You Blew It

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The Packers loss yesterday, while sickening and horrific, will become tragic if nothing is learned from it.

I wonder if head coach Mike McCarthy has the ability to truly understand his tactical cowardice in this game.

I wonder if he can somehow be able to find an “edge” to his coaching – whether it’s in play calling, strategy, or dealing with idiot players who make idiot plays.

I often think: “How much worse WOULD exactly ‘Replacement Coach X’ be with Aaron Rodgers, and all of the other talent Ted Thompson and the Packer personnel department gives him to work with?”

I doubt any other credible NFL coach would do much worse than McCarthy. And they would quite possibly be much better in closing out imminently winnable games.

When McCarthy plays the ol’ tired “That’s how (close) these games (in the NFL) are…” card afterward like he did, it really makes me wonder if he simply can’t see what a pussy he is sometimes as a coach.

So to rank the mistakes/second guesses from yesterday in order, while assigning them to various levels of “that shouldn’t happen”, here’s my list.

1. Running it 3x and Punting at 5 minute mark. (Extreme Cowardice)
2. Kicking two FG’s from under 20 yards. (Tactical Idiocy)
3. Rushing 2 Guys on 3rd and 19 (Tactical Idiocy)
4. Burnett Sliding After Pick (Inexplicable Hubris)
5. Allowing the Fake FG TD Pass (Absurd Inattentiveness)
6. Ha-Ha Dix not breaking up 2pt conversion (Point shaving?)
7. Not Throwing at Richard Sherman (Cowardice)
8. Brandon Bostic Fumble (Total Coaching Failure)

In other words: “YOU BLEW IT!”

Let’s hope McCarthy learns from this. Let’s hope Aaron Rodgers, as incredible as he is, channels a little bit of inner fire to perhaps check out of run plays if he thinks they need to be more aggressive, or at least get in his coach’s face on the sideline.

Let’s hope they cut Brandon Bostic, for no other simple cold blooded reason that a) you can and b) he screwed up and c) watch how much better players execute their assignements after this helps focus their minds.

And finally, let’s hope there is no more wasted glory like this. This victory was poised to be the sweetest non-Lombardi-hoisting win in franchise history. Even better than punking the hated Bears in the NFC title game.

Now it’s a case study, in how “scurred” football, gets you beat.

Wish It, Want It, You Blew It. from Alex on Vimeo.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Czabe, I think you are being a little harsh here. While it is true that the Packers could have maybe been a little more aggressive (especially early in the game when they probably should have gone for the TD), the really important thing to remember here is that it took a number of crazy, incredibly fortunate things to go the Seahawks way for them to win. Here’s the list of crazy things:

    – fake field goal TD thrown by a kicker
    – 3rd and 19 conversion
    – onside kick recovery
    – miracle 2 point conversion pass

    ALL of those things had to work for Seattle to just tie the game – not win. Who thinks ALL of those things are going to go right for Seattle? If any one of those things doesn’t work, then Green Bay wins easily. I think you can certainly fault McCarthy for a few things. But to say he blew it is a little bit harsh in my opinion. Seattle got really lucky combined with making some good plays and Green Bay getting a little timid.

    • It’s because he only rushed 2 that the 3rd and 19 was even converted. Sooner or later a guy is going to find a hole in prevent coverage if Russell Wilson has 5 blockers for 2 guys and an eternity to throw the football. Also Dix not making the play in that ball is terrible. We get 2 early turnovers and take a field goal from the 1, and 2 yard line? Where’s the killer instinct? A Touchdown on either drive puts that game away. I would’ve been proude to have went for it and not got them. We didn’t play to win, we played not to lose.

    • True, Corey-but, all those things DID happen. And it seems to be a trend with this coaching staff. Freak stuff like this happens to this team with a disturbing frequency. The Fail Mary. The last 2 plays of the half in the playoff against the Giants in 2011. Fumble return for a TD at the end of the game against the Bengals last year. OT loss on a fumble return against Arizona in the ’09 playoff game.

      I could mention more, but the point is, McCarthy’s teams seem to have a habit of not being prepared, alert, poised, whatever you want to call it, at critical points in games far too often. And that falls on the coaching staff.

    • The success on 3rd an 19 was not some fluky thing that just happened to go the Seahawks’ way. When you abandon the blitz that had been working and give ANY QB all day to find a receiver, ANY QB will.

  2. The time for hoping McCarthy learns something is past. I appreciate your optimism, but this game wasn’t some baffling anomaly. We’ve seen this over and over. He has the occasional inspired game–against the Patriots this season, for instance–but he loses his ability to think creatively when a big game is clearly about to slip away. He shuts down and goes on autopilot in the comfort of his “game plan”. At that point, a teenager could out-coach him.

    Any decent coach could’ve gotten Aaron Rodgers to a couple more Super Bowls already. But we know McCarthy’s job isn’t in danger. So we also know that Rodgers’ career is ultimately doomed. Unless the team purposely performs so poorly next season that they can get McCarthy fired, Rodgers will never get another ring.

  3. No Czabe, you blew it.

    Bostick and everyone else said immediately (not after conferring with coaches, reviewing/grading the film) that Bostick didn’t do his job AS HE WAS COACHED TO DO.

    I’d take issue with several other accusations (point shaving! Are you serious?!?), but you aren’t even worth my time.

  4. While I hate watching teams not go for it from inside the 5, I find it laughable that if they win that game, all the sports talking heads would be lauding Mike McCarthy for managing the game, making the wise decision to “take the 3 points” several times early in the game.

    That said, I think you play to win, not try to bleed time off the entire 4th quarter.

  5. As a lifelong Packer fan it kills me to say this…but McCarthy and Capers and anybody significantly associated with this debacle not named Rodgers must go….go NOW!!! Thompson. You too. Clean house and bring in new thinking. I am sick with anger juiced by inhuman amounts of alcohol right now. My mind has never been clearer. CLEAN HOUSE Packerland!

  6. All of his tough talk and “good football team” cliches are just to hide his low IQ. He’s fooled Cheese Nation long enough.
    He needs to go back to some rust-belt high school in Pennsylvania and sell his Joe Paterno ‘three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust’ schtick there.

  7. Two separate comments:

    Corey: I will grant that the onside kick recovery and 2-point conversion play were both just freak occurrences…. but, the rest is coaching. Not guarding against a possible fake field goal and sending so few pass rushers on 3 and 19 (4 would have been just the right amount to maintain good coverage and still generate a rush), are both coaching failures. It shows a lack of situational awareness on the part of McCarthy and his staff

    Czabe:

    As McCarthy won the Super Bowl in only his third full season with Rodgers as the starting QB, I was predisposed to give him the benefit of the doubt for the other playoff losses before this one. However, this crushing failure here has revealed that Big Mac has become the new Brian Billick, a guy who caught lightning in a bottle with a great run to a Super Bowl title early in his career, which gave him an extended honeymoon period where his poor decisions in later years cost them additional chances at titles.

    Before yesterday, the biggest glaring example McCarthy’s cautious coaching leading to failure was that stinker they dropped against the Giants in 2011, after going 15-1 the year after winning it all. McCarthy bought into that whole ‘you need to rest the players’ myth for the season finale against Detroit. The result was the Aaron Rodgers went three weeks without having a meaningful snap. The timing was completely off between him and his receivers, allowing a 9 win New York team to win going away. The subsequent losses to San Francisco showed an inability to game plan properly for a different style of offense… Then, there were yesterday’s ‘Operation Shutdown’ with 5 minutes remaining.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the leash for McCarthy is going to get much shorter in the coming seasons. A single losing season may be all it takes to oust him after this postseasons disappointments

  8. Deflated Balls comment was a classic. Thanks for the lone smile I got today. As to McCarthy:

    Great coach, Great planner. Making on the spot decisions? Ehhhhh, NOPE. McCarthy is (imho) GREAT at drawing up a game plan, but LOUSY at on the fly adjustments in the heat of the game. When he has time, he makes good decisions. When you put him on the spots, he freezes, chokes, pauses, etc.

  9. Oh and one more thing about Mike. In life (the personal aspects of it) its great to be liked, feared and respected. In professional sports, two out of three is all you need as long as “liked” isn’t one of them.

    When you have your opponent by the throat, you don’t EVER let go until one of three things happen: His pulse stops, someone else pulls you off, or the game/event is officially over. To do so voluntarily is exposing your weakness.

  10. Gotta agree with Corey. Amazing that everything went Seattle’s way in last 3 minutes. McCarthey stayed aggressive in Dallas game last week and look back at their SB run a few years ago. As a Cheesehead, I’m crushed, but give Seattle credit. Though agree that 2 ( and even 3) man pass rushes are timid.

  11. Clay Matthews standing on the sideline in the 4th quarter with “exhaustion” while Richard Sherman is playing with one arm. What the hell! Did Matthews need time to comb his hair? Seattle wanted it more.

  12. Let me ask you Czabe, which coach in your mind IS a balls to the wall non-cowardly coach? You can pick on McCarthy, and I admit the 2nd half was a let down from the offensive POV, but who is his opposite? If it’s Belichick, laugh out loud…

  13. One thing I have not heard ANYONE mention is that the Seahawk’s never, let me restate that,,,, NEVER stopped looking for opportunity’s.

    As amazing as the amount of “crazy things” occuring was, you have to admit, that it is equally, wait, let me add, even MORE amazing that Seattle NEVER stopped looking for an opportunity to win, in spite of the time left, odds, etc. that were in front of them.

    I am undecided on watching the Super Bowl. My enthusiasm for watching that game is more deflated than a Patriot football,,,,,,,,,

  14. It’s easy to point the finger at someone when something goes wrong. It’s easy because you are judging the person based on the results. Instead of judging someone’s decision making strictly by the results, try to judge them based on what you knew at the time *before* you know the result. If the Packers had blown out the Seahawks in the second half would anyone have thought that messing up the fake field goal was an example of terrible coaching? No. Everyone would just have laughed at the crazy fake field goal that the Seahawks managed to pull off. But since they lost, now everyone thinks it was absolutely terrible that they didn’t properly defend the fake field goal.

    Look at it as probabilities. What was the probablity that Seattle would be able to execute the fake field goal? What was the probability that they would line up in an illegal formation on the onside kick and not get flagged? What was the probability that they would recover the onside kick? What was the probability that Wilson would be able to complete an absolute prayer of a pass for the 2 point conversion?

    If the probabilities of all of these things are pretty high, then yes – McCarthy made some really obvious mistakes and didn’t do a good job. However if the probabilities of all of these things are pretty low (and I think they are very, very low) then I would say that McCarthy didn’t necessarily make any huge obvious mistakes. McCarthy put his team in a position to win the game. If you look at the win probabilities at this link (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24978832/look-seahawks-win-probability-went-down-to-10-percent-vs-packers) you will see that after Burnett’s interception, the Packers had a 99.3% chance of winning. And later in the game that figure actually rose to 99.9%!

    It’s easy to point the finger at Burnett for sliding after making the interception. I’ve watched the All-22 film of that play. To me it’s not a lock that he would have scored a TD or had a huge return. I think for sure he would have gotten another 15 yards or so. Beyond that, who knows. Sure, he may have weaved his way through traffic and scored. He may have been tackled after gaining 20 yards. Who knows. I doubt he would have fumbled – that is a low probability. So really, we are talking about 15 – 20 yards of field position. Again, I don’t think that’s a huge deal.

    So the question is, did the Packers do a bunch of stupid stuff after that interception that let the Seahawks come back? Or did the Seahawks just make a bunch of amazing plays? In my opinion the only thing the Packers did that was sort of stupid was that on the first Seahawks TD drive that ended at the 2:01 mark, they seemed to play really soft defense. Seattle marched down the field rather easily. Other than that, it seemed to me like they just got beat by some good play making and a couple of miracle outcomes.

    How can you blame McCarthy for the onside kick? It was a fluke. How can you blame McCarthy for the 2 point conversion? It was a fluke. Can you blame the Packer coaching staff for the 3rd and 19 conversion? I would like to see the stats on 3rd and 19 conversions when you rush 2 people. My guess is that in those situations the offense only converts the first down like 5% of the time. So it probably wasn’t a terrible defensive call. Seattle just made a play. (By the way – I could be completely wrong. If offenses convert 3rd and 19s 60% of the time when you rush 2 people then I would agree that it was a stupid coaching decision.)

    Most of the time when coaches make decisions to run the ball to bleed off the clock or DBs make a decision to slide after an INT it all works out great. In my opinion this was just a crazy, crazy game where Seattle came up with a number of fluky plays to pull out the game at the end. McCarthy is still a very good coach.

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