Saturday, October 13, 2007

NOT Out-Coached

Packers 20 - Bears 27

I've heard more than once this week that we lost the game to the Bears because we were out-coached. I wholeheartedly disagree with that assertion because it presumes that we were coached.

The last time we played Chicago, it was a night game, airing on NBC. Same thing this time. The last time we played Chicago, we marched on to the field, then down it, scoring on our opening possession. Same thing this time. The last time we played Chicago, Rex Grossman sucked so bad, his QB rating was zero, and Brian Griese played. Same thing this time. Well, okay, Rex didn't even play. But that's 'cuz he sucks. And that means he had no QB rating. So same as last time.

But we won last time.

This time, Oblio stopped us from winning. Yes, yes, turnovers made a difference. Jimmy Jones lost two balls when we were marching and certain to score. The awesome first half (damn, it felt good!) would have been even awesomer if we'd have had the chance to keep those drives alive. We could have headed into halftime with 31 points instead of 17 (or 27 or, I suppose, 23). But in the second half, we went into a cocoon. Some of the most perplexedly conservative play calls were perpetrated for no good reason, and we only wound up scoring 3 more points while letting the Bears tally up 20. Worse yet, clock management became an issue, and it was incredibly poorly executed.

One: With three-and-a-half minutes left in the game, tied up at 20, Chicago had a 3rd down with 4 to go. Kampman made a tackle damn close to the marker and it was ruled a 1st down. Oblio challenged the first down ruling instead of the spot of the ball. They changed the spot of the ball but still measured it across the 1st down marker, losing us timeout #1 and, three plays later, leading to a TD for Chicago.

Two: About thirty seconds to go, and we're marching. We get a first down at the Chicago 41, and Brett hits Morency with a short pass in the middle for 9. Brett was hurrying and telling Oblio not to call the timeout because he can, you know, spike the ball. Oblio called the timeout.

And after that, of course, we had to try the hail mary pass into the end zone. Favre had already given the ball directly to Urlacher "trying to make something out of nothing" in the 3rd quarter. (A play later, the Bears had moved up to within 3 and the turnaround had begun in ernest.) Now, on what would either be the penultimate or the ultimate play, he was throwing into triple coverage. Hope soared for a millisecond as Double-D had both of his mitts on the ball... but when the players landed, Brandon McGowan had mechanical advantage in his favor and was able to wrest the ball from Driver's arms. It left a sour taste in my mouth, to say the least. After all, it tied Favre with George Blanda's NFL record 277 career INTs. (At least Brett blew that out in record time -- he did it in ten fewer seasons than Blanda did!)

In the final analysis, I'm still thrilled we're 4-1. It just would have been much nicer to have had four games up on the Bears. Historically, that's been considered an insurmountable lead. I like the sound of that. Honestly, I like the sound of "the four and one Green Bay Packers," too.

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