Special Teams’ Miscues Skew Packers… Next Week the Hapless Lions Visit Lambeau
The Green Bay Packers lost another game that they should have won on Monday Night Football when the Chicago Bears prevailed in overtime by a score of 20 – 17. On a bitter cold Chicago evening, the Packers outplayed the Bears but once again found a way to lose in heartbreaking fashion. The must-win game for the Bears brightens their chances for a shot at the playoffs as they are now tied with the Minnesota Vikings in the North Division. Next week will determine who gets into the big dance. For the Packers, their frustrating 2008 season now comes down to a final date with the winless Detroit Lions next week.
To their credit Monday night, the Packers came out and played with intensity. The much maligned Packer defense held the Bears in check as this game progressed. In fact, they were dominant, holding the Bears to only 100 yards of offense through the first three quarters. Offensively, Aaron Rodgers came up with two touchdown passes to give the Pack a 14 – 3 lead going into the locker room as the Bears’ cornerbacks played soft and didn’t match up well with the Packers’ talented wide receivers.
But the Packers’ special teams let them down badly on this cold evening. Terrible kickoff coverage, bad decisions by the punt return squad, two missed field goals (one with 38 seconds to play that would have won the game) were on full display. Lack of discipline has sadly been a trademark of the 2008 Packer special teams and methinks with great certainty there will be a coaching change in this area after the end of the season.
Charles Woodson and Nick Collins, the only 2008 Packer Pro Bowl selections, both came up with their 6th respective interceptions, but those seem irrelevant when you lose a game like this. In overtime the Packers lost the coin toss and the defense, which had played so well all night, once again failed to stop the Bears at a critical time. The Bears marched 47 yards down the field and kicked a field goal to win the game.
So what is left for the Packer 2008 season? The Lions are the first team in NFL history to be 0 – 15. If the Packers should lose to them next week, they will forever be known as the team that got beat by a 0 -15 team. Could that possibly happen against a terrible team like the Lions? Probably not…but it could. The 2008 Packers are snakebit. They have far more talent than their record would allow, but they are in an ugly losing mind-state right now which cannot and will not continue. Coaching and player jobs are on the line for next season as the Lions bring their sad-sack show to Lambeau. One way or another history will be made next week, and the Packers cannot allow the Lions to win this game. It just wouldn’t be right.
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