Gregor’s Packer Analysis
Week 3 Recap
Fake refs decide a real game
Vikes showed something
Bears bounce back
It takes longer for the Lions to lose
Breaking with tradition (the Packers comments last), the Monday Night Football game might be what it takes to end the lockout. The Packers won 12-7, but officially Seattle came out with a 14-12 win. My position has been that one play doesn’t decide the outcome, you have 4 quarters to prove you’re the better team. Clearly in the first half, that was Seattle as the Packers did nothing on offense and Aaron Rodgers was sacked 8 times. But the Seahawks were only up 7-0 as the Green Bay defense did it’s job except on a 41 yard TD pass from Russell Wilson to Golden Tate. That wouldn’t be the last time Wilson would throw to Tate.
The Packers came out with a new game plan in the second half. Starting the third quarter, it was Cedric Benson carrying the load, and the Packers came out with 2 and 3 tight ends to help the ground game, then started to go back to the passing game. The first 2 possessions in the second half resulted in field goals. In the 4th quarter, the Packers finally found the end zone to take a 12-7 lead. Green Bay went for two and the pass was incomplete. The Seahawks weren’t doing anything until the 4th quarter, but allegedly had a winning play on the last play of the game.
In the 4th quarter, Jerron MacMillan had a pick overturned by a bad roughing the passer call on Erik Walden (game changing call number one, possession). Sam Shields was mugged along the sidelines and called for defensive pass interference in another horrible call reminiscent of what Michael Irvin and Randy Moss used to get away with as receivers. Instead of an offensive pass interference call, taking the ball back to the previous spot plus the penalty, it was a first down for Seattle, a change in field position of almost 40 yards. The last play of the game actually had two blown calls. First, Golden Tate pushed Sam Shields to the ground with the ball in the air (obvious offensive pass interference). Then MD Jennings clearly intercepted the ball and maintained control all the way to the ground. Tate reached in and they called it joint / simultaneous possession, probably the worst call of any by the replacement officials in any game.
If they get one of the two calls right on the last play, the Packers win. They could rule it a TD for Tate, but it would come back because of offensive pass interference, with time expired. Or they miss the interference call and give Jennings the pick. Just get one call right and the game is decided correctly. Total incompetence—the official on that side (side judge or field judge, don’t remember where the chains were) missed both offensive pass interference calls and the interception by Jennings he ruled a touchdown for Tate. Overall, most of the calls on the night were obvious, and the Packers got a few breaks as well. But not the significant, game changing calls. Seattle got all 4 and a win they didn’t earn. Yes the Packers could have played better, but with competent officials Green Bay is 2-1, not 1-2. This can impact the division title, who makes the playoffs, and the seedings. Sure, the regular refs make mistakes. But not as many and not as obvious. If the NFL worries about “the integrity of the game”, there’s no option—bring the real refs back.
San Francisco was widely considered the best team in the NFC going into week 3. But Minnesota dominated the game and won 24-13. Christian Ponder played a great game, and the Vikings had more yards ( by 64), more first downs ( by 6), fewer turnovers ( by 1), and more points (by 11). Give the Vikes credit for a big win. But before Minnesota gets into playoff talk, they need to show they can beat a good team on the road.
The Bears can do well when Jay Cutler has time. When he’s under pressure, Chicago will struggle. Pretty easy formula. On Sunday, Sam Bradford was sacked 6 times, Cutler only twice. When Cutler gets time, good things happen for the Bears, even with Matt Forte out. Michael Bush had just 55 rushing yards on 18 carries. But St. Louis turned it over twice to once for the Bears, and the home team went on to as easy 23-6 win over the Rams. Let’s see if the Bears can look good on the road.
Finally, the Lions went to overtime but lost by 3. Scoring wasn’t the problem as Detroit ended up with 41 points. But as good as that is, the defense gave up 44. Matthew Stafford left the game due to injury. The Titans had struggled the first two weeks but looked like a real team, at least offensively, this week. Detroit looked good on offense as well, ending up with almost 600 total yards, while Tennessee had about 450 yards. The Titans scored first in OT, a field goal, giving the Lions a chance to tie with a field goal or win with a touchdown. But on 4th and 1, the Lions lined up for a play instead of kicking a short field goal. The plan was to try to draw the defense off side and not snap the ball. But the execution didn’t work that way—the ball was snapped, the play didn’t get the first down, and it was game over.
Let’s get back to the regular refs. Even if you don’t like the Packers, it could be your team that get’s robbed this week. I hope it’s not mine again…