For the second week in a row, the Green Bay Packers lost in overtime Sunday, this time to the Miami Dolphins by a score of 23 – 20. The snake-bitten, injury-prone Packers had opportunities to win this game but failed to seize them and thus fall to 3 – 3 in the win/loss column, a deep disappointment for Cheeseheads who hoped this season would be special.
I could fill this column just reporting on the multiple injuries that have hamstrung the Packers thus far this season, but, as Mike McCarthy pointed out this week, there will be no asterisk next to the 2010 win/loss column denoting injuries. Injuries do test a team’s depth. The outcome of the last two games probably speaks to the Packers’ current standing on that account.
To their credit, the Pack played this game competitively, posting a 10 – 10 halftime tie. In the third quarter the offense sputtered, as they have too many times this year, and the defense tired from being on the field 12 of the 15 minutes. Amazingly, the defense only permitted a single field goal during that period. B.J Raji, Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk had nice performances.
A horrible “formation violation” call by the officials gave the Dolphins a second chance at a critical point in the fourth quarter which they then converted into a touchdown and a 20 – 13 lead. Aaron Rodgers, taking a battering all afternoon from poor blocking, led the Pack back to tie the game with just 13 seconds left, thus sending the affair into overtime. The Packer defense played well enough to win this game, but the offense didn’t put up enough points and the special teams disappointed again as the Dolphins were able to kick a field goal to eke out the win.
Last week Mason Crosby could have won the game with a late field goal, but he missed. This week punter Tim Masthay came up with a pathetic punt in overtime that caused poor field position which contributed to the loss. Poor punting has malingered for years in Titletown. Look for Ted Thompson to once again bring in street free agents soon to audition for the punting job.
Next week will be interesting for sure as beleaguered Benedict Favre returns to Lambeau. Poor Benedict has a meeting scheduled this week with the NFL’s Security Director regarding his allegedly lewd communications with a female reporter two years ago. Who knows where that will lead, but Benedict and the Vikings are not having a good season either with a record of 2 – 3. These two teams were expected to be in the top of the National Football Conference but both have underachieved this year.
A key to this game may be the availability of Clay Matthews III. CM III was scratched from the Dolphins game because of a hamstring injury but he still leads the NFL with 8.5 sacks. He is a special force and his presence next week if healthy might just trigger old Benedict into making a couple of mistakes that could affect the outcome.