A Bitter Pill To Swallow.

It’s what we feared all season.

Despite another MVP season from Aaron Rodgers and a much improved defense, the specter of a special teams collapse loomed over the team all season. And what looked like a team destined to finally get back to the Super Bowl, instead ends its season with maybe the most disappointing playoff exit in recent memory.

Matt LaFleur’s disastrous decision to promote Maurice Drayton to special teams coordinator backfired in the most spectacular way. His units hit the trifecta on Saturday night: a blocked field goal, a blocked punt and having just ten men on the field for the game winning field goal. Toss in the long kickoff return by Deebo Samuel to start the second half while we’re at it.

And then there’s the offense, which surprised us all by taking the opening kickoff right down the field and scoring for just the fourth time all season. When Marcedes Lewis fumbled on the next series with the Pack in 49ers territory (his first fumble since 2013), it seemed to take all the air out of the offense. And after Rodgers connected with Aaron Jones on the long pass play in the final minute of the first half, it looked like they finally had their mojo back. But they settled for the field goal attempt, and we know how well that worked out.

Credit the San Francisco defense for sure, but how do you explain targeting Davante Adams and Aaron Jones exclusively through three quarters, save one pass to Josiah Deguara, which was dropped? How do you not find a way to get Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb involved, with all of the attention being paid to Davante Adams? Where was the creativity? Where was the pre-snap motions and RPOs? And where was the MVP? The Packers managed 58 yards in the second half. 58. Playing at home in the cold with your MVP quarterback. It's unfathomable.

It beckons some questions: with David Bakhtiari unable to go, why not start Josh Nijman at left tackle and put Billy Turner on the right side, where he's more comfortable? Dennis Kelly had a horrible night at right tackle. And we have to question LaFleur's play calling late. The offense looked like a shell of its former self.

Imagine losing a home game as the top seed in frigid conditions on a night your defense doesn't give up a touchdown. A night where your defense dominated all night, led by Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark. When the defense--and specifically Gary--got the fourth down stop with six minutes to go and landing 10-3, that should be the ballgame. Now the ball is in Rodgers' hands. We've seen this act before. The offense punishes the tired defense on the ground with some play action magic sprinkled in and runs the clock down before scoring at the end of the game. But there was no AJ Dillon to play the part of battering ram--he was out with a chest injury. And the Pack delivered yet another three and out. The third down prayer downfield to Adams felt like a Hail Mary. It was as if the offense just gave up.

This one stings. There's no doubt about it. This was supposed to be the Pack's year--unbeaten at home and getting healthy at just the right time. Instead, it's a year that feels like the end of an era. If you can't get to the Super Bowl as the number one seed in back to back seasons, then what are we doing here?

As I write this 45 minutes or so after the game ended, it feels like this was Rodgers' last game in a Packer uniform. All season long, I've felt this would be his last year, but the way things unfolded and hearing him say this was his favorite year, I held out hope that maybe a Super Bowl ring, or at least a Super Bowl appearance, would cause the front office to tear up his final year and sign him to a new three year contract to keep the band together. 

After this debacle, I don't see that happening. I think we just watched Aaron Rodgers' final game as a Packer. 

And that is a bitter pill to swallow. 

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This one stings. Bad. SF scored 10 pts in 4:41 8n the 4th, pathetic. It's still not as bad as the Seahawks choke in '15. But it's close. Bye #12 and #17. 😞TPJJan 22nd, 2022 11:33 pm
You mentioned LaFleur’s disastrous Drayton promotion. I also thought of LaFleur’s decision to kick a f.g. near the end of last year’s playoff game against Tampa. Didn’t work out so well. Once again, a few more sleepless nights coming up for the head coach.BCJan 23rd, 2022 12:01 am
Remember the Lynn Dickey days? You'll see it again starting next season.BitterPackerBackerJan 23rd, 2022 12:02 am
Boy wonders have me wondering, loss for words... Matt? Brian? Special teams? Thanks DaveFlymanJan 23rd, 2022 12:07 am
What a disappointment. Home field the last two year's and nothing to show for it. It looked like the Aaron and Davante show all night. A new Era is upon us now, some lean year's ahead. BobJan 23rd, 2022 12:12 am
OMG. This whole team let Aaron down again. I think Covid really derailed the chances at a super bowl this year. The liberal lying media machine just targeted Aaron too much and even he couldn't handle it. RodgersForeverJan 23rd, 2022 12:30 am
Last weeks post had me juiced up Davey. I had all my family over tonight with the finest spread and drinks. We were speculating on how they would match up with the Rams at Lambeau. You juiced us up, for what? Another disappointment. I went to bed after the Gould kick went through the uprights, and now my wife won't talk to me. ReggieGuy12Jan 23rd, 2022 12:39 am
That was really well written, Davey. As always, great perspective. Viking FanJan 23rd, 2022 1:05 am
I’m ready for the next era. Tired of Rodgers sub par playoff performances! The balls he completed today were because of good catching, not accurate throwing. I’m tired of his drama…best to all till next year- I agree that the special teams didn’t help things…but you can’t expect to win a game scoring 10 points, and that fact falls on the shoulders of Rodgers. Go Pack! John - from San JoseJan 23rd, 2022 3:01 am
Remind me again, who owns Rodgers now in the playoffs? A: 49ers. No one gave these guys a chance. Special teams bit the Packers in the rear....again. Time for the Pack to cut bait and let Rodgers walk. I hear Tomlin would like to have him in Steeltown. George Kittles Uncle Jan 23rd, 2022 5:02 am
Being a lifelong Vikes fan, it's nice to share some pain with another team in the division. This one has to hurt.DaveJan 23rd, 2022 6:14 am
Ron Wolf would call this season a “fart in the wind”. RyanJan 23rd, 2022 6:34 am
The "special" teams deserve excoriation but the offense carries the heaviest burden of responsibility for just the reasons THC writes. The man responsible for all facets of the team is the head coach. I can't help but wonder whether the extended lay-off from action had anything to do with this egg. They haven't played a game meaningfully since Jan. 2; 20 days ago. Something seems to happen with this team's momentum when they get off for an extended time. However, I'm not on board with the "end of an era" over this one. While there will be sal-cap issues to deal with and some "decompression" time ahead when it's all said and done the Pack will be back to take another run at it in 2022. PackerliferJan 23rd, 2022 6:40 am
Just want to read commentsPaulJan 23rd, 2022 6:51 am
It's just another year wasted watching the team. Jeff SchmitJan 23rd, 2022 8:06 am
Your defense FAILed at crunch-time! Q4, 1:03 to go: 3rd & 7 from GB 38yd line? Everyone KNEW SF would run....& run they DID! 9 yards and it was GAME, SET, MATCH !! Oh, I forgot: GAG, GAME, SET, MATCH !! My bad...SLBJan 23rd, 2022 8:35 am
devastating loss 4 da pack...The Yikes should drop Nathanial Hackett off their HC list and add special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton...what a debacle...Styx RoganJan 23rd, 2022 8:48 am
You summed up this game and this year very well. Two seasons of high expectations with the same end result stings as a fan. I have to keep in mind that it is entertainment. Not the most important thing in life. Players still get paid, still make the news. Life as a Packer fan goes on. Thanks for your work and perspective. Take care.PatrickJan 23rd, 2022 10:25 am
Clearly we've seen Rodgers' ceiling. I'd rather have a few down seasons as Love gets good than see Rodgers have a great regular season then choke in the playoffs (again). TboneJan 23rd, 2022 12:28 pm
Like u said Dave, we talked about special teams all year. Matter of fact my 2 buddies and I just talked about that before game started. we were more worried about punt returning though. It was the block that beat us, BUT much more then that. Rodgers was off all night. Even on 1st drive 17 had to make some great catches to get them down there. And biggest mistake, was not putting Jasmin at LT. and turner at RT. What were they thinking??? It's time for 12 to move on. Go to Denver or Vegas. get Carr and number 1 pick, and sign 17. they played with each other in college. Hopefully Love can play better then I think. Lastly, with 5 minutes to go and 3rd and 8. 12 forces it agin to 17 40 yds. down field. Lazzard was wide open at the 45 yd. line. You have to see that, but just like last year in NFC championship game at the end of game, he forces it to 17 way too much. Just toooo bad. Such a good team and waste. At least we see some Viking guys writing again after not hearing from them all year.larryJan 23rd, 2022 2:24 pm
AmenTom PossleyJan 23rd, 2022 8:47 pm
Mr Smug Head Cheese was wrong about just about everything. Won't prevent him from predicting the Pack to win the Bowl again in 2023, just like for the previous 20 years running. When will he and his brethren ever learn humility and face reality? The wind blows to the East because Green Bay sucks!BryanJan 23rd, 2022 9:38 pm
After watching some other games this weekend, speed is everywhere. Wondering how not having Scantling playing affected the Offense? Also, shame on LeFleur keeping Drayton throughout the season? There were College Coaches who could have done better.RickJan 24th, 2022 6:08 am
To make the pill more bitter: of the 4 teams in the conference championship round next weekend the Packers defeated3 and would probably have won all 4, if not for Aaron Rodgers covid absence, during the regular season. PackerliferJan 24th, 2022 6:14 am
Hey Brian… you are obviously a Viking or Bear Fan. As soon as your team starts winning … anything, you should temper your yap about GB.RickJan 24th, 2022 9:44 am
The Niners just played tougher. Rodgers bad night on offense was because the Niners D is relentless and physical, which created opportunity for special teams plays to be amplified. The Niners deserve a ton of credit for going into frozen Lambeau, shutting down the MVP, dealing with the weather, making spectacular plays on special teams and yes also on offense. Jimmy made GOOD plays when he had to for his team. They beat the Packers in a scenario that favored the home team from top to bottom across multiple categories. Will not be surprised if they do it to the Rams again too.MerleJan 24th, 2022 9:46 am
So much more than just ST though. Packers couldn't score a TD after the first drive. That's not on ST. That's on LaFleur/Rodgers/Hackett. The game winning FG, the Packers only had 10 men on the field. 1 extra could have made the difference. SF came to lambeau and stomped on us in our own house as it was snowy and cold. We deserve this loss. That being said, I think rodgers is back next year. I wish he wasn't and wish he would just let the team rebuild, but he's already said that he "doesn't want to be part of a rebuilding year". Lafleur has also said that he doesn't want to see Rodgers go. Here is why this worries me. The front office is going to concentrate SO hard on keeping Rodgers that they will AGAIN not bring in new talent. I say we get rid of the toxicity, and bring in younger faces. my 2 cents.WIfaninMNJan 24th, 2022 11:25 am
Well that puts an exclamation point on Rodgers' career. Has an organization gotten less out of the talent of a Hall of Fame QB? I can see why he wants out. I am so disappointed....AGAIN!!!Barf StarrJan 24th, 2022 1:44 pm
"Matt LaFleur’s disastrous decision to promote Maurice Drayton to special teams coordinator backfired in the most spectacular way." It Is Time to Appreciate Matt LaFleur's Greatness, lol. He's Lindy Infante without Rodgers. Even with Rodgers he's a choker in the playoffs. If Rodgers is done in GB its back to the packers of of the 70's and 80's because Jordan Love sucks and is no Favre or Rodgers. If he is done there is nothing left to do but embrace the suck.Grandma DeathJan 24th, 2022 2:40 pm
THC, Playoff under achievers for the last 29 years with two consecutive first ballot HOF quarterbacks. Two SB wins in 29 years, Tom Brady has 7 SB wins in 19 years. Get ready for regular season mediocrity to go along with the playoff chokes as GB will never have 29 years of consecutive HOF quarterback play again, period, end of story. O’BrienJan 24th, 2022 3:05 pm
I thought Aaron Rodgers would win the Super Bowl this year, but he never really got a shot. Get it. LOLGregJan 24th, 2022 9:11 pm
Was that #12 out there Saturday night Zeke Bratkowski or Lynn Dickey?TtTJan 25th, 2022 7:21 am
Correct me if I’m wrong Grandmadeath, I believe two Super Bowls is better than zero right 😂😂😂😂😂😂Pack will be division winner again next year,super bowl who knows,we’re not the only fan base feeling disappointed, it’s hard getting there let alone winning it,everything has to fall in place just right,ask queens fan base who by the way have bigger issues than the Packers,talk to you all next season,stay healthy everyone!!Bud Grant Jan 25th, 2022 3:45 pm
Right on Bud. I get such a kick out of viking fans. They have not won anything, and still have the arrogance to say Packers only won 2 in 30 years. It just makes you laugh on a week when we need need right? . On 12 , It's real easy, if Denver signs Hackett. , he will be there and signed by mid march. If not it's Vegas or possibly the colts. we will see. Enjoy the summer. Look for Demeco ryans or O Connell from rams to go to vikings. Possibly Raheem Morris is dark horse.larryJan 26th, 2022 12:32 pm
Bud Grant is a loser, always was. And Packers aren't winning anything without Rodgers, Love is trash. If Rodgers leaves the Lions will finish above the Packers.Grandma DeathJan 27th, 2022 1:02 pm
With how many "stings" the Pack faithful have suffered the past 10 years, it's a wonder you haven't gone into anaphylactic shock. BuzzJan 27th, 2022 11:41 pm
We are half way there. Hackett with Denver, good bye Rodgers. Looks like I got one right. Now we need number 1. 2. and a player. love to have wr , Sutton. But doubt they would give him uplarryJan 28th, 2022 12:16 pm
I think it is funny that packer fans look at it as 2 SB wins in 30 years. You mean 2 SB wins the last 50+ years? Let's not forget about the good ole days. Prediction - Rodgers through a double trade to MN in 2024. Finish what Favre couldn't do.PakertrollJan 28th, 2022 12:28 pm
Gonna be hilarious when Lafleur is fired after next season.CaneJan 30th, 2022 6:48 am
I don't get packer fans. They've won 2 Super Bowls in the last 50 years. Yet they have this superiority complex. I'm a huge Minnesota Twins fan, and they've won two World Series in the last 50 years. Yet, I don't have this Minnesota Twins superiority complex. I don't get packer fans. Maybe I should go to Milwaukee Brewer boards and show my teams superiority. They'd laugh me off their board. kg21Jan 30th, 2022 7:25 am
Wow the constant losing is really eating you up Grandmadeath!!Wendy Jan 30th, 2022 4:26 pm
Aaron will be traded to an afc team for many draft picks and then in a wild twist tom brady unretires and comes to green Bay to bring the historic franchise another super bowl championship that would lessen Rodgers legacy and cement Brady as the greatestVagabondFeb 3rd, 2022 8:04 am

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