Green Bay Packers: 5 Things Fans Should Be More Upset with Than Replacement Refs
The Green Bay Packers lost last night to the Seattle Seahawks on a wild ending that saw Packers safety M.D. Jennings and Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate each go for the ball and, as reported on the field, each come down with possession of it.
It was ruled "simultaneous possession" by the refs, meaning that by their judgment, both players had possession. In cases like this, the tie goes to the passing team.
Seattle was ruled to have scored a touchdown and the score, which was 12-7 eight seconds prior, had jumped to 14-12 in favor of the Seahawks.
Twitter immediately exploded.
Current and former NFL players let the replacement refs have it, allowing the vitriol they saw as a blown call spill over into infantile rage. Throwing tantrums behind computer screens, professional football players, who put the fear of God into their opponents, were crying for their regular refs like a baby missing their bottle.
For what it's worth, I think Golden Tate had simultaneous possession with M.D. Jennings, and the correct call was made. I also think the refs made that call by accident, rushing to judgment rather than conferring with one another. But the ends justify the means, no?
But while that call is Green Bay's whipping boy this morning, it hardly represents what Packers fans should be angry at when they think about Monday night's matchup in Seattle.
Join me as I present to you the five things that should get Green Bay Packers fans more angry than the replacement refs and their game-ending call.
O-Line Allowed 8 Sacks
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If there's been a worse performance by an offensive line, I haven't seen it. Heck, I bet even Jay Cutler was smirking.
Green Bay's offensive line should be ashamed of itself. It not only allowed eight sacks on the night, it allowed them all in the first half.
Bryan Bulaga was slow and completely overwhelming, accounting for multiple sacks. The guy needed two tight-ends as support. Fellow tackle Marshall Newhouse was only a hair better, which is still pretty poor. Green Bay's bookends couldn't even give Aaron Rodgers a three-step drop at times.
With Rodgers under incredible pressure all game, not to mention shell-shocked for the entire second half, it's no wonder that...
Packers Ran for Only 45 Yards
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Seattle is decent on defense against the run, and Green Bay knew the only way it'd move the ball is through the air. With the Seahawks whipping Green Bay at the line of scrimmage, there was only one option to keep Rodgers from getting beat up even more—run the ball.
The Packers tried to establish the run and they failed, gaining only 45 yards on the ground. But that's not the worst of it.
Cedric Benson was the only Green Bay running back to get any carries.
I know that injuries have hit the Packers hard, especially at running back. But you've got to rotate some different guys to keep Benson fresh. His longest run was nine yards, and his average barely topped 2.5 yards per carry.
Seattle Ran for 127 Yards
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Marshawn Lynch is a top-tier running back, but he's Seattle only weapon on an offense that is led by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Lynch ran for 98 yards, but it's his 25 carries that allowed Wilson to drop back and have an extra second or two in the pocket, knowing that the Packers were afraid of the run.
Green Bay didn't make Seattle play one-dimensional football, and that's what allowed the Seahawks (and the home crowd) to stay in it.
Play-Calling Was Too Predictable
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Against Seattle, Green Bay called 47 passing plays and 21 rushing plays.
Now I understand when you've got Aaron Rodgers under center, your passing game is going to be your calling card, but 47 to 21? That's why the Seahawks were able to pin their ears back and harass Rodgers all night.
Rodgers needs the play-action pass, and he needs it throughout the game.
Mike McCarthy's team called three running plays in the first half. Three. One of them was the end-around with wide receiver Randall Cobb and two were inside running plays with Cedric Benson.
Green Bay's 2-Minute Offense
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In a word—horrendous.
With 1:54 left in the game, Green Bay's defense held Seattle and forced a turnover on downs. The Packers were deep in their own territory, but they could run out the clock, right?
On first down, Benson ran up the middle and fumbled, and Jeff Saturday recovered the ball. Loss of five yards.
On second down, Benson again ran up the middle. He didn't fumble, but it was no gain.
On third down, fullback John Kuhn ran up the middle for two yards.
And that's just the offense.
Green Bay punted, and Seattle took possession at the 46-yard line with just 46 seconds to play. After an incomplete pass, Wilson threw his longest pass of the night—a 22-yarder to Sidney Rice.
Two more incomplete passes and then The Play happened with Golden Tate hanging on for simultaneous possession.
The Packers couldn't get more than -3 yards on their final drive and couldn't stop a 22-yard pass from a quarterback who'd only thrown for 80 yards before that.
Be angry, Green Bay fans, but not at the replacement refs. Be angry at your team because it couldn't put it away when it mattered.