Welcome to Uncharted TerritoryPosted:Nov 5th, 2013 5:12 am
We learned one fundamental truth in the Monday night loss to the Bears: Chicago has a much better backup quarterback than the Packers have. OK, that's not really fair. Josh McCown had 15 days to prepare for this game. Seneca Wallace got about five minutes. But what we saw wasn't pretty.
The sobering night at Lambeau brought our worst fears to light. You lose guys like Matthews, Cobb, Finley and Perry and it's next man up. You lose Rodgers and suddenly you're the St. Louis Rams.
As I write this, Mike McCarthy just finished his post-game news conference and would say nothing more than that it's a left shoulder injury for Aaron Rodgers--we'll know more on Tuesday when further tests are administered. One sideline reporter tweeted that it's a broken collarbone. Whatever it is, Rodgers is likely out for a significant amount of time. If that's the case, the Packers will have done a complete 180, with opposing defenses now in AP mode, stuffing the box with eight guys and daring the Packers to pass. The NFL. What a crazy ride.
As anemic as the passing was with Wallace under center, Eddie Lacy took another step with a magnificent night, smashing for 150 yards on 22 carries (a 6.8 average). Toss in James' Starks electrifying 32 yard touchdown run and the Pack finished one yard shy of 200 on the ground. Most of those yards came when there was very little threat of a passing attack.
The next biggest disappointment of the night after the Rodgers injury: the defensive effort, which was the worst since week one. After getting fed a diet of Weeden and Ponder the last two weeks, the D may have been lulled into a false sense of comfortability. McCown was very sharp: his first TD pass, the one to Marshall was a thing of beauty. He made good decisions and had entirely too much time in the pocket to do so. Let's face it. Josh McCown should not put up a 90.7 passer rating at Lambeau, especially when the defense knows the team needs them more than ever, because, well, Senseca freaking Wallace is the quarterback. To make matters worse, they reverted to their 2012 form with lots of missed tackles.
The Bears' final drive, aided by the gutsy fourth and inches call by Trestman, was the ultimate slap in the face--nearly nine minutes taken off the clock and effectively giving the Pack no chance for a last minute drive. With 50 seconds and no timeouts left, Wallace had about as much chance at leading the team on a 75 yard drive as I did.
The truth is, this one could have been a lot uglier. If not for some special teams heroics: Jamari Lattimore's blocked punt and McCarthy's onside kick call the Pack wouldn't have had the good fortune of some short fields.
We entered the evening feeling really good about where the Pack stood in the hierarchy of the NFC in light of a four game winning streak. Within moments of the opening kickoff we were left wondering if the season might be over. We've had more than our fair share of good fortune at QB over the past 20 years. If Rodgers is out for six weeks or more, it might be tough to stay in the playoff race--unless Wallace looks 10,000% better than he looked on Monday night.
There will be a call by many for Ted Thompson to bring back Matt Flynn, who was released by the Bills on Monday. There's probably a better chance Thompson brings back Flynn than Brett Favre, but not much better of a chance. It's more likely that the team will elevate former Badger Scott Tolzien to the active roster. They recently gave him a serious raise, to prevent the Browns from grabbing him.
Wallace, Flynn, Tolzien. It's come to this. The Packers season looks a whole lot different right now. We await the diagnosis and the timetable for Rodgers' return. The Packers' next three opponents have a combined 7-18 record. But without Rodgers, all bets are off.