees was flushed from the pocket. Matthews seems like a player who hasn't watched any film, and he's fooled by any misdirection, whether it be the read option, a screen pass, or his blocker releasing into the flat to become a wide open receiver. The talent is still there but he needs to play smarter.

The biggest disappointment might be Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers. They were completely outcoached by Sean Peyton and his staff. The Saints' defense has been the worst in the NFL, but McCarthy couldn't take advantage of them. Capers took nothing away from the Saints (as the Saints did by taking WR Jordy Nelson out of the game) and everything was working for them on offense. They know football, but everyone can have a bad week.

No more Packer football until November 9th, and it's probably as good a time as any for a mid-season break. November is looking promising, with four of their next five games at Lambeau (sandwiched in-between all those home games is short trip to the frozen tundra of Minneapolis to take on the struggling Vikings). They just need to keep winning and the playoffs should take care of themselves.

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