OMG. In their worst nightmare Cheeseheads could never have experienced a Thanksgiving Day getting started so upside down. Yet, the Green Bay Packers were absolutely atrocious in full view of a national television audience in a blowout loss to the Detroit Lions by a score of 40 – 10. Had it not been for three turnovers by the Lions, the score could have well been 54 – 3 or worse. It was that bad.
The Packers have failed to win a game in November following the injury to Aaron Rodgers, but to pin blame on Rodgers’ injury would be wrongheaded. The entire team—players, coaches and management—have to assume accountability with the demise that has happened to this season. Just five weeks ago the Packers stood soundly at 5 – 2 with a favorable schedule ahead and a three-game winning streak. After four losses and a tie, it surely looks like this season has been frittered away.
There is absolutely nothing good to say about the play of the Packers on Thanksgiving 2013. The offensive line was pathetic, giving quarterback Matt Flynn almost zero time to function. What little time he did have he wasted throwing to the wrong receivers or carrying out plays that were destined for oblivion. The Lions dared the Packers to throw by stacking the box, but Mike McCarthy’s play-calling was unimaginative, leaving Eddie Lacy little room to run and Flynn looking like a high school quarterback. The Lions rarely blitzed, but they didn’t need to, as the Packers’ patchwork offensive line struggled mightily to contain the Lions’ front four. It was a putrid performance.
Not to be outdone by the offense’s incompetence was the play of the Packer defense. Incredibly, the Lions racked up 340 total yards to the Packers 43 in the first half. And there was more of the same in the second half. It didn’t seem to matter if the Lions ran the ball or threw it, the Packer defenders were not up to the task. There were so many missed tackles that I lost count. When the Lions got the ball they either turned it over or they scored. There are only ten fingers on human hands to point blame, and I could use all of them and still not be sure everything was covered.
Coach Mike McCarthy has a serious problem with a team in steep decline. The Packers have been shown to be a below average NFL team without Rodgers this past month and their Thanksgiving performance was the worst that I can remember in a long, long time. What Cheeseheads witnessed last week was totally unacceptable. McCarthy needs to make some changes. Fire a coach or bench/cut some players that aren’t cutting it because 37 unanswered points by a mistake-prone, mediocre Lions team is totally beyond the pale. Someone or something has to pay the price. Doing nothing will invite criticism of McCarthy’s leadership.
Statistically, the Packers are not quite out of the playoff picture, but it would take two losses by both Chicago and Detroit combined with the Packers running the table these last four games and that isn’t going to happen. The 2013 Packers are what they are, and it ain’t good. It’s time to regroup. Aaron Rodgers might be able to return next week when the Atlanta Falcons invade Lambeau. Let’s see if his return and McCarthy’s decisions can challenge the Pack to win their last four games.