In recent years, the Packers defense and defensive coordinator Dom Capers usually get the bulk of the blame after a Packers loss. However, the script flipped Sunday as the offense fell flat and only scored seven points against a shorthanded Detroit defense.
The Packers lost their second game of the season 19-7 in Detroit on Sunday. The loss left a frustrated feeling as head coach Mike McCarthy continued his streak of questionable play calling for the third straight week.
The Packers need to get off to faster starts, but it won’t be possible if McCarthy is stuck on calling running plays on first and second down, and one passing play before they hit fourth down. The offense couldn’t stay on the field against Detroit, and the play calling was definitely one of the reasons why.
Aaron Rodgers needs the ball in his hands more often, but it seems like McCarthy doesn’t realize that he has one of the best quarterbacks in the league. It was ridiculous to watch him repeatedly hand the ball off for little to no gain on what seemed like every drive.
Eddie Lacy fell short for the third straight week, but I’m still going to blame it on bad match ups. The Lions defensive front is no doubt the strongest area of their defense led by Fairly and Suh, which is why it’s still perplexing that the Packers didn’t throw the ball more. The Lions secondary is missing a handful of starters and the Packers arguably would have been way better off trying to attack them there.
The running game needs help, and Randal Cobb could be a huge asset if the Packers would take a page out of Seattle’s book and use him the way they use Percy Harvin. Some Jet Sweeps could result in big plays and add in a whole new dimension to the offense that would give opposing defenses even more to worry about.
Something that shouldn’t go unnoticed in this loss however, is the significant improvement of the defense. The Lions may have scored 19 points, but the defense only allowed 10 of those. They forced three turnovers and kept Matthew Stafford under pressure throughout the game. They did a good job stuffing the run for the most part, and limited the big plays allowed to an explosive Lions offense.
Julius Peppers made his first huge play with the green and gold in the third quarter that kept the Packers in the game. Down 12-7 with Detroit driving and in the red zone, he stripped the ball out of Stafford’s hands and recovered the fumble, earning part of that 27 million dollar contract he signed in the offseason.
HaHa Clinton-Dix also made a big play early in the game by getting his first NFL pick off a tipped pass in the first quarter. It was the first interception by a Packers safety since the 2012 season and hopefully a sign of big things to come for the rookie.
The Packers will go on the road for the second straight week next Sunday as they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears. It will be Peppers first game against his old team and there is no doubt he will be ready to play. It is funny to think that in one week the concern of this team has completely switched from defense to offense, but if the play calling can improve to where they can just stay on the field, this team should be just fine.
What do you think of the improved defense and sudden lack of offense? Are you frustrated with Mike McCarthy’s play calling? Do you think the Packers will be able to put it all together to go on a string of wins over the next few weeks? Leave a comment!