Friday, December 14, 2007

Blame Game

Packers 27 - Cowboys 37

There were just too many things that went wrong a couple of Thursdays ago. Taken individually, none of them should have led to a defeat. All together, though, they sealed our fate.
  1. Injuries. Yes, this would have been #1 if we'd won, too. The Packers beat the Cowboys even without Woody, Rouse, Bubba, Jolly, and KGB?! How underrated are they?! In this case, I think both Woodson and KGB would have made a difference if they'd been on the field. Al Harris may be one of the league's best corners, but when he was asked to shift into slots normally covered by Woody, his uncertainty was pretty clear, and Dallas exploited it. Oh, and by the way, Brett Favre had to leave the game with about ten minutes left in the first half... and he didn't return.
  2. Pure, Unadulterated Desperation. While Favre was in, though, Oblio was calling all kinds of jailbreak plays, and absolutely none of them worked. There are games that Brett plays where he can almost do no wrong -- or at least if he does do wrong, the amount he's doing right easily eclipses whatever goes wrong. Then there are games like this one, where you feel like he gets into a kind of if I keep heaving things long, something's gotta' stick mentality. Thing is, he was either inaccurate or his receivers' routes weren't clean or he was just making poor decisions. One particularly frustrating play in the second quarter had him throwing into double coverage on Driver when Jennings was wide open shorter down the middle of the field. The only miracles happening on those plays were the fact that the passes weren't being intercepted. You know when Oblio's calling for an onside kick in the first quarter that all bets are off.
  3. Crappy officiating. I thought we already had our dose for this season, but apparently it doesn't work that way. On the first pass thrown T.O.'s way, Al Harris took the ball away before Owens had demonstrated full possession and before he went out of bounds. In real time, it didn't look that way, so I was not surprised when it was first called a catch and then an out-of-bounds escort by Harris. But then a second later, another official came in signaling Green Bay's ball! Cue the replay:
    video
    I don't get how they can get away with backing down like that! Forward progress was stopped? What the fuck is that? How is that possible in a play that happened so quickly? He didn't make enough of a football move to prove he even had possession, much less a failure to keep moving forward afterward. It was a chickenshit call to make up for the fact that one of the officials completely missed what was happening on the field, and ignoring the one who exhibited some competence.

    One more: This Pass Interference call was crap. Pay attention to the amount of time that passes between the play and the flag. Chickenshit.
    video

  4. Atari Bigby. Two things happened in the 4th quarter that kept us from winning this game. The first was that idiotic Pass Interference call that led to 7 points for the Cowgirls and the second was Bigby ripping Marion Barber's helmet off tacking on 15 yards, moving Dallas from the 46 to the 31 and leading to a field goal. We lost by 10. That's 10. Bigby couldn't tackle Witten, and he let both T.O. and Crayton make long receptions. Sure, he's had some exciting plays this year, but after this some veteran defensive leader should have sat him down and given him a good talking to, or else we should have just left him down in Big D.
To his credit, Aaron Rogers played Packers football the way we've been playing -- and winning -- all year, and he looked pretty awesome. He brought something to the game that Dallas hadn't prepared for: A running option. There were three impressive plays in which Rogers earned us first downs with his legs. He also got sacked and had balls batted, of course, but he had one string of 11 straight completions in between that, and he earned his first NFL TD.

Without the two turnovers, there wouldn't have been 14 points off them. But there were turnovers, and there were 14 points scored off them. Without Bigby's freshman behavior, we could have kept Dallas further away from scoring 3 more at the end. But he acted like an idiot. Without the piss poor officiating, we'd have had a chance to play in Dallas. But instead of responding to that adversity with stellar, praiseworthy execution, we sort of figuratively pouted at our shoes, kicked the ground, and admitted defeat. And it came.

Brett would be back to start ten days later, we knew. And we rallied behind him and his team, knowing that they have not really been far away from victory in either of their losses, and that they would respond with something much more definitive.

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