After a sensational season that thrilled Cheeseheads with fifteen victories against a single loss, just about everything went haywire Sunday and the Packers fell to the New York Giants by a score of 37 – 20. So it is the Giants who move on to the NFC championship game next week against the San Francisco 49ers, and the Packers’ opportunity to repeat as world champions comes to an end.
To say that the Packers were not mentally prepared to play this game would be an understatement. Much will no doubt be speculated as to why that could be given the stakes, but it was obvious from beginning to end that the Packer players did not have their collective heads into this game. How is it possible for last year’s world champions and the best team in football throughout the entire regular season this year go out and lay such an egg? I don’t have an answer for that question, but the coaches will have to bear some responsibility for this meltdown.
The dropped passes and the poor tackling started in the first half and just continued throughout. A successful “Hail Mary” pass as time expired to end the first half gave me an ominous warning that this just wasn’t going to be our day. That score gave the Giants a 20 – 10 lead on a day when the Packers would never take the lead. The Packers lost six fumbles all season and three against the Giants Sunday. I counted eight dropped passes and combined with the turnovers, the Packers were not going to prevail.
It is difficult to point fingers after a game like this, because I don’t have enough fingers to point. I won’t even mention the names of all the players who screwed up because space doesn’t allow. On the other hand, a tip of the hat to the Giants and their coaching staff, as they truly pulled off a coup in Titletown. Ted Thompson, the genius architect of the team that has been so successful for the past two seasons, will have to do some head scratching to figure out what went so wrong on January 15, 2012.
In hindsight, the Packers’ porous defense all year was masked by an omnipotent offense that wasn’t so potent against the Giants. Fortuitous gamblers probably could have seen this coming. The team that lead the league in scoring with 35 points per game had a bad day and the defense did what it did all year…. played lousy football. The Packers had the more talented squad and home field advantage and they blew it against the Giants. They choked.
There will be plenty of time to analyze this disappointing loss. The playoffs proceed sans the Pack. I like the 49ers over the Giants next week and the New England Patriots over the Baltimore Ravens. In the meantime, I am going to sulk in a corner for a while to recuperate from this debacle.