The New Orleans Saints proved the 2008 Packer defense to be pretenders as they riddled the Packers’ play-off aspirations with a crushing 51 – 29 defeat in the Big Easy Monday night. Fifty one points is a ridiculous number to surrender in the NFL but so it was as the Packers’ defense was burned like marshmallows against the Drew Brees-led Saints. Quarterback Brees’ passing was almost flawless and the Packers’ defense could do nothing to turn the tide.
Midweek Brees popped off to the media that the Saints’ high-powered passing attack was better than the Packers’ highly ranked passing defense and boy was he right. “It ain’t bragging when you can go out and do it,” as someone famous once said. Brees and company passed at will for well over 300 yards in a game where the Packer defense had no answers. Earlier this year the Packers’ defense could not stop the run; now into the stretch part of the season, the Packers are unable to stop the pass.
The game was actually pretty close at halftime with the Saints leading by only three at 24 – 21. Aaron Rodgers threw the football erratically in the first half but was still able to put together a couple of nice drives to keep the Packers in the game. The third quarter, however, turned out to be a nightmare for the Pack as the offense sputtered and the defense continued to yield. The Packers were outscored by 21 straight points, effectively putting the game out of reach.
Criticism of Defensive Coordinator Bob Sanders is in order. Where were the stunts or blitzes when the front four couldn’t deliver heat on quarterback Brees? The only times Brees has been stifled this year was when heat was placed on him. But the Pack could not come up with creative or effective defensive plays Monday. It seemed like Brees read all of the Packer defensive coverages before they played out. Sanders’ game plan stunk and there seemed to be no adjustments.
Dittos for special-teams coach Mike Stock whose faith in punter Derrick Frost makes no sense at all. Frost should have been fired weeks ago but instead continues to be a Cheesehead embarrassment. I don’t understand why Ted Thompson hasn’t cut this guy.
The Packers needed to win this game and not only did they not accomplish that goal, they were beaten badly. The Packer offense died in the second half and the defense could not effectively do anything of substance all evening, with a national audience watching. Whether or not they can rebound and still be a factor in determining the winner of the North Division of the NFC will remain to be seen, but their chances diminished substantially Monday night after laying this egg.
The 2008 Packers are developing a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde personality with their horrible performance against the Vikings two weeks ago, their dominating performance against the Bears last week and now this route by the Saints. Hard to figure what the Packers will do next week against an 8 – 3 team like the Carolina Panthers.
Talk back! Tell us what you think of this year’s teams. What would you do if you were in charge?
Go to winonapost.com, click on Football Forum to discuss this year’s season.