Legendary senior writer, Packers lead blogger & NFC North columnist jclombardi presents Packers "great, good, bad & ugly" awards.
1. RB Lacy—90 total yards (84 rushing & 6 catching) & 2 touchdowns.
2. WR Jones—9 big catches for 94 yards.
3. CB/KR Hyde—5 kickoff returns for 164 yards & 5 defensive tackles.
1. WR Boykin--5 catches for 54 yards.
2. ILB Hawk—6 tackles & big interception.
1. QB Flynn—mixed performance throwing for 232 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 sacks & 69.6 passer rating. He had 2 big turnovers including the big touchdown interception return by Steelers’ Cortez Allen and the big fumble with approximately two minutes remaining in 4th quarter setting up the Steelers’ game winning touchdown.
1. Head Coach McCarthy—again, playing at Lambeau Field home game, he was outcoached, outmuscled & outplayed by the motivated physical Steelers team. His vanilla game plan, play calling, and awful time management repeated itself heading for the disastrous ending in the final offensive series. The Packers failed to score in the red zone looking like the Keystone follies in the final 60 seconds. They ran only 2 plays from inside the 5-yard line and committed an unforgivable penalty as both RG Lang & RT Barclay jumped offsides. Further, the Packers should have allowed Steelers RB Bell to score on a touchdown run on the Steelers red zone series with 1:25 remaining saving a timeout.
2. Special teams unit (excluding CB/KR Hyde)—disasterous performance as fans can take their picks from the 54 yards kickoff return by Steelers KR Sanders, the 5 punt returns averaging 32.4 yards by Steelers PR McBriar, the inexcusable encroachment penalty by OLB Perry with the game tied at 31 to give the Steelers a new set of downs, the fake punt executed by the Steelers that resulted in a 30-yard pass, or the blocked Packers field goal (although the bizarre penalty resurrected the Packers for touchdown score).
3. Penalties--Packers had 9 big costly penalties for 90 yards. B.J. Raji's personal foul for unnecessary roughness when he retaliated after Steelers guard Cody Wallace hit him came on a drive that ended with a touchdown that put the Steelers ahead 24-21 late in the 3rd quarter. In 2nd quarter, guard Josh Sitton's face mask penalty on third-and-8 from the Steelers' 35-yard line wiped out an 8-yard catch by Jordy Nelson. The Packers ended up punting on that drive.
COMMENTARY: The picture of the fan sums it all up for all. What a crushing defeat at home against an inspired Steelers team. Playing at home against a AFC team with a losing record with the season potentially on the line, the Packers could not win. The game was typically McCarthyian with undisciplined performances, deja vu predictable play calling, preseason-esque penalties, and costly untimely turnovers.
The time mismanagement issue, the costly penalties (especially the false start penalty in the closing seconds and OLB Perry's special teams penalty), the blocked field goal, QB Flynn's fumble and his pick-six, the bad run defense, awful pass rush are unacceptable things that a good professional football teams cannot do in the late NFL season.
Further, we are again not surprised at another prime time disgusting and embarrassing loss against a motivated physical team. HC McCarthy's team gets outplayed, outmuscled, and outcoached in prime time big games with big stakes on the line.
However, fate and luck has given a final opportunity for the Packers to redeem their season. With the Lions & Bears losses, they can win the NFC North Division by beating the Bears in the final road game of the NFL season. We hope Rodgers, Cobb & Lacy can return to help the Pack into the playoffs. Good luck!