Nicole Haase. 17th December, 2008 - 6:19 pm
While each football game is composed of four quarters, it?s only the first and last that have been issues for the Packers.
Although they lead the league in fourth quarter scoring with 127 points, the Packers are second-to-last in the league in first quarter scoring with just 44 points scored.
Watching Sunday?s game had to give Green Bay fans a horrible sense of d?j? vu, as the Packers once again seemed to dominate the game, took a lead into the fourth quarter, gave up a long-yardage play, lost the lead, and were unable to complete a two-minute drill comeback.
The loss was the sixth of the season of four points or less.
While none of the close losses can be entirely blamed on Aaron Rodgers, his lack of experience and discomfort in the pocket have played key roles in the game-ending interceptions and scoring drives that ended in field-goals instead of touchdowns.
Imagine if just two or three plays had gone differently in these games. Rodgers would be remembered for his new-found ability for late-game heroics and fourth-quarter victories.
Imagine the headlines about Rodgers? miraculous comebacks and the Packers' come-from-behind victories.
Instead, he?s the somewhat erratic leader of a 5-9 team who has to be counting the days until the season is over and they?re out of their misery.
The players look to be getting as upset about the season as the fans have been for a few weeks now. Rodgers and Jermichael Finley could be seen arguing on the field, and Brady Poppinga and Al Harris exchanged heated words late in the game.
Of course, Coach Mike McCarthy downplayed both incidents, chalking them up to miscommunication.
The problem is that McCarthy?s dismissal is more concerning than the actions themselves.
There?s no excuse for a professional football team that was 12-4 last season to be having troubles with miscommunication this late in the season.
Clearly, it?s been a frustrating season for everyone from the fans up to the coaches, but to have players openly fighting on the field and sidelines and one of your veterans (Charles Woodson) saying, "When you see what you saw today, you know how bad it is. When you have two players on the field arguing with each other, you have them on the sideline arguing with each other, then you know it's bad,? it?s time to stop giving excuses and start giving answers.
The clich? says that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It?s certainly true for the Packers this season, who look like they?re sprinting on a hamster wheel ? moving fast, but getting nowhere.
At this point in the season, it?s not about the blame for why things are going wrong.
What Packers' fans really want an answer to is: Why?
Here?s what Coach McCarthy had to say:
?I think this game had some similarities to some of the games we've had of late, no doubt about it?."The bottom line was the outcome. We did not make enough plays to win the game. You can go through the different situations; some of the communication errors we had in the first half, the ability to score in the two-minute, the ability to keep them out of the end zone, those are the things we're not doing in the important spots in the game," he added.
While Packer fans can appreciate that McCarthy has finally identified the problem, we?re long past the blame stage, and we?re looking for answers. Week 15 is entirely too late to be recognizing and acknowledging major breakdowns in your team.
Why are the same plays being given game-in-and-game-out? Why haven?t we learned from our mistakes? Why aren?t adjustments being made? Why are we watching the same mistakes and the same breakdowns as we did six weeks ago?
And, more importantly, how can we have faith in you when you?ve failed to deliver this season?
It's so much more heartbreaking when you know your team is just a few plays away from the playoffs, than if they just completely suck that season. To know that this year's team was this close to following up last year's NFC Championship appearance with another playoff run is enough to make a Packer fan pull their hair out.
When fans sitting at home feel like they can script how the game will turn out and their predictions are reasonably accurate, what do you think the other team?s coordinators are doing?
By refusing to make changes, being unable to adapt, and stubbornly sticking to a faltering game plan, the Packers have made it kindergarten-simple for opposing teams to pick them apart.
Early season games against teams like Atlanta are blueprints for the Packers? opponents on how to beat them. The strategy hasn?t changed in ten weeks, so the Packers? chances can do nothing but diminish.