With the ball eighty-seven yards away from the goal line, down by three points and only 1:35 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Green Bay Packers still had a chance to come back and pull the game out of the fire. But three plays later the Packers had lost two yards and on fourth down Aaron Rodgers threw his third interception of the game which was run back for a touchdown. It was a fitting ending to a game gone totally wrong. The final score was Tampa Bay 38, Green Bay 28.
It is difficult to describe how horrible the nightmare was but here goes an attempt. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had lost eleven straight games prior to Sunday and had a rookie quarterback starting his first game. The Packers were heavily favored and had a huge talent advantage (or so it seemed). The Bucs were playing in horrendously ugly Creamsicle-colored uniforms, a throwback costume reminding Cheeseheads of the old days when the Bucs were, well, the hapless Bucs.
So how did the Bucs, draped in creamsicle colors, manage to embarrass the Packers? It seemed that the Packers wrote a script for how to hand a bad Bucs team their first win in 2009. Three turnovers, a blocked punt returned for a touchdown, once again too many penalties, pathetic and reoccurring bad coverage on kick offs and another horrible performance by the offensive line proved to be the formula for disaster.
Disheartening performances like this debacle cause Cheeseheads to ponder why the 2009 Packers seemingly do not play with a certain degree of toughness and desire. Questions also arise as to why the Packers are seemingly unable to correct reoccurring problems like the penalties and the obvious problems on the offensive line and special teams coverage. Learning from past mistakes is a sign of intelligence and right now this team doesn’t seem to have the ability to learn much.
It has been a LONG time since I can remember an embarrassing performance like this one. The Packers’ record is now 4 – 4 and they truly are mediocre. Mike McCarthy needs to shake things up and I hope he does so by firing the offensive line coach and/or the special teams coordinator. Professional football is a performance business and these guys aren’t getting the job done.
The team is regressing now instead of improving and that is a sad state of affairs at the half-way mark of the season. When the Dallas Cowboys come to Lambeau next week I would hope that new faces are on the coaching staff. The Packers have a serious identity problem right now and a good firing or two should send a message to both staff and players that their highly-paid jobs are also temporary.
The Cowboys are a hot team right now and will be tough to beat. Having just been beaten by the worst team in football, Green Bay will likely be a big underdog next week. It will be interesting to see if this 2009 team has the resiliency and pride to bounce back.