Where's Marvin Gaye When You Need Him?Posted:Oct 8th, 2018 1:00 pm
It's fitting that the Packers were in Motown on Sunday, as Marvin Gaye's classic, "What's Going On" would serve as the soundtrack of the game for the Pack and its fans.
From the gaffe on the Lions' first punt that served them up on the Pack's yard line, to the two strip sacks of Aaron Rodgers, to Mason Crosby's inexplicable meltdowns, this was a performance that won't soon be forgotten.
We watched a lot of bad football last season when Rodgers was sidelined, and we've seen more than our share already this season: witness the first half against the Bears, the second half against the Vikings and pretty much the whole Washington game. But what transpired at Ford Field will leave a bad taste in our mouths for quite some time, and how the team responds will tell the story of the 2018 season.
There are plenty of elements of concern after this abomination, but it starts with the play of Rodgers. On a day when he was without two of his top three receiving options, he needed to be razor sharp, but he wasn't close to that. The knee injury that has caused him to miss practice time during the week has stunted his progress in getting in sync with his receivers, most notably Jimmy Graham (who doesn't resemble the version we saw in New Orleans) and the rookies, who were asked to step up and, for the most part, did their jobs against the Lions.
Rodgers shouldered plenty of blame for his uneven performances so far this season, but the time to get things squared away is running out. With the easiest game left on the schedule coming up next Monday (home against the 49ers) and then the much needed bye, the Pack will need to get healthy and get their act together or their season could go down in flames before the first snowflakes fall.
To get to ten wins, the Pack would need to win eight of their last 11 games. That means they would need to be perfect at home and then find three road wins. As a reminder, the remaining road slate takes them to LA (Rams), New England, Seattle, Minnesota, Chicago and New York (Jets). They will need to play infinitely sharper if they expect to go 3-3 in those games.
Now, on to Crosby. The Pack's all-time leading scorer had the worst game of his life. Never would have believed we'd see him miss four field goals and an extra point indoors in perfect conditions. Yes, he's working with a new snapper and holder this season, but it appeared that they were not the problem. You have to chalk it up to 'just one of those days' and assume he'll put it behind him. The fact that he made his last attempt in the final seconds should at least provide a modicum of confidence as he moves on to next week. As I tweeted during the game, if this is how Vikings fans feel every time their kicker takes the field, I couldn't take it.
Lost in the haze of the three first half turnovers and Crosby's foibles was the fact that the defensive effort was good enough to get the win. The run defense, minus one 24 yard Kerrion Johnson run, was solid and the pass defense was okay. Emerging star Kenny Golladay made some big plays, but Golden Tate and Marvin Jones were pretty silent. There is still a lack of big plays being made by guys like Matthews, Perry, Daniels and Clinton-Dix. They've looked great against young, inexperienced QBs, but have failed to make game-changing plays against the veterans they've faced. A turnover in the second half when the Pack was frantically trying to get back in the game could have made things interesting.
Think about it, the Pack gained 540 yards in offense, never punted the ball and lost by eight points. Has that ever happened before? I doubt it.
Bottom line, so far this season, the Packers look like an average team that is destined to finish around .500. There is time to turn things around, but they'll need their quarterback to get healthy and play like the all-timer that he is, their special teams units to get things cleaned up and their defense to start making game-changing plays.
Our hope is that the Packers can move on from "What's Going On" to "Dancing in the Streets." But for now, the jukebox appears to be stuck.