Brady May Be the GOAT, but Pack's Coaches Wear the Goat Horns After This One.Posted:Jan 26th, 2021 12:22 am
I don't even know where to start. All I know is, this will not be a long post. So many infuriating aspects to this game. So many boneheaded plays and decisions.
I'll start where it pretty much ended: Matt LaFleur's decision to trot out Mason Crosby on fourth and goal with a shade over two minutes to play. Really Matt? You're going to give the ball back to Tom Brady and trust your defense to get a stop? You're going to take the MVP off the field, after a season where he directed the best red zone offense in the league? Not to mention, your defense was being forced to use Ty Summers at inside linebacker. That is less than optimal when you need to make a season-saving stop.
Even if you turn the ball over on downs, you still pin Brady back deep with a chance to get the ball back one last time. There was no way Brady wasn't going to run out the clock. Granted, the late pass interference call on Kevin King was a tough way for the game to end. Yeah, he grabbed his shirt, but they were letting defensive holding go all afternoon. Both Davante Adams and Allen Lazard were mugged at key moments, but they were letting them play. The inconsistency is what's so maddening.
The end of the first half was just as destructive. Why didn't Mike Pettine have his defense in zone, making sure the Bucs couldn't throw over the top, with eight seconds left and no timeouts? It may cost him his job. It was that big a mistake. I also think he should have had Jaire shadowing Mike Evans from the start. He's the only true outside threat in that offense. That touchdown to put the Bucs up 11 was a clear signal that this was not going to be the Pack's day.
And after Aaron Jones fumbled coming out of half-time to up the lead to 18, it looked like curtains. But lo and behold; Brady, who had gone 392 straight passes without a pick started throwing them up for grabs. Three interceptions and the Pack scored a grand total of zero points. They followed up two of them with three and outs. Just didn't capitalize on the opportunities.
The Pack won the turnover battle, won the time of possession and outgained them. The Bucs pass rush made just enough big plays, with five sacks. This talented group of pass rushers was too much for the Pack's makeshift offensive line, a unit that really missed David Bakhtiari on this day.
Also, I'm pretty sure the Kevin King era in Green Bay ends after this one. If they only sign one free agent between King, Aaron Jones and Corey Linsley, King comes in a distant third. Gonna need to find another corner. Again.
It really just came down to this: Bruce Arians trusted his GOAT to make a big play at the end of the half. And LaFleur didn't let his GOAT try to make a game tying play at the end of the game. Like I said, infuriating.
Four title game appearances in the last seven years and zero wins. No other NFC team has been in more than one of these since '14, so it points to an organization that has consistently been in contention. But the bottom line is they fell once game short of the Super Bowl. Again. And this time the stars were pretty much aligned. But the Pack didn't rise to the challenge.
This one stings, no two ways around it.